Thursday, 29 August 2013

Isle of Wight trip

We just visited the Isle of Wight for the first time in years, having been inspired by the route in my new 'Lost Lanes' cycling book!  Jack Thurston from The Bike Show, goes around the whole island in the book, but we thought we'd start off doing something easier and in one afternoon. The weather looked very drab in the morning, but the forecast was more optimistic so we kept our fingers crossed! 

Leaving Lymington, we landed at Yarmouth terminal, where we  got chatting to one of the ferry workers Nik, who recommended a nice route to the west of the Island. A local's advice is always gold when travelling, so we made sure to take note! The recommended bridleway towards Freshwater was perfect for cycling with either lovely views or through leafy tunnels.


We arrived at Freshwater just in time to see the Lifeboat launch.


En route, we found the Dimbola Museum and Gallery, home of a  Victorian photographer named Julia Margaret Cameron, whose work is now an exhibition. 



Greedily, we headed straight for the adjoining tearooms in need of lunch and with the sun coming out, found a spot amongst teacup plant pots in the garden.  This was a great setting for lunch, catering for locals and well as tourists and with very helpful staff. This is a place you'd describe as having 'old world charm' and I will have to try their Victorian High Tea next time when i'm not cycling.  


Love these plates... Food too of course!


My new purchase by the way - only a teapot bike bell! If any of you are looking to jazz up your bike with one of these then please let me know!


Moving on, we set off along the Tennyson Trail in the National Trust area of Compton Downs where a very steep gravel track runs through the centre of a golf course.  The hill is pure agony, where at the top the only option is to fall off ones bike and collapse onto the grass into a coma!  


But this steep incline wasn't the downside to today, because we came across some very rude golfers who shouted at us to move off the track!  This is such a stark contrast to the rest of the Island, where everyone is so friendly and keen to help and advise on best routes.  One couple showed us the way to a gate in the fence that lead down to a forest and through lovely fields.




Looping back to Yarmouth, this AMAZING shop Number Twenty caught my eye!  I had to stop, not just for the Wedgwood tea set in the window but because i'm a sucker for decorative antiques and vintage finds, not to mention anything to do with the age of discovery - perfect!  Good job we were on bikes or i'd have spent far too much on a portable typewriter, globe, vintage suitcase or China etc etc! Check out Number Twenty's Twitter page to follow the lovely owner Anthea @numbertwentyiow


Image: Number Twenty


Yarmouth Pier


So many great looking cafes to choose from...


For dinner, we cycled back through the first bridleway to the Red Lion pub, a traditional country pub recommended in the Lost Lanes book, where we looked over the route we'd taken.


Great to see vegetables being grown in the pub garden.  A lovely setting with the sun lowering over the sunflowers.



So stuffed, but had to ride back to catch the ferry.  We're always last minute!

 Fantastic sky display from the ferry.





Shopping:
For a short time only, Secret Escapes have a deal on at the Isle of Wight, at the Lakeside Park Hotel and Spa in Ryde (pic below from Secret Escapes).  We didn't go to Ryde so I can't personally recommend this hotel but it has great ratings on Tripadvisor and a spa sounds like a great way to end an afternoon of cycling!


Lakeside Park Hotel and Spa