Discovering Vintage Isle of Wight… whether shopping, eating, staying or playing.
The word on everyone’s lips right now is Vintage – so I was wondering what is vintage? Well when in doubt ask an expert so that is exactly what I did – our own myisleofwight Vintage expert and co-owner of Suze’s Room, Ventnor. According to the delectable Mrs B Vintage is ‘anything cool from the past. So anything vintage, retro and kitsch but in a modern way. It could be finding a Hermes scarf at a flea market or riding the dotto train or playing the penny slot machines on Ryde seafront.’ Any clearer? Well here’s our guide to some Island hotspots to give you a flavour.
Whether its retro pieces for the house, hidden designer specials or brightly coloured 50’s cookware you’re after, Suze’s Room in Ventnor is a must visit. Owners Debs & Tracey are self confessed treasure hunters scouring boot sales, junk shops and ebay is an addiction that led to them pooling all of their beautiful finds in this eclectic collaboration.
You will be sure to find something you want, even though you are guaranteed not to need it! Or maybe you’re a clothing purist after that exclusive find, perfect for the summer ball…. then try Oh So Vintage in Newport. With an array of vintage clothing for both men and women, the shop is overflowing with gloves, hats, scarves and every type of dress imaginable.
To step back in time and enjoy the finer things in life why not go for Tea at The Royal Hotel in Ventnor? Feel the glamour in this 54 bedroom hotel, where Afternoon Tea is served everyday from 3- 5pm, including dainty sandwiches, cream tea and a selection of tiny patisseries – it’s the Ritz of the Island.
For something a bit more rock’n’roll checkout The Original Phil’s Diner in Newport. This 1950’s American style diner has it all with authentic cheerleader-esque waitresses, vinyl benches and Hollywood icons staring down on you as you eat. It’s more Grease than greasy spoon and serves excellent burgers which can be enjoyed while listening to the juke box.
For the ultimate in 70’s kitsch, a weekend away staying at Chert in St Lawrence is unmissable. Now owned and available for rent from the National Trust this house is a homage to 1970’s chic from its architecture and central spiral staircase, to the largely monochrome interior with its bright orange bathroom and detailed mosaic features and 70’s style furniture.
Or for something a bit different, with shades of the 1950’s, stay at Vintage Vacations The Mission in Chale. This newly restored converted mission meeting hall combines open plan living with charming features like the beautiful 1950’s ‘English Rose’ model kitchen and the sunken bath… sunken into what was the baptismal font.
If stuck for somewhere to visit while on the Island then you cannot get more vintage than Blackgang Chine – the UK’s oldest and therefore most original theme park. Set in Victorian gardens, overlooking the Island’s south-west ‘heritage coast’ this unique theme park offers a startling array of attractions; rides, cowboys, fairies, dinosaurs and of course pirates (a homage to the site’s murky smuggling heritage), all designed to appeal to both children and adults alike.
Or relive the splendor of the age of the steam train over at The Isle of Wight Steam Railway in Havenstreet – will you travel First, Second or Third class? Settle back in beautifully restored Victorian and Edwardian carriages and enjoy a unique view of some of the Island’s unspoilt countryside … or hop off at one of the stations and just watch the trains go by.
And finally… for those special finds make sure you checkout the Island’s many car boot sales (Newport Town Football Club, St Georges Way, Newport on a Sunday morning is the biggest) and second hand shops. Or put the Island Auction Rooms, Shanklin monthly auction dates in your diary – they have antique and house clearance auctions on the first Tuesday and Wednesday of every month.