If you’re looking for a hot spot, the Isle of Wight fits the bill, literally.

The weather is more balmy here then anywhere else in Britain, my sunburn paying testament to its broil. It’s also the ideal place for a restful and reflective break from the London jungle.

For a place that measures only 37km by 21km, there are myriad things to do, but two or three nights should suffice unless the weather is cranking, in which case you’ll never want to leave. You can reach the island from Southampton via the high-speed Red Funnel ferry, which leaves every half hour and takes only 20 minutes.


With 13 award-winning beaches to choose from, it’s hard to know which stretch of sand to plonk on. While most of them are similar, Ventnor Beach is the cream of the crop. Thanks to its sheltered southerly aspect, Ventnor takes the title of sunniest nook on the island and is studded with sun lounges to deposit your body and obliterate your albino shell. The Victorian town that holds this beach is equally fab and offers quaint cafés, pubs and shops, within easy reach of your sun spot, to grab some lunch or liquid.

Pounding the ground

Playing host to the UK’s biggest annual walking festival, this corner of the country is a walker’s paradise. With more than 500 miles of well-maintained footpaths that whirl through fields, forests and coastline, there are plenty of trekking options. If pounding the ground isn’t your preferred mode, you can hire a bike. Diverse terrain and striking scenery combine to provide a remarkable off-road cycling experience. Alternatively, head to the west of the island for a more hardcore cycle through the countryside.


Drinking holes are in abundance, many of which are the old and character-filled English variety. The welcoming regulars are quick to pounce on a foreign accent and boast about how good their nook of the isle is. The Spyglass Inn on Ventnor Esplanade is worth setting aside a few hours to sink a couple of pints and devour some pub grub (caution: oil). If you don’t get too pie-eyed, check out the sea memorabilia and enjoy the sea view from the outside terrace, which pumps with people and atmosphere during summer. The Vectis Tavern is the pick of the bunch in Cowes, followed closely by The Anchor Inn, opposite the hub of Cowes’ energetic yachting scene, with live entertainment most nights.

Worth a look

The Needles Old Battery
Boasting the best views on the island and an intriguing military history, the Needles Old Battery is a spectacularly sited fort. The landmark is worth visiting, even if just for a cuppa in the tea room, home to dramatic clifftop views.

Osborne House
Go see Queen Victoria’s favourite seaside home to get an insight into the life of our longest-reigning monarch and marvel at the stunning gardens and Royal couple’s possessions.

Isle of Wight Glass Studio
Take in a glass-making demonstration to gawk at how glass is made. Sounds dull, but it’s a fascinating process. See www.isleofwightstudioglass.co.uk.

Room with a view
Keeping with the overall gist of the Isle, accommodation mainly consists of old hotels that have been restored to former glory. The Wellington Hotel (Belgrave Rd, Ventnor; www.thewellingtonhotel.net) is a treat with its close proximity to the beach and private balconies with sea views.

Bonus points for: No hustle and bustle
Loses marks for: Lack of eye candy
Check out: www.tourismse.com