The word “stunning” is likely to find its way into your description of Quarr Abbey as you recount your memorable visit to one of the Isle of Wight’s hidden gems to friends and family.
Still an active Catholic Benedictine monastery, this majestic abbey was completed in 1912 and sits on the gorgeous grounds of the original, ancient abbey dating back to 1132, whose ruins remain today.
Set between the countryside and seaside, this supremely spiritual site of outstanding beauty is not to be missed on your next Island adventure. The oldy-worldy Italian vibe hitting you immediately upon arrival will even have you wondering: “How does this place even exist on the Isle of Wight?” (Tip: You can find the answer to that in their Visitor Centre!)
What you'll see
Depending on the day and time of your visit, you may find yourself fortunate enough to experience the resident monks partaking in a Gregorian chanting session or join in a free guided tour. Mass is also held daily (Mon-Fri, Sun) and visitors are welcome to attend.
After you’ve explored the interior of the church and monastery, marvelled at the unique architecture, and experienced the tranquillity and serenity therein, a whole host of activities await you and your party – and there’s something for everyone. If you’re in market for fresh air and the peaceful sounds of nature, step into the gardens and farm allotments where you can unwind and may be lucky enough to spot one of the Island’s famous red squirrels.
Art and history buff? Stop in to the Art Gallery or explore the Visitor Centre and learn more about the Abbey’s epic story over the last nine centuries.
For something completely different, buy a small bag of feed and give the resident pigs a snack. Spoiler alert: The pigs are super grateful and watching them eat is equally as satisfying!
Where you can eat
If all that feeding makes you hungry, enjoy a house-made sandwich or panini from the café, or if you’re craving something sweet, grab a cuppa and a slice of homemade cake. If the weather is nice, take your tray outside and sit in the idyllic Tea Gardens complete with cosy, Insta-worthy lattice booths.
Don’t miss the adjacent Farm Shop featuring the Abbey’s homemade jams and chutneys as well as fresh eggs, honey, fresh fruit and veg – all of which are grown and harvested on site. And if you like your brews, don’t forget to take home a bottle of the signature Quarr Abbey Ale. Not driving home? A cold one in the garden won’t let you down.
Last but not least
After, walk off your cake calories on the Woodland Walk. And if you’re bringing the kids, ask to borrow a ‘Quarr Explorer Kit’ complete with binoculars, a bug pot and activity cards for a bit of extra interactive fun. Continue further on your walk down to the ruins of the old abbey (built in 1132 before Henry VIII ordered it to be dismantled) and you’ll discover some stunning views across the Solent.