Isle of Wight Coast Path
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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.
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.
Freshwater Bay House boasts a beautiful cliff-top location overlooking the bay. Enjoy dramatic chalk clilffs, 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.
Choose your room
• Check in from 2:30pm
• Comfortable accommodation
• En-suite bathroom with bath or shower
• Large double or two single beds
• Single rooms are available at no extra charge
• Check in from 1:30pm
• Enjoy extra space or exceptional views
• Toweling robe, complimentary slippers
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Available from an extra £10 per person per night
• Check in from 2:30pm
• 3 or 4 beds
• Same facilities as our classic rooms
• Full sized twin or double beds for adults and bunk or occasional beds for children
|• Welcoming bar with local beer
• Excellent boot and drying rooms
• Three lounges with view across the bay
• Dining room
• Dandelion Cafe
|• Multi-purpose activity room with a Nintendo Wii
• Free WiFi is available in some public rooms
• Range of broad games and books
• Heated outdoor swimming pool (Open Easter to September)
• Extensive gardens
|• Putting green and croquet lawn
• Table football
• Outdoor playground for children
• Outdoor games
|All holidays at our Country Houses are full board with breakfast, picnic lunch and evening meal. All of our Country Houses have a well-stocked bar serving local beers, wine and spirits.
√ Start your day with our extensive breakfast.
All of our bars are stocked with locally sourced drinks so you can really soak up your surroundings.
Freshwater Bay to Blackgang
From Freshwater Bay and an initial ascent over the chalk cliffs of Compton Down, we pass Hanover Point with its fossil forest. Along these cliffs you 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. 12.5 miles (20km), with 1,650 feet (500m) of ascent
Blackgang to Sandown
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, and then descend to the coast passing the Botanic Gardens into the Victorian seaside town of Ventnor. We follow the promenade to Bonchurch, with its ancient St Boniface church, then through the richly vegetated Landslip (so named as it suffered in the great landslip of 1810), to Shanklin with its Victorian elegance and once the home of the poet John Keats. We follow the promenade to the resort of Sandown. 12 miles (19km), with 1350 feet (410m) of ascent
Sandown to Ryde
From Sandown we ascend onto the chalk cliffs of Culver Down with the Yarborough Monument and magnificent views over the island. We pass the cliffs of Whitecliff Bay and on 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
Ryde to Gurnard Bay
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 19 bronze cannons, to Egypt Point and Gurnard Bay. 9.5 miles (15.5km), with 900 feet (270m) of ascent
Gurnard Bay to Cranmore
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
Cranmore to Freshwater Bay
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 1350 feet (410m) of ascent
The itinerary may be subject to change at the discretion of the leader with regard to the weather and other external factors
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 £20 return for adults and £10 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, 1600 and 1700 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 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 West 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.
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Dates & Prices
We're sorry, there are no dates available for this holiday at the moment. Please check out our other tours and breaks or call our team on 0345 470 8558 to be notified of new dates as soon as they become available.
Prices are per person
- 7 nights’ Full Board en-suite accommodation with all meals
- The services of an experienced HF Holidays’ guide
- All transport to and from the route is provided on walking days
- Social activities in the evening
- Premium single room: £15 per night
- Premium twin/double room: £10 per person per night
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person