7-Night Isle of Wight Family Walking Adventure

Chairlift down to Alum Bay Isle of Wight
Duration: 7 nights
Type: Family Walking Holidays
Walking Grade: 1 & 2
from £1,049pp

The Isle of Wight has a fantastic range of walks to choose from with many sites of interest along the way. There are numerous coastal routes to explore, including stretches along the windswept southwest coast path where the jagged white chalk Needles stick up from the sea. Alum Bay is a children’s favourite with its multi-coloured layers of sand – best viewed from a chairlift if you have a head for heights! Coastal walks often end at the beach – great for cooling feet in the waves and going in search of fossils – including dinosaur footprints! Inland, the well-preserved remains of Carisbrooke Castle can be explored. Children will be captivated by the story of how King Charles I was imprisoned here and will adore the donkeys which pump water from the well. You can also enjoy far-reaching views across the island walking over Tennyson Down, discover a once-secret rocket testing range, spot red squirrels, listen out for singing nightingales, climb to the top of the island’s only windmill and see exotic flowers in the Botanical Gardens. There is something for everyone here!

Holiday Highlights

FAMILY FUN AT FRESHWATER BAY HOUSE

  • Making a boat to enter the swimming pool boat race
  • Toasting marshmallows on a beach campfire
  • Playing rounders
  • Getting creative in the craft room with paint and clay

THINGS TO DO AND PLACES TO SEE...

  • Visit Osborne House – once home to Queen Victoria
  • Ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Meet the animals at Monkey Haven rescue centre
  • Carisbrooke Castle
  • Bembridge Windmill
  • Dinosaur tracks at Compton Bay

What’s included

  • Full Board en-suite accommodation
  • A full programme of walks guided by HF Leaders
  • All transport to and from the walks
  • Free Wi-Fi in the house

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDF’s for each holiday, please click the button below to find the right trip notes for your departure date.

On our Guided Walking holidays, we believe that choice is key. Our walks descriptions will help you choose according to your interests and fitness. The walks are grouped together with care by local experts to give the best experience. While every effort will be made to adhere to the described itinerary, we may occasionally vary the sequence shown here or substitute an alternative route to suit local conditions or for other operational reasons, potentially at short notice. Some of our breaks have more than one itinerary. To check which itinerary is running on your holiday date please refer to the Dates, Prices & Trip Notes tab.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards.

Enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival.


Option 1 - The Needles

Distance:  miles (6km) 

Ascent: 550 feet (180m) 

In Summary: A stroll along the coast path to Tennyson Down and the Needles. We'll return on the open-top bus with plenty of time to enjoy the pool at Freshwater Bay House.

Highlight: See the famous sands of Alum Bay with the opportunity to descend to the beach by chair lift.

Option 2 - Tennyson Down

Distance: 7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 1,200ft (360m)

In Summary: A fabulous walk over the chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down to the Needles and the Alum Bay; one of England's finest coastal walks.

Highlight: Discover the once secret rocket testing range on the Needles headland, and the area's role in the space race.

Option 3 - Headon Warren

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1,300ft (400m)

In Summary: Head to the coast at Totland Bay then soak up glorious sea view as you round the Needles headland and return over Tennyson Down.

Highlight:  The heather-clad headland of Headon Warren is a real delight, and offers the best views of the Needles.

Option 4 - West Wight Circuit

Distance: 12 miles (19km)

Ascent: 1,550ft (480m)

In Summary: A circuit of the western tip of the island. We’ll follow the Yar Valley to Yarmouth, then follow the coastal path to Alum Bay, before a glorious finale over Tennyson Down.

Highlight: The final section atop the chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down is a fitting conclusion to this splendid walk.


Option 1 - Ventnor Coastline

Distance:  3 miles (4.5km)

Ascent: 300ft (80m)

In Summary: Walk along the promenade from Bonchurch to Ventnor, then continue along the coast path to the lovely beach at Steephill Cove.

Highlight We'll stop to play in Ventnor's fantastic (and free) paddling pool, where you can paddle across the 'sea' to the minature Isle of Wight. Adults can join in or relax in the adjacent cafe.

Option 2 - Niton to Ventnor

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 500ft (140m)

In Summary: Walk from Niton to the village of Whitwell. Our walk continues to the inland cliffs with good views of the Channel. We then follow the coast path to Ventnor and Steephill Cove.

Highlight: There's plenty of time to enjoy the beach at Steephill Cove. Build sandcastles or paddle in the sea at the prettiest location on the island. Adults can enjoy a coffee and soak up the atmosphere of this nostalgic cove.

Option 3 - The Undercliff

Distance: 8 miles (13km)

Ascent: 1200ft (360m)

In Summary: Soak up the sea air and views of the English Channel on a walk through the Undercliff from Niton, past Ventnor to Shanklin.

HighlightDon’t miss: Discover the Undercliff; a natural sun trap, rich with verdant vegetation, created by a series of landslips over the centuries.

Option 4 - Gore Down to Shanklin

Distance: 9½ miles (15km)

Ascent: 1,260ft (380m)

In SummaryA journey along the length of Undercliff. Starting at the coastal path after Whale Chine we'll round St Catherine's Point before picking up the coastal path through Ventnor to Shanklin.

Highlight: The cliff-top section above St Catherine's Point is particularly impressive, with views down to the lighthouse far below.


Discover more about Freshwater Bay House and the local area for ideas on how to make the most of your free day.


Option 1 - Around Carisbrooke

Distance: 3 miles (4.5km)

Ascent: 350ft (100m)

In SummaryFollow the Shepherd's Trail through the fields and along an ancient trackway to Carisbrooke Castle.

Highlight: Take time to explore this well-preserved castle. Don't forget to walk around the walls and see the donkey powered well. During the Summer there are often special events such as jousting and treasure hunts.

Option 2 - To Carisbrooke Castle

Distance: 5 miles (8km)

Ascent: 550ft (180m)

In Summary: Cross the island's central hills from the picturesque village of Shorwell to the impressive castle at Carisbrooke.

Highlight: There's lots of time to explore the castle. A real highlight is watching the donkeys turn the treadmill to raise water from the well.

Option 3 - Shorwell & Carisbrooke

Distance: 9 miles (14km)

Ascent: 1,100 feet (340m)

In Summary: Walk from Brightstone to the village of Shorwell village, then continue over the downs to Carisbrooke Castle.

Highlight: Explore picturesque Shorwell with its thatched cottages and historic church.

Option 4 - Three Trails Challenge

Distance: 12½ miles (20.5km)

Ascent: 1,600ft (480m)

In SummaryChallenge yourself to this fantastic walk along the spine of the island from Carisbrooke Castle to Freshwater Bay. We’ll cross the hills to Shorwell then pick up the Tennyson Trail which runs along the top of the chalk downs.

HighlightThis is one of our most popular walks. There's a real sense of achievement when you cross the final hill to Freshwater Bay


Option 1 - Bembridge Windmill

Distance: 3½ miles (6km)

Ascent: 350ft(100m)

In Summary Walk from the Bembridge Windmill to the coastal path which we follow over the chalk headland of Culver Cliff to Sandown.

HighlightThe walk finishes at the island's excellent Dinosaur Museum and large play are or spend time on the beach at Sandown.

Option 2 - Brading to Sandown

Distance: 6 miles (10km)

Ascent: 600ft (180m)

In SummaryWalk from the historic village of Brading to the Bembridge Windmill. We'll continue atop the chalk cliffs of Culver Down, near the eastern tip of the island, and follow the coast path to Sandown.

Highlight: The working windmill at Bembridge; one of the National Trust's smallest, but most fascinating, properties.

 

Option 3 - Over the hills to Sandown

Distance: 8 miles (12.5km)

Ascent: 550ft (180m)

In Summary: From Brading Down we descend into a shaded wooded valley to the historic Brading. We continue to Bembridge Windmill and along the coastal path to Sandown

Highlight: The Yarborough Monument on top of Culver Down commands a wonderful view over the Solent and English Channel.

 

Option 4 - Over the Chalk Downs

Distance: 10½ miles (17km)

Ascent: 950ft (280m)

In Summary: Walk along the valley under the downs before ascending Brading Down and walking along the chalk ridge, enjoying the views across the Solent to the mainland. We’ll continue over Culver Down and along the coastal path to Sandown.

HighlightThere are great views over the Solent where vessels ranging from hovercraft to huge container ships complete this bustling scene.


Option 1 - Yarmouth

Distance: 3½ miles (5.5km)

Ascent: 100ft (20m)

In Summary A gentle walk from Freshwater Bay House following the Yar Valley through a nature reserve and a disused railway line to the old harbour town of Yarmouth.

Highlight: At Yarmouth there's time to walk on the pier, visit the castle, play on the green, or have an ice cream before returning on the open-top bus.

Option 2 - Yar Valley

Distance:  7 miles (11km)

Ascent: 350ft (120m)

In Summary: Walk beside the tidal River Yar to the historic town of Yarmouth with its bustling harbour and Tudor castle. We’ll return on the opposite side of the river back to Freshwater Bay.

Highlight: The salt marsh, reedbeds and mud flats of the Yar Estuary are a great place to see wildfowl and waders.

Option 3 - Compton Bay

Distance: 8½ miles (13.5km)

Ascent: 1000ft (300m)

In SummaryWalk atop the Downs east of Freshwater Bay. We then descend to the beach and follow the coastal path back to Freshwater Bay.

HighlightThere's time to paddle at then beach, then enjoy the sweeping views along the island's south-west coast, as you walk over the chalk cliffs of Compton Down.

Option 4 - The Longstone

Distance: 11½ miles (18.5km)

Ascent: 1200ft (380m)

In Summary: Walk over the Downs to the Neolithic Longstone, then descend to coast and follow the coastal path back to Freshwater Bay.

Highlight: The Neolithic Longstone on Mottistone Down; according to legend this 13ft stone was thrown here by a giant!


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Isle of Wight Family Walking Itinerary Map

Freshwater Bay House

Holidaying on the picturesque Isle of Wight doesn’t get any better than at Freshwater Bay House. Stood atop the island’s classic white cliffs and dominating the bay that it is named after, Freshwater Bay House has a gorgeous location. As well as 43 bedrooms, many decked out in blue and white printed wallpaper featuring foam-tipped waves breaking softly across the walls that act as a promise of the coastal scenery to come, there are three lounges and a friendly bar. Extensive gardens give on to the coast path, with a staircase that drops to the beach one way, while a path leads away across Tennyson Down towards the Needles in the other direction. If you’re experiencing some of the island’s plentiful sunshine (it averages around 2,000 hours a year), head to Alum Bay for coloured sands or Compton Bay for dinosaur footprints. Explore Carisbrooke Castle, stroll through Ventnor Botanic Gardens and keep an eye out for red squirrels in Borthwood Copse and America Wood.

 

Need to know

We appreciate that COVID-19 continues to impact the nations.  The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not always in sync, so measures in our country houses may vary between the nations. We thank all guests for adhering to the measures we have introduced to keep our guests, leaders and team members safe.

You can see our latest FAQs and guarantees at https://www.hfholidays.co.uk/coronavirus-travel-advice 

Ventilation, Physical Distancing Measures and Group Sizes around the Houses

We will keep our public areas well ventilated; for your comfort you might want to pack an extra layer to keep you comfortable.

With the relaxation of physical distancing, we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together.

Hand sanitiser stations will be made available in frequently used public areas for guests and staff use. It is advisable to bring additional hand sanitiser for whilst you are out walking.

We always follow the latest regional government advice, but our one recommendation is don’t forget your face mask! There is no requirement to wear a face covering in communal areas, but you may of course choose to. Some places throughout the UK may still require you to wear a mask even if the government legislation does not. With this in mind we suggest you bring a personal supply of face coverings for the duration of your stay.

Servicing Bedrooms:

At this stage we are not reintroducing our daily room servicing.  Extra tea, coffee, milk, towels and toiletries will be available on request from our team. Bins can be left outside your door for emptying.

COVID-19 Symptoms or Cases 

If a guest has symptoms of COVID-19 then they should inform the house team and immediately self-isolate to minimise any risk of transmission and make arrangements to request a COVID test. If a guest receives a positive test result, they should return home if they reasonably can. They should where possible use private transport but only drive themselves if they can do so safely. If a guest cannot reasonably return home, they should discuss their circumstances with the House Manager. Additional charges may be levied if a guest needs to self-isolate for longer than their planned holiday.

What can you do to help keep everyone safe?

  • Wear a face mask/covering where required and please bring plenty of face coverings for the duration of your stay
  • Carry/use hand sanitiser
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water when possible
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
  • Avoid passing round objects such as cameras & phones
  • If you are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, please do not travel to an HF Holidays House

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms, many that come with sea views. They’re mostly spacious and chic, styled to acknowledge the house’s nautical connections but with a modern twist of dove greys, clean whites and contemporary furniture. With 43 bedrooms, Freshwater Bay House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from: Rooms 19 and 20 on the first floor come with spectacular sea views out over the English Channel; Rooms 18 and 22 are sumptuous corner rooms with expansive views over both the bay and Tennyson Downs. If it’s a room with a view you’re after, ask for Room 24, a superb, spacious corner space with five large windows all overlooking the gardens and bay, with its own private sitting room to relax in. Request Room 39 on the second floor and you’ll get an attractive corner room complete with a bath to soak in after a day of coastal walking.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are en-suite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Check in:

Check in opens at 4pm for all guests. Guests will be unable to access any of the Country House facilities, including leaving luggage before 4pm.

We are delighted to invite you to enjoy a complimentary Afternoon Tea on arrival. Relax and meet your fellow guests and leaders. 

Check out:

Check out time: 10am

Please note, you will need to settle your bill before departure and payment will only be possible by card.  Gratuities and donations to the Pathway Fund can also be made by card.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on the coast, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the extensive gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. If you’re visiting with children, turn them loose in the outdoor playground area or watch them splash in the large heated alfresco pool (open in summer season) – there’s seating with sea views for you to enjoy a drink in too on a hot English summer’s day. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the three cosy lounges to read a book, play a board game or just hideaway; there’s a grand piano in one if you’re feeling musical. Head to the bar before dinner to perch on a tall stool with a perfect gin and tonic made with the Isle of Wight’s very own Mermaid Gin and a chance to catch up with your companions.

Welcome Information

A Welcome Information Pack providing details about the Country House and your holiday will be available in each bedroom. This personal pack of information will detail what to expect during your stay in the house, the menu for the duration of your stay, dinner & picnic lunch order forms and the guest registration form for completion.

Our houses are locked at night-time and accessible with a door code which is available in the Welcome Pack. However, we also recommend making a note of the Duty Manager number on arrival, in case of an emergency or getting locked out.

Evenings

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings to see if you’ve got the knowledge to triumph in the HF Big Pub Quiz!  There will also be another evening of entertainment at the beginning of the week which will vary depending on the house you are visiting.

If there are leaders resident, they will be available to chat to guests about self-guided walks. You can borrow walking route notes and maps from our Discovery Point.

Walks Talks – Guided Walking Information Briefings

Self-Guided guests are always welcome to join our Guided Walking briefings to hear about the local conditions. 

Our leaders will deliver a Guided Walking Information Briefing on each arrival day before and after dinner followed by a group Walks Talk to let guests know about the following day’s walks. Walks Talks are usually before and after dinner prior to each walking day. The information is repeated so you can join whichever time suits you. 

If you are undecided which walk to do, our leaders will be available in the bar or lounge to answer any questions you might have. Our website contains up-to-date information about the walks for each holiday.

Before you leave for your walk your leader will run through a short safety briefing for the day.

Each day, the latest weather forecast will be displayed for all guests to check to ensure appropriate clothing is worn for the walks.

Please note, if you decide to do your own walks, or you are on a self-guided walking holiday, you must complete an Independent Walker Card each day. These can be found near the Discovery Point in the house.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Food at Freshwater Bay House is varied with a strong emphasis on the use of seasonal British produce. Our experienced chefs create each dish using only the freshest ingredients and, when in season, use home grown herbs and vegetables taken from our own gardens to give a true taste of the local area.

Along with many hospitality business across the UK we are presently experiencing disruption to our food and drink supply chain. COVID continues to limit the ability of suppliers to deliver and the war in Ukraine (along with several other global challenges) is impacting availability of many basic products.  We are working hard to ensure that these challenges do not negatively impact your holiday but ask for your understanding should we need to make last minute changes to dishes or menus.

Accessibility

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

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Getting to Freshwater Bay House

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

More Information

Essential Information

Suggested Kit List

  • a rucksack,
  • a waterproof jacket
  • waterproof over trousers,
  • a spare jumper or fleece,
  • sun protection cream,
  • a water bottle (at least 1 litre),
  • some spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar
  • a small torch
  • first aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).

    (in spring, autumn and winter)

  • a hat and gloves (Britainis famous for its changeable weather after all!)
  • You might find walking poles useful, particularly for descents (the kids usually find their own big stick en route!).
  • thermos flask for a hot drink
  • sun hat
  • towel for paddling on hot days

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Single Room Double Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2022

13 Aug - 20 Aug 2022

7 nights

Guided Family Walks

Single Fully Booked
Double Fully Booked
Fully Booked Fully Booked Trip Notes

27 Aug - 03 Sep 2022

7 nights

Guided Family Walks

Single Fully Booked

Double from

£1,049 pp

Fully Booked

from

£1,049 pp

Trip Notes Enquire

Important Information

Maximum 3 free child places under 11 years per full paying adult price on UK country house stays.

Family rooms are subject to availability. Sole occupancy charges may apply. 

Children under 11 go free

Children 11-17 years on 7-night breaks £99pp 

All children's rates are based on sharing a bedroom with one or more adults.

Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult on all walks, though this need not be a parent or guardian

Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Family Walking Holidays
Walking Grade:
1

7 nights from £1,049pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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