Back in April Mum celebrated a birthday, it was a nice, big, round number and as a gift my brothers and I decided to organise a weekend away in a huge house where we could all stay together. We decided on a large house on the Isle of Wight called Greystones situated in Freshwater Bay. It had 7 bedrooms that could easily sleep us all comfortably plus it had lots of living spaces so if anyone did need a quiet moment there were plenty of rooms to choose from. We were a party of 8 adults and 4 children, two of them teens.
We had to book a minimum of 3 nights Friday – Monday and in November and we paid around £550. Of course this meant the booking of ferries to and from the island but that was a very simple online booking with either Red Funnel or WightLink for around £50-70 return.
Some of us decided to make the most of the Friday and arrived early in the day but we had to wait for Paul to finish work and the girls to finish school, then we had to battle the M25 and the M3 which is so slow these days. We didn’t reach base until 10pm in the evening.
The house was very well kitted out, toilet paper was provided as was salt and pepper, tin foil, tea, coffee and sugar. Lots of essentials, the beds were made but we had to take our own towels.
The home we chose was also dog friendly, Baxter wasn’t allowed to go up to the bedrooms but there was a wonderful back garden for him to sniff till his heart was content.
The Needles, Isle of Wight
The weather was against us on Saturday morning so we had a lazy cooked breakfast and spent the morning completing the children’s homework and chatting amongst ourselves but come lunch time we were eager to get out and explore. Luckily the skies cleared and we made our way over to The Needles in Totland, a world famous landmark of extraordinary beauty.
Although the skies had cleared the wind was very strong. We parked at the bottom of the hill and walked up towards the viewpoint. The area is also a national trust site home of the Old Battery and the New Battery, a Victorian coastal defence and secret rocket testing site above the Needles Rocks.
The walk is worth it, you pass up the hill and get the most spectacular view of Alum Bay, famous for it’s multicoloured sands and further on you reach the viewpoint for The Needles which is stunning. The coastguard called out to us to put Baxter on his lead, his directions weren’t because dogs have to be on a lead but more because too many go over the cliff tops.
Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight
Once back in our cars, photos taken and the cobwebs well and truly blown away we decided to take a look at Freshwater Bay, our closest beach. A short drive away and in November plenty of parking spaces, we walked to the water’s edge, the sun was setting and bouncing off the white cliffs and the sea was coming in rough and ready, in fact a freak wave caught one lady out very close to me and drenched her from head to toe.
Dinosaur Fossil Hunt, Isle of Wight
Sunday was the day we had our Dinosaur fossil hunt booked with a private guide. Oliver, a paleontologist, met us in the car park of Brook Chine as the tide was about to turn. We learnt this is the best time to go fossil hunting as the high tide has moved the beach around and leaves lots of treasures as it withdraws. Oliver showed us some examples of fossils he owns and explained what to look out for, he was incredibly knowledgeable of the area, the timeline and anything to do with dinosaurs and fossils. In a nutshell dinosaurs walked the beaches – that weren’t beaches back then but muddy flats. In fact he even showed us some of the casts made from their footprints which was pretty amazing.
We walked back and forth along the beach and between us all we collected quite a haul including dinosaur bones, sponges and traces of fish bones that are over 135,000,000 years old. You are allowed to keep anything you find on these trails.
I’d like to say this was an immensely enjoyable experience, albeit the weather was pretty dim, everyone in our group from granddad to the twins had a thoroughly good time. I’d definitely recommend it.
Lunch at The Taverners, Godshill, Isle of Wight
With some of us having return ferries booked for late afternoon, all that was left was to enjoy a delicious pub lunch all together. A table had been booked in advance for us at The Taverners in Godshill as we were such a large party. This pub was dog friendly and their food was highly rated, their meat is local as is all of their produce, the chips are hand cut and triple cooked and it is popular with locals as well as tourists – the best sign of a great pub. I went for the potted shrimp for starter and the Roast Beef Sunday special, it was all delicious. I’d thoroughly recommend the place and advise to book ahead as the place was packed to the hilt with hungry guests.
There is no disclosure as this was a family weekend away, all paid for by us. I wanted to share it with you as we enjoyed it so much.