Rolling green hills, farm-fresh produce and cosy cottages are calling – catch the next ferry for your short break to the Isle of Wight.
DO Families are spoiled at the Mersley farm; there’s s tennis court on–site plus plenty of friendly farm animals. Nearby, there’s a fishing lake and beaches. This area is also known for its exemplary walking and cycling trails in the UK. The isle recently won a Lonely Planet award for the “Top 10 Cycling Destinations in the World”. For more on cycling, visit visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island. Water sports are also big news here: you can try surfing and kayaking, or head here in August for Cowes Week, a historic eight-day sailing regatta.
EAT AND DRINK This island is all about local produce so head to the farmers markets on Fridays in St Thomas’ Square, Newport (9am-2pm) or on Saturdays in Anglesea Street, Ryde (8.30am-12.30pm). Even if you’re not a guest of the Mersley Farm, you can have coffee or lunch in their cosy restaurant by the log fire.
STAY For the quintessential English cottage experience, look no further than Mersley Farm Barns & Cottages. Quaint, family-run and set among green hills, all the converted barns and farmhouses are built from local stone. This is self-catering accommodation but the barns and cottages form part of the family’s garlic and asparagus farm; their restaurant serves a delicious English breakfast and can do other meals if you wish.
GET THERE Catch a train from London to Portsmouth and, from there, a ferry to the Isle of Wight. The trip takes approximately two hours. For more info on train and ferry times visit: visitisleofwight.co.uk/plan-your-visit/getting-here.