After our brief stay in Southampton and visits to New Forest and Peppa Pig World, we begun the main part of our summer holidays – the Isle of Wight. The weather had been kind to us so far, but unfortunately the rain hit as we headed for the ferry across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, East Cowes. Luckily, we were protected from the rain by the car as we headed to East Cowes, and the short-drive to Newport where we were basing ourselves for the first few nights.
Date Visited: 10th July 2021
Location: East Cowes (and Newport)
Getting There: Our preference was the car, easy access to and from the Isle with Red Funnel ferries. If you’re a keen cyclists, you can also ride through the Isle although it is quite hilly and not very family-friendly. There are coach trips to get you across from Southampton . which you can do a day trip with.
The Red Funnel ferry took a relaxing hour from Southampton to East Cowes. Once we disembarked, we headed to our accommodation for the evening in Newport. This is the main hub and town on the Isle of Wight. It felt like any other town you would visit on the mainland with the same High Street shops and restaurant chains. We stayed in a simple boutique serviced apartment which was in walkable distance to the town centre and had ample parking close by. The 1-bed unit was clean and tidy, good WiFi and plenty of TV channel options. The extra bed is a pull-out sofa bed that Cara enjoyed.
After settling in and grabbing a bite for lunch, we headed back to East Cowes for the day’s main activity, a tour of Osborne House. The good thing about the Isle of Wight is that everything is usually within a 30 minute drive. So the drive back from Newport to East Cowes wasn’t too taxing. The weather had cleared after lunch and we were able to enjoy the grounds of the home and take a peek inside Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s summer retreat. Summer holidays home goals! Fancy rooms, large gardens, private beach…Cara wanted to touch all the shiny objects on display but was able to control herself.
Cara was a little too tired to make the 20 minute stroll down to the private beach (there is a shuttle that is available to the less mobile folk if needed). We ended up relaxing in the garden and fountain area for a while. It had stunning views looking out across to Portsmouth. There is a cafe and amenities available onsite. We were planning to have an afternoon cream tea, but they had run out of scones by the time we arrived. So we decided to call it a day and head back to Newport to chill before dinner.
Ratings for Osborne House:
Burn Time: 3 out of 5 – We could’ve spent more time there if we had made the effort to the private beach. But there weather was a little overcast and Cara wasn’t too keen so we didn’t stay too long.
Value: 1 out of 5 – Probably not the first place you would visit with young kids as there’s not a lot for them to do. More for the older kids and those interested in English heritage and history.
Overall: 2 out of 5 – Unless the young ones are interested in English heritage, they may get bored fairly quickly.
What else is in East Cowes?
We didn’t really explore too much else besides the main Red Funnel terminal area and Osborne House. However, on the day of our return back to Southampton, we found a little cafe to have a coffee and snack before our return ferry in the morning. It had decent coffee and light meals, and is next to a playground. It doesn’t have bathrooms onsite, but there’s perhaps the cleanest portaloos available a short walk from it. The cafe offers great view of the marina. You can watch the large ferries dock, and the kids learning how to sail. Great little cafe to stop by before departing the Isle of Wight…
Our next stop (and post), is Ventnor…
Have you spent a summer holidays in Isle of Wight or East Cowes? Anything you think we should have visited by didn’t? Let us know in the comments section!
As linked previously, here are some other summer holidays ideas from the previous years: