Unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle Isle of Wight

Unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has a distinct variety of rich landscapes, recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ensuring that one of England’s finest and most fascinating of landscapes is preserved and enhanced. While the secretive coastlines, white chalky cliffs, quiet estuaries and gentle rolling woodland had attracted visitors since Victorian times, and continues to do so all year round, this enchanting island is home to some wealth of times gone by and the most fascinating and truly magical history.

Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Side view of Carisbrooke Castle

Nestled in the village of Carisbrooke, Newport, sitting proudly atop a hill at the heart of Isle of Wight is Carisbrooke Castle, steeped in history and legend since pre-Roman times. Today, this remarkable castle is managed by English Heritage, and opened to the public. With lots of things to see and do whilst enjoying in the fresh open air, Carisbrooke Castle is a destination for history buffs, couples, family days out as well as for photography enthusiasts. To ensure nothing goes amiss, here is a guide for the unmissable 9 fun things to do in Carisbrooke Castle when visiting this heritage landmark.

Unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle

Carisbrooke Castle Newport Isle of Wight Victorian love affair experience
Carisbrooke Castle

History tells us that Carisbrooke was once, the strongest castle on the Isle of Wight, and boasts defences from several eras. A central place of power and defence for over a thousand years, it was a Saxon fortress, a Norman castle, an artillery fortress during the Elizabethan era, later a prison for Charles I, then home to Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter. This historic motte-and-bailey castle is quintessentially romantic and will delight its visitors.

1 | Visit the Carisbrooke Castle 16th century guardhouse

Learn more of the tumultuous history of this fascinating and stunning castle. Watch the film and virtual tour presented in the 16th century guardhouse.

2 | Visit the Carisbrooke Castle Museum

carisbrooke castle museum | things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle Museum Lower Gallery | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle | Image: courtesy of Carisbrooke Castle Museum

Visit the Carisbrooke Castle Museum which is located in the castle’s Great Hall, St Peter’s Chapel and Constable’s Lodgings. It is the only public museum in UK founded by a member of the Royal family.

Princess Beatrice established the museum in 1898 as a memorial to her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg with the “earnest hope and desire” and with the “help and co-operation of others” to “form a full collection of objects of historical interest connected with the Island

Her aspiration is reflected in the extensive collection displayed and safeguarded by an independent Charitable Trust. The museum holds many important items that span the history of Isle of Wight since Roman times to the present. On your visit, you will note exhibits such as cross bow bolts from Tudor and medieval history, a small collection of personal items belonging to King Charles I and over 5000 paintings and prints reflecting the island’s topography and its people. There are exhibits of the Isle of Wight Rifles, reflecting the Island’s strong military connection during the wars. There are lots more on display such as the social history collection and the toy collection which are interesting also.

3 | Explore the Castle’s history

Delve deeper into the history of this well-preserved castle and experience how this stronghold had survived eight hundred years, resisting the French siege and the Spanish Armada. See where Charles I was imprisoned for fourteen months before his execution in 1649, and the room where he sought to escape from, he was found wedged in the bars of the window – the guards caught him!

4 | The Chapel of St Nicholas in Castro

St Nicholas Chapel | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
The Chapel of St Nicholas in Castro | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight

St Nicholas Chapel is fairly recent, built in 1904 and located just next to the main gate. However, a long sequence of chapels dedicated to St Nicholas had been at the castle since medieval times.

The current chapel was built as a 250th anniversary memorial to Charles I and was redecorated in 1929. The altar painting was commissioned by Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria youngest daughter, in memory of her youngest son who died at Ypres. The chapel is now the island’s main war memorial.

Take a moment and experience the beauty, serenity and the warmth of St Nicholas Chapel.

5 | Meet Carisbrooke Donkeys at the Well House

Don’t miss the Well House – meet the lovable resident donkeys at Carisbrooke Castle who have been drawing up water for the castle for hundreds of years! Their daily routine is to work the sixteenth century tread wheel to raise water from the bottom of the castle well at 49 metres (161 metres).

6 | Ancient Castle Keep and Wall Walk

Steps up to the Castle Keep | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Very steep steps leading to the Castle Keep | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle

Climb the very steep steps of the castle mound to the ancient castle keep which was constructed during the Norman times in 1100, when the island belonged to the Redvers family.

stunning views from the wall-walk.carisbrooke.castle | things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
stunning views from the wall-walk | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle

Once up, you are rewarded with amazing views of the island and as far as your eyes can see. Follow the wall and the battlements – walk right around the castle, taking in the views from all directions.

7 | Edwardian Garden | Princess Beatrice Garden

Princess Beatrice Garden | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Layout of Princess Beatrice Garden | Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle

Enjoy and be wooed by the beautiful and inspiring Edwardian garden which was created to reflect the original garden retreat of Princess Beatrice, Queen Victoria’s daughter who later, was the Governor of Isle of Wight. The seasonal planting, water features and orchard are indeed charming. According to the English Heritage site, the plants were chosen:

“to echo Princess Beatrice’s blue, red and gold heraldic crest, and the layout reflects architectural detail on the adjoining Chapel of St Nicholas”

The layout of the garden takes inspiration from Princess Beatrice’s original private walled garden and when viewed from the wall-walk, you could see the framework of the borders reflect the chapel windows.

beatrice.garden.english.heritage (2)
Princess Beatrice Garden | Image courtesy English Heritage

Outside of winter, spring brings forth the snowdrops, primrose and daffodils followed by cowslips and bluebells and the beautiful blossoms of the Judus tree plus so much more. Summer sees a riot of colours and exotic mix of cottage garden favourites while fall is the season to discover the unusual Mespelus germanica, fruits from which have been enjoyed since Roman times.

8 | Family fun

If you are visiting with kids, there are activities for children to participate where they can dress up as Norman warriors or as princesses.

English Heritage also run special events for school holidays and one of their most popular ones are the Easter Adventure Quest.

9 | Delightful Castle Tearoom

After exploring the castle and the grounds, treat yourself to a delicious light meal or snacks in the Castle’s Tearoom, located above the former carriage room. This delightful castle tearoom serves a selection of locally produced hot and cold food, including sandwiches, cakes, hot and cold beverages.

Practical information

Plan your visit

Visits must be pre-booked. Once you have decided when to visit, book your arrival time slot. Take along your booking confirmation on the day – note that the time shown is the earliest you can arrive.

Last admission is thirty minutes before the site closes, but really you will need at least half a day for a full immersive experience.

Admission

Admission price + Donation:

Adult > £9.38 | Concession > £8.48 | Child > £5.63 | Family > £24.38

*Family ticket is valid for 2 adults and up to 3 children

Carisbrooke Castle is managed by English Heritage, therefore English Heritage Members enjoy unlimited access to Carisbrooke Castle throughout their membership. The Membership is great value and you can take a look at the benefits it offers for one small contribution > English Heritage Membership benefits or you can become a Member now, using the link below.

Address: Castle Hill, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1XY

Travel to the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is just a few miles on the south coast of England and is easily reached by ferries and catamaran.

Wightlink Ferries depart from Portsmouth to Fishbourne and takes around 45 minutes. There is another from Lymington to Yarmouth which is around 40 minutes journey. Both ferry journeys accommodate cars, motor homes, bikes and foot passengers. Wightlink also runs a high-speed Catamaran for foot passengers from Portsmouth to Ryde pier and this journey takes approximately 22 minutes.

Red Funnel departs from Southampton and travels to East Cowes and takes about 60 minutes. The ferry takes cars, motor homes, bikes and foot passengers. Red Funnel runs the Red Jet service for foot passengers from Southampton into Cowes and this journey takes around 25 minutes.

Getting around the Isle of Wight

The public transport in Isle of Wight is managed by Southern Vectis and is acknowledged as the best rural bus services in the country.

The train service is Island Line and is managed by South Western Railway. The service connects Ryde, Brading, Sandown, Lake and Shanklin. This is a convenient service to be picked up by foot passengers from Ryde pier.

Travelling to Southampton | Portsmouth | Lymington by train

Plan your journey ahead of time and take advantage of cheap tickets for your travel.

Read article: Trainline in UK

Places to stay near Carisbrooke Castle | Newport

67c The Mews | The Old Dairy, Gatcombe

Check Tripadvisor reviews >>

Where to eat

Fine Dining: Gem42 | Italian: Marenghi’s | British Bar, Pub: The Golden Lion

Check Tripadvisor reviews >>

On a final note

Carisbrooke Castle was one of our highlights when my family and I visited the Isle of Wight for 5 days. It was a great summer getaway and we cherish our many memories of the island. Sincerely hope you will get to experience Isle of Wight and Carisbrooke Castle if you haven’t already.

Georgina xx

FACTS ABOUT CARISBROOKE CASTLE, ISLE OF WIGHT:

50.6873° N, 1.3135° W

Owned: English Heritage

Access: Open to the public

Address: Castle Hill, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1XY

Nearest town: Newport

History about Carisbrooke Castle:

A ruined wall suggests that there was a building here late Roman times but this has not been proved. The cousin of King Cynric of Wessex who died in 544 AD may have been buried here. The site may have been used as a pagan Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the sixth century – three graves were discovered here. It was a stronghold for the Anglo-Saxon during 8th century.

Later a defence wall was built around the hill to protect against the Vikings in 1000 AD.

From 1100 onwards, the castle was owned by the Redvers’ family and was sold to Edward I in 1293 by the last Redvers’ resident, Countess Isabella de Fortibus.

During the reign of Elizabeth I (Nov 1558 – 1603) the Castle was improved with stone walls, towers, keep and additional fortifications when the Spanish Armada was expected.

In 1649, Carisbrooke Castle became a prison for Charles I, and afterwards, his two children were confined to the castle as well, where his daughter Princess Elizabeth died.

From 1896 through to 1944, Carisbrooke Castle became a summer residence to Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, who also succeeded her husband, Prince Henry of Battenberg and became the Governor of the Isle of Wight.

References:

CJ Young, Excavations at Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight, 1921–1996, Wessex Archaeology Report 18 (Salisbury, 2000), 52–3, 86–97.

PG Stone, The Architectural Antiquities of the Isle of Wight, part II: The West Medine (London, 1891), 74–5

AD Saunders, ‘Hampshire coastal defences since the introduction of artillery’, Archaeological Journal, 123 (1967), 136–71.

JD Jones, The Royal Prisoner (London, 1965)

Visitors: 131,358 in 2019

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Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
Things to do at Carisbrooke Castle
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Visit the quintessential romantic fortress and experience the unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle in the enchanting Isle of Wight | Victoria's Island | Visit Carisbrooke Castle | Fun things to do in Isle of Wight | Things to do in Isle of Wight | Visit Isle of Wight | Visit England | Britain's largest island | Visit Britain | England's Gem | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Visit the quintessential romantic fortress and experience the unmissable 9 fun things to do at Carisbrooke Castle in the enchanting Isle of Wight | Victoria's Island | Visit Carisbrooke Castle | Fun things to do in Isle of Wight | Things to do in Isle of Wight | Visit Isle of Wight | Visit England | Britain's largest island | Visit Britain | England's Gem | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/

4 key ways to explore the Isle of Wight

4 key ways to explore the Isle of Wight

Stunning shorelines, white cliffs and rich woodlands come together in Isle of Wight, England’s largest island. Once a fashionable summer retreat for the royals, rich and the famous, these days the island is a popular destination for boat races, music festivals, impressive dinosaur fossil quarries and scenic coastal walks.

The Isle of Wight is a small island but it offers plenty of activities to do for all visitors of all ages. One can explore the island independently on foot, by bike, by car, or by public transport. Alternatively one can join a group and explore the island with the help of a guide who will drive you to the various key destinations while you relax, taking in the magnificent views in between the journeys. While there are many ways to experience this beautiful island, here are 4 key ways to explore the Isle of Wight for you to consider:

1 | Explore the Isle of Wight independently on foot

ways to explore isle of wight
Ways to explore the Isle of Wight: coastal walk

Exploring the island on foot is not easy. You can either start your day from the time of arrival at East Cowes or you may want to undertake one of the coastal walks which covers beautiful villages, stunning coastlines and key landmarks.

A day’s itinerary

For a day visit and to explore on foot, as a brief guide, you could begin your discovery of the island from the ferry terminal at East Cowes and make your first stop at Osborne House, followed by a visit to St Mildred’s Church. Break for lunch at Folly Inn, a pub perched on the banks of River Medina, popular for its fish + chips!.

After lunch, continue on along the River to Newport Quay. then following signs to St James Square. In the centre of the square is Newport Minster, the church that was rebuilt by Queen Victoria to house the remains of Princess Elizabeth, Charles I daughter. Around the outside and the back of the church is a Victorian tea room where you could stop for refreshments. Depending on your return ferry to the mainland, you may want to start heading back to East Cowes.

More than a day

If you have more than a day in the island or if you drive, you could pick any one of the six coastal routes recommended by Visit Isle of Wight to explore by foot.

Essential to have: Suitable and waterproof footwear. Water. Depending on time of year, a jacket.

2 | Explore the Isle of Wight independently by bike

Ways to explore Isle of Wight |  coastline
Isle of Wight coastline

The Isle of Wight is renowned as one of the top cycling destinations in the world. Rewarded with one of the best scenery in UK, the island offers two hundred miles of cycle tracks, byways and bridleways to be explored.

The complete round the island route covers 65 miles and this can be adapted to suit individual abilities. Depending on the number of days you have on the island, you can select to split and shortened the route over the number of days.

A one-day visit to the island

Once in Cowes, look out for signs of cycle route round the island. The first leg of your route is to Northwood Park, home to Northwood House. Northwood House held many high society events attended by Queen Victoria. Surrounded by a large and beautiful garden, Northwood House is retained in its original style and offers great views over Cowes and Solent.

From Northwood House, follow round the island cycle route towards Cowes seafront. This route has the Solent to your right. Heading towards Gurnard and you will reach Egypt Point, midway which was one of Queen Victoria’s favourite places to watch for sunset. Continue on to Gurnard and stop for lunch. There are several options for food and for light refreshments here.

Depart Gurnard, cycle back to East Cowes and follow the round the island cycle route towards Whippingham, where you could visit St Mildred’s Church. St Mildred’s was a royal favourite and attended by the royal family for Sunday worship. The church was re-designed by Prince Albert to accommodate the royal presence. Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice was married here.

From St Mildred’s, you could make your way to River Medina for some refreshments before heading back to the ferry point at East Cowes.

Family-friendly routes

Isle of Wight is a perfect destination for family holidays and there are lots of places for children to develop their skills. For some inspiration, you could try any one or all of the following three routes suggested by Visit Isle of Wight:

Alternatively, take a look at the following guide books on cycling around the Isle of Wight.

3 | Explore the Isle of Wight by car or public transport

The Needles Landmark Isle of Wight
Ways to explore the Isle of Wight | The Needles Alum Bay

Isle of Wight has great roads! Clear signposting and easy to navigate. The road goes around the island offering beautiful scenic journeys.

The use of public transportation in the island is a convenient way to explore. The buses are regular and cover key locations of the island for a quick tour. The journey also takes you through some of the most stunning scenery of the coastlines.

Exploring the Isle of Wight by car couldn’t be easier. You have the luxury to pull-up when you like to capture the best views or just take your time over a clifftop picnic and watch the world roll by.

Whether you are exploring by car or by public transport, the most popular destination in Isle of Wight is the Needles Rocks at the Needles Landmark Attraction in Alum Bay. The Needles rocks is a spectacular image not to be missed. You can take the chairlift or a boat ride for a close look at the rocks and the lighthouse. Besides The Needles, Osborne House along with Ventnor Botanic Garden are equally popular for a visit.

If you are looking for more activities to do, head over to Shanklin Chine or Carisbrooke Castle for a day full of exciting adventures.

4 | Explore the Isle of Wight with an organised tour

ways to explore Isle of Wight | Osborne House
Ways to explore Isle of Wight | Osborne House

Exploring Isle of Wight with guided tours sometimes offer real island experiences – from entertaining, informative and educational tours to best loved, secret sights and sounds the island has to offer. Guided tours come with well-planned itineraries and booking the best accommodations on the island, affording you more time to enjoy your trip. Here are some suggestions for you to consider:

Day trip from London

Travel by luxury coach from London and cross over to Isle of Wight by ferry. This tour is offered by our trusted partner, Get Your Guide.

The tour will take you Godshill for the magnificent thatched cottages that seems out of a picture book, to the village of Shanklin (not to be mistaken with Shanklin Chine) and two sandy beaches. You will also have plenty of time to explore on your own. Learn more and book this trip by clicking on the graphic.

Multi-day trip to Isle of Wight

This multi-day trip to Isle of Wight is for three days and covers some locations on the south coast of England. This is a small group tour offered by our trusted partner, Get Your Guide.

This tour takes you to key historical landmarks on the island including The Needles, Osborne House, Yarborough Monument and Cliffs of St Catherine’s Down. Includes 2 nights accommodation

Good to know when considering exploring Isle of Wight either independently or on a guided tour

Save time and money

You can save time and money at many of the Isle of Wight’s attractions with pre-booked admission tickets.

You need to book a preferred time slot for both Osborne House and Carisbrooke Castle, so purchasing a ticket before day of visit is highly encouraged.

Enjoy unlimited access

For an annual membership, enjoy unlimited access to over 400 properties in England by becoming a member of English Heritage. Both Osborne House and Carisbrooke Castle are managed by English Heritage which means you can visit as many times in a year and you can take along your kids as well.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of English Heritage > sign-up today

Special deal for Overseas Visitors

Overseas visitors who want a simple way to explore the historical landmarks in England can purchase an attraction pass by English Heritage. For one small price, an oversea visitor has access to over 100 properties including Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle along with Stonehenge and Dover Castle in the mainland which are also visitors’ favourite.

The Overseas Visitor Attraction Pass by English Heritage is valid for 9 – 16 days from first validation and is offered by our trusted partner, Get Your Guide. Alternatively, purchase the Pass from English Heritage. Read the complete guide and why this is an excellent value for overseas travellers > English Heritage Overseas Visitor Pass

Best time to explore the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is a good destination to explore at anytime of the year because of its microclimate conditions. However, the island is at its best in the summer but it is also the busiest and most expensive. To enjoy the island minus the crowd, go in spring or fall. Most attractions are closed in winter.

On a final note…

The Isle of Wight is a splendid destination to getaway to whether you choose to explore independently by foot, bike, car, and public transportation or as part of a group tour. The island offer plenty of activities to do along with one of the best scenic views in the UK. The weather is generally better than the rest of UK and getting around is not as awkward as in can be in some islands.

Sincere wish is that this article has helped you to plan your visit to this remarkable island. If so, I would love to hear from you – do let me know in comments below. As well, let me know if I have missed anything and I will gladly find the information for you.

However you choose to explore the Isle of Wight, have a splendid timeless vacation.

Georgina xx

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Isle of Wight and 10 Victorian Love Affair Experiences

Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair

“It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot” is what Queen Victoria said of Isle of Wight and she subsequently built a summer vacation getaway for her family. The island was Victoria’s favourite and along with Prince Albert and her family, relished their summers in the spectacular scenery, peace and tranquility of the island. There are several landmarks and places which meant so much to the royal family. Some of these locations were regularly visited and loved by Queen Victoria.

Today, you can follow Queen Victoria’s footsteps and visit the key locations, attractions and beauty spots across Isle of Wight which Victoria loved. This article aims to bring to you these highlights of Isle of Wight along with the experiences and places which were part of the Victorian love affair with this beautiful island in England.

Isle of Wight Victorian Love Affair

Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair

Isle of Wight became a fashionable vacation destination in the 18th Century and famously reflect Queen Victorias love affair with the island and Osborne House, which was the Royals getaway. Her love for the island goes beyond Osborne House. The are key locations across the island that were special to her throughout her reign as monarch. There was the hotel which Victoria endorsed following her afternoon tea, the yacht club that was built specially for her, the church where her youngest daughter married and the best view points in the island which Victoria loved.

Initially, the island was a getaway for summer vacations and later, during Queen Victoria’s later years, it became her permanent home until her death in 1901. The island is also popular for its castle, Carisbrooke Castle, where her youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice lived.

Queen Victoria’s reign as monarch and the strong loving relationship between her and her husband, Prince Albert is fascinating. Their love so strong that Queen Victoria went into a long period of mourning and devoted herself to wearing only black after Prince Albert died.

Her later years on the island is beautifully captured in a recent movie, Victoria and Abdul, which depicts a story of friendship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant. It was filmed on location here and in Osborne House. You can watch the trailer ↓↓

Victoria & Abdul – Trailer

You will find Queen Victoria’s beloved island located at: Latitude: 50° 40′ 30.59″ N
Longitude: -1° 16′ 30.60″ W

Isle of Wight and the Victorian love affair | What did Victoria love about IOW

Isle of Wight’s natural environment brings together many experiences that may have been part of Queen Victoria’s love for the island. Here are the key locations where her presence were frequent and denotes the Victorian love affair of Isle of Wight.

1 | Osborne House Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight:
Isle of Wight: “It would be impossible to imagine a prettier spot” – Queen Victoria

Without a doubt, Osborne House in Isle of Wight was the Queen’s favourite and most cherished of palaces. You will find that what Queen Victoria once said “it would be impossible to imagine a prettier spot” – to be absolutely correct when visiting here.

The Royal couple cherished the peace and tranquillity of the island and it made a perfect getaway for their summer vacation. The Osborne House was built by the sea to make the most of the views afforded by the island. A private beach for her family, views of the beautiful cliffs and a direct view to mainland, England.

Prince Albert designed the building with the architect, embedding inspirations of their time in the Bay of Naples. The terraces and towers of Osborne House were Italian inspired and the House was built in 1845.

Durbar Room Osborne House Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair
Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair: Durbar Room Osborne House

Today, you can walk in Victoria’s footsteps and enjoy the splendour and opulence of her home in her beloved island. As well, ensure you experience the captivating views across the Solent from the terraces of Osborne House. Afterwards, wander the extensive grounds. Take a moment and enjoy the “charming beach” which Queen Victoria passionately referred to in 1845.

Osborne House really is a beautiful place to explore and you can stroll easily for hours.

Good to Know before visiting Osborne House

Address: York Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32 6JT

Best time to visit: Perfect all year round;

Facilities: Cafes, picnic areas shop, play-area and toilets are available. Dogs on leads are allowed in the grounds but not in the house or beach.

Membership: Osborne House is managed by the English Heritage and an annual membership allows unlimited visits to this landmark, Queen Victoria’s palatial holiday home.

Become a Member today >>

Places to stay in East Cowes: Anchor Cottage or Albert Cottage Hotel

Non English Heritage member visitors: Buy Admission ticket to Osborne House

For Overseas Visitors >> Plan your trip and Buy English Heritage Attraction Pass for Overseas Visitors

2 | St Mildred’s Church, Whippingham Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight St Mildred's Church
St Mildred’s Church Whippingham East Cowes Isle of Wight

A key favourite of Queen Victoria was the island’s church, St Mildred’s which was a short carriage ride from Osborne House.

St Mildred’s Church is located in the heart of Whippingham, East Cowes and is said to be a place of worship since Norman times. Rich in royal history and heritage, St Mildred’s is a beautiful example of personal attention and loving care devoted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that became a centre point of their Sunday family worships.

The royal family worshiped in St Mildred’s when they were in residence at Osborne House. Prince Albert even re-designed the church incorporating many beautiful features so it was more suitable for the royal family. Queen Victoria’s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice was married here. Beatrice and her husband are buried here also.

Good to know before visiting St Mildred’s Church

Address: Beatrice Ave, East Cowes PO32 6LW

Best time to visit: The Church is open from Sunday to Thursday, 10:00 – 16:00. Best to confirm before visiting > 01983 299230

Entrance is Free

Facilities: There is a gift shop and a permanent exhibition of the royal memorabilia. Toilets are available.

3 | Egypt Point West Cowes Isle of Wight

sunset over Egypt Point
Sunset over Egypt Point West Cowes

The Victorian love affair with Isle of Wight is perfectly captured by the panoramic views over the Solent from Egypt Point in West Cowes. The coastal viewpoint between Cowes and Gurnard was Queen Victoria’s favourite location to capture the sunsets over the Solent. Victoria was irresistibly romantic in nature!

Good to know before visiting Egypt Point West Cowes

Address: Egypt Point, Egypt Esplanade, WEST COWES, Isle Of Wight, PO31 8BT

Best time to visit: Anytime throughout the year.

Nearby attraction: Visit Gurnard Beach (within walking distance) for a quick swim, best views across the Solent and for some timeless sunsets you could ever experience.

Places to stay in West Cowes: Stay at Best Western New Holmwood Hotel >> 1000 yards from West Cowes

4 | Blackgang Chine, Chale Isle of Wight

Opened in 1840, Blackgang Chine is the oldest amusement park in the UK. A land where you step out of the ordinary into a world of imagination, waiting to be explored. It is a world of dinos and cowboys, battleships in Pirate Cove, Underwater Kingdom, high speed rollercoasters and water slides – seamless classic adventure experiences alongside timeless excitement.

Blackgang Chine comes with its sister park, Robin Hill. Robin Hill offers eighty-eight acres of parkland and rolling countryside for great outdoors.

Queen Victoria gave her seal of approval to Blackgang Chine in 1853 when she visited the skeleton of the whale that was washed up near the Needles.

The whale’s skeleton was the very first attraction at Blackgang Chine and it is on view today.

Good to know before visiting Blackgang Chine Chale

Address: Blackgang Chine Theme Park, Blackgang, CHALE, Isle of Wight, PO38 2HN

Tel: Tel:+44 01983 730330

Best time to visit: All weather attraction. Use suitable footwear

Facilities: Cafes, outdoor eating area, picnic areas, baby changing facilities, highchairs for children are available. There is a gift shop as well. Dogs on lead are welcome. Guided tours available by prior arrangement.

5 | Shanklin Chine Shanklin Isle of Wight

Shanklin Chine Victorian love affair experience of Isle of Wight
Shanklin Chine Isle of Wight | Image: visitisleofwight

Shanklin Chine is a fascinating geological feature and is a top tourist attraction in Isle of Wight, attracting millions each year. It boasts a tranquil and picturesque setting that one can only, but marvel at its natural beauty. It first opened its doors in 1817 and has since attracted not just visitors but renowned artists, photographers and royalties. You will be in total awe when you visit here and appreciate why this wonder is one of the Victorian love affair experience.

Queen Victoria first visited Shanklin Chine when she was Princess Victoria at the age of fourteen in 1833 with her mother. Legend has it that Princess Victoria helped herself to a prawn on her way in!

Shanklin Chine was one of Victoria’s favourite places to visit in her beloved island when she returned as Queen Victoria in the summers. She continued to visit with Prince Albert and is known to bring her guests as well, notably King Leopold and Queen Louise of Belgium.

Good to know before visiting Shanklin Chine

Address: Esplanade, SHANKLIN, Isle of Wight, PO37 6BW

Tel: 01983 866432

Best time to visit: Seasonal opening – April to early November

Facilities: Cafe, restaurant and outdoor eating area available. Guide dogs are welcome.

Places to Stay in or near Shanklin: Kingsgate 2 | Highlands Apartment 2 | Westbury Lodge

6 | The Royal, Ventnor Isle of Wight

The Royal Hotel Ventnor | Victorian love affair
Stunning views overlooking Ventnor’s coastline | Image: visitisleofwight

The Royal Hotel in Ventnor is one of Britain’s finest. It was known as Ventnor Hotel but was renamed The Royal Hotel after Queen Victoria endorsed it for afternoon tea following her visit in 1855. The Royal Hotel became a fashionable holiday and health retreat in Victorian times after receiving a firm recommendation of the health-giving properties of Ventnor’s climate from Queen Victoria’s surgeon.

Today, it is regarded as the ultimate in island experience. Surrounded by cliffs and nestled in an exotic south facing garden, overlooking Ventnor’s magnificent coastline. Afternoon tea is still served here.

Good to know before visiting The Royal, Ventnor

Address: The Royal Hotel
Belgrave Road
Ventnor
Isle of Wight
PO38 1JJ

Best time to visit: Open all year round including Christmas and New Year.

Facilities: Family friendly. Accessible via lift. Wheelchair user accessible.

Free parking available. Bus stop within walking distance. Railway station is within 5 miles.

No smoking

Stay at The Royal, Ventnor Isle of Wight

7 | Ventnor Botanic Garden, St Lawrence Isle of Wight

Ventnor Botanic Garden | Isle of Wight and the Victorian Love Affair
Ventnor Botanic Garden Isle of Wight

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the southcoast of the island and has a unique microclimate of an average of 5 degrees warmer than the rest of UK. Surrounded by the chalk downs of Ventnor Undercliff, Ventnor Botanic Garden was and still is, a perfect base to grow rare and exotic plants and trees.

Once known as Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest during the Victorian era where patients were “taking the cure” at the seaside, the Ventnor Botanic Garden is home to several notable Victorian specimens.

The “Chusan Palm” Trachycarpus fortune are the oldest palms in the British Isles. These were collected in the 19th Century for Veitches Nursery and were presented to Queen Victoria who wanted them planted in the grounds of the hospital. These palms remain in the same spot today.

Good to know before visiting Ventnor Botanic Garden, St Lawrence

Address: Undercliff Drive, St Lawrence, Isle of Wight, PO38 1UL

Tel: 01983 855397

Best time to visit: All year round

Facilities: Cafe, restaurant and picnic area. Baby changing facilities, highchairs and outdoor children’s play area. Guide dogs permitted. All areas are accessible to disabled visitors.

Free parking

Places to Stay in or near Ventnor: The Royal Hotel

8 | Prince Consort building formerly the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Prince Consort building Isle of Wight
Prince Consort building Ryde Isle of Wight

The Yacht Club was built by Prince Albert specially for Queen Victoria as a private place because the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes did not allow female visitors, not even the Queen! It was built at the western end of Ryde, overlooking the Solent. The building is now called the Prince Consort building and is a private residence.

Good to know before visiting Prince Consort Building

Address: St Thomas Street, RYDE, Isle Of Wight, PO33 2DL

Private Residence

9 | Carisbrooke Castle, Newport Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke Castle Newport Isle of Wight Victorian love affair experience
Carisbrooke Castle Newport Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke Castle has a long history going back a thousand years. Carisbrooke was pivotal both as a place of power and defence. It was a Saxon fortress, a Norman conquest and a royal prison during the Civil War of 1642-1651. The most famous royal prisoner was Charles I.

Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria was appointed Governor of Isle of Wight succeeding her husband’s passing in 1896. She lived with Queen Victoria at Osborne. She was her mother’s lifelong companion and loyal assistant. In 1913, Princess Beatrice adapted and modernised the hall range and the Constable’s Lodgings. Carisbrooke became her residence until her death in 1944.

Princess Beatrice made many changes to the Castle and one significant change was the creation of a museum of local history as a memorial to her husband.

Today, Carisbrooke Castle is a tourist attraction – home to the Museum of Isle of Wight, incredible views across the land, a wealth of fun-packed activities for family days out throughout the year such as jousting. Above all, the famous and friendly Carisbrooke donkeys who operate the treadwheel in the Elizabethan wheelhouse.

Good to know before visiting Carisbrooke Castle, Newport Isle of Wight

Address: Castle Hill, Newport, Isle of Wight, PO30 1XY

Best time to visit: Throughout the year but best explored on a clear day. There are indoor areas you can escape to should it rain

Facilities: Cafe, restaurant and outdoor eating as well as a picnic area. Family friendly. Guide dogs permitted. Disabled parking and wheelchair user accessible.

Carisbrooke Castle is managed by English Heritage. An annual membership gives you unlimited access to hundreds of historic places, for yourself and up to 6 children.

Become a EH Member today >>

Places to Stay in Newport: Newport Quay | Three Bishops Inn | One Holyrood

Non English Heritage Members: Buy Carisbrooke Castle entry ticket

Overseas Visitors >> Plan your trip and Buy English Heritage Attraction Pass for Overseas Visitors

10 | The Needles Alum Bay

The Needles Landmark Isle of Wight
The Needles, Alum Bay Isle of Wight

The Needles Park and more precisely the Marconi Monument marks the location where Guglielmo Marconi undertook his pioneering efforts to successfully establish radio and telecommunications. In August 1898, Marconi was summoned to Osborne House to establish radio communication between Queen Victoria and Prince of Wales, her eldest son who was onboard the royal yacht. Queen Victoria is said to have been “delighted” of Marconi’s achievement

Good to know before visiting The Needles Alum Bay

Address: Heritage Great Britain, The Needles Landmark Attraction, ALUM BAY, Isle of Wight, PO39 0JD

Tel: 01983 752401

Best time to visit: Throughout the year except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when it is closed

Facilities: Cafe, restaurants, outdoor eating and picnic areas. Family friendly, baby changing facilities and highchairs available. Disabled parking available. Wheelchair user accessible.

Places to Stay near the Needles Landmark: Beachside Apartments


Practical information for when planning a trip to experience the Victorian Love Affair locations

1 | Map

All of the above key locations that encompasses the Victorian Love Affair are colour marked on the map below to give you an idea of where these are on the island to support your visit and to book your place to stay.

2 | How to get to Isle of Wight from mainland Britain

how to get to isle of wight from mainland
Wightlink ferry

Visiting the Isle of Wight couldn’t be any easier. The island can be accessed in 45 minutes via a short sea crossing from southern England, across the Solent. There are regular services to the island from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington in the New Forest. You can check for schedules on the links below, which I hope you will find useful. Wightlink and Red Funnel ferries for pricing.

How to get around Isle of Wight

There are various options and convenient ways to get around the island:

By foot

Perhaps not the fastest way to get around the island but it undoubtedly is the best way to explore one of England’s stunning coastal paths, seascapes, rolling hills and enchanting villages.

Following are the recommended walks by Visit Isle of Wight which you could explore:

Public transport

The Isle of Wight Southern Vectis and the Island Line trains offer good transportations services which are convenient and regular. The services cover around the island and most of the villages.

Southern Vectis

The buses run a regular service to and from all major towns on the island. During the peak season (summer: Jun – Aug) they run 3 open-top bus tours which takes you on an amazing journey round the Island’s most spectacular sceneries. For further information and to plan your journey, learn more from Southern Vectis.

Island Line

The Island Line service connects the towns of Ryde, Brading Sandown and Shanklin. You can pick up the service from Ryde Pier. 

Learn more and plan your journey by navigating to Island Line by South Western Railway.


On a final note…

The Isle of Wight and Victorian love affair highlights the key places loved by Queen Victoria and her family. This list is by no means an exhaustive one. There are certain to be more places frequented by Victoria and the ten places suggested in this article makes a good start to exploring Queen Victoria’s beloved island.

To learn more about Queen Victoria, head to:

Victoria – An intimate look at the Woman behind the Crown and her Childhood

Victoria and her 200th Anniversary

Kensington Palace – Why you should visit this 18th century historical gem

Happy discovering England’s best island!

Georgina xx

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Isle of Wight Victorian Love Affair
Isle of Wight Victorian love affair
Isle of Wight Victorian love affair
Isle of Wight Victorian love affair
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Indulge in the 10 experiences of the Victorian love affair in Isle of Wight that was regarded a perfect summer vacation getaway by Queen Victoria | Isle of Wight | Visit England | Victoria's beloved island | England's best | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/Indulge in the 10 experiences of the Victorian love affair in Isle of Wight that was regarded a perfect summer vacation getaway by Queen Victoria | Isle of Wight | Visit England | Victoria's beloved island | England's best | via @GGeorgina_timelesstravelsteps/