Osborne House & Cowes (full day)
We have the chance to explore Queen Victoria’s one-time residence on the island, Osborne House. Built as a holiday home in the late 1840s, the Italianate palace boasts spectacular views across the Solent. We take an intimate glimpse of royal family life as we wander through the magnificent Royal Apartments as well as the walled gardens and grounds where we find the charming Swiss Cottage, used by the royal children to learn household management.
We then head to Cowes, home to the world-famous regatta that swells the local population each August. Many of the town’s ornate buildings date from Queen Victoria’s time, in the style popularised by her consort Prince Albert.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway & Ryde (full day)
We journey back to a bygone era as we board the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet and enjoy a picturesque ride, passing through quaint rural stations, quiet hamlets, unspoilt countryside and ancient woodland to the seaside resort of Ryde.
We spend some time at leisure in Ryde with its long stretch of golden sand, pretty esplanade, marina and beautiful gardens. Take a stroll along the famous pier, the oldest in England, or admire the many boats moored in the town’s busy harbour.
Island Highlights Tour – £11pp (full day)
Our fantastic optional Island Highlights tour takes in this unique island’s many famous sights. After Ventnor, a pretty resort built on a series of terraces, we make for Alum Bay. Here we can admire the multi-coloured cliffs and famous chalky outcrop The Needles. Next is the historic port town of Yarmouth which contains some of the oldest architecture on the island including a 16th-century castle. We continue on to Newport, often known as the capital of the Isle of Wight, with a historic quayside and selection of specialty shops. We return to the hotel via the pretty inland village of Godshill with its charming thatched-roofed cottages, delightful medieval church, tearooms and gift shops.