Freshwater Bay House

Isle of Wight

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Chalky white cliffs and eyebrow-arching sea views set the tone for the delights that follow at this county house on the Isle of Wight - Queen Victoria's favourite island that’s just a ferry hop from the South Coast. The location is as gorgeous as it gets; to the south of the village of Freshwater, within pebble-throwing distance of its namesake bay, and just a skip from Tennyson Down. You’ll also be within easy reach of the area’s showstoppers, including the imposing Stag and Mermaid rocks, the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay, the remarkable Ventnor Botanic Gardens, and the 125-million-year-old dinosaur footprints at Compton Bay. And then, of course, there’s the Needles Old Battery for the ubiquitous photo opportunity and the best views of The Needles.

Freshwater Bay House

  •  Open March to November and during the festive season  •  43 well-appointed guest rooms  •  Exclusive occupancy: 61 guests minimum •  Check in from 4:00pm  •  Full-board (including cream tea on arrival)  •  Free Wi-Fi  •  Free on-site parking  •  Boot room and drying room  •  2 travel cots & 4 high chairs  •  Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and information for self-guided walks  •  Books and games to borrow  •  Licensed bar  •  Three lounges  •  Garden  •  Electric vehicle charging point - Please note, you will need to bring your own cables to use this EV charging point Visit England - Guest Accommodation 

Then & now at Freshwater Bay House

Little is known about the history of Freshwater Bay House, yet records show it was a purpose-built hotel owned by Charles Plumley in 1824. Prior to this, it was known as The George Inn and visited by London-born artist George Morland in 1799. He earned a living on the island by painting inn signs and undertaking local portrait commissions, although it’s thought he sought refuge here to dodge his creditors. By the 1850s, the hotel was known as Plumley’s Post House before later changing its name to the Freshwater Bay Hotel and Posting Establishment (it was around this time that playwright George Bernard Shaw visited with his new wife). It was then bought by William T Lambert who renamed it Lambert’s Hotel – and this name stuck until the beginning of the 20th century. Over the years, the rather famous roll call of guests included Lewis Carroll, Anthony Trollope, and Lord Tennyson. It has been part of our HF Holidays line-up since 1956. 

Nowadays, Freshwater Bay House has 43 well-appointed guest rooms in three categories (Classic, Premium, and Superior), three cosy lounges (one has a grand piano), a licensed bar, and a light-filled restaurant for a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. There’s a handy boot and drying room, books and games to borrow during your stay, and a Discovery Point offering a wide range of local area maps, route guides, and easy-to-follow information for self-guided walks. Equally fabulous is the putting green, and lovely gardens with paths leading down to the beach in one direction and Tennyson Down in the other. For sunny days, there’s an outdoor heated pool (open from May to September) with a seating area and far-reaching sea views. 


Designed with your comfort in mind, Freshwater Bay House has 43 well-appointed guest rooms available in three categories: Classic, Premium, and Superior. 

Classic Rooms are comfortable en-suite guest rooms, ideal for a peaceful night's sleep. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, and shower gel), and a TV. 

Premium Rooms are more spacious en-suite guest rooms. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

Superior Rooms are even more spacious en-suite guest rooms offering upgraded views of the surrounds. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities, toiletries (hand wash, shampoo, body lotion, shower gel), and a 32-inch TV. Extras include bathrobes, slippers, and comfortable mattresses.

We love: Rooms 19 and 20 on the first floor for their lovely sea views. Rooms 18 and 22 are both corner rooms overlooking the bay and Tennyson Downs. The more spacious Room 24 has five large windows overlooking the gardens and bay as well as a private sitting room. Room 39 on the second floor is a corner room with a bathtub. 

The Choose Your Room service is available at our UK country houses, allowing you the option of choosing and confirming a specific room for an extra charge of £30 per room. This is subject to availability. Upgrade supplements apply. 

Check in & check out
You are welcome to check in from 4:00pm at the earliest. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a complimentary cream tea and get to meet your fellow guests, our HF Holidays Leaders, and the rest of the friendly team.  

On the day of departure, we kindly ask all guests to check out by 10:00am. You’ll be asked to settle your bill prior to leaving. You may, of course, make a charitable donation to our HF Holidays Pathways Fund if you wish. Please note that we only accept card payments.  

Room supplements

Superior Premium single Premium double/twin Choose your room
£25 pppn £20 pppn £20 pppn £30 per room

About your stay

A warm welcome
We want you to feel comfortable from the moment you arrive. You’ll find a welcome pack in your room with guest registration forms, menus, order forms for dinners and picnic lunches, the Wi-Fi password, and the front door code. Our houses are locked at night, so we recommend noting the Duty Manager’s number on arrival in case of an emergency (or getting locked out). 

Evening entertainment
While evening entertainment varies from house to house, the HF Holidays Big Pub Quiz held after dinner on Wednesdays is a weekly staple. Your HF Holidays Leader may be around for tips on guided and self-guided walking routes as well as visit-worthy local attractions. 

Walks talks 
Our HF Holidays Leaders host guided walking information briefings before dinner on arrival days. This is followed by a group Walks Talk for information on the following day’s walking delights (held before dinner every evening). Self-guided walking guests are, of course, welcome.  

The walking day
Prior to setting off on walks, your HF Holidays Leader will run you through a short safety briefing. There’s also an up-to-date weather forecast on display at the house to ensure you have appropriate clothing and footwear. If you choose to do your own walks or are on a self-guided walking holiday, we ask that you please complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house. 

Food & drink

Led by experienced chefs, we serve a wide range of dishes made with fresh and seasonal ingredients. We always aim to source the best produce available and use home-grown herbs and vegetables from our own gardens whenever possible. Additionally, we have a licensed bar with beers, soft drinks, and a superb selection of spirits. Full-board comes as standard and includes a cream tea on arrival and a hearty breakfast on departure day.

HF Holidays understands the importance of managing allergens effectively to ensure food is safe for guests with food allergies. Whilst we are always able to confidently inform guests which allergens are present in our ingredients and dishes, we are unable to guarantee absolute freedom from the 14 main allergens in our kitchens. Vegetarian and vegan menu choices are available. If you have allergies, food intolerances, or any special dietary requirements, please inform our reservation team at the time of booking.


For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865 or view the accessibility information online for Freshwater Bay House

House calendar

  • Guided Walking
  • Self-Guided Walking
  • Special Interests
  • Unavailable to Book

Discover Isle of Wight

Places to visit

Whether you’re enjoying a guided or self-guided walking holiday, there’s always the opportunity to linger for longer. Here’s our pick of the very best things to see and do within easy travelling distance of Freshwater Bay House. 

Freshwater Bay

Just a skip away from Freshwater Bay House, this semi-circular namesake bay surrounded by gleaming white cliffs is a magical spot for rock pooling, watersports, swimming, boating, walking, and more. While mostly pebbles, there are some sandy parts on its eastern side. 

The Needles

Named for their pointy shape, this iconic trio of brilliant white chalk rocks are located on the island’s western tip. They lead out to what is easily Britain’s most photographed lighthouse – a red-and-white-striped tower built in 1859 on the outermost of the chalk rocks. 


An hour’s walk away, this historic seaside town is set at the mouth of the River Yar. The highlight is the 16th century Yarmouth Castle – one of Henry VIII’s most sophisticated coastal fortresses built to guard the western entrance to the Solent. 

Osborne House

Just a 40-minute drive away, this former royal retreat was purchased by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1845 and used to escape court life. Now managed by English Heritage, it charms with glorious gardens and rooms filled with original furniture and works of art.   

Carisbrooke Castle

What was once an artillery fortress, king's prison, and royal summer residence is located near Newport in the heart of the island. Not-to-be-missed attractions at this medieval stunner include King Charles I's bowling green and the lovely Princess Beatrice Garden. 

Alum Bay

Cherished for its multi-coloured sands and stunning views across the Solent, Alum Bay delights with crystal-clear waters that are perfect for swimming and paddling. Don’t leave without buying a souvenir filled with this world-famous sand that comes in 21 shades. 

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Following a five-mile countryside route Smallbrook Junction to Wootton, this lovingly restored vintage steam train is an award-winning attraction. Hop off at the rural stations and learn about 150 years of railways history at the Train Story Discovery Centre. 

Blackgang Chine

Perfect for those with children in tow, this family-run fantasy theme park dating back to 1843 is the oldest in the UK. Highlights include life-sized pirate ships, fairy castles, an underwater kingdom, and a cowboy town where kids can choose to be chose to be an outlaw or sheriff. 

Ventnor Botanic Gardens

A 30-minute drive away, this botanical wonderland is home to around 6000 species of rare and exotic plants and trees in 22 acres. The warm climate attracts some amazing wildlife, including wall lizards, slow worms, and even Iberian ants. 

Bembridge Windmill

Built in the early 1700s and closed in 1913, the last surviving windmill on the island was famously featured in a 1795 watercolour by JMW Turner. This much-loved local landmark was donated to the National Trust in 1961 still has most of its original machinery intact. 

Getting to Freshwater Bay House

Getting here


Freshwater Bay House
Freshwater Bay
Isle of Wight PO40 9RB

Tel: +44 (0)1983 753854

By taxi

From Yarmouth ferry port it’s a five-mile taxi journey that takes approximately 15 minutes. We recommend booking your taxi at least seven days in advance as availability may be limited. 

For pricing, please contact the taxi company directly.

Taxi companies in the area include:

Bay Taxi  
Tel: +44 (0)7475 662350
Email: (Please provide your phone number when emailing)

Rayner’s Taxis
Tel: +44 (0)1983 752784

I Cabs 
Tel: +44 (0)7553 567567

A return journey can be arranged on your behalf by the HF Holidays House Manager at Freshwater Bay.

*HF Holidays does not own or manage any of the above taxi companies.

By train

The nearest station is Lymington Pier on the mainland which is adjacent to the ferry terminal.  

Check National Rail for train times and routes. 

By ferry

You have two ferry options. The Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth ferry is the most convenient for Freshwater Bay. Alternatively, the Red Funnel Southampton to East Cowes ferry is often the cheapest option if you want to take your car to the Isle of Wight. 

HF Holidays member discount 
If you’re a member, you can get  15% off car travel and 20% off foot travel with Wightlink Ferry. For full details visit

By car

From Yarmouth
Turn right out of the ferry terminal onto the A3054 and cross the bridge. After one mile, turn left down Pixley Hill, signposted Freshwater Bay. Turn left at Freshwater Garage and continue along Afton Road. At the lifeboat station turn right and follow the road round. Freshwater Bay House is on your left. 

From East Cowes
Follow signs for Newport, taking the A3021 and then A3054. Continue through Newport and Carisbrooke. Turn left onto the B3401 through Calbourne. At the junction with Afton Road (A3055), turn left and then right by the lifeboat station, and follow the road round to Freshwater Bay House. 

Or you can leave your car on the mainland (there’s a pay and display car park at Lymington Pier) and travel on the ferry as a foot passenger. 

By air

The nearest airport is Southampton Airport. 

From Southampton Airport Parkway station (adjacent to the airport terminal) there are regular trains to Lymington Pier, taking about 40 minutes. From here, you’ll need to catch the ferry over to the Isle of Wight. 

Otherwise, the best options are London Heathrow or London Gatwick airports for connecting trains to Lymington Pier.  

Check National Rail for the best routes and train times.