The Isle of Wight is rather quirky. It is most well known for its many music festivals, where legions of young party goers take part in huge open-air concerts held in its lush greens. At the same time, with its slow pace and calm demeanor, the island is a favourite among retirees.
I arrived at the port city of Portsmouth last Saturday to catch the ferry to this little island, immediately struck by the accented English people here speak. It was a short 20 minutes ride away, but true to the travel brochures I picked up at the station, the island feels miles away from main land Britain. Foot travellers, like I was, will probably be first greeted by the beach town of Ryde.
Despite being the largest town at the island, Ryde can probably be seen in an hour or so, its many Victorian architecture and the lack of familiar high street brands creating a refreshing vibe of not-your-typical-UK city-breaks.
From dramatic cliffs to vast lands of beautiful greens, the Isle of Wight is like a tiny selection of nature’s best delights, mixed carefully with little collections of charming establishments. From Ryde, I hopped on to one of the many excellent bus routes and saw much of the island in half a day.
The old village of Shanklin is probably most interesting; with quintessential thatched English cottages every corner I turned. Godshill, a village which derived its name from the church built at the top of a little hill, is probably the most quaint and picturesque. I bought a jar of locally made lemon curd, and can’t help thinking that life probably got a little better with that purchase.
I guess I did the ‘retiree’ part of Isle of Wight last Saturday. Will be keen to reacquaint with the island again- next time as a member of the legions of party goers.