micbinks - UK holiday, leisure & tourist attraction images

UK Tourist & Leisure Attractions - Isle of Wight

Belinda and Mike - follow our tourist travels in the UK

Isle of Wight Holiday June 2011 - page 1

It's only a short sailing across the Solent on the ferry from the mainland to the lovely Isle of Wight.  Once there and settled in our comfortable holiday cottage, Carisbrooke Castle in Newport beckoned, with its endearing wellhouse donkeys.  Then right over in the west of the island we visited The Needles Park where Mike relived his childhood by collecting coloured sands in an ornament, following which we visited the nearby Old Battery fort where we walked the spooky underground tunnel to the searchlight emplacement.
This is page one of three.
Isle of Wight 1 | Isle of Wight 2 | Isle of Wight 3

On deck on the Isle of Wight ferry Portsmouth to Fishbourne
Fortunately it was a calm crossing on the Isle of Wight car ferry for our week's holiday; we sailed from Portsmouth to Fishbourne but there are other routes to the island.  Here's Belinda on deck watching the returning ferry as we left Portsmouth.

Isle of Wight: Carisbrooke Castle from the courtyard
Newport is in the center of the Isle of Wight and the town's Carisbrooke Castle is a major tourist and educational attraction.  The castle building ahead is where King Charles I was imprisoned in 1647 and got himself stuck in the window bars trying to escape!

Looking across Princess Beatrice garden towards Carisbrooke Castle
This view shows the main castle building with the well house to the right and the castle's Norman Shell Keep behind.  The Edwardian style Princess Beatrice garden in the foreground sadly seemed to be not at its best on our visit.  We had...

The Carisbrooke donkeys, Newport, Isle of Wight
...a rather lacklustre snack lunch in the castle's tea room (we've had a run-in with poor English Heritage catering before).  Moving on, the friendly Carisbrooke donkeys were simply adorable!  We got the chance to say hello before heading to the...

A Carisbrooke donkey in the tread wheel
...Elizabethan wellhouse and wheel where they demonstrated how they raise the bucket of water 49 metres up the well using donkey power in the 16th century tread wheel.  The excellent demonstrations ran at regular intervals and included...

Water being tipped down the well at Carisbrooke Castle, IOW
...the tipping of water down the well to illustrate its great depth - the water took some five seconds before we heard it hit the bottom.  Another fact we learnt was the bottom of the well is home to an assortment of mobile phones and cameras!

Isle of Wight: a walk around Carisbrooke Castle's wall
Next up was a walk around Carisbrooke Castle's wall which proved to be a bit of a challenge with the never ending school parties squeezing past every few minutes.  We made it to...

The view from Carisbrooke Castle's Keep towards Newport and the Isle of Wight
...the Norman Keep where Mike was able to admire the view over Newport and beyond.  The handy notices spaced frequently around the castle's wall were very informative and well maintained.

Carisbrooke Museum in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight
Our final visit area was to the absorbing Carisbrooke Museum which gave a vivid insight into the castle's history, including King Charles I room he tried to escape from.  The Carisbrooke Castle website and other IOW links are in our UK tourist resources.

Armour in Carisbrooke Museum, Newport, IOW
OMG, all that clobber soldiers of old had to wear sure was heavy, as Mike found out when he tried to lift this helmet - he'll stick to his baseball cap!
Carisbrooke Castle is run by English Heritage and adult entrance cost 7.30 on our visit.

Main visitor area at The Needles Park on the Isle of Wight
Another day and off to the Isle of Wight's most western part and The Needles Park, an attraction with plenty to do for families such as fairground rides, glass and sweet making demonstrations, and...

Hmmm, which ornament to choose at the Sand Shop?
...collecting the famous Alum Bay coloured sands in a souvenir!  Now Mike's so old he remembers scrambling up the beach cliff as a child to scrap away at the sand; nowadays you choose your ornament...

Isle of Wight: carefully filling an ornament with the coloured sands at The Needles Park
...and fill it with the naturally occurring 21 different shades of sand in the Sand Shop...

An Alum Bay multi-coloured sand gift almost filled
...creating another unique multi-coloured sand gift from the Alum Bay sands!

View towards the Needles at Alum Bay, Isle of Wight
We just had to have a ride on the chairlift down to Alum Bay beach - and in the process got some wonderful views of the Needles Lighthouse.  Boat trips operate for a closer look at the lighthouse.

On the chairlift down to Alum Bay beach
The Needles chairlift runs continually and operatives assist with getting on/off.  We took this pic when about half way down, worryingly no-one seemed to be returning in the chairs heading back up!

The coloured sand cliffs at Alum Bay, Isle of Wight
Collecting the coloured sands from the cliffs on Alum Bay beach is no longer permitted in order to preserve the environment, hence the tape.  The Needles Park is run by Heritage Attractions - the same outfit who run the Land's End park we visited the previous year.

Entrance to the Needles Old Battery showing the two original guns
A short cliff top walk from The Needles Park is the Needles Old Battery, a Victorian fort built 1861-95 to defend the Isle of Wight coastal passage from French invasion.  It was also used in both world wars and is now run by the National Trust.  Our entry cost 4.50.

Isle of Wight: the Needles Old Battery Parade Ground and spiral staircase
The Isle of Wight is surrounded by water so you'd hope the stuff wouldn't come from above too!  We escaped down this rather narrow spiral staircase...

Walking along the underground tunnel at the Old Battery, IOW
...at the Needles Old Battery and along the twisting and eerie 65 metre long underground tunnel that runs under the Parade Ground to...

The Old Battery searchlight emplacement at the Needles, Isle of Wight
...the old searchlight emplacement where, apparently, the best view of the Needles Lighthouse can be had.  But, thanks to the rapidly closing-in weather, we saw... absolutely nothing!
We later headed over to the New Battery where Britain's 60s space rockets Black Knight and Black Arrow were tested, but the New Battery was closed.

Trying to view the Needles and lighthouse from the Old Battery
Back up top at the Old Battery we did get a view - just - of the lighthouse and chalk needles through the murk, it would be a lot better in a lot better weather though.  Even so, we enjoyed our fascinating visit to the Needles Batteries.  Now, on the next page we get some warm Isle of Wight sunshine for our two lovely walks to Shanklin and Godshill >>>

Nearby the Isle of Wight we've also visited Hurst Castle, Corfe Castle, Reculver Fort and Brean Down fort in Somerset.
and toured the other end of the Jurassic Coast in Dorset - in much better weather!