Postcard from the Isle of Wight

Shanklin, Isle of Wight

This drizzly day in Worthing seems an apt time to post a few pictures from the Isle of Wight. We traveled to the largest island of England two weeks ago (though it already seems much longer) by train and ferry. 
Ryde Pier, Isle of Wight

The journey took two and a half hours in total and couldn't have been smoother. There's a direct train from Worthing to Portsmouth where the ferry terminal is reached by walking down a ramp inside the train station. The ferry ride was an all too brief 20 minutes and an absolute joy on a bright sunny day – we felt like we were going abroad! From Ryde Pier Head we hopped onto the Island Line railway (comprising old stock London Underground trains) for a scenic route down the eastern side of the island to the Victorian seaside resort of Shanklin - our destination. 

Shanklin, view from the beach

At large on Isle of Wight in April 2014

A few days on the island transported us back to a 1970s vision of England. We walked along the under cliff from Shanklin to Sandown – a sleepy resort in April – had an excellent cup of tea at Harrigan's seafront café and gift shop where my daughter was dazzled by the plethora of figurines and trinkets on sale (and I succumbed to a souvenir tea towel) then trekked on past boarded up buildings and neglected playgrounds to Dinosaur Isle

Sweetshop in Ryde

A trip into Ryde showed us glimpses of previous Victorian splendour in a town mostly in decline, a complete contrast to lovely Ventnor with its dozens of restaurants and cafés, wealth of excellent second hand clothing and book shops and the wonderful Rainbows fabric and craft shop – haberdashery heaven.

Buildings on the Isle of Wight : from thatch to Victoriana to deco to 70s modernism
At Ventnor Haven we took a stunning coastal tour with Lucy and Sean Strevens of Cheetah Marine in a boat they'd impressively designed and built themselves. They kindly let my 9 year old drive the boat back at high speed – thrilling experience of a lifetime for her and a terrifying but amazing one for me! My favourite adventure of the holiday was a ramble up and around Shanklin Chine, resplendent with fabulous flora and waterfalls. We must return soon.

Shanklin Chine