7 Night Isle of Wight Discovery Tour

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Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Discovery tours

A 7-night Isle of Wight Discovery Tour lines up a selection of the island’s highlights. Journey along the southwest coast for views of the postcard-worthy Needles and admire exotic plants from around the world at Ventnor Botanic Gardens. You’ll visit charming English villages and spend time at ancient Carisbrooke Castle and Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s favourite summer residence. And to top it all, there’s a ride aboard the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

What you’ll love

  • Riding the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Visiting Osborne House, the favourite holiday haunt of Queen Victoria
  • Discovering the history of Carisbrooke Castle
  • Exploring Ventnor Botanic Gardens
  • Admiring the famous Needles
  • Staying in our seafront country house on Freshwater Bay

What’s included

  • Ride on the Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Comfortable en-suite accommodation in our country house 
  • Cream tea on arrival day 
  • Cooked or continental breakfast every morning 
  • Daily packed lunches 
  • Three-course evening meals, plus tea & coffee 
  • Guided sightseeing with an experienced HF Holidays Leader 
  • All transport to and from sites of interest  
  • Easy-to-follow routes, maps, and information in our Discovery Point if you want to explore independently 

    Please note - Entrance fees are not included. See Essential Info tab for details.

Trip Notes

Easy to download as a PDF, our trip notes provide detailed information for every holiday. Please click below to find the trip notes for your departure date.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take alternative routes or adapt the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.

You're welcome to check in from 4pm onwards. Enjoy a complimentary cream tea on arrival.


We begin with a visit to Alum Bay, with its coloured sands and iconic views of the Needles, before enjoying a scenic drive along the island’s Military Road. Running parallel with the island’s southern coast from Freshwater to Chale, it offers unbeatable views of the spectacular coastal scenery. Making a turn inland, the road takes us to Shanklin where we’ll explore the old village and you may choose to walk down through Shanklin Chine, the stunning tree lined gorge that leads to the esplanade below. We end the day at Ventnor with a chance to visit its sub-tropical Botanic Gardens which are split out into zones of the world, so you can travel from New Zealand to the Mediterranean to Japan in a few paces!


Discover the seaside town of Ryde today, with its elegant Victorian and Georgian architecture. Stroll along the seafront enjoying the sandy beaches, or perhaps wander around town taking in the eclectic mix of shops. We spend the afternoon visiting Carisbrooke Castle, located in the centre of the island. Learn about its history and relax in the stunning Edwardian-style Princess Beatrice Garden. There’s time to climb the ramparts and meet the donkeys in the pumphouse who help pump water up from the well.


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


Spend time learning about the fascinating history of modern Quarr Abbey before heading to Ryde, for the opportunity to travel on both the Island Line and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. We then take the scenic route to Bembridge to visit its lifeboat station, before rounding off the afternoon with the option of visiting the fascinating Brading Roman Villa or Sandown and Dinosaur Isle. Please note, due to coach access restrictions, if you wish to visit the Villa, there is a 500m uphill walk to the Villa, and 500m walk back downhill to our coach. Alternatively, our coach can take you to explore Sandown with the option of visiting Dinosaur Isle.  


Be charmed by the pretty village of Brighstone, before exploring the peaceful gardens at Mottistone which surround an Elizabethan manor. Located in a sheltered valley, these enchanting gardens enjoy their own micro-climate, meaning the flowering season of familiar favourites is extended and plants usually associated with the Mediterranean region thrive. In the afternoon, it’s time to head for the popular village of Godshill with its delightful medieval church, charming thatched cottages and a winding main street lined with traditional tearooms and craft shops, as well as the nostalgic Model Village.


Today’s focus is on the island’s royal connections. We first head to Cowes, home to the oldest and biggest sailing regatta in the world and the Royal Yacht Squadron based at the Castle. There’ll be time to stroll along the Parade to Egypt Point, where Queen Victoria herself enjoyed panoramic views of the Solent. Or you may wish to explore the historic town with its independent shops and maritime connections. The afternoon is spent at the island’s premier visitor attraction – Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s family home. Enjoy its opulent interiors, such as the Indian-style Durbar Room, and extensive grounds including walled gardens and its own private beach.


Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before making your way home.


Freshwater Bay House

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.

 

Rooms

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.

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

Address

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: info@baytaxi.co.uk (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 www.wightlink.co.uk/HFHolidays

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. 

The UK has a famously unpredictable climate so it's best to be prepared for weather that’s sunny one minute and raining the next.  To make it easier, here’s a list of items you should consider packing.  

Essentials 

  • Suitable, sturdy footwear with a good grip. You’ll be on your feet for much of the day
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof overtrousers 
  • Sunhat
  • Rucksack 
  • Water bottle (at least 1 litre capacity) 
  • Sunscreen 
  • Mobile phone
  • UV sunglasses 

Recommended 

  • First aid kit, including plasters
  • Sit mat  
  • Waterproof pouch for valuables 
  • Rubbish bag (remember to always leave no trace) 
  • Wallet/purse 

Optional extras

  • Walking poles,
  • Flask for hot drinks 
  • Durable lunch box 
  • Waterproof rucksack liner 

Please note

Admission fees are payable locally and aren’t included in your holiday price, apart from what is stated in the what’s included section. This gives you greater choice, freedom, and flexibility to only pay the entrance fees for the attractions that interest you most. Should you choose to visit all the highlighted attractions during your holiday please see the table below for the approximate totals. If you have National Trust (NT), English Heritage (EH) or Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) membership, please be sure to bring your membership identification with you.

Approx. cost of entrance fees

3 night holiday

4 night holiday

7 night holiday

RHS, NT & EH members

£8.50

£18

£26.50

NT & EH members

£8.50

£18

£26.50

NT members

£21

£38

£59

EH members

£8.50

£26

£34.50

RHS members

£21

£46

£67

No memberships

£21

£46

£67

Freshwater Bay House Calendar

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

For October 2024: Graham Horn

Graham is a Blue Badge Tour Guide and has led many walking and Discovery tours for HF Holidays since 2009.  This includes a few on the Isle of Wight.  He also frequently pops over to do some exploring on his own.  His favourite places include Osborne House and the IoW steam railway, but he loves sharing those out-of-the-way hidden delights as well.

Guest reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Supplements may apply.

Non-member fee: £30 per person.

All our carefully-curated itineraries are designed by our experts. While we make every effort to adhere to the described itinerary, we may take an alternative route, or vary the running order for weather and/or operational reasons.


Holiday prices

Date (Start - End) Itinerary Double / Twin Room Single Room Notes / Offers Trip Notes Book
2024

01 Jun - 08 Jun 2024

7 nights

Discovery Tour

Single Call to Enquire
Double Call to Enquire
Call to Enquire Call to Enquire Trip Notes

12 Oct - 19 Oct 2024

7 nights

Discovery Tour

Single Call to Enquire
Double Call to Enquire
Call to Enquire Call to Enquire Trip Notes
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Discovery tours

Call to Enquire

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ guests click here

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