A 3d ceramic magnet again, from the Isle of Wight, or more specifically West Wight. Having spent all of our lives living in West Surrey, our most frequent day trips by train have been taken on the London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour line. Southbound we visited Portsmouth most regularly, though sometimes we have sailed across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. The five ferry crossing routes to IOW are;
Southampton to West Cowes – Red Jet Hi-speed – 25 mins
Southampton to East Cowes – Red Funnel Car ferry – 60 mins approx.
Portsmouth to Fishborne – Wightlink Car Ferry – 40 mins
Lymington to Yarmouth – Wightlink Car ferry – 40 mins
Portsmouth Harbour Rail Station – Catamaran – Ryde Pier Head – 22mins
Photo by Peter Trimming on Wikimedia Commons
If travelling by train, the easiest option to reach the IOW is the catamaran which departs from the end of the platform at Portsmouth Harbour. Through tickets, including the catamaran to any station on ‘The Island Line, are available from most South East rail stations. If travelling to West Wight, then purchase a ticket to Ryde Pier head and then just walk down the pier to Ryde Esplanade where the bus station is situated. Or buy a through ticket to Ryde Esplanade if you don’t want to walk.
There is also a hovercraft service from Clarence Pier to Ryde Esplanade, which take 15 minutes.
From Ryde the number nine bus gets you as far as Newport, where a change is required to the number seven, which terminates at Alum Bay. This is a long bus journey, which should be undertaken in summer when there are long daylight hours.
At Alum bay is the ‘The Needles Park’, this theme park is a popular attraction for families most of the year. There is a chair lift which transports people down to a shingle beach. The beach is not the main attraction for a change, the multi-coloured cliffs along the beach are. There is also glass blowing and a ‘Sand Shop’, where you can make your own souvenir filled with different layers of Alum bay coloured sand.
Photo by Barry Shimmon on Wikimedia Commons.
An open top bus called the ‘Needles Breezer’ runs a circular route between Yarmouth, Alum Bay, Needles Old battery and back to Yarmouth.
The Needles Old Battery is a National Trust property, members receive a discount on the ‘Needles Breezer’ fares.
In the next image we finally see ‘The needles’ subject of ‘Mark’s Midweek Magnet’ The Needles point almost directly at Poole Harbour, the land either side is;
Left – the white chalk is probably ‘Old Harry Rocks’, separating Swanage from Studland Bay.
Right – Is the millionaires haunt of Sandbanks.
The Needles Old battery.
Looking from the coastguard station at Swanage across to the Needles. Just about make out the speck of chalk on the horizon, which is the Needles and South West IOW coast. Click on image to zoom in.
If any time is left after visiting the above places we would recommend a side trip to Tennyson Down. This area is a favourite for walking as it is very scenic. This website has three walks around West Wight, which can be walked in three stages if you are staying in the area. The three routes are; Yarmouth – Freshwater Bay, Freshwater bay – The Needles, The Needles – Yarmouth
Image from Bruce Mcdowall
We know it is an inconvenient trip to West Wight from Ryde, the views however, are worth the effort to get here. The journey is made a lot easier if you can catch the Lymington to Yarmouth Ferry and then the Needles Breezer bus. We sometimes prefer the relative quiet of West Wight to the ‘kiss me quick’ brashness of some the Eastern and Northern seaside resorts on the Island.
Thanks for reading,
Mark & Yvette.