Four years ago my family I an staycationed on the Isle of Wight  . It turned out to be one of our best summer getaways AND I had the tan to prove it. On leaving, my one regret was not visiting the Needles … well this time we did! In spite of COVID-19, we found and booked affordable accommodation for our stay. Then, we crossed our fingers and toes and waited for departure day. When the day finally arrived with the car boot packed to capacity we set off. Our first stop was Ryde, via Portsmouth on the ferry. We had two glorious fun-filled weeks on the Isle of Wight.


Where We Stayed

On our first week stayed at accommodation booked via Airbnb, The Art Retreat, in Ryde It was a cute, bright and colourful artsy flat 6 minutes’ walk from Ryde Beach and arcade. The town centre was roughly the same in drive time. It’s home to skin care brand Liz Earle, boutiques, games stores and more.

Bugle Cottage


For week two we stayed at the Bugle Cottage in Carisbrooke village. Found via our usual booking site, Sykes. It was even better than the photos, which looked like they have been take during the colder months. When we arrived the garden was I full bloom.

The cottage was bright with a country-come-seaside vibe. Located 6.2 miles from Cowes 10.1 miles from 10.1 miles, and Freshwater Bay Beach was a mere 16 minutes’ drive away. It was an ideal location, albeit a bit noisy being on a busy high traffic road.

What We Did

Well, it was a case of what didn’t we do. I have a wish list for the next time we visit but during the two weeks, our list included:

  • Beach Days
  • Farm Summer Shindig
  • Dinning out
  • Arcades
  • Nature Walk


Beach Days

By far, our firm favourite beach was Freshwater Bay with Colwell Bay in firm second. We fell in love with Colwell Bay because it has a sandy shore and rocky parts for rock pooling BUT that made it poplar for families. There weren’t enough parking spaces. The kids and I nearly had a meltdown, when we arrived one day to find no parking in sight. So we detoured to Freshwater Bay which as it turned out was the best for us!! It’s very pebbly, but the water is a dazzling clear aquamarine. At low tide we could walk along the shore to and explore the caves.

Tennyson Down

Next to Freshwater Bay Beach is the Tennyson Down, where you can do a coastal walk. It’s a three hours walk along the cliffs, where you can see sights such as the Tennyson Monument, the Needles and more. I did a very small portion of it and the view was spectacular!

Ventor Beach is quite picturesque as well. The early 19th century was its heyday. Well known for its therapeutic air and as the place to convalesce. The beach is so pretty driving down to it, I felt as though we might have been in Italy. To swim, the water was not as calm as the other two mentioned earlier. Also on busy days there is not a much shore line for visitors to spread out. Nonetheless is certainly worth visiting at least once and do get ice cream from Crave!

Country Shindig

Well, the one thing I didn’t expect was a country shindig down but that was exactly what we got when we visited Tapnell Farm. Tapnell Farm is a former dairy farm and on the site there’s a variety of attractions (water park, football golf, Archery & Axe Throwing and shooting clay pigeons. Due to the bleak dull weather on the day we planned to visit, we opted for the farm and Shindig with a cup of cocoa.

Although it sounds very sedate but it wasn’t. Ang and Val went on the go-karts, trampoline, did football goal shoot outs AND visited the animals. The meerkats and alpacas were super adorable.

guniea pig

Woodland Walks

Isle of Wight is a walkers dream. You can do several coastal or woodland walks. I got my family do so a short walk through Borthwood Copse. Bothwood Copse is in Sandown, the walk route is circular and takes one-hour causal pace. It’s home to the red squirrel but we didn’t see any during our exploration.

The woods are perfect for forest bathing, dog walking and wander. Little explorers will enjoy the rise and fall of the terrain, tree spotting and mini beast adventure. We packed picnic and dined among the trees. It was so relaxing.


Games Of Chance

My kids  and hubby spent a fair amount of time in the arcades. I ‘blame’ their dad because he loves the arcades and boyhood reminisces. I don’t want to think about how much coins they lost trying to win a cuddly Yoda. They come away with three Minnie Mouse, one Mickey and a few key chains for their efforts.

We tried the arcades at Ryde, Sandown and Shanklin. I have to say Shanklin was the best in terms of being clean, tidy and bright.


Where We Ate


When on an island, seafood is a must. There are not many places we dine at more than once but Wrights Fish and Chips is scrumptious. We visit four years ago and this time round it was just as good, if not better. We ate there twice in our two weeks stay.

Also in Ryde is an adorable little eater called Kookies Café. They make a mean milkshake. There seafood basket is also, so yum!

In terms of sweet treats, Crave Ice Shop in Ventor is the place. They are such a wide variety of ice cream flavours. The ones we tired had authentic flavours, like the Jaffa Cake tasted like Jaffa Cake.

Our final meal on the isle was the morning of our departure. Had breakfast at The Garlic Farm  . The portion was perfect the quality of the ingredients was good and the favours where superb. Yummy garlic infused food porn, we boarded the ferry on a food high.


Have you ever visited the Isle of Wight? What’s your favourite memory. Maybe it’s on your list of places to visit, what are you looking forward to the most.

Comment below, I would love to hear from you. To see more of what we get up to search hashtag #tttonstaycation and follow on Instagram 



( updated 14th January 2022 )


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A post shared by Maria Tumolo 🇹🇹🇬🇧 (@msxpat)


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