At the very bottom of England is an island, small enough to drive around, with views for miles out to sea. This island is the Isle of Wight and it is where I spent last week in internet-free bliss. Luck was on my side as the only rain that I saw was on the final day, on the way back to the ferry. Instead, the sun beat down from a cloudless sky and the island was alive with vibrant colours.
Even though I was only there a week, I still managed to get a lot done. Very little of my time was spent in the car – with the weather as it was, walking was the ideal method of transport, particularly since there are some fantastic walks. The first day was spent going on a coastal walk to the Needles and back. This walk went along the sea, through forest and over the hilltops – exploring a multitude of terrains and places that would not be accessible by car.
While I generally find forests to be the most magical of places, the sea was certainly not without its charms. It was constantly changing with the wind, darkening the odd cloud cast shadows across the waves, and glittering where the sun dominated the sky. Alongside the natural beauty, there were also plenty of unnatural, human creations to see. On the coastal walk, I passed by Alum Bay (not quite as colourful it claims to be) and the tourist centre above it (I did not stay long). A cliff-side path opened up to a defensive structure, long since abandoned, and looking out to sea. Near the Needles, there was even a place where rockets were made and tested during the Cold War.
One of my favourite places to see was Carisbrooke Castle. It was the place where Charles 1 was imprisoned and still retains its motte and keep from its motte-and-bailey days. The preserved parts of it are displayed proudly against the less-preserved, creating quite a fascinating dichotomy. There were so many different sections to it – views, a garden, a museum, ruins – that it was near impossible not to be inspired.
The Isle of Wight makes for a great holiday, or even a fantastic day trip. It is only a short ferry-ride away from the mainland and can be both relaxing and full of fun activities.