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Last week, I started a romantic February project to travel (in my imagination) to the Isle of Wight. Tina reviewed Paul McCartney – The Lyrics — a book with the words to the songs and the stories behind them, plus photos from McCartney’s life.
Last week, we traveled to the Isle of Wight from London, settled into a holiday cottage on the grounds of Osborne House, and toured that vacation home of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their family.
Bus and Train
The bus ticket that I had us buy in last week’s post is necessary because Osborne House isn’t on the train line. However, bus travel around the island is pretty slow. For less than £25, we can get a train ticket that will be good for the week and let us travel between all the train stations on the Isle of Wight.
For Days 2, 3 and 4, we’ll take the bus from Osborne House to Ryde Esplanade Station, about 30 minutes. Then, we’ll ride the train to Sandown on Day 2, Brading on Day 3, and Smallbrook Junction on Day 4, less than 20 minutes for each.
Let’s begin our wider Isle of Wight adventure with dinosaurs. The Isle of Wight is one of the richest areas for dinosaur fossils in Europe.
If we’re traveling with children, we might choose the amusement park, Blackgang Chine, with an area themed to dinosaurs.
Without children, I think I’d prefer a more conventional dinosaur musem, Dinosaur Isle. Besides models and fossils of dinosaurs, the museum offers regular fossil-hunting walks.
A short walk along the beach from Dinosaur Isle will take us to The Bandstand, an interesting place for lunch or dinner, with a wall of windows to view Sandown Bay. With romance as a theme for my fantasy week on the Isle of Wight, this restaurant looks perfect.
The menu changes seasonally, but I like the sound of this from their special Valentine’s Day menu: Chicken Roulade Filled with Italian Cheese & Fresh Basil, Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Gnocchi Pan Fried in Butter. And, for dessert, I’d want to split this with my romantic partner: Raspberry Meringue Pavlova, Vanilla Whipped Cream, Topped with Mixed Berries.
Time for some human history.
The Romans didn’t build towns on the Isle of Wight, but there were at least seven Roman villas on the island.
Parts of the Roman Villa near Brading, with well-preserved mosaic floors, have been open to the public since its discovery in Victorian times. The whole area was flooded in the 1990s, including those mosaic floors. That’s why there is now a very modern, award-winning, visitor center and museum to protect the site and provide viewing access to visitors. Here’s a silent and peaceful drone flyover of the site. The white marks on the ground show the outlines of other Roman-era buildings.
I know from experience that Rick and I would easily spend a day at a place like this. It’s a good thing that there’s a coffee shop on site. We found that restaurants at sites like these in Europe provided a better experience than similar tourist-spot eating places in the US. I realize that’s a pretty low bar. But we never regretted eating at a museum when it meant that we could enjoy the exhibits longer.
After three days of various exhibits, we’re going to want a day that’s less taxing for the brain. Let’s take a ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.
Since we’re on the Isle of Wight for a bit of romance, we’ll book the Edwardian Hamper Experience. We’ll get to ride in a first-class compartment and enjoy a hamper filled with sandwiches, cakes and Prosecco during our ride.
It seems tourists never get too far from a museum. We will have an opportunity to stop at Havenstreet to visit Train Story with displays of Victorian and Edwardian carriages and interactive exhibits to learn the history of trains, in general, as well as the history of railways on the Isle of Wight.
Are you enjoying our trip so far? Join me next week to finish our adventure on the Isle of Wight.