Isle of Wight Coast Path Guided Trail
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Choosing the level of your walks
Our easy grading system shows whether a region offer gentle strolls or more challenging routes to help you choose the right holiday for you. 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 grade our walks 1 to 5 (where 1 is easy and 5 hard). Our 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.
- A circuit of the Isle of Wight coast
- The dramatic chalk headlands of the Needles and Culver Cliff
- Stay at Freshwater Bay House
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.
Day 1: Arrival Day
Day 2: 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. 13 miles (21km), with 1,650 feet (500m) of ascent
Day 3: 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.
Day 4: 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.
Day 5: 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.
Day 6: 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
Day 7: 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, tides 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 £23 return for adults and £13 for children. This includes a foot passenger ticket for the Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth ferry, plus a connecting taxi / coach transfer to Freshwater Bay.
Our transfers operate every Saturday and Tuesday (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 14 days in advance by calling our Reservations team on 020 8732 1220.
The nearest train station is Lymington Pier on the mainland. This is immediately adjacent to the ferry terminal. For train times and route planning by train visit www.nationalrail.co.uk or phone 03457 48 49 50.
The Wightlink Lymington to Yarmouth ferry is the most convenient for Freshwater Bay - see www.wightlink.co.uk
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 - 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. Turn left at Freswater Garage and continue along Afton road. At the Lifeboat station turn right and follow the road round passing the Albion Hotel on the left. The entrance to Freshwater Bay House is the next driveway on your left.
From East Cowes: Follow signs for Newport following A3021 and then A3054. Continue through Newport and Carisbrooke. Turn left onto the B3401 through Calbourne. At the T junction with Afton Road (A3055) turn left and then right by the Lifeboat station and follow the road round passing the Albion Hotel on the left. The entrance to Freshwater Bay House is the next driveway 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 approximately £8.50 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
|Date||Description||Nights||Brochure price||Buy today for||Book|
|4 May 2019||FWLIC - Isle of Wight Coast Path - Freshwater Bay||7||£899.00||£849.00||Book Now|
|22 Jun 2019||FWLIC - Isle of Wight Coast Path - Freshwater Bay||7||£899.00||£849.00||Book Now|
|7 Sep 2019||FWLIC - Isle of Wight Coast Path - Freshwater Bay||7||£899.00||£849.00||Book Now|
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
- Non-member associate fee: £10 per person