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Last week, I posted my second of three posts covering a fantasy trip to the Isle of Wight. Tina reviewed two books, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell and The Silence by Susan Allott. The first takes us to India and Scotland and the second to Australia and England. Both books span decades of the 20th century.
We’re staying for a week in a cottage on the grounds of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Last week, we learned about the history of dinosaurs, Romans, and trains on the island.
Let’s visit another English Heritage site, Carisbrooke Castle, which has a very long history on the Isle of Wight. It’s near the center of the island, so we’ll take the #5 bus from Osborne House to the Newport Bus Station. From there we’ll transfer to one of several buses that can drop us off less than half a mile from the Castle.
Carisbrooke Castle is situated on a hill in the central part of the Isle of Wight. It’s possible that this site has been used as a safe spot since Roman times. Walking around the castle grounds, today, we can see Anglo-Saxon earthen works, Norman stone walls, and the medieval dwelling (updated and expanded during the Elizabethan era and modernized by Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice).
The most famous historical event that involved Carisbrooke Castle was the imprisonment of King Charles I before his execution in 1649.
A day at the castle will include visits to these buildings, some of which house museum exhibits, as well as a walk around a charming garden and some fun with the resident donkeys who continue to do the work of drawing up water from the well — as donkeys have done at this site for hundreds of years.
On our last full day on the island, let’s make our way all the way to the other side to see The Needles, an iconic rock formation in the sea off the west tip of the Isle of Wight.
Like yesterday, we’ll start with a bus ride from Osborne House to Newport Bus Station. From there, we’ll take Bus 12. Part of its journey will take us right along the southern coast. Our trip will take a little under two hours, but I’m imagining that it will be relaxing to see the Isle of Wight from a bus window.
The bus will take us to an area known as The Needles Landmark Attraction with lots of separately priced attractions competing for your tourist dollar. I’m a sucker for a boat ride, so my plan is to take a 20-minute Needles Pleasure Cruise. You might prefer a chair lift. I’ll skip the miniature golf and amusement park rides.
The nearby Needles Old Battery provides military history of the island and amazing views.
There are tea rooms available in both the Landmark Attraction and the Old Battery.
We’ll take Bus 7 back to the Newport Bus Station. It takes a more northerly route than Bus 12, so we’ll get to see different parts of the island than we did on the way out in the morning.
We’ll pack up and take the bus back to the ferry. I’m going to assume that there are lockers or a baggage room where we can store our luggage at the port, while we take a nice walk in the area.
My aim is Egypt Point. Here is what the Isle of Wight tourism site says about this location:
The coastal viewpoint between Cowes and Gurnard was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite places.
The Queen had an irresistibly romantic nature and it was from here that she enjoyed the magnificent sunsets and a panoramic view of the Solent which people still love today.
We can have lunch at the New Holmwood Hotel Restaurant across the road from Egypt Point, with sea views from its restaurant, lounge, and two outdoor terraces. I might try the Bacon, Brie, and Cranberry sandwich — since I certainly wouldn’t be offered that anywhere near where I live. For a dessert to split with a romantic partner, I’d go for either the panna cotta or the dark chocolate & hazelnut brownie. Both are served with berries and cocoa syrup.
I’m sad to be leaving the Isle of Wight, even though the entire trip was a fantasy. It’s a good thing that fantasies are easily revisited!