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Luccombe - A Hidden Gem on the Isle of Wight
by Ben Farrelly
Luccombe is the little hidden away cliff top village that is also a suburb of the holiday town Shanklin. It has become well known for its parks, natural beauty and of course its incredible sunrise that wakes the sleepy little hamlet every morning. It also hosts nature such as caterpillars and other insects that can only be found in this area as well as being part of the journey of the Shanklin Chine that draws minerals from the Ventnor Downs, that helps nourish the soil, and helps make Luccombe the flowering and green area that it is. If you happen to be staying at the homely and friendly Luccombe Hall Hotel on the cliffs overlooking Sandown Bay you will soon realise there is much to discover in Luccombe. After a hearty cooked breakfast why don't you and your partner or family take a stroll through the gardens and step into the fairy-tale Rylstone Gardens. Hidden away behind a blanket of trees and teetering on the cliffs of Shanklin, Rylstone Gardens is a real hidden gem. Home to a traditional round of crazy golf as well as a band stand and a delightful little tea garden the area is also a sun trap with plenty of trees to sit under for protection from the mid-day sun. During the summer months many a brass band can be heard coming from the park as well as the applause from the people soaking up the ambience as they enjoy a glass of wine or a picnic. It is a place of rest and relaxation and the benches are often filled with people escaping the hubbub of their holiday and sneaking in a chapter or two of their books as the red squirrels frolic in the trees around them.
Taking a left turn out of the Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel will set you on a steep walk along the coast towards Bonchurch and then Ventnor. It is a walk filled with more hidden treasures such as the Devils Chimney, Luccombe Chine, the wishing chair, hidden caves and of course constant glimpses of that incredible view. Through copses and winding paths every corner turned gives a new view that has been steeped in history from the Roman settlements,100 years' war through to the days of the smugglers and of course World War 2. Incredibly the area is still hugely untouched and only nature has left its impressive mark as coastal erosion and landslides have left an indelible landscape. Towards the end of your walk the soil turns to pavement once again and the unmistakably characteristic Bonchurch becomes the next destination. Once a holiday home to some of the world's greatest poets and playwrights the area is un-mistakenly inspiring and will surely continue to help many writers beat their writing blocks over the coming years. Strolling the quiet and leafy streets of Bonchurch will leave you feeling like you have taken a step back in time and the Victorian feel of the place is an emotion that will stay with you for some time.
Continuing along the costal walk will soon bring you into the town of Ventnor. Filled with subtropical plants, its own micro climate, gecko's and abundance of local music and of course its fantastic cuisine, Ventnor is a must for a day out. Built into a cliff face and regarded along with Shanklin as the warmest area in Britain, Ventnor is a very unique place. From the pubs serving delicious local ales to winding the day away exploring the impressive Botanical Gardens you cannot leave without trying the crab on chips served on the seafront in the Ventnor Fish Haven. If the local fresh crab doesn't grab your fancy don't worry, there are numerous establishments serving fantastic dishes and even more options become available during the warm Ventnor evenings. Make sure to check out La Cantina, The Spyglass Inn, Foggs, El Toro Contento, The Royal Hotel and The Boat House as well as many other lovely places to eat. Food options are not an issue in Ventnor and neither is great quality.
After filling yourself it is unlikely that you will want to take that walk back to Luccombe, so hop on a bus or into a taxi for a short and inexpensive trip back to Luccombe. The evening awaits and a freshly cooked four course meal awaits you at Luccombe Hall. You could always follow this with a walk down the cliff steps to enjoy another glass of ale in The Fisherman's Cottage situated at the foot of the cliff. With the stars above you, a local musician or band playing as well as the sea lapping at the shore just a few feet away from you surely there is no better way to end the day?
And let's not forget you have to get up nice and early to catch that sunrise as it climbs over the Channel. You would be crazy to miss it before another day exploring the Garden Isle.
Love is literally in the air for couples heading to the Isle of Wight for Valentines day.
There is a tranquil beauty which surrounds our garden isle, famed for its romantic undertones.
At Osborne House, Queen Victoria lived with the love of her life Prince Albert and their nine children. You can both now immerse yourself with a most intimate glimpse into Her family life with tours in the private rooms. You can also take a romantic stroll around the extensive gardens and enjoy the stunning views from the terraces across the Solent.
There are plenty of other romantic things to see and do too. The great master poet of landscape, Lord Alfred Tennyson, fell in love with his surroundings around Freshwater Bay. Take your loved one on a simply beautiful stroll over Tennyson Down, and have a cuddle at the monument at the top, which is in memory of the great poet himself.
As you walk hand in hand, you can take in the marvellous views down to the bay and across the shoreline to the western coasts of Bournemouth and Poole.
The Island is full of romantic wooded paths, rolling countryside and beachcomber strolls and remember, all of them will be quiet at this time of year, so you can certainly make the most of the peace!!
There are of course plenty of romantic restaurants, fine dining, coffee shops, boutiques, theaters and cinemas for you to enjoy quality time on the Isle of Wight.
For the perfect place to stay why not choose the peacefully located Melville Hall Hotel & Utopia Spa in Sandown. Exclusively for adults and children over 14 years you can enjoy quality time together with romantic strolls around the adjacent leafy Los Altos Park or the nearby sandy beach. Show your loved one just how much they mean to you and watch with delight as they open the door to a beautifully romantic petal dressed bed, chilled bottle of prosecco, strawberries and handmade Isle of Wight chocolates. Then on Valentines evening you can gaze in to each others eyes whilst enjoying a candlelit dinner for 2. Whilst you are looking to spoil each other why not book a 2 for 1 Hot Stone treatment that will leave you feeling heavenly.
Do not miss this opportunity to enjoy a perfect Valentines Break on the very romantic Isle of Wight.....
If you think the Isle of Wight is just for summer, then think again! Winter is the perfect time to visit the glorious garden isle.
There's Osborne House, where you can see just how the Victorians celebrated Christmas. You can enter into the festive spirit and hop aboard at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway where there are seasonal refreshments and a present for children with every ticket. Not forgetting Dinosaur Isle; Brading Roman Villa; Amazon World and Carisbrooke Castle, there's certainly plenty to see and do here during the cold winter months.
Dinosaur Isle is a must visit. The Isle of Wight is one of the top world sites for dinosaur fossil finds. The modern, lottery funded museum has the best of user friendly academic presentation and parents will love the robotic dinosaur! On a cold winters day you'll have the joy of being able to really relax and enjoy yourselves without battling through the peak season crowds. You can follow the time corridor, clipboards and quizzes in hand, back to the age of the dinosaurs and then enjoy the displays and games together as a family. Whatever you do please make time to visit the absolutely excellent education room upstairs. With painting, model making, colouring for little ones as well as an enchanting mat full of cuddly dinosaurs for babies, you will keep every member of the family happy up here. This place comes highly recommended! Check out the website or call the venue for information about their Fossil Walks, these fantastic and memorable walks are for all the family, even the very youngest fossil hunters!
Situated in York Avenue, East Cowes, you will find the majestic Osborne House. Queen Victoria fell in love with the island and built her family holiday home here. If you come in before Christmas prepare yourself for some serious Christmas tree envy as the house is decorated to create a perfect Victorian Christmas. You have to leave buggies when you tour the house but the staff were incredible helpful; they have slings for babies and hipsters for toddlers. There's a café by the entrance but if you want a real treat at the weekend book yourself a table (you really have to book in advance) in the stunning Terrace Restaurant. It's a world away from your usual historic house self service café; it's a stylish restaurant which is very happy to accommodate children. All in all this is a simply lovely day out and right at the car park, hidden behind the hedge is a fab play park to reward well-behaved children!
Winner of the Isle of Wight Tourism's 'Top Attraction' award and the 'Good Britain Guide' Top Family Attraction, Amazon World Zoo Park is a great winter day out for the whole family, you can thoroughly enjoy it whatever the weather! You and your family will be able to spot tropical birds, count the crocodiles and enjoy the 200 species of mammal, bird, reptile, insect, amphibian and fish in this simply stunning education and conservation centre.
Brading Villa's award-winning Exhibition and Visitor Centre offers a unique insight into Roman life in Britain. This family friendly exhibition space is packed with lots of great activities to really engage the children. You'll also find a café, shop and lovely grounds. The mosaic floors and extensive collection of Roman archaeology are cleverly presented to interest even the youngest little Roman fan.
The magnificent Carisbrooke Castle is a wonderful family day out which will leave you chatting for days about donkeys and arrow slits! There is so much to do and it is so perfectly set up for young children that you can easily spend an entire day here.
And you can of course enjoy all this while staying at Luccombe Hotels - Luccombe Manor Country House Hotel or Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel surrounded by cliff paths, coastal paths with stunning views. Just picture the roaring log fire at Luccombe Hall waiting for you when you feel ready to come in from the cold.
The hotels just happen to be set amongst almost 4 acres of landscaped clifftop gardens perched above the long sandy beach at Shanklin. The cliff steps lead you directly down to the picturesque setting of a winters day beach and is perfect ideal for that romantic stroll on the sandy beach below. If you love going away on holiday for wonderful views of the sea then Luccombe Hotels will exceed your every expectation with stunning sea views from the Lounge at Luccombe Manor, delicious dining and stunning seaviews in The Appley Restaurant at Luccombe Manor and the aptly named Grand View Restaurant at Luccombe Hall, and of course from the beautifully landscaped gardens as well as many seaview bedrooms in both hotels. You can also enjoy refreshments or a mouthwatering afternoon tea in the hotel lounges.
You can unwind in the beautiful lounge at Luccombe Manor and watch the boats pass by, relax in the hot tub or take a swim in the indoor pool at Luccombe Hall, enjoy a game of pool in the games rooms, enjoy the extensive garden facilities or, make use of the wide range of leisure facilities available in both hotels. With so much on offer Luccombe Hotels is perfect for your family winter holiday.
Winter Break Hotel Offer
Book a Winter's Break by 2nd December for just £98pp including Ferry, Meals & 2 Nights Accommodation!
There are loads of things for the whole family to see and do when they choose the Isle of Wight as their holiday destination. Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill are just two of the massive attractions on offer.
For those wanting to learn more about the history of the Isle of Wight, surely one of your first stops would be Carisbrooke Castle, best known as the place where King Charles I was imprisoned. You can still play bowls on the very green Charles used.
For a castle that has lived through more than 800 years of service, including resisting a siege by the French and seeing off the Spanish Armada, it's also wonderfully well preserved? Your children will love dressing up as Norman soldiers or Civil War troopers, and meeting the castle's famous donkeys, while for the grown-ups, the new Edwardian style Princess Beatrice Garden is a joy to explore.
No trip to the island would be complete without a visit to the royal seaside palace, Osborne House, where Queen Victoria lived with her beloved Prince Albert and their nine children.
You and your children can take an intimate glimpse into Queen Victoria's family life as you tour the nursery and private rooms of Victoria and Albert. You will marvel at the magnificence of the Royal Apartments including the sumptuous drawing and dining rooms and the richly decorated Indian-inspired Durbar Room. And of course there's the stunning view from the terraces across the Solent – said to remind Prince Albert of the bay of Naples and stroll through Osborne's extensive grounds.
Brading Roman Villa is one of the finest Roman sites in the UK. The award winning Visitor Centre and Museum offers a unique insight into Roman life in Britain from beautifully preserved mosaic floors to an extensive collection of Roman archaeology.
You can feel yourself stepping back in history and you walk amongst the best preserved Roman mosaics in Northern Europe, interactive displays, licensed cafe, shop and extensive grounds including a Roman garden and meadow trail. The museum and visitor centre are housed within an award-winning ecological cover building and the Villa site sits within a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Whatever the weather, make the most of the fact the island was made to be explored and to inspire freedom. There's literally hundreds of bridleways and one of the best ways to experience them is on horseback.
You can take a ride across the downs on paths which have been in use since the stone age, or for a truly memorable experience, why not ride through the surf at our blue flag beaches?
There are a number of excellent riding schools across the Island which cater for visitors all ages and abilities.
How about climbing 25ft to the top of some of the most magnificent oak trees here? Well, you can do that as you delve deep into our areas of outstanding natural beauty. Picture yourself hanging upside down in the leaf canopy whilst you admits the wonderful views across the Solent. You could even chill in a tree hammock or walk along the branches before deciding when it's time to abseil back to the ground for homemade refreshments and a well deserved cup of tea.
Of course you could spend some of your precious family time together just by stepping outside and exploring the garden isle on foot. The choice of where to go is certainly not limited. There's well over 500 miles of well maintained footpaths which twist and turn their way through fields and forests.
The Isle of Wight is an all season walkers paradise with over 500 miles of well maintained footpaths winding through fields and forests. Some 64 miles follow the spectacular coastline, nearly half of which is classed as 'Heritage Coast' and more than fifty percent is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The Island is also home to the UK's largest annual Walking Festival,which takes place in May along with Walk The Wight which raises money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice . There are over 300 organised walks to choose from, so whether you're interested in the Island's history, nature or the coastline there's a walk for you.
Children of all ages will love the attractions on offer with Blackgang Chine, Robin Hill and of course the Needles. No visit to the island would ever be complete without a look in to our famous Dinosaur Isle - download the dinosaur app before you visit and take your children dinosaur hunting! You can also enjoy hours on the beach in Yaverland hunting for fossils.
One thing we must mention is the Isle of Wight has 60 miles of beautiful beaches, many of them awarded a blue flag. You can of course enjoy many hours on the beach enjoying splashing in the sea and building sand castles.
One thing is for sure you and your family will never be bored on the Isle of Wight.
For accommodation your family will be very warmly welcomed at the Luccombe Hall Country House Hotel. As well as enjoying the convenience of direct beach access this hotel is stunningly located on the cliff top and offers you a huge variety of indoor and outdoor leisure facilities that will keep you as active or relaxed as you please. Families may also be accommodated in spacious family rooms, where you can save 50% when you children share with 2 adults. Located on the edge of Shanklin you have easy access all the way around the island and are just a few minuites walk in to the traditional Shanklin Old Village, Town Centre and main esplanade. The hotel benefits from some of the most amazing sea views and you can choose to upgrade to a room where you can wake up and see the sea each morning!
Call us on 01983 869000 for more information
ISLE OF WIGHT WALKING FESTIVAL BLOG
by Justin Gladdis
With the long nights drawing in and those Christmas treat temptations not too far away now, October is as good a month as any to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
Walking is ideal for all of us, whatever age and fitness levels.
And the Isle of Wight and in particular Luccombe Manor in Shanklin, provide the perfect opportunity for you to sample the fresh air of Autumn in the most gorgeous surroundings.
The 15th Annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival takes place between Friday 25th October - Monday 28th October. Boasting an extensive programme for 2013, there's a lot of great new walks and events. In fact, there are over 250 walks to suit all ages and abilities, with the Isle of Wight being the perfect location for you to don your walking boots. Half of the island is recognised as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and you will be spoilt for choice of where to step out first with miles upon miles of well maintained footpaths.
And what about the perfect place to stay during the festival? Well, Luccombe Manor Country House Hotel in Shanklin is set in a stunning location on the cliff tops. You are just 2 minutes walk away from the hustle and bustle of Shanklin Old Village, with Luccombe Manor offering more indoor and outdoor facilities than any other Isle of Wight hotel as well having direct access to the sandy shanklin beach below.......perfect if you fancy a crisp walk along the seafront to neighbouring Sandown.
The Appley Restaurant serves that hearty breakfast to fill you up before you set out for your long walk and you won't want to miss out on the fine dining when you return at the end of the day.
If your feet are sore, or your skin needs some TLC, you can really pamper yourself at Utopia Spa, beautifully located in Melville Hall Hotel in Sandown.
You will feel totally refreshed, re-energised, re-invigorated and re-newed as you enjoy a wide range of Spa and Beauty Treatment. Melville Hall boasts an indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, Spacuzzi, Sauna and Detox Cabins.
You can select from a wide variety of treatments ranging from indulgent massages and de-toxifying body wraps to beautifying facials and holistic therapies, all professionally designed to help you relax and revitalise.
The success of Isle of Wight Walking Festival is quite remarkable. It has grown from 39 walks in the programme to more than 250.
Walking is a healthy enjoyable activity and an environmentally friendly means of transport, so step out and discover the Island in the Isle of Wight Walking Festival, whilst enjoying your much deserved rest at Luccombe Manor.