Family Walking Adventure at Freshwater Bay
Isle of Wight
Code: FWFAMPrint page
Meadows & hills
Difficulty is measured on many factors such as distance, ascent/descent, terrain, weather and more. There's no magic formula, but from our experience we use yellow for easy, orange for medium and red for hard. Challenger holidays require a high level of fitness and stamina.
Freshwater Bay House is made for family walking holidays with its coastal position, extensive grounds and direct access to the beach.
- Walk over Tennyson Down along the coastal path to the Needles
- Follow the promenade to the seaside town of Ventnor
- Go back in time at Carisbrooke Castle and see its donkey-powered well
- Join in crafts and games with the activity leaders, or enjoy the outdoor pool at Freshwater Bay House
Great reasons to join us
- Family friendly: KIDS GO FREE if booked by 31 December 2016. After this date children under 11 go FREE and children up to 17 get a 50% discount
- Child friendly walks: we select the most child-friendly walks with shorter distances and plenty of interest along the route. The shorter walks usually allow plenty of time to enjoy the beach or pool before the evening meal at 6.30pm.
- Expert leaders: our friendly walks leaders will ensure that families get the most out of the walks
- Activity leaders: our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, beach games, or crafts.
- Peace of mind: only families can book on our dedicated Family holidays - the kids get the run of the Country House in a safe environment
- Free day: on our 7 night holidays, enjoy a day without walks to get out and make the most of the nearby family-friendly attractions
See our Family Adventure Guide for more information about our holidays, and accommodation.
Freshwater Bay House dates from the 1790s and is a prominent local landmark, occupying a premier coastal location below the chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down. As a comfortable Country House it makes an excellent base for our walking and leisure activity holidays.
Freshwater Bay House has 48 bedrooms located in the main building and a cottage in the grounds. Many of the rooms have sea views, whilst others overlook the gardens and downs.
Our classic bedrooms offer comfortable accommodation and an en-suite bathroom with bath or shower. They also have TV, hairdryer, and tea and coffee making facilities. Single rooms are available for an extra £8 per night.
You can enjoy extra space or exceptional views plus additional facilities including a towelling robe and complimentary slippers when you upgrade to a premium bedroom. Premium rooms are available at just £5 extra per person per night.
If you are travelling with your family, we have a selection of 3 and 4-bedded family bedrooms. These have all the facilities of our classic rooms plus full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk beds or occasional beds for children.
A limited number of value twin rooms are available at a discount of £8 per person per night and value single rooms with a £5 per night discount. Our value rooms have the same facilities as our classic rooms, but bathroom facilities are nearby rather than en-suite.
All our Country Houses are tailored to the needs of walkers and outdoor enthusiasts and have excellent boot and drying rooms.
Freshwater Bay House has three lounges with views across the bay. There is also an attractive dining room and bar. The multi-purpose activity room can either be used as a painting studio, or as a games room with table tennis and a Nintendo Wii. Free WiFi is available in some public rooms. There is also a range of board games and books.
The heated outdoor swimming pool is usually open from Easter to September, depending on the weather, and is very popular with our guests.
Freshwater Bay House sits in extensive gardens with steps down to the beach. Outside there is a putting green, croquet lawn, table football, badminton and tennis. For children there is an outdoor playground, plus outdoor games.
Freshwater Bay also has a Dandelion Café serving a range of coffee and speciality leaf teas, plus snacks and sandwiches. It is also licensed, offering beer, spirits, and a variety of wines from around the world.
All holidays at our Country Houses are Full Board with all meals included, from dinner on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure.
Start your day with our extensive breakfast. Choose from a wide selection on the cold buffet and/or a full cooked breakfast. Maybe enjoy a lighter option of fruit and yoghurt followed by scrambled egg, go for porridge followed by a full English breakfast, or select something in between.
Choose from our famous self-select picnic lunches - everything you need to keep you going on a day outdoors. Your own choice of sandwiches is prepared to order, and you can add crisps and snacks, fruit, nuts, chocolate bars, sweets and biscuits as you wish.
Our house-based Leisure Activities include an in-house lunch (generally soup, sandwiches etc).
The relaxed dinner is a highlight of any stay at our Country Houses. With tables seating up to 10 and no seating plan, it offers a great opportunity to get to know your fellow guests. There is always a choice of dishes for every course, featuring good British cooking and often local specialities. A vegetarian option is always available.
All our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
Guided Walking: enjoy a glass of wine or local beer in the bar before a talk about the next day's walks. After dinner there will be an activity or entertainment which you will be welcome to join. These vary from week to week but could include a talk on wildlife or the island’s rich history from a local speaker or a team quiz. Alternatively if you prefer, feel free to just relax in our lounge or bar.
Leisure Activities: many of our Leisure Activities holidays continue into the evening with programmed sessions. Other holidays will have the evenings free, and you will be welcome to join in other social activities that may be happening in the house.
Family holidays: our activity leaders are on hand to organise children’s activities and games for younger children before dinner. These could include rounders, outdoor games, or crafts. After dinner there are further activities for the whole family.
Self-Guided Walking: there may be evening social activities happening in the house during your holiday, and you will be most welcome to join in. However, not all self-guided holidays will have evening activities available – if these are important to you, please check before booking.
Arrival & car parking facilities
- Specific disabled parking bays are available at the front of the house and there is a comprehensive disabled ramp leading into the main entrance of the building
- The main car park is a grassed area
Main entrance & reception
- Disabled ramp leading up to the main entrance. There are double doors at the top of the ramp (140cm wide) leading into the foyer
- Alternatively, you can reach the main entrance up six concrete steps. Each step is16cm high. Grab rails are provided on both sides of the main entrance (the main door is 170cm wide)
- There is one step (13cm high) leading up to the reception area with a portable ramp available on request. Seating is available in the foyer area
- All public areas are carpeted with a short-pile carpet
Hall, stairs, landing & corridors
- All public areas are carpeted. The corridors are 1.5m wide, all carpeted and well lit, including night lights
- A public telephone is located on the ground floor, the door width of 86cm
Public areas - sitting room, lounges, lobbies etc
- On the ground floor, there is ballroom, bar, dining room, large lounge and ladies and gents toilets
- A loop system has been installed in the ballroom (you need your hearing aid switched to T for this facility)
- The large lounge has sliding patio doors also leading into the garden and pool area. These doors are 114cm wide
- Fully accessible ladies and gents toilets are available on the ground floor.
Dining room & bar
- The corridor leading to the dining room is 123cm wide with short pile carpet throughout
- Dining room tables have an underspace of 73cm and all furniture is flexible
- Double patio doors (100cm wide) lead from the dining room to garden
- All meals served are with waitress service
- The bar is located on the ground floor. The bar is 1.25m high
There are 3 single rooms and 3 double rooms on the ground floor. Access to these rooms is via 2 steps (62cm in total height) with a portable ramp available.
Room 1 (especially adapted for wheelchair use):
- Entrance door 102cm wide, room size 4m x 3.5m, fully carpeted
- Single bed, bedside cabinet, armchair, dressing table and wardrobe with lower hanging rail fitted
- All electric plugs and sockets have been fitted in lower position
- Bathroom fully adapted
- Bathroom fully adjusted for wheelchair use. Entrance 89cm and vinyl flooring
- Sink has 87cm underspace, lightcords have been extended and a flexible shaving mirror fitted
- Roll in shower with space of 115cm x 78cm. Special shower chair available on request. All shower accessories have been adapted for wheelchair user (incl. soap dishes, grab rails, coat hooks etc)
- Toilet is 51cm high, extended toilet seat available on request. Easy transfer from wheelchair to toilet
- Total bathroom size 290 x 203cm
- Entrance door 108cm. Large and bright room with easy access to main areas of the house
- Double bedded room, sleeping area suitable for wheelchair user
- Although the sleeping area is suitable for wheelchair user, the bathroom has not been adapted
- The entrance to shower has a lip of 8cm in height
Other bedrooms are situated on the first and second floors
- There are 21 steps to first floor, 16cm high, 32cm deep and 122cm wide
- There are a total of 40 steps from the ground floor to the second floor
- Most of the other rooms are en-suite, some with shower, others with both shower and bath. There is vinyl flooring in all bathrooms
Grounds and gardens
- Access to the beach via private steps (rather steep) in the hotel garden
- Garden is level, with tarmac pathways
- Fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance at an evacuation are identified at this time and door hanger cards are issued
- Mobile phone reception is generally good from the main building
- Assistance dogs accompanying visually or hearing impaired guests are welcome; dogs must be kept on a lead or harness at all times
- Information can be provided in large print
- Staff have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for. Specialist food can be obtained with prior notice
- Hired equipment can be arranged for your stay with prior notice
- Fridge for medication can be supplied
We’ve a fantastic selection of walks for 2016 - see below. Please check back here in November for any variations for our 2017 holidays.
Tennyson Down & the Needles
Family Walk: We stroll along the coast path to Tennyson Monument and the Needles with panoramic views of the Solent. There is an opportunity to see the famous sands of Alum Bay and descend to the beach by chair lift. We return by the open-top ‘Breezer’ bus with time to enjoy the swimming pool or play in the grounds. 3 miles (5km) with 600 feet (180m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: Our walk takes us to Alum Bay, then onto the Needles on the edge of Tennyson Down before ascending to the old Rocket Base. Our return passes Tennyson’s Monument with spectacular views as we descend back to Freshwater Bay. 6 miles (9.5km) with 700 feet (210m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: We take quite lanes and footpaths to Totland Bay, then ascend over the heather clad ‘Warren’ for wonderful views, continuing to Alum Bay and the ‘Batteries’ and the famous ‘Needles’. We return along the spine of Tennyson Down. 8 miles (13km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: A circular walk along the Yar Estuary to Yarmouth, returning along the coastline with superb views across to Hurst Castle on the mainland and the boating scenes of the Solent. Walk round the coast to a glorious finish over Tennyson Down. 12 miles (19km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent.
Carisbrooke Castle or the three trails
Family Walk: Starting from the pretty hamlet of Bowcombe we take field tracks to join the ‘Shepherd’s Trail’. We continue to the impressive Carisbrooke Castle where we will have ample time to look round the castle and enjoy the special events - jousting and treasure hunts, and see the famous donkey-powered well. 3 miles (5km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: From the village of Shorwell we ascend onto the High Downs with panoramic views across the island. We continue over farmland onto the Shepherd’s Trail which will lead us on to Carisbrooke Castle. We also will have time to explore the castle. 5 miles (8km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: After visiting the pretty village of Brighstone we ascend to Limerstone Down with extensive views before descending for a morning break in Shorwell. We ascend onto Westridge Down and Carisbrooke Castle eventually comes into view. Time to visit the castle. 7 miles (11km) with 1,000 feet (300m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: A classic walk along the chalk spine of the Isle of Wight. Our walk starts at Carisbrooke Castle and continues westwards taking the Shepherd’s, Worsley & Tennyson trails over the high chalk downs. Our final descent is over Compton Down to Freshwater Bay. 13 miles (21km) and 1,500 feet (450m) of ascent.
Sandown and the home of the dinosaurs
Family Walk: From the hilltop at Bembridge Windmill, we walk to the coastline before ascending to Culver Down. We continue on the coastal path with views of Sandown ahead where we can visit the island’s excellent Dinosaur Museum and large play area or spend time on the beach. 3 miles (5km) with 300 feet (90m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: After visiting the historic village of Brading we take the Bembridge and Yar River Trail to the Bembridge Windmill. After visiting the mill we continue on the same route as the Family Walk with ample time to spend in Sandown and its attractions before our return. 6 miles (9.5km) with 600 feet (180m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: From Brading Down we descend into a shaded wooded valley before continuing to the historic town of Brading. We now continue to Bembridge Windmill and rejoin the coastal path to Sandown in time for refreshments. 8 miles (13km) with 600 feet (180m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: From Arreton craft village, we 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. 11 miles (17.5km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens & Shanklin
Family Walk: From the east side of Ventnor, we walk to the old village of Bonchurch and visit the tiny old church before descending to the promenade at Ventnor where we can paddle in the paddling pool. We follow the coastal path to pretty Steephill Cove, with its lovely beach then onto Ventnor Botanic Garden, with its play area, visitor centre and café. 3 miles (5km) with 500 feet (150m) of ascent.
Easier Walk: Starting from the village of Niton we walk first to Whitwell and visit its historic well. Our walk continues to the inland cliffs with good views of the Channel. We then follow the coast path to Ventnor’s Botanic Gardens with its large play area and exhibitions. 5 miles (8km) with 400 feet (120m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: A walk around the south eastern corner of the island from Niton through the Botanic Gardens, Ventnor and onto Shanklin. Great sea views, wonderful scents in the gardens, an old church, then on through the lush landslip to Shanklin. 8 miles (13km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: Starting from Chale village, we follow the coastal path around St Catherine’s Point and then through the Undercliff to Ventnor Botanic Gardens. We continue on the coast path through Ventnor, pretty Bonchurch and through the landslip to Shanklin. 10 miles (16km) with 1,200 feet (360m) of ascent.
The Yar Valley or Tennyson Trail
Family Walk: Walking from Freshwater Bay House we follow the Yar Valley through a nature reserve and a disused railway line to the old ferry town of Yarmouth. 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. 3 miles (5km) with negligible ascent.
Easier Walk: We take the Freshwater Way through woods and farms arriving at the historic port of Yarmouth at lunchtime. We have time to explore the town, watch the boats or walk on the pier. Our return is along the old railway track and through the Yar Valley Nature Trail. 7 miles 11km) with 200 feet (60m) of ascent.
Medium Walk: Crossing Freshwater Bay golf course we follow the Tennyson Trail with the magnificent views across the Solent. We descend through woods and on to the coastline. We return to Freshwater Bay House along the coast path, possibly partly on the beach. 8 miles (13km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.
Harder Walk: After walking east on the Tennyson Trail we visit the ancient Longstone before descending to the village of Brighstone. Field paths take us to the coast at Chilton Chine where we return on the coast, following the route of the Medium Walk. 13 miles (21km) with 1,100 feet (330m) of ascent.
Terrain and transport: Our Family and Easier Walks finish earlier in the afternoon to suit little legs - walks are not suitable for pushchairs. Easier Walks have gently undulating gradients whilst the Medium and Harder Walks have occasional steeper sections.
On some days the walks start or finish at Freshwater Bay House; on other days we use hired transport at the start and/or end of the walks. The cost of all transport to and from the walks is included in the price of your holiday.
Our guests: Only families can book on this holiday. Holidays at Freshwater Bay are particularly suitable for younger children.
Free day: Each seven night holiday has a free day on the Wednesday for you to explore independently
Activities at Freshwater Bay House:
Before dinner the activity leaders will run an activity suitable for the younger children. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
Your leaders will inform you about the choice of walks for the next day and answer any questions you may have. After a sociable evening meal you could join in an evening activity created specifically for all the family or use the Country House facilities.
See our Family Adventure Guide for more information about our holidays, and accommodation.
The Isle of Wight is a delightful haven away from the bustle of the mainland, easily reached by ferry. Broadly diamond shaped, the island is 25 miles long and 15 miles wide. This makes it ideally sized for a week’s walking and exploration.
Freshwater Bay is a small semi-circular cove at the foot of the garden of Freshwater Bay House. There is a pebble beach here, or better sandy beaches approximately 3 miles away at Totland Bay or Colwell Bay. Shops and banks are located in Freshwater village, about 30 minutes’ walk away.
The small harbour town of Yarmouth is located 3 miles north of Freshwater Bay; either a 10 minutes drive, a pleasant 1 hour walk, or reached using the 'Needles Breezer' open-top bus. Yarmouth has a selection of small shops and pubs, and there's always a bustle of activity around the harbour. Yarmouth's Tudor castle is also worth a visit. www.english-heritage.org.uk/yarmouth-castle/
Queen Victoria’s island residence, managed by English Heritage, is located near East Cowes at the north of the island. Enjoy the lavish interiors and take time to explore the extensive grounds which slope down to the Solent. Osborne House is about 40 minutes drive from Freshwater Bay. During the main season (May to Sept) we offer an excursion to Osborne on most Wednesdays. www.english-heritage.org.uk/osborne-house
A fine medieval castle situated near Newport in the heart of the island. The castle's most famous 'resident' was King Charles I, who was imprisoned here after the English Civil War. Walk around the impressive walls and visit the castle's famous well where donkeys are used to raise the water using a large treadmill. The castle is around 20 minutes' drive from freshwater Bay, and can also be reached direct using the number 12 bus. www.english-heritage.org.uk/carisbrooke-castle
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
Step back in time and ride this vintage steam railway from Wootton to Smallbrook Junction. The railway has a particularly historic collection of locomotives and rolling stock, including many wooden 4-wheeled carriages dating from the the 19th Century. The main station is at Havenstreet where you'll also find a museum and the line's workshops. The steam railway is about 45 minutes' drive away, but can also be reached by local bus, via Newport. www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk
This fantasy theme park is a big hit with children of all ages. Attractions include Cowboy village, 'Fantasyland', maze and the giant snakes and ladders. Adults may also enjoy the maritime exhibition and working sawmill. Blackgang is 20 minutes' drive from Freshwater Bay and in Summer can be reached using the 'Island Coaster' bus. www.blackgangchine.com
Ventnor Botanical Gardens
The island's rich climate enables Mediterranean plants to prosper. Enjoy magnificent floral displays and relaxing gardens. Ventnor is 30 minutes' drive from Freshwater Bay and in Summer can be reached using the 'Island Coaster' bus. www.botanic.co.uk
Freshwater Bay House, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9RB
Let us help you get to Freshwater Bay House
Our own ferry and taxi transfers: We offer a reduced price transfer between Lymington Pier railway station and Freshwater Bay House every Saturday and Wednesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). This includes your foot passenger ferry ticket (on 1500, 1600 or 1700 Wightlink Ferries) and the taxi from Yarmouth to Freshwater Bay House. On departure day the taxi transfer will get you back to Yarmouth to catch the 0845 or 1005 Wightlink Ferries. The transfer is £20 return, but a place must be reserved in advance by calling our Reservations team on 0345 470 7558.
By train: The nearest train station is Lymington Pier on the mainland. For train times and general rail enquiries visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or call 03457 484950 (from outside the UK call +44 20 7278 5240).
Car parking at Lymington: There is a pay and display car park at Lymington Pier. The cost is approx £8 per day and is to be paid on your outward journey. You cannot pre-book the car park but there is a large overflow car park nearby.
Wightlink Ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth (foot passenger and car)
Red Funnel Ferries from Southampton to West Cowes (car ferry and foot passengers) − this is often the cheapest option if you want to take your car to the Isle of Wight.
By car: From Yarmouth turn right out of the ferry terminal onto the A3054 and over the bridge across the River Yar. After 1 mile turn left down Pixley Hill, signposted to Freshwater Bay. At the double roundabout by the Co-op turn left onto the A3055 and follow this road to the seafront at Freshwater Bay. Turn right passing the Albion Hotel on the left. The entrance to Freshwater Bay House is beyond on your left. Look out for our sign. A car park is available in the grounds with free parking.
To help you plan your journey, use www.traveline.info
|Date & Rating||Customer Review||HF Holidays says|
19 Sep 2016, 2:29 p.m.
As always plenty to do and enthusiastic leaders
First holiday with grandchildren. We all had a great time.
3 Sep 2016, 9:15 a.m.
all the personnel were very helpful and answered all our question cheerfully!!
good choice of walks, from beginners upwards; great variety for the picnic lunch, although we quickly tired of the sandwiches. the hotel was well managed; rooms spacious and comfortable, but, oh dear! nowhere to sit except the beds and the loo!! catering staff marvellous!! food top quality!!
overall the weather was very kind to us. we will come back for sure.
30 Aug 2016, 10:03 a.m.
I have been on guided walking holidays a number of times with HF and the booking and help of staff is always noticeable, whether it is staff in the office or at the houses or indeed the volunteers, who help with leading walks.
We only joined for 4 nights, so for the last two walking days. We wanted to try how it would work with our grandchildren, we had never independently taken on a holiday before, although we had been away with them when their parents were present. It was disappointing that the walks then were not the most inspiring one, particularly the last one along the Yar valley. If I had been new to HF I might not have wanted to go with HF again for fear of boring walks. The one along the Yar valley needs to be "spiced up" to make it more exciting, particularly for the youngsters, but also grown ups. The activities offered were good and enjoyed by the children.
30 Aug 2016, 7:48 a.m.
Excellent holiday something for all the family
A wonderful place to spend a holiday with excellent accommodation newly refurbished, a well managed house we all love it.
30 Aug 2016, 7:12 a.m.
Organisition of walks and activities was very good and appropriate to the ages of the children
Lovely accomodation and facilities for families.
28 Aug 2016, 3:12 a.m.
This was my fifth HF walking holiday and they have all been enjoyable and well run.
Very good building, excellent food, good walking especially for families.
27 Aug 2016, 11:55 a.m.
The standard of the room and the food is always high (mostly!)
We love our room and the pool.
26 Aug 2016, 4:35 p.m.
Great hotel, staf, food and kleaders
25 Aug 2016, 6:26 a.m.
.my second holiday with this company. everything is thought through, with helpful staff to answer queries
great holiday for myself and my granddaughter. No time to get bored for a 6 year old, but plenty for the adults too. what a fantastic idea to get all sorts of families together and cater for them all. will certainly come again
23 Aug 2016, 6:47 a.m.
No review provided
Brilliant set up. Love the Family adventure weeks.
Read more reviews from feefo
Dates & Prices
|27 May 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||4||£519.00||Book Now|
|27 May 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|31 May 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||3||£375.00||Book Now|
|22 Jul 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|29 Jul 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|5 Aug 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|12 Aug 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|19 Aug 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||4||£519.00||Book Now|
|19 Aug 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£839.00||Book Now|
|23 Aug 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||3||£375.00||Book Now|
|21 Oct 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||4||£479.00||Book Now|
|21 Oct 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||7||£775.00||Book Now|
|25 Oct 2017||FWFAM - Family Walking Adventure - Freshwater Bay||3||£349.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- All child prices are based on sharing with an adult. Children not sharing an adult's room will be subject to a £50 surcharge per child per stay. A single room charge of £5 per child per night will be made where applicable.
- Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person