The Isle of Wight Coast Path Guided Trail Holiday

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Duration: 7 nights
Type: Guided Trails
Walking Grade: 3
from £899pp £859pp

The Isle of Wight Coast Path circuits the island in an anti-clockwise direction and provides a wonderful opportunity to view the island’s beautiful and varied coastline, including the chalk headlands of the Needles and Culver Cliff. The trail is interspersed with pretty coastal villages and Victorian resorts such as Ventnor. It includes some inland walking around Queen Victoria’s Osborne Estate, Cowes and Newtown Harbour National Nature Reserve.

Holiday Highlights

  • A circuit of the Isle of Wight coast
  • The dramatic chalk headlands of the Needles and Culver Cliff
  • Stay at Freshwater Bay House

What’s included

  • High quality en-suite accommodation in our country house
  • Full board from dinner upon arrival to breakfast on departure day
  • The services of an HF Holidays' walks leader
  • All transport on walking days

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

69 miles with 9-13 miles and up to 1,650 feet of ascent in a day.

Your leader will give an introductory talk about the holiday.


From Freshwater Bay we face an ascent over the chalk cliffs of Compton Down, passing Hanover Point with its fossil forest. Along these cliffs you will see evidence of the battle against the sea. We reach the Blackgang Chine theme park where we ascend to the Gore Down viewpoint for a spectacular view back along the coast.

13 miles (21km) with 1,650 feet (500m) of ascent.


This section of coast has been prone to erosion and for much of the day we'll walk through the 'Undercliff' or on the escarpment cliffs above. Blackgang is on one of the most dramatic sections of this inland cliff and we pass St Catherine’s Point, the southern-most tip of the island. We continue to the village of St Lawrence before descending to the coast, passing the Botanic Gardens into the Victorian seaside town of Ventnor. We follow the promenade to Bonchurch with its ancient church, then through the richly vegetated Landslip (so named as it suffered in the great landslip of 1810), to Shanklin with its Victorian elegance. We follow the promenade to the resort of Sandown.

12 miles (19km) with 1,350 feet (410m) of ascent.


From Sandown we ascend the chalk clifftops of Culver Down, before passing the cliffs of Whitecliff Bay as we walk to Bembridge at the eastern tip of the island. Around the harbour we pass the tidemill and cross a causeway to the beach at St Helens Duver. As we follow the coast to Ryde, you'll see the Solent Forts, built in the early 19th-century to guard the approaches to Portsmouth against French invasions.

11 miles (17.5km) with 800 feet (250m) of ascent.


Around the northern tip of the island from Ryde we head west past the ruins of Quarr Abbey, a once-flourishing Cistercian Monastery, and on past Fishbourne with its ferry boats to Portsmouth and to Wootton Bridge. The path heads inland around Queen Victoria’s Osborne House estate. To avoid road walking, we take a bus to East Cowes and cross the chain-ferry to Cowes. We pass the Royal Yacht Squadron Club House, with its 22 bronze cannons, to Egypt Point and Gurnard Bay.

9½ miles (15.5km) with 900 feet (270m) of ascent.


We ascend the cliffs above Gurnard Bay, with magnificent views across the Solent and Southampton Water. After Thorness Bay the coastal path heads inland around the tidal creeks of the Newtown River. We pass the villages of Porchfield and Newtown. Newtown was the Island’s capital in the Middle Ages and once a thriving port and commercial centre. Continuing over the causeway to Shalfleet we head back to the coast at Hamstead Point and on to Cranmore.

11½ miles (18.5km) with 800 feet (240m) of ascent.


We pass Yarmouth with its historic castle and busy harbour and continue along the coast past Fort Victoria with views over the Solent to Hurst Castle. After Totland Bay, we ascend onto Headen Warren with its Bronze Age camp; a delightfully peaceful spot before the bright lights and music of the Alum Bay theme park. The most dramatic section of the coast path is the Needles; the chalk stacks that mark the western tip of the island before the outstanding final section along the chalk cliffs of Tennyson Down back to Freshwater Bay.

12 miles (19km) with 1,350 feet (410m) of ascent.



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

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

As we slowly reopen in the wake of the Coronavirus lockdown, our country house stays are set to be organised a little differently; extra steps have been taken to keep our guests, house teams and leaders safe while we return to action. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

Initially the overall capacity of the houses has been reduced. Guests must wear face coverings in public spaces. To adhere to social distancing guidelines, we have taken the necessary steps to space out furniture and seating in public areas. In addition, a one-way system will be in place around the house. Adequate signage will be displayed to support the direction of travel to be followed by guests and house teams.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We have removed all non-essential and reusable items from our rooms for the meantime including cushions, hairdryers, bathrobes, bed throws, and printed materials to reduce the number of items that need to be disinfected. Hairdryers will be available on request. Clean towels will be available on request. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

For now, there is no cream tea on arrival day. We have also adapted our food offering to remove all buffets and open food items. Different sittings may be required for breakfast and dinner due to the occupancy and size of the house. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. The bar in each country house will be open, and we will be offering a table service for drinks. At this time there is no, or only a very limited, evening social programme available. Outdoor swimming pools at those houses that have them will re-open throughout August, except at Freshwater Bay House, where the pool will remain closed for 2020. Indoor swimming pools will remain closed.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

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 Good, Better and Best 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 ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ and ‘Best’ 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.

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 (closed for 2020) – 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 Mermaids Gin and a chance to catch up with your companions.

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. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Freshwater Bay House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the light-filled dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local flavours.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

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Getting to Freshwater Bay House

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

More Information

What to Bring

Essential Equipment 

  • Rucksack with a waterproof liner,
  • Thermos flask for hot drink,
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre)
  • Spare high-energy food such as a chocolate bar.
  • Small torch
  • First aid kit – your leader’s first aid kit doesn’t contain any medication or blister kits (such as Compeed).

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles are useful, particularly for descents.
  • Insect repellent,
  • Sun hat,
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun cream and
  • Camera

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: £20 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2021
08 May - 15 May
7 Guided Trail £899 £859 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
10 Jul - 17 Jul
7 Guided Trail £899 £859 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
18 Sep - 25 Sep
7 Guided Trail £899 £859 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now

Important Information

At this time, due to Covid-19 safety restrictions, sharing a room on a Trails Holiday with someone who is not in your own personal “bubble” isn’t an option, but we hope that it will be by the time you travel. If it isn’t, we will try our best to accommodate you in a single room, with the resulting supplement. If a single room is not available, we may need to cancel your booking. Alternatives include, booking a single room now to guarantee your place on the holiday, or finding a friend/family member to bubble up with and share your room. Your shared room booking is accepted based on this understanding.

Duration:
7 nights
Type:
Guided Trails
Walking Grade:
3

7 nights from £899pp £859pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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