The Isle of Wight

A common tourist site in many villages in Britain is “The model village”, a small scale replica of village you just visited. For those who have never left their urban dwellings you can see one of these in the movie Hot Fuzz. You need to watch all the way through but it’s hilarious and worth it. The Isle of Wight could be a model village of Great Britain. Anything featured on the mainland made in the last 2000 years has an interpretation on the Isle of Wight. The photo below show the the St Catherine lighthouse.

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St Catherine’s Lighthouse, The most southerly point of the island. It shepherds boats coming up the channel to Bournemouth or Portsmouth

Osborne House

The crowning jewel (pun intended) of the Isle of Wight’s architecture is Queen Victoria’s seaside palace, Osborne House. The island has a strong repertoire of beautiful buildings and so it is quite an achievement to be the best around. The house was designed by Prince Albert and built in 1851. More importantly though it is where Queen Victoria died.

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Osborne House, one of Queen Victoria’s favorite palaces.

Below is the view from the courtyard towards the north. On days such as this, one can see the mainland from the balcony, dwarfing the island and really giving a glimpse of what her majesty enjoyed of the house. It is a unique experience as it is not possible share the feelings of the royalty at the height of their reign. Imagining how the Queen would have felt enjoying the view is likely closer than the feelings had when looking from Buckingham palace or Windsor Castle as those are very much more places of work and unfortunately (or fortunately) most will never know the labors of the monarch. The view from Osborne house for Queen Victoria would most likely parallel feelings one would have when sitting in a hammock built by a partner, something enjoyable to most but made special by the intimacy you share for each other.

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The courtyard of Osborne House. “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” – Queen Victoria

Carisbrooke Castle

The Isle of Wight’s highest point houses Carisbrooke Castle, a 12th Century building near the town of Newport that had been in use until the end of World War 2. The obvious benefit being that he (or she) holding the castle would be right in any dispute by virtue of always occupying the high ground, and arguing your point against the owner of Carisbrooke could have you on the sticky end of possibly any weapon developed by man. Had one been outside of the castle defending their point of view that Simpsons series 1-10 is the best the show will ever be may receive, throughout the working life of the castle a stone, a spear, an arrow, a firebrand, a cannon ball, or artillery from the owner professing that the Simpsons only gets better [sic].

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Carisbrooke or West Newport from the castle walls.

Fortunately the castle is now open to the public and managed by English Heritage. The castle keep is a wonderful stately home, tall enough to see over the walls to the coast. The north and eastern coasts can be seen from the walls and much of the rest of the island is visible too. There is a small windy road to access the castle otherwise the only route is walk for miles. It’s likely the island’s buses will get you there but bus travel could easily ruin a nice holiday. Regardless of the route the castle is certainly worth a visit.

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The keep of Carisbrooke Castle.

This visit was fortunately just before sunset as the place was closing for the evening so there were hardly any other visitors. A quick run round and I was able to walk away with the photos featured here. If I were to visit again there would be more time allowed to explore the castle and possibly learn more of the history.

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😘 pose

Enough cannot really be said about the beauty of the castle and so my final note would be, Carisbrooke Castle invites you in with the chance to see some British history and gorgeous views, it makes you stay with rewarding exploration and beautiful architecture.

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1500 year old staircase. Constructed minutes before the term”fatally unstable footing” was learnt

Shanklin

I stayed in Shanklin because the hotels there are right next to the beach and you get free parking and Wifi. From what can be seen wondering around the island it is clear that there are more prestigious places to stay. Shaklin has managed to retain the British seaside in a way that most places in the UK have not been able to. There is no port, fisheries, universities or historical landmarks that are needed to maintain Shanklin. Shanklin is about the beach, all the restaurants, hotels, homes and shops face the beach and so in Shanklin life faces the beach.

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Shanklin Beach. As far as trains will take you.

We visited the beach on the night we arrived at the hotel as it was short walk away. As to be expected in the late evening most of the attractions had closed for the night and there were very few people. I was able to get my feet wet a little but being so late it was far too cold to stay for very long. Overall I was quite impressed with Shanklin, it’s what one would imagine when hearing stories from grandparents about the seaside of their youth, or as some might say “a proppa Bri’ish ge’away”.

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Shanklin Beach.

In summary , The Isle of Wight has everything offered in Britain condensed into the 150 miles squared island. The final photo is suitably the sunset from the pier in Yarmouth. I would encourage anyone with the opportunity to go.

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The sun set from the gossip cafe pier in Yarmouth

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