Isle of Wight Discovery Tour
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Meadows & hills
The Isle of Wight chalk cliffs and pretty villages have attracted smugglers, poets and royals over the years. While Queen Victoria made her home at Osborne House, less savoury characters were drawn to Brighstone – now home to a smugglers museum. The famous Needles, coloured sands of Alum Bay and botanic gardens of Ventnor are always popular, while the bustling port of Yarmouth and calm Quarr Abbey show two sides of island life.
On this holiday you'll 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.
- Osborne House and gardens, summer home of Queen Victoria
- Quarr Abbey with its group of Benedictine monks
- Ventnor's famous Botanic Gardens
- The old smuggling village of Brighstone where the museum depicts village life in the Victorian era
- The distinctive Needles and Alum Bay
- The bustling port of Yarmouth and the traditional villages of Bonchurch and Brading
- Optional short strolls of up to 1½ miles
- High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our country house
- The services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
- Full-day excursions with all transport on touring days in a good-quality, comfortable mini-coach
- Admission cost for the Isle of Wight railway
Freshwater Bay House boasts a beautiful cliff-top location overlooking the bay. Enjoy dramatic chalk cliffs, sandy beaches, picture-postcard villages and more from this wonderful island gem.
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.
These rooms are all ensuite and furnished to a good standard. They include:
These rooms are slightly larger and/or have a better view. They include:
Only an extra £15 per person per night
These rooms truly are the best in the house for extra luxury during your stay. They include:
Only an extra £20 per person per night
Choose Your Room: Our new “Choose Your Room” service is available at our UK country houses, providing the option to choose and confirm a specific room for an extra £30 per room. Supplements to upgrade to 'Better' or 'Best' rooms still apply. The choice of room number must be of the same room type as originally booked and is subject to availability.
At the house
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board accommodation including evening meal on arrival to breakfast on the day of your departure. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
Just relax and take it easy, or if you'd like to continue to chat with our guides and fellow guests then why not grab a drink or take part in one of our option evening activities.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
- The fire procedure is displayed in each room and explained to guests on arrival. Guests requiring assistance with an evacuation are identified at this point and alternative door hangers are issued to help the team members identify them
- 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
- All team members have received disability awareness training
- Special diets can be catered for and specialist food can be arranged with prior notice
- Hired equipment can be arranged for your stay with prior notice
- Fridges can be supplied for medication with prior notice.
During your Discovery Tour you'll have the opportunity to visit many fascinating places. The following is our provisional programme, and your HF Holidays' leader may adjust it at their discretion, taking into account factors such as weather, local opening times, or other events. This holiday includes active sightseeing and you should expect to spend lots of time on your feet.
For maximum flexibility, admissions are not included, apart from the Isle of Wight steam railway; please remember to bring your National Trust or English Heritage cards if you have them. Otherwise please allow up to £10 per day for entrances (there may be concessionary and group discounts which may reduce this price). Please bring cash as card machines are not always available at all venues.
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.
You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (1pm for best & better rooms). Please join us for afternoon tea.
Carisbroke & Mottistone Gardens
Start the holiday off by visiting the romantic, motte and bailey Carisbroke Castle. Take time to explore and learn about the history of the castle and the island. In the afternoon, we will walk around the peaceful gardens of Mottistone and have a coffee break.
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).
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 chance for a falconry display. Then explore the village of Godshill. From there we will head to the Island's largest centre for Arts and Crafts. Enjoy watching local skilled artisans at work in their studios or discover one of the most extensive maritime heritage collections.
7-night holiday: Free day
A free day for you to explore the local area or to relax in the Country House. Our Discovery Points help you make the most out of your free day. There’s plenty of maps and a selection of the best local walking routes, as well as weather forecasts and public transport options – plus details about other places to visit.
3-night holiday: Depart after a leisurely breakfast
4-night holiday: Arrival day
You're welcome to check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (1pm for best & better rooms). Please join us for afternoon tea.
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. We will complete the afternoon by visiting Brading Roman Villa, one of the finest Roman sites in the UK.
Along 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.
Depart after a leisurely breakfast
Images supplied byvisitisleofwight.co.uk
Discover the Isle of Wight
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/visit/places/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/visit/places/osborne/
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/visit/places/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
Travel to Freshwater Bay
Our address is: Freshwater Bay House, Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight PO40 9RB
By ferry & transfer - great value!
We offer a reduced price ferry and transfer ticket - just £22 return for adults and £12 for children. This includes a foot passenger ticket for the Lymington to Yarmouth ferry, plus a connecting transfer to Freshwater Bay.
Our transfers operate every Saturday and Wednesday (Friday and Monday in the low season). These connect with the 1500 or 1600 ferries from Lymington. On departure day the transfer will get you back to Yarmouth in time to catch the 0845 or 1005 ferries to the mainland.
Book your tickets at least 7 days in advance by calling our Reservations team on 0345 470 7558.
The nearest train station is Lymington Pier on the mainland. This is immediately adjacent to the ferry terminal. 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).
The Lymington to Yarmouth ferry is the most convenient for Freshwater Bay - see www.wightlink.co.uk
Alternatively the Southampton to East Cowes ferry is often the cheapest option if you want to take your car to the Isle of Wight - see www.redfunnel.co.uk
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.
Alternatively leave your car on the mainland and travel to the Isle of Wight as a foot passenger. There is a pay and display car park at Lymington Pier - price £8.20 per day.
Travelling from overseas
If you're travelling from Europe the most convenient airport is at Southampton. From Southampton Airport Parkway station (adjacent to the airport terminal) there are regular trains to Lymington Pier - journey time 40 minutes). See www.nationalrail.co.uk for details.
For most guests, travelling to either London Heathrow or London Gatwick airport is the best option. See www.nationalrail.co.uk for onward connections by train to Lymington Pier.
Brought up in south-east England, Jill has lived in the West Country, Scotland and, since 1998, Cumbria. She has a real passion for Britain, its history, geology and wildlife and loves sharing that with other people. She loves visiting stately homes and gardens but is also interested in how ordinary people lived in the past. Jill works as a Blue Badge Guide which is the perfect job for combining her wide range of interests with a love of communicating with people.
I cannot praise Jill enough. She was a mine of information which she put over in an interesting way. She organised everyone efficiently and pleasantly and ensured everyone felt included and had a good time.
Mike is a professional Blue Badge Guide based at Winchester in Hampshire who has been guiding for 12 years and enjoys combining the facts and stats with a bit of fun and trivia as well.
A keen historian and member of an archaeology group in Hampshire, he likes nothing better than researching new places and learning about their ‘hidden secrets’ and telling their story. ‘History fascinates me. It’s like pulling at a thread that never stops unravelling.’
He is quick to acknowledge though that ‘sometimes it’s just about relaxing. Sharing a breathtaking piece of landscape or soaking up the atmosphere of a beautiful garden or mediaeval cobbled street. People are on holiday’.
Mike made the holiday most enjoyable. He is a very friendly and knowledgeable leader and it would be a great joy to go on another holiday with him.
Audrey D 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.
A delight to be with - she loves what she does and it shows.
Heather D Lounds
Heather Lounds has a passion for historic places and likes to find the unusual and extraordinary facts that bring a visit to life. She enjoys sharing her passion for social history and architecture, and loves the area around Brecon.
A very pleasant person who was extremely helpful and knowledgeable and really made the holiday for us
Read more reviews from feefo
Dates & Prices
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|27 Apr 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||7||£835.00||£835.00||Book Now|
|27 Apr 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||3||£379.00||£379.00||Book Now|
|18 May 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|18 May 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||3||£389.00||£389.00||Book Now|
|21 May 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
|29 Jun 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|29 Jun 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||3||£389.00||£389.00||Book Now|
|2 Jul 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
|14 Sep 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||7||£915.00||£865.00||Book Now|
|14 Sep 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||3||£389.00||£389.00||Book Now|
|17 Sep 2019||FWHCR - Discovery Tour - Freshwater Bay||4||£549.00||£524.00||Book Now|
Prices are per person
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person
We like to reward early bookers with our best rooms so book early to avoid disappointment.
Please note that we aren't able to take room number requests as we are unable to guarantee them.