Isle of Wight

Friday, October 28, 2016

This is an old travelogue. In the year 2012 I was living at a place called Watford. Watford is only 30 mins from Central London and the last London Overground station. We planned to go to Isle of Wight because it was nearby. But instead of taking public transport we decided to hire a car. This was one of my earliest road trips in the UK. Out of many Bengali staying with us only 1 agreed to join me.

Isle of Wight was not far from Watford, hardly 4 hours drive. So a weekend would be sufficient to visit this place. Isle of wight is the southern part of England and is a separate island. Covered with sea the place is mostly popular for beaches and natural beauty. This place attracts a lot of tourists when the weather is sunny. There are ferry available from 2 different ports which carries people and vehicle to Isle of wight. Other than these ferries there are no roads. Famous things and places to visit is listed in Trip Advisor.

We planned to make it short and simple. Only visit few places and enjoy the drive. For lodging instead of staying in a hotel we decided to stay in a B&B. Few days back one of our seniors went there and he advised a good B&B. Weston Manor Bread and Breakfast. I emailed the owner and he confirmed the booking of a twin bed room asap. I will write more about the B&B later in this post.

As the drive was not long we decided to go to Seven Sister's cliff first and then to Portsmouth. Seven Sisters is a series of chalk white cliff standing side by side. This cliff has been featured in many Hollywood movies including "Man of Steel" and an east-facing photo of the Seven Sisters is included as one of the default landscape wallpapers packaged with MS Windows 7. There was no point missing such a beautiful cliff. So the final route we took was like this -

Day 1- On Friday evening we picked up sacks, cold drinks and water for the road trip. We started very early so that there is minimum or no traffic on the roads. As this was one of my first road trips I was quite nervous. We rented a small hatchback - Nissan Micra. It looked similar to the one available in our country. By 9 am we reached Seven Sister's cliff. South England is always windy and in the month of February it was quite cold. Without gloves it was very difficult even to press the shutter of the camera.

The next stop was Portsmouth where we were suppose to take the ferry. The route from Seven Sister to Portsmouth was almost single carriageway. Single carriageway has a variable speed limit from 30 mph to 60 mph. The ferry at Portsmouth was already booked. We reached Portsmouth before time and waited at the city center. When the time came at Portsmouth port we were asked to show the ticket and wait in a row. We were the first one to avail that ferry, other cars started lining up behind us. The ferry timetable can be found here online.

The vehicles are loaded first onto a small ship. Then the passengers hops in. There was a huge sitting space inside with small cafe. There was also a upper deck for anyone who wants to enjoy the sea. But in February the upper deck was almost empty.

We reached Isle of wight around 1 pm. The ferry ride was about 45 minutes. We drove towards our B&B. Once we reached the B&B we found out that we were the only tourists that weekend. That place was a small village with very few people living. The place was covered with green and very near to the sea.

Then the B&B was too good. The owner came and welcomed us at the parking. He looked at our reservation and gave us a room upstairs. The B&B was not a regular B&B. From Google -"Weston Manor was built in 1871 by William George Ward and his wife Francis Mary Ward. Situated on Moonshill Weston Manor boasts its own private Chapel listed as a heritage site by the national trust. Decorated in the medieval style of A W Pugin the chapel is the only example of its kind in England."

We came back to our hotel post evening. There was nothing much to do after the sun is down. The West manor B&B do not serve dinner or lunch, hence we went to the nearest and only pub available - High Down Inn

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