St.Catherine's Lighthouse, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom

Places to See on the Isle of Wight

When visiting the Isle of Wight, there are some 'must see' places to visit... From historic buildings to impressive monuments and breathtaking viewpoints, the My Destination Isle of Wight team recommend finding time to see some of these. I actually only discovered some of these little gems by living on the island in my first couple of years here... friends in the pub saying "You haven't been there yet?!" There are lots of other things to do on the Isle of Wight too of course, but these sights are not too well advertised.

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Headon Warren, West Wight

Headon Warren on the western tip of the Isle of Wight, is a beautiful view point to see; The Needles, over the Solent to the mainland, across to Tennyson Down, and views back along the Isle of Wight itself. The views are stunning any time of the year, but in the Spring and summer you get the added bonus of the beautiful, brightly coloured multi-coloured flora and fauna! Photo - Available Light Photography

Directions It's best to look on an OS map for this one, as you will need to walk here. But you can walk from a carpark nearby The Needles Park, or even from Yarmouth if you want to.

 

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St. Boniface Old Church, Bonchurch (Ventnor)

This quaint little church dates back to 1070 AD and measures just 48ft by 12ft. The grave of Charlie Wilcox, the godson of Lewis Carroll, can be found at the Old Church. He suffered from tuberculosis and it is believed that while Lewis Carroll nursed his godson at Guildford, he wrote the famous poem 'The Hunting of the Snark'. Wilcox moved to the Isle of Wight for convalescence but died aged 22. Tennyson (a friend of Lewis Carroll) lived on the island for some time, along with Dickens, John Keats and Elizabeth Sewell.

Directions: When driving along Bonchurch Village Road with the pond on your left, continue straight on. A little further up the road, (just before the road starts to bend to the left steeply up Bonchurch Shute,) turn right. Here you will find a small area of parking and a turning area. Once parked, you can walk for a couple of minutes down the hill and the church will be on your right. After the church you might want to continue down the hill to Bonchurch beachSatNav: PO38 1RQ

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Winkle Street, Calbourne

Along the 'middle road' is Winkle Street, in Calbourne. This is well known as one of the most pretty streets on the Isle of Wight, with it's chocolate box thatched cottages and stream. Often pictured on postcards, Winkle Street is quite unique and well worth seeing.

Directions: When travelling on the 'middle road' B3401 towards Newport, just before reaching the Sun Inn pub on your left, turn right at the cross roads. Winkle Street is the second on your right and is signposted. SatNav: PO30 4JF

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Steephill Cove, Ventnor

Accessible only by foot, this charming little cove is a hidden gem. In mid-high season, you'll find a few things open... a cafe for snacks, a shop selling home made cake and 'nik-naks' and a rather nice seafood restaurant.

Directions: You can get down to the cove by foot from a steep path at the back of the Ventnor Botanical Gardens. If you fancy a slightly longer walk, you can stroll along the coastline from the 'La Falaise' car park by Ventnor beach - there are some quite steep slopes and steps, but it is not too challenging and takes around 30 minutes each way. Reward yourself with an ice-cream before walking back! SatNav: (Botanical Gardens car park) PO38 1UL (La Falaise car park, Ventnor) PO38 1JX

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St. Catherine's Lighthouse, Niton Undercliff

The lighthouse became automated in 1997, but was originally built in 1838. If you want to have a tour around the lighthouse itself, they do have limited opening times. However, we simply recommend walking down there. Surrounded by fields and of course being on the coastline looking over the English Channel, the views are beautiful. A round walk takes about 30-40 minutes, and we find is often rounded off with a visit to the pub! (Sunday lunch is particularly good.) For keen photographers, the lighthouse is particularly stunning in the evening sunshine, or under snow!

Directions: It is not possible to park near the lighthouse itself. However, if you find the main road between Ventnor and Niton Undercliff (Undercliff Drive) you can then turn down St.Catherine's Road and park at the Buddle Inn pub. To the left of the car park is a steep path, which will lead you down to a gently sloping track. Either follow this track all the way down to the caravan park, which you can walk through and will then see the lighthouse ahead. Or, you can cut through and take a path on the first sharp bend of the track. Mind the midges though - they tend to lurk under the trees! For those who are less mobile, when facing the pub turn left along the road. Continue straight down this road parallel with the coast, which will then turn into a gently sloping lane and take you straight to the lighthouse SatNav: (Buddle Inn) PO38 2NE

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'The Long Stone' Mottistone

This facinating landmark is situated within the Mottistone Estate. It is thought that there is evidence of human occupation of the area, dating back 6000 years to Neolithic times. There is a small car park from which to explore. The well-made path winds uphill through the trees and brings you out to breath-taking views of the Isle of Wight's south coast - a great viewpoint from high up on the hillside. Keep going a little further and you will find 'The Long Stone', with an information board to explain what you can see in the area. The Mottistone Manor Farm Shop sells fresh Isle of Wight produce... farm reared beef, pork and lamb. (This is a National Trust site.)

Directions: By car, you will find the main car park 300m west of Mottistone Manor, in Mottistone which is on the B3399 between Brook and Brighstone. You can get the Southern Vectis bus to Mottistone (on the Newport to Totland/Freshwater route,) but it only runs every 2-3 hours so plan ahead! SatNav: PO30 4ED (Longstone Farmhouse, Strawberry Lane.)

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'The Pepperpot' - St. Catherine's Oratory

Known as The Pepperpot locally, the St.Catherine's Oratory is situated high up on a hill side, just off the Military Road. Infact, being one of the island's highest points, this is another fantastic viewpoint to take in stunning views of the Isle of Wight's southern coastline. Built in 1328, the story goes that this was intended as a lighthouse, constructed as a punishment for stealing church property from a shipwreck. This octaginal, medieval tower is one of various monuments worth checking out. (You can walk from here to The Hoy Monument - details below.) An English Heritage site.

Directions: The Pepperpot is a 15-20 minute, steep walk up the hill from the car park. The car park can be found on the Blackgang Road (A3055) nearby the Blackgang Chine roundabout. Sat Nav: PO38 2HN (Blackgang Chine... don't turn off the main road at the roundabout... head a little further East and the car park is easy to spot on your right.)

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'The Hoy Monument', north of Chale

The Hoy Monument is a 72ft tall, elegant structure, located just North of Chale. The best time to visit is in the Spring, when the bluebells cover the ground in a beautiful carpet of colour. It is however beautiful any time of the year. The monument was built by Michael Hoy, (a merchant who lived at The Hermitage just down the hill,) in order to commemorate  Tsar Alexander I of Russia's visit to England in 1814. 

Directions: My favourite way to visit the Hoy Monument is to walk from The Pepperpot. (See above.) Simply keep heading north over the crest of the hill up from the car park and you will see The Hoy Monument in the distance. It's probably about another 30 mins walk from The Pepperpot. Or, you could stay at The Hermitage and ask the lovely manager Ian for directions up the hill! However, there are various walks to get there - take a look at your OS map to find your own way there.

THIS VIDEO SHOWS YOU HOW TO WALK TO THE PEPPERPOT AND THE HOY MONUMENT...

Isle of Wight Photos

  • The Long Stone, Mottistone

    The Long Stone, Mottistone

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    The Needles lighthouse

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    West Wight, Isle of Wight

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    Wroxhall from Appuldurcombe, I...

  • Cowes Esplanade, Isle of Wight

    Cowes Esplanade, Isle of Wight

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Norman

"Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote" - Michael Palin