Isle of Wight Gardens Tour

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Duration: 3 nights
Interests: Garden Tours

The mild island climate allows plants usually associated with warmer climes to thrive, giving gardens here a different look to those to those on the mainland. The ornate terrace gardens of Osborne House, the sheltered Mediterranean style valley garden of Mottistone and the Edwardian-inspired Princess Beatrice garden at Carisbrooke Castle all provide beauty and inspiration. Ventnor Botanical Gardens will give you a chance to take a horticultural journey around the world and see exotic and unusual species.

Holiday Highlights

  • Osborne House is where Queen Victoria and Price Albert enjoyed private family life growing vegetables and planting trees
  • Visit the enchanting gardens at Mottistone - brightly coloured borders, beautifully scented flowers set in a sheltered valley. 
  • Enjoy the charming period planting, water feature and orchard from ground level and the battlement walk at Carisbrook Castle
  • Uncover the many layers of interest at Ventnor Botanical garden with an impressive collection of over 30,000 rare and subtropical plants and trees.

What’s included

  • High-quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality coach
  • All admission costs including those for English Heritage, National Trust, and RHS Gardens. Some venues have stately homes/houses which incur a separate admission fee should you wish to visit - you will need to pay for this yourself. 

 

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

You can check-in to your room from 2.30pm onwards (Best and Better rooms from 1pm). All guests are invited to join us for afternoon tea. This is the first occasion when everyone in the country house meets together – an opportunity to meet your leader and fellow guests, and find out more about your holiday.


In the morning, you will visit the ornate terrace gardens of Osborne House which were renovated between 2016 and 2017 as part of a wider conservation project. You will explore around the Victorian walled garden with its espaliered fruit trees, wander through the parkland with its historic trees, many of which have been planted by Prince Albert as well as enjoying the stunning sea views. 

In the afternoon, you will visit the Princess Beatrice Garden at Carisbrooke Castle. The Garden is an Edwardian-inspired garden which is set within Princess Beatrice's privy gardens. The garden is celebrating 10 years of opening at Carisbrooke Castle. 


In the morning, you will visit Ventnor Botanic Garden which boasts an impressive collection of sub-tropical plants and trees and its planting is based on geographical regions of the world. Its unique microclimate is on average 5 degrees warmer than mainland UK.

In the afternoon, you will visit Mottistone Manor and its magical gardens set within a sheltered valley. The 20th Century garden follows a Mediterranean style of planting scheme which takes advantage of the southerly location. Shrub-filled banks, hidden pathways and colourful herbaceous borders form the surroundings to an attractive Elizabethan manor house.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast


Freshwater Bay House

Holidaying on the picturesque Isle of Wight doesn’t get any better than at Freshwater Bay House. Stood atop the island’s classic white cliffs and dominating the bay that it is named after, Freshwater Bay House has a gorgeous location. As well as 43 bedrooms, many decked out in blue and white printed wallpaper featuring foam-tipped waves breaking softly across the walls that act as a promise of the coastal scenery to come, there are three lounges and a friendly bar. Extensive gardens give on to the coast path, with a staircase that drops to the beach one way, while a path leads away across Tennyson Down towards the Needles in the other direction. If you’re experiencing some of the island’s plentiful sunshine (it averages around 2,000 hours a year), head to Alum Bay for coloured sands or Compton Bay for dinosaur footprints. Explore Carisbrooke Castle, stroll through Ventnor Botanic Gardens and keep an eye out for red squirrels in Borthwood Copse and America Wood.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. All of our swimming pools are open, except for Glen Coe, which will not re-open this year. Swimming Pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in one of the main building’s bright, beautifully presented rooms, many that come with sea views. They’re mostly spacious and chic, styled to acknowledge the house’s nautical connections but with a modern twist of dove greys, clean whites and contemporary furniture. With 43 bedrooms, Freshwater Bay House has plenty of space and there’s a range of Classic, Premium and Superior Rooms to choose from: Rooms 19 and 20 on the first floor come with spectacular sea views out over the English Channel; Rooms 18 and 22 are sumptuous corner rooms with expansive views over both the bay and Tennyson Downs. If it’s a room with a view you’re after, ask for Room 24, a superb, spacious corner space with five large windows all overlooking the gardens and bay, with its own private sitting room to relax in. Request Room 39 on the second floor and you’ll get an attractive corner room complete with a bath to soak in after a day of coastal walking.

All ‘Classic’ rooms are en-suite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ and ‘Superior’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, outdoor swimming pool, multi-purpose activity room, lounges, library and board games to borrow

After a day walking on the coast, come back to the house and its specially tailored walkers’ facilities. Relax by sitting in the extensive gardens or challenge a fellow guest to a game of croquet. If you’re visiting with children, turn them loose in the outdoor playground area or watch them splash in the large heated alfresco pool (open in summer season) – there’s seating with sea views for you to enjoy a drink in too on a hot English summer’s day. For something less strenuous, snag a comfy chair in one of the three cosy lounges to read a book, play a board game or just hideaway; there’s a grand piano in one if you’re feeling musical. Head to the bar before dinner to perch on a tall stool with a perfect gin and tonic made with the Isle of Wight’s very own Mermaid Gin and a chance to catch up with your companions.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Freshwater Bay House is hearty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the light-filled dining room hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of local flavours.

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

Essential Information

As you'll be walking around the gardens please bring solid, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens, and clothes for the great British weather! Please also expect to spend most of the day on your feet exploring the gardens you visit.

Harry Mycock

Harry’s first Holiday with HF was on Arran in 1971. He has been a walks leader since 2007 and a garden tours leader since 2010. Harry has holidayed at all the current HF houses having led from most of them, too.

On top of a lifelong love of gardens and being a passionate gardener himself, Harry has also taught Garden Design and Horticulture at degree level for several years and is one of only a small number of Chartered Horticulturist in the UK. Harry has a Masters in Horticulture from the Royal Horticultural Society.   He is also an RHS Flower Shows volunteer, providing guidance on RHS Gardens at shows such as the RHS Hampton Court Flower Show and RHS Chelsea Flower Show where he has been involved in delivering several medal winning gardens.  He is also a specialist garden inspector for the National Trust.

Harry enjoys sharing his knowledge of the landscape, gardens and their design and history. He knows from experience of this vast field that there is something new to learn from each other at every turn. During his Garden Tours, Harry sets the pace so that there is time to stand and stare and soak it all in. 

Harry does everything well - he is prepared, knowledgeable, considerate, communicative - he's the best.

Guest Reviews

Duration:
3 nights
Interests:
Garden Tours

Fully Booked

020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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