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See the Isle of Wight's green spaces in a different light this winter

Fri 15 Nov 2013

See the Isle of Wight's green spaces in a different light this winter

Though she may be the most famous, Queen Victoria is far from the only person to have been enraptured by the Isle of Wight's natural beauty. Indeed, just like the monarch, many people jump on a ferry and head to the island each year in search of peace and quiet, with a significant proportion paying a visit to at least one of the landscaped gardens attached to the stately homes found here.
 
Although they undoubtedly look magnificent in full bloom, such gardens are not just for the summer months. In fact, visiting in winter can allow you to see a different side to the grounds of these magnificent and historic residences, while other stand-alone parks and gardens are similarly worth checking out once the summer tourist crowds have left and the frost has started to settle. 
 
Here are just a few of the peaceful green spaces it's worth visiting over the winter months:
 
Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Open all-year round, the Botanic Gardens boast one of Europe's finest collections of sub-tropical plants and trees, with highlights including the Australia and South African gardens and the Mediterranean Terrace. The unique, sheltered position of the town of Ventnor means it enjoys a sunny microclimate, allowing such plants to flourish, and visitors are actively encouraged to step off the pathways and explore the collections up-close. Even when it's cold and rainy, you can check out the Tropical House, home to a tropical rainforest, while the gardens also host regular events such as talks, guided walks and hands-on botany sessions.
 
The gardens are open every day, except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from 10am to 4pm.
 
Osborne House

Thanks to its royal links and stunning location - indeed, as Queen Victoria famously said, "it is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" - Osborne House is a major tourist draw in the summer months. However, it's also a great place to visit in the winter, and not just because it's possible to walk through the stately home and its landscaped gardens free from crowds.
 
For example, when there's a brisk wind blowing and the skies are grey, Queen Victoria's private beach, hidden away in a sheltered cove around 20 minutes by foot from the house, looks even more dramatic than normal, while winter is also a good time to spot a wide range of seabirds from the coastal path.
 
Osborne House is open weekends only over the winter, and, though all of the grounds are open to the public, only the ground floor of the home is accessible.
 
Yaverland Beach

If stately home gardens aren't your thing, then worry not: if you still fancy a breath of fresh air and the chance to get back to nature, then the Isle of Wight's beaches offer stunning views and solitude over the winter months.
 
Yaverland Beach, which is popular in the summer with families and swimmers, is often almost-deserted when the temperatures drop, meaning it's possible to walk the clean sands and explore the sandstone cliffs that form part of the Isle of Wight's dinosaur trail in peace and quiet.ADNFCR-3083-ID-801661295-ADNFCR

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