Our next adventure was one that I had really been looking forward to. We boarded the morning car ferry and headed across the calm waters from Portsmouth heading over to the Isle of Wight. We got a great view of the Emirates Spinnaker tower (170 metres high) and the old historical dockyards, pretty harbour front and Navy ships HMS Victory and HMS Warrior.
We loved the fact that there were many dogs on board. In fact the dogs were better behaved than some of the holiday spirited children. There is a huge section reserved for dogs called ‘Pet Friendly Zone’ , which was followed by the loud and noisy children’s play area. Interestingly enough the dogs sat quietly whilst the children ran off all their energy. It was nice to see that everyone was catered for aboard.
Why was the Isle of Wight an important place to visit, especially for me? Well this was where my dad was born over 83 years ago. My mum had shown me photos of a fair wavy haired toddler waddling happily in the shallow sea. This was my dad in his youngest years on the Isle of Wight. He was born in the sea front village of Ryde. This is why it was high on our list. As the ferry glided through the cool waters we could see the town of Ryde perched snug on the water’s edge.
We learned that the Isle of Wight is a popular summer bucket and spade, lazy beach holiday destination and in winter families still come in droves to enjoy the scenic stunning white cliffs and coastal hiking paths. I wonder whether my dad realises what a beautiful part of England he was born?? He was only young when he moved to the mainland. As we disembarked we noted how busy the ferry port was with families coming and going. A real hive of activity.
Our first stop was the Quarr Abbey. A Catholic Benedictine Monastery. It was beautiful -set around a farm full of friendly pigs, vegetable gardens and wood walk that lead to a red squirrel viewing area.
We were extremely lucky to hear the monks singing. This was a first for us.
We then stopped to check out I.W. Central Railway, Wootton, which is an iconic steam train railway stations. No steam train, but we loved the old vintage signage.
We headed to the popular destination called, The Needles Landmark Attraction. It is an area of natural beauty. We stood and admired Needles Rocks, the stunning white cliffs and the iconic red and white light house. We had planned to do a scenic ride on the chair lift but it was closed even though it said it was open on the website.
We wandered through the family fun park, picked up something special for my dad and checked out the coloured sands and glass blowing.
As we continue along the pretty coastal drive we stopped at Totland, to enjoy more white cliffs and a stroll along the pebbled beach at Freshwater Bay, which really wasn’t the easiest to walk on.
We got a great view of Freshwater Bay as we stopped in a headland car park.
We drove past so many chocolate box cottages with thatched roofs.
We stopped for lunch at a cute pub in Shorwell. This is where the low carb diet went up the chimney. It was the perfect place to enjoy triple cooked chips with a great dark British ale by the fire place. British pubs are cozy, snug, relaxing places full of character.
Our last town to visit was Ryde. This was a great way to end the day. We walked across the pier which gave us a panoramic view across the water and looking back at the town of Ryde. It is a pretty town. We were lucky to see the old London Underground Train come rattling across the pier. We also enjoyed watching the hovercrafts move through the waters with such grace and power. This was a great adventure which lead me on a quest in understanding a little more about my family’s history.