As a new year begins, it’s a good time to plan that perfect getaway with friends or family, so we thought we’d pull together our Top Ten ‘Blow the Budget’ Isle of Wight self catering stays, accommodating eight or more people, for 2012.
1. Rocklands, St Lawrence
Rocklands Estate can accommodate up to 30 guests and has a large creeper-covered manor house and another large property, two acres of gardens, a private tennis court overlooked by a large pavilion and a smaller pavilion with barbecue and stunning sea views. Originally the home of Lord Pelham, there is a banquet table for everyone to dine together, 17 – 19 private bedrooms (ten en suite), large rooms for meetings or socialising, two table tennis tables, two American pool tables, a football table, croquet lawn, badminton lawn, two large hot tubs and it is in the mild, lush undercliff of St Lawrence, near Ventnor.
Greystone Cottage in Brook was built as a farmhouse in 1830 and is an excellent family seaside home for up to eight people perched on the edge of the Chine overlooking the one of the Island’s most beautiful beaches. On the ground floor it has beautiful tiled floors with under-floor heating, there is a delightful spacious open plan living room with French doors opening into the garden with windows along two sides of the room giving it a wonderful light and airy feel. There is also a dining area where 10 people can dine together. On the ground floor there is a pleasant double bedroom with a small sitting area and an ensuite wet room and upstairs there are three further bedrooms including a beautiful master bedroom which is very spacious and has an attractive bay window.
Orchard Bay House is a unique property perched on the edge of its own bay, just above the high water mark, with stunning sea views from all of the main rooms. The property has been converted into one home from three coastguard cottages which were built in the 1800’s and now provides luxurious accommodation for ten in the main house, with two further bedrooms in the garden studio. It has a marvellous feeling of light and space with large windows and French doors giving direct access to balconies and a terrace directly above the beach. A walk through the Botanic Gardens takes you to the picturesque Steephill Cove and the coastal path leads eastwards for a further mile to the seaside resort of Ventnor. The house has recently been completely renovated to an exceptionally high standard.
4. SeaGlass, Cowes
SeaGlass in Cowes is an award winning contemporary home above Gurnard bay with 180 degree views over the Solent, and has been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines. It is based on the Californian ‘Case Study’ houses and the layout and interior design suggest a wonderful 21st century twist on 60’s Californian chic. It was designed by The Manser practice in London and completed in 2007. The main Glass Room has an expansive teak deck on one side and the sheltered white granite courtyard and pool on the other. Behind the open fireplace at the end of the room is a semicircular infinity lawn. The grounds include a number of terraces and eating areas, with a 9m by 5m swimming pool and barbecue area set on a lower level and its own beach. The house incorporates a great deal of sustainable technology, including a ground source heat pump which heats the water and the swimming pool, a rainwater harvester supplying the loos and the garden irrigation system. There are solar panels which also supply electricity and the whole house is super insulated.
5. Ashleigh, Bonchurch
Ashleigh is located on the seaward side of the beautiful and tranquil village of Bonchurch and stands detached within an acre of gardens with large lawns and woodland and is only a ten minute walk from Ventnor. The spacious 1830s house was once the home of one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting and original architectural features include high ceilings, decorative plasterwork, eight fireplaces, wooden window shutters, stripped floors, panelled doors and elegant furnishings. Bonchurch, famous for its Victorian visitors such as Dickens, has a small sand and shingle beach, restaurants and a pottery, one of the oldest churches on the Island, a pub, a blacksmith and a brasserie. Ashleigh is also only a 10-minute walk away from the larger resort of Ventnor.
Westside Farmhouse in Chale is surrounded by countryside with distant views of St Catherine’s Oratory and the sea can be viewed from the upper level bedrooms. This detached holiday retreat has been lovingly refurbished, boasting many features such as flagstone floors, window shutters, beams and wood-burning stoves. There is a family room in addition to the main living room, and a spacious dining hall as well as separate dining/breakfast room, which leads to a conservatory. The large lawned garden has a play area for children. The charming parish of Chale lies at the foot of St Catherine’s Hill, and has a general store, a 14th-century church and a renowned pub/restaurant, about a mile distant, with the sea slightly further.
Marina Villa in Shanklin was built in 1929, as a gentlemen’s residence, and offers spectacular sea views over Sandown Bay towards Culver Cliff. Noted local architect, Ernest Smith, was commissioned to take full advantage of the cliff-top location and exceptionally sunny climate and designed a grand detached house with decadently proportioned rooms reminiscent of an elegant Mediterranean villa. All the main living and bedrooms have large windows topped by stained glass detail and Art Deco influences include an upstairs sun room with huge sliding picture windows to enjoy the breathtaking sunrises and scenery by day and bay illuminations by night. Huge stained glass windows bring out the oak-panelled hallway, magnificent staircase and galleried landing. Built for entertaining, the house has an impressive triple aspect drawing room and large oak-panelled dining-room with doors into the sun room and garden for al-fresco dining.
The Mill House in Brighstone is a beautiful detached Georgian house that dates back to the 1700s and stands elegantly within its own well maintained gardens, offering spectacular far reaching views across fields to the Downs, whilst being only 10 minutes’ walk to the sea. Still retaining many features such as stone and wood floors, ornate fireplaces and high ceilings it is ideal for families with a formal living room with open fire and grand piano and a family room with TV and a selection of games, books and toys. Across the lane is a pleasant walk beside the stream, which leads to the picturesque village of Brighstone with its thatched-roof village shops, tearoom, pub/restaurants, and NT museum. The secluded sandy bays of Compton and Brook are all within 10 minutes’ drive.
Downedge on Brading Mall looks out over the RSPB reserve of Brading Marshes and on to the coast. It is approached via its own private drive and inside there are six bedrooms, four bathrooms, four reception rooms, some with open fireplaces and all with large windows filling the house with natural light. Downstairs there is a comfortable living room with an open fireplace and views of the ‘massive’ gardens. There is a music room, a children’s play room, a formal dining room and a fabulous brand new kitchen.
Tapnell Manor in Yarmouth is a wonderful, large, family farmhouse boasting spectacular views of Afton downs, the Channel, Yarmouth and the Solent. This delightful 10 bedroom manor house has been newly renovated and boasts a wonderful living area perfect for families or groups to holiday together. It is set between two dairy farms and is surrounded by gardens with wonderful aspects, ponds and walks.