I began the Summer researching last-minute trips to a Greek Island. The weather was rubbish and I was desperate for some sunshine. Luckily, that changed, so we turned our thoughts to a few days away somewhere closer to home. We decided to head to The Isle of Wight. The forecast for the week ahead was amazing (mid twenties) and we live just one hour from the ferry port, so it seemed like an easy trip. Despite the fact that I knew nothing about the Isle of Wight apart from the fact Bestival and Cowes week is held there each year, in my mind it was practically heading abroad, we were crossing water after all. Cornwall seems to get all the holiday fanfares, this Islands appears to be a secret but one that I want to share.
I am normally a big researcher when it comes to holidays but we booked a hotel that had some stuff for the kids to do and just rocked up to the ferry. The boys were so excited to get on a boat with the car, I must admit so was I. There was something that little bit more exciting to be leaving our shores to cross to an island than our previous long car journeys to Cornwall each Summer. With just enough time for a coffee and biscuit we were approaching the island. The scenery was breathtaking, white sandy beaches and trees overhanging the water, it looks just like some of my favourite places in Cornwall along the Helford River.
We drove across the middle of the island to a small village outside Ventnor, our hotel was nestled in woodland by the sea. The building was beautiful in the sunshine, no mobile reception meant that I was fully present with the kids (something my job often doesn’t allow) and an outdoor playground meant that Mr P and I could sit in the gardens and have a sit down.
Each night badgers would come to the hotel to feed. The manager discovered them entering the bins at night, so decided to leave all the kitchen scraps in a tub for them each day. It is very rare for badgers to behave this way and specialists have been to the hotel to visit and study them so closely. We were all blown away by these beautiful creatures and most adults had never seen one alive, so it was pretty special.
Our days were spent frequenting one beautiful beach and then another, just driving and seeing where we fancied stopping as we drove.
The water was so clear that we bought the eldest a snorkel and mask. He has wanted to learn to dive for the last few years, but must wait until he is eight before Padi will teach him, this was his first proper taste of it and he was in the water for hours.
To reach the beach near the hotel we walked through some beautiful woods, and due to some broken steps, had to use rope to reach the beach, no-one was there, it was heaven.
We explored as far as Bembridge with its forests and beautiful beach huts, and down to Compton Bay and beyond. We went to Dinosaur Isle at Sandown, where the boys learnt about the fossils on the island and when they are a tiny bit bigger we will go back on a dinosaur fossil walk, people have found all sorts (including a baby dinosaur…).
There were lots of things to do on the Island, other families were doing day trips to Blackgang Chine theme park, The Needles landmark, country parks, windmills an all sorts of other places but for us Mr P was a little under the weather, so we stuck to beaches where he could lie down and help me when they were wandering in different directions. The boys don’t really like Daddy being still and he didn’t rest perhaps as much as he would have liked!
At night, there was a mixture of entertainment (they are watching a magician here) and supervised crafts and soft play.
While the boys were kept busy and Mr P was in bed ill, I enjoyed my book and the views with the odd G&T.
We were there for four nights but it felt like much longer. Two reasons for this, the two year old was waking at 4.30am and after the first morning of faking being asleep and heavy breathing I was getting him up and taking him on walks. The other reason was that the days were so full and long when we were there we packed lots of memories in. At the end of the day, that’s what holidays are all about.
On the drive to the ferry, Mr P and the eldest threw their rods off the pier. Within two minutes they caught three mackerel. The perfect end to the holiday.
I can’t say that I came back rested, but then holidays with three young kids are not really a rest. But I really enjoyed a break from the washing, the cooking, the everyday chores. We explored new places and made note of where to go when we go back next time. There will be a next time very soon hopefully; with it taking just two hours door to door we have every reason to go back to this secret little island just down the road.