We were recently holidaying in Hampshire, and couldn’t be that close to the Isle of Wight without hopping over for the day! Here’s what we did, and how we did it without spending very much money at all…
We headed down to Southampton, which was about 40 minutes from where we were staying, to catch our Red Funnel ferry over to Cowes. If you can travel early morning (we went at 8am) or late afternoon (we returned at 6pm) then you will get the best deals. Also, there are always further discount codes here, every little helps right?! Lyla was so excited at the prospect of taking the car on a boat, plus the sun came out just as we were sailing into the Isle of Wight.
Once off the ferry, we headed straight to Godshill, one of our favourite villages on the island, and one we have stayed at many times before. It’s a lovely spot to just wander round and look at all the cottages, boutique shops and the church. Godshill also has the benefit of offering free parking at the Old Smithy site (they also do the biggest cream cakes here…). There is a gorgeous model village in Godshill if you did want something to do that is relatively cheap!
It was heading towards lunchtime so we took a drive up to Culver Down, just north of Sandown. The views from here are just spectacular. We took a picnic to save on buying lunch, found a spot, and enjoyed a lovely, chilled lunch (in the boot of the car) whilst letting the girls run free to let off steam. It was so lovely. It is a National Trust site but is free to park up and explore, with a gorgeous coastal footpath for the walkers. We had a little walk but nap time was looming so we bundled the girls back into the car to head to the beach, with a sleep along the way!
Finally, with the children well-rested, we headed to the beach. After driving through the main touristy resorts (Sandown/Shanklin/Ventnor), we decided to go to our favourite ‘hidden’ spot, Steephill Cove. It is quiet, secluded, frequented by locals, and a perfect place to let the children play without them being able to go far. There is also a lovely little restaurant, the Beach Shack, which sells local crab. We just grabbed an ice-cream, which ended up being VERY messy. It was a lot warmer outside than it looked, and the girls ended up covered in sand, sea and ice-cream, but it’s all part of the fun! The downside to this location is the accessibility, or INaccessibility. It involves walking down a lot of steps, or a very steep hill (the clue is in the name), and then walking back up again (my calf still hurts from carrying a baby up that hill), but it really is worth it if you are able to. The tide soon came in, so we all dried off and headed back to the ferry. We managed to sneak on an earlier one and got the girls a hot dinner once on board, the end of a perfect day!