Isle of Wight Discovery Tour

Timeless Isle of Wight

Code: FWHCR

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Activity types:

  • Coastal
  • History
  • Meadows & hills
  • Newly Refurbished
From £355.00 - 3 to 7 nights

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Prices are per person

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Holiday overview

Our Discovery Tours really get into the heart of the  countryside. These are sightseeing tours by minibus, visiting places not normally reached by a full-sized coach. Small groups and friendly leaders make this a great way to enjoy Britain at its best.

On this holiday you will enjoy the varied landscape the island has to offer, from towering chalk cliffs to pretty villages. Over time the island has been frequented by smugglers, poets and the royal family and we’ll show you why.

Holiday Highlights:

  • The old smuggling village of Brighstone where the museum depicts village life in the Victorian era
  • The distinctive Needles and Alum Bay
  • Osborne House and gardens, home of Queen Victoria until her death in 1901
  • Quarr Abbey with its group of Benedictine monks
  • The bustling port of Yarmouth and the traditional villages of Bonchurch and Brading
  • Ventnor's famous Botanic Gardens

Great reasons to join us

  • Great value: all prices include Full Board en-suite accommodation, plus five full-day mini-coach tours, with plenty of stops at places of interest and short walks of up to 1½ miles
  • Knowledgeable leader: learn more about the history and landscapes of the Isle of Wight from your knowlegeable leader
  • Accommodation: great food and an outstanding coastal location make Freshwater Bay House a firm favourite
  • Sociability: we pride ourselves on the social atmosphere of our holidays - explore together, eat together and relax together

Accommodation

Freswater Bay refurbished for 2016

Visit England 4 star guest accommodation logo at HF Holidays

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.

Bedrooms

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.

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Facilities

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.

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Food

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.

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Evening

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.

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Accessibility

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 

Public WCs

  • 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 

Bedrooms

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 

Room 4

  • 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 

Additional information

  • 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

Itinerary

During your Discovery Tour you will have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places of interest. The following is a suggested programme, but your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times or the wishes of the group.

Saturday: Arrival day

You can check in to your room from 2.30pm onwards. Tea and coffee are available throughout the afternoon. We invite everyone to afternoon tea at 4pm. This is the first occasion when everyone meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.

Sunday: Yarmouth & Freshwater

Stroll from the house following a village trail, viewing houses with literary connections such as Farringford House - the much-loved home of Alfred Lord Tennyson.  In the afternoon we visit Yarmouth or Fort Victoria with its numerous attractions, followed by a visit to Freshwater Church with many Tennyson connections.

Monday: Cowes & Osborne House

The focus today is on the island’s royal connections. We head to West Cowes for a pleasant walk through Cowes across the floating bridge to East Cowes. The afternoon is spent at the island’s premier visitor attraction – Osborne House (English Heritage).

Tuesday: Isle of Wight Villages

Be charmed by the pretty village of Brighstone, followed by a lunch stop at historic Appuldurcombe House (English Heritage) with the change for a falconry display. Then explore the village of Godshill followed by a drive to the ‘failed’ medieval town of Newton and lovely Newtown Creek.

Wednesday:  Free day

A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. 

Thursday: North East Wight

Modern Quarr Abbey has a fascinating history. Discover this, then we head to Ryde, for the opportunity to travel on both the Isle of Wight Railway (ex-London Underground rolling stock) and the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. We then take the scenic route round Brading Haven, seeing the island’s only remaining windmill, with a brief stop at Brading. Enjoy afternoon tea at the Garlic Farm.

FridayAlong the South West Coast

Today we encounter much of the island’s spectacular coast scenery. Firstly, a drive along the island’s Military Road to visit sub-tropical Ventnor Botanic Gardens, then continue to the resort of Shanklin with its fascinating geology. We conclude our tour exploring the iconic Needles at the west end of the island.

Saturday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast

For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £80 for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price).

Sometimes things happen beyond our control – the weather, traffic jams or changes at the places we visit. If we need to adjust your holiday programme, for whatever reason, your leader will help smooth the way.

Local area

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
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.

Yarmouth
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/

Osborne House
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

Carisbrooke Castle
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

Blackgang Chine
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

Travel

Freshwater Bay House, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9RB

New at HF HolidaysLet 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.

Ferry options:

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

Leaders

Carole Ferguson-Ball

Carole is a qualified Blue Badge guide who lives in the south of England. Carole has been leading tours on the Isle of Wight for a number of years and is looking forward to showing you around this island. Carole will do everything possible to ensure you enjoy your holiday to the full.

Audrey Salter

Audrey is widely travelled, both in the UK and worldwide, and is an experienced HF Holidays’ leader and National Trust volunteer. Living close to the New Forest, her local knowledge ranges from butterflies to badgers.

Audrey appreciates the many opportunities to explore our history, architecture, culture and customs HF Holidays’ Discovery Tours provide. She enjoys seeking out local stories, historical personalities, unusual buildings and legends that enhance the experience on a holiday.

Audrey has a range of interests including gardening, reading, walking, art, history, opera and wild flowers.

Diana Callaghan

Diana was previously an IT professional working for IBM, in the UK, Africa, Belgium and the USA. She took voluntary redundancy in 2009 to take the Institute of Tourist Guides coveted 'Blue Badge' qualification. Completing the course in March 2011, she now guides throughout the South and South East of England.  She enjoys taking people to icons such as Windsor Castle and Stonehenge, as well as introducing them to important habitats such as the New Forest.  Her aim is to ensure that HF guests experience a professional, interesting and enjoyable holiday, discovering and exploring the region they are visiting.

 

Reviews

Date & Rating Customer Review HF Holidays says
24 May 2016, 11:47 a.m.

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I very much enjoyed all aspects of my HF Holiday

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9.5 out of 10
10 Sep 2015, 3:27 p.m.

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Very welcoming & good service. I would like cruise options for discovery tours in the future.

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Careful attention was paid to matching activity with the interests & abilities of the participants.
29 Jul 2015, 6:53 a.m.

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Very efficient

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Great hotel, excellent staff, good food
25 Jul 2015, 11:30 a.m.

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HF is a very good holiday company for service and value.

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Freshwater Bay house has it all. Beautiful scenery, excellent sited house, wonderful area for walks and sight seeing, first class customer service.
23 Jul 2015, 12:05 p.m.

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Booked holiday online, easy to use, exactly the holiday I wanted

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Very enjoyable, lots of sightseeing, friendly leader
23 Jul 2015, 8:28 a.m.

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HAVE NO WORRIES ABOUT HF HOLIDAYS AM LONG STANDING MEMBER

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STAFF VERY GOOD
25 Jun 2015, 4:55 p.m.

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25 Jun 2015, 4:43 p.m.

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Excellent guiding and comfortable mini bus with friendly and accomodating driver.
Our leader was very adaptable to the varying needs of our group. The glorious sunshine was a real bonus and added hugely to our enjoyment of the holiday.

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Excellent food and very friendly staff. Room good though curtain pole and hooks needed updating.
10 Sep 2014, 3:43 p.m.

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Good

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Good
10 Sep 2014, 3:17 p.m.

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The holiday generally was enjoyable but see comment below about programme. I do feel more thought should be given to what is to be visited (? consulation with the knowledgeable leader on this.)

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An enjoyable holiday . Leader most hepful in satisfying the different expectations of members of the Group.(and very different mobility) However I was not convinced that the programme arranged by HF was as good as it might be. eg most people 'discovering' Isle of Wight would expect to visit Carisbrooke castle but this was not on the programme. The visit to Osborne House did not start until well ionto the sfternoon after a rather aimless morning in West Cowes.

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Dates & Prices

Date Description Nights Brochure price Buy today for Book
22 Apr 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 4 £465.00 £465.00 Book Now
22 Apr 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 7 £805.00 £755.00 Special Early Booking offer - £50.00 off pp Book Now
26 Apr 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 3 £355.00 £355.00 Book Now
15 Jul 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 4 £505.00 £505.00 Book Now
15 Jul 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 7 £855.00 £805.00 Special Early Booking offer - £50.00 off pp Book Now
19 Jul 2017 FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay 3 £365.00 £365.00 Book Now

Prices are per person

Information

  • Standard single room: (2016) £8 per night; (2017) no supplement
  • Premium single room: £15 per night (2017 only)
  • Premium twin/double room: (2016) £5 per person per night; (2017) £10 per person per night
  • Non-member associate fee: (2016) £5 per person; (2017) £10 per person