I love going on active trips away. I’ve visited Jersey and Guernsey over the past couple of years, but for an active trip even closer to home, it’s worth checking out the Isle Of Wight as a destination. Thanks to Visit Isle of Wight, I had the opportunity to visit for the Isle of Wight Festival of Running.
Travel to the Isle of Wight is straightforward. You will want a car to get around if you want to visit different parts of the island, and ferries depart from Portsmouth and Southampton. We travelled with Red Funnel Ferry, departing from Southampton. Crossings take about an hour and we were lucky enough to enjoy a beautifully sunny crossing. Top tip – sit outside and watch the approach to the Isle of Wight with an ice-cream! If you are travelling by foot, then you could check out the Hovertravel which takes just 10 minutes to cross between Portsmouth and Ryde.
There are plenty of places to stay on the island. From boutique hotels and camping grounds, there is something to suit all tastes and budget. For the duration of our visit, we stayed at Ruskin Lodge B&B in Freshwater Bay (from £38 per night). Our host was Simon and he was extremely accommodating and helpful. Ruskin Lodge is a Victorian house, fitted out in a Victorian style. Quite simply, it is a treasure trove, with paintings adorning the walls, a grand piano, oriental rugs and even a telescope. I didn’t realise until after we’d departed that Simon often allows guests to look through the telescope – an opportunity missed!
Our room was comfortable and was equipped with tea and coffee-making facilities. I have never seen such a good selection of tea and biscuits in a room before. The breakfasts should also be highly praised. We had an early departure for parkrun on Saturday and Simon left out a wonderful selection of fresh fruit for us to enjoy. On Sunday, we enjoyed a hot breakfast, complete with pancakes and home-made bread!
Freshwater is a quiet area, with poor public transport links. It is peaceful, tranquil and beautiful, but be aware that you will need a car to get around.
Hooray! My favourite thing to do when away on a short break is to have fun being active. We had a lot of fun at the Isle of Wight Festival of Running, and for those of you who enjoy a running break, the dates for next year have been confirmed as 1-3 June 2018. Have a read of my race report of the Needles XC 10K, choose a distance and get it in the diary, STAT.
On that running trail of thought (see what I did there), parkrun on a Saturday morning is a must. It’s usually held at Medina, but we were lucky enough to visit it on tour to Ryde. If you’re not already registered for parkrun, it’s free of charge to register, simply register and print out your barcode. parkrun tourism is a great way of seeing different parts of the country while racking up your total number of runs. You can read my recap of Isle of Wight Medina parkrun on tour here.
For those who aren’t so keen on running, the Isle of Wight is beautiful and boasts many stunning walks. It seems no matter where you turn, another signpost is proudly showing the way to another gorgeous trail. In Freshwater, our B&B was very close to the Tennyson Trail, a 14 mile walk from Newport to Alum Bay. Boasting incredible views of the bay, as well as historical sights, this is a challenging walk which will no doubt make a hearty pub meal very well deserved at the end.
We went back to Ryde for a second visit, as we are both fans of the water and the stunning beach view didn’t disappoint. We followed the sea wall and the paths for a while, enjoying a pleasant 2 mile walk or so, before sitting down for an enjoyable lunch. Don’t forget to walk Ryde Pier either. It’s almost half a mile long and is the second longest pier in the country.
Finally, the island is becoming known for water sports. I love kayaking when I’m away. Sadly I didn’t get the opportunity to indulge this time, but it’s a great way to explore and I’m looking forward to having a paddle next time I visit. Surfing and bodyboarding are also popular options so maybe a future visit would be the perfect opportunity for me to finally give it a go!
It’s worth keeping an eye on the Visit Isle of Wight What’s On guide as they often have active festivals on the island such as running, walking and cycling, plus the website includes details of special offers with their partners. So for holiday inspiration, it’s definitely worth a look!
Are you a lover of active travel? Are weekend breaks for rest or fun? Ever visited the Isle of Wight?