The other Wight isle
Watching the sunrise over a turquoise ocean, catching a glimpse of a couple saying their vows on the private beach below, and dining on oysters, which were, until this morning, still part of the food chain. No, this is not California, or Mauritius, and the answer might just surprise you.
The eyes of the world might be on London this summer. But if you want to escape the crowds, the queues, and the world’s media, we’ve discovered a different world altogether – just a hop, skip, and a ferry-ride away.
Welcome to the Isle of Wight. Once famed as a twee English seaside resort, thanks to the trendy Isle of Wight festival, a new wave of luxurious hotels, and in no small part to Kate Moss’ hen do, this beautiful English isle is making a come-back.
And rightly so. Beyond the cobbled streets of Ryde, this isle boasts acres of glorious English countryside, leading to some of the most exquisite beaches the UK has to offer.
A short drive from the postcard-perfect town of Ryde leads to the northeast corner of the island, and Seaview – home of Priory Bay hotel.
The location is truly unrivalled – the morning sunrise casting the first light over the sheltered private beach, overlooking The Solent. And while the six-course gourmet tasting menu produced with island ingredients is faultless, the al-fresco alternative at the oyster bar outside, caught on a perfect summer’s evening, is heavenly.
Poking your nose around the rooms, each one has more character and charm than the last – all individually designed, and many incorporating original period features too.
But if none of them take your fancy, come the summer months you can stay in one of the hotel’s newly launched yurts. Fear not, there’ll be no flashbacks to camping holidays with parents and there’s not a portable stove in sight. Each yurt is uniquely designed, complete with king-size bed, en-suite and bathtub – oh, and your own private deck.
Don’t be fooled by the label ‘bed and breakfast’. Yes, there are both. But with the option of your own butler service to bring it to you, this is no glorified camping, or shabby chic. This is ‘glamping’ at its most decadent.
Yurts at the Priory Bay Hotel are available from now until September 30th.
When to go? Now: with the Queen’s jubilee casting a regal glow over the country this month, Osborne House – Queen Victoria’s favoured royal residence– is hosting a Victorian party at the palace over the bank holiday 3rd to 5th June. visitsoutheastengland.com
Alternatively, just a few miles down the road in Newport, the annual Isle of Wight festival runs from 21st to 24th June, featuring music from Elbow, Biffy Clyro and Bruce Springsteen. isleofwightfestival.com
How to get there? Ferries run 24 hours a day for both foot passengers and cars and leave from Portsmouth, Southampton, and Southsea.
Written by Nikki Osman – Compiled by Hala Di-Maio