As none of us had visited the Isle of Wight before, we were quite excited to be given the chance to go across the water for the weekend. So with husband, teenage daughter and the scruffy dog, plus a few supplies, all loaded in the car, we set off. As we couldn’t leave until late on the Friday afternoon, it was dark before we arrived at Southampton port.
But that just added to the fun, as it felt like a real adventure, late at night, boarding a half empty ferry and watching the lights slowly disappear as we sailed away.
Luckily Firestone Lodge is just a short drive away from the port in East Cowes, and easy to find. As part of an old farm complex, the lodge has plenty of character and we were quick to explore all that the three story home has to offer. We were impressed – all rooms are very spacious, thoughtfully decorated and recently refurbished to a high standard. A generous ‘welcome pack’ had been left in the beautifully appointed kitchen, with supplies for both the evening and breakfast in the morning. Time to relax…
The next day was sunny, so we set off for a drive to the iconic symbol of the island – the Needles – taking in the sights along the way. It was a bit windy when we got there, but the views are spectacular, and the fort has some interesting exhibitions and a welcome tea shop. Onwards to explore the coastline a little more, and we ended up driving around the whole island, which is a great way to spend the day, stopping off where there is a good view, or a sunny beach.
Back at the lodge for the evening and the wood burning stove was just so cosy, we stayed put for the night.
Our last day was the best weather, so we ventured into Cowes to have a mooch and do a spot of yacht watching.The high street is quaint, with many unusual shops and cafes and the yacht haven easily accessible through any number of little alleyways. The back streets are often overlooked but we discovered some lovely streets of quaint cottages – well worth a look. Then it was back to the ‘chain’ ferry over to East Cowes for a yummy late lunch - at a lovely spot right next to the Marina called The Lifeboat – with an outdoor terrace just perfect for catching the sunshine.
There seems to be a theme going on here, and with a few hours to spare, we took the chance to visit the more famous Lifeboat Station at Bembridge, already closed for the day, but a beautiful sight in the setting sun. The day was almost done, so time to get back to the lodge, and one more cosy fire …