June 2022. Making the best of four weeks off, after the Mediterranean cruise for Danny and Mexico for Timothy, we organised a train trip in England. On the menu: Bletchley Park, the night train to Penzance, the Dartmouth Steam Railway and the Isle of Wight. On the last day, we roamed around London to sample the new Elizabeth Line.
The Isle of Wight had been on our wish list for a while . Mostly because of its trains. The Island Line uses old London Underground rolling stock. And Victoria & Albert‘s Osbourne House was also on my wish list.
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest and second-most populous island of England. It is located in the English Channel, two to five miles off the coast of Hampshire, from which it is separated by the Solent. Referred to as ‘The Island’ by residents[, the island has resorts that have been popular holiday destinations since Victorian times. It is known for its mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is historically part of Hampshire, and is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The island has been home to the poets Algernon Charles Swinburne and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Queen Victoria built her summer residence and final home, Osborne House at East Cowes, on the Isle. It has a maritime and industrial tradition of boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats, hovercraft, and Britain’s space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals, including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held.
It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries of dinosaur fossils in Europe.
The island has played an important part in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and has been near the front-line of conflicts through the ages, having faced the Spanish Armada and weathered the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Historically part of Southampton, the island became a separate administrative county in 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. The Isle no longer has administrative links to Hampshire, though the two counties share their police force and fire and rescue service, and the island’s Anglican churches belongs to the Diocese of Portsmouth (originally Winchester).
To and from the Isle of Wight
The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft (Hovertravel) from Ryde to Southsea. Three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth via the island’s largest ferry operator, Wightlink, and the island’s second largest ferry company, Red Funnel.
We tried the FastCat catamaran on our way to the Isle, and took the hovercraft back to Porthsmouth. So 80s to do.
The Island Line
The Island Line is a railway line which runs along the island’s east coast and links Ryde Pier Head with Shanklin. Trains connect at Ryde Pier Head with passenger ferries to Portsmouth Harbour, and these ferries in turn connect with the rest of the National Rail network via the Portsmouth Direct Line. The line also connects to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, a heritage railway, at Smallbrook Junction. For much of its length the line runs alongside the A3055, criss-crossing this road by means of the Ryde Tunnel and bridges at Rowborough, Morton Common, Lake Hill and Littlestairs.
Very recently, the very old British Rail Class 483, dating from 1938, were replaced by London Underground D78 Stock, also known as D Stock. They date from 1976-1983 but were refurbished. They look fresh. They are small. They are cute.
As with the rest of the week, we felt surrounded by old people and school pupils. The Isle of Wight is a tourist destination and felt more high brow than Paignton.
Southern Vectis operates a good bus network, so you can get to your hotspots by bus. You can use your Visa or MasterCard to tap in and out.
But honestly, the Isle of Wight is a car destination. It will save you time and it looks like fun place to drive as well.
Haven Hall manager David mailed us an extensive list of nice restaurants and gastropubs. So there are many fine options. But book in advance. That really seems necessary.
The Isle of Wight was a nice, calm place to unwind. Consider it if you want to do something else than usual.
- ENGLAND 2022 | Bletchley Park.
- REVIEW | GWR Night Riviera sleeper train from London to Penzance.
- DEVON | Cruising River Dart from Totnes to Dartmouth.
- DEVON | Dartmouth Steam Railway from Dartmouth / Kingswear to Paignton.
- DEVON | Paignton – Totnes – Dartmouth.
- REVIEW | The Channel View Boutique Hotel in Paignton.
- ISLE OF WIGHT | Osborne House.
- REVIEW | Haven Hall Hotel in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight.
6 Comments Add yours
Wow! Looks so nice place and delicious dessert!
Thank’s for share Timothy.
Have a wonderful new month!
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Thank you Elvira. Yes the Isle of Wight is a pretty discovery.
Have a great new month!
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It looks si nice, thank’s Timothy.
You as well, great new month!
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