There’s nothing better on a blustery day than to be sitting inside in a cosy, preferably log fire – warmed room, looking out over the tempestuous seas around our coastline. We’ve pulled together the best National Trust places to stay with fabulous views of the coast.
To the East there are two lovely old properties as you drive onto The Duver at St Helen’s. On the corner is Old Church Lodge, a traditional style Victorian one storey stone cottage with a feature entrance porch and pretty surrounding garden. It has glimpses of the coast and an open fire to snuggle up in front of in the sitting room, with an easy walk to the sea wall and the beach with its beautiful beach huts. Down the road and you are on the Duver, a stretch of sand dunes, flora and fauna, owned by the Trust and a haven for seabirds and other wildlife.
Just past this is the Old Clubhouse: an attractive wooden chalet, formerly the clubhouse for the old Royal Isle of Wight Golf Club that was here until 1961. This property has been adapted for accompanied disabled visitors and its verandah overlooks the Duver.
You can stay at the southernmost tip of the Island at Knowles Farm Cottage, right by the lighthouse (no foghorn!) and within reach of the seashore and beaches at Castle Haven and Rocken End. There are lovely views across the small, walled garden and fields to the sea and there is an open fire in the sitting room. Access is by a steep private road, from which normal public traffic is prohibited.
Chert in St Lawrence, near Ventnor, is closer to civilization with a loftier view of the coastline and a real vintage atmosphere. It is a unique ‘mirror image’ 70s house, covered in mosaic work made from the rocks in which it sits, tucked against a wooded cliff. There are wonderful sea views from the expansive first floor windows and large balcony. A central spiral staircase leads up to the first floor where two identical wings meet in a central hall way and the largely monochrome interior has touches of bright orange and turquoise with furniture is very much in 70’s style.
To the West of the Island you can opt to stay in the closest properties to the iconic Needles: three of the Coastguard Cottages on the Needles Headland are available to rent from the NT. Pomone, Irex and Varvassi are in a terrace of little red brick cottages that enjoy spectacular views of Alum Bay, the downlands, the Solent and the mainland coast. Up a steep and winding road from Alum Bay, they stand in an area of 370 acres of open downland owned by The National Trust and each has an open fire in their sitting rooms.
For seclusion without quite so much exposure you might like to opt for 1 or 2 Compton Farm Cottages, in two 19th century stone semi-detached farm workers’ cottages that nestle into a sheltered dell under the south side of the down. Only a few yards from the cliff edge at Compton, and within easy reach of the beach (steep steps down to Compton Farm Beach), there are wonderful walks in all directions from the front door.
Not far away but further inland stands Longstone Cottage at Mottistone, and whilst it doesn’t have views of the sea a short walk takes you to the nearby Longstone and a panoramic view of the south-west coastline. This spacious, detached Edwardian cottage has only gas – no electricity – so you’ll really get to escape from it all here. Heating and lights are provided by Calor Gas and there is a multi fuel stove in the sitting room.
Standing at the head of the Longstone Valley at Mottistone, it is only a stone’s throw from the Island’s only standing stone and has far-reaching views and a large peaceful garden – an ideal base for walking holidays. Access to this isolated cottage is via a winding trackway with locked gates, across a common on which wild New Forest ponies graze.
To the north of the Island the NT have a Victorian house right on the seafront at Cowes with splendid views of Cowes Harbour and the Solent.
East and West Rosetta Cottages are “ideal for large family occasions or for yachting enthusiasts,” says the NT website. West Rosetta is the larger share of the house with five bedrooms and French doors to the garden and a sunroom. East Rosetta is to the side of the main property, has three bedrooms and has a raised garden to the rear.