Best Spots for a Proper Picnic

With half of the Island designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, there are plenty of great picnic spots to enjoy from forests and downland to beaches and bays. So gather up your local artisan Island bread, some IoW tomatoes, Isle of Wight Cheese and Garlic Farm chutney, not forgetting some Sharon Orchard apple juice to wash it all down with - and make like the Famous Five off on a new adventure…

Here are 5 hotspots to get you started...

1. Chillerton Down, Gatcombe

Chillerton Down and the land around Gatcombe village is a beautiful area of downland with wooded valleys hidden away right in the middle of the Island with panoramic views.  Partly owned by the National Trust and protected by National Trust covenants to preserve the beauty of the landscape, there are plenty of picnic spots to choose from here.

 2.  Brighstone Forest, Brighstone

Brighstone Forest is the largest forest of the Island and a massive draw for all those who love the outdoor life. It’s also a great spot to picnic, especially if the weather is not on your side. Sheltered by any wind or drizzle, the trees provide ample cover and are a sight to behold. The forest has a completely timeless yet utterly magical quality about it all year round and for children it's very much Gruffalo territory.

 3. Totland Bay, Totland

On sunny days, Totland Bay feels much more akin to somewhere in the Mediterranean, even if you don’t have your BBQ sizzling. What’s so wonderful is that in the height of summer the beaches are still very peaceful. As you curve round the bay, with its craggy rocks dipping out to sea, the views out to Hurst Castle and the mainland are stunning, as are the beautiful sunsets. The mixture of stony and sandy beaches, have a long list of awards and the excellent quality of water makes swimming enjoyable and easy. But beware at high tide as the beach disappears.

4. Tennyson Down, Freshwater

In the footsteps of poet Lord Alfred Tennyson, Tennyson Down is a truly life-enhancing place full of inspiration and beauty. It’s also a perfect place to picnic. You can pitch up and marvel at the open downland, sheer chalk cliffs and dramatic sea vistas from all around. The landscape is wildlife-rich; amongst the gorse bushes are small birds and thousands of minute downland flowers and cliff nesting birds, which you can watch soar effortlessly along the cliff tops using the updrafts while you chomp on your sandwiches.

5.  Steephill Cove, Ventnor

This truly unspoilt cove is an absolute gem on the Island and one that locals like to keep to themselves, with no road down to the cove - just steep steps. The picturesque natural cove is fringed by a row of cottages that have barely changed over the decades. Steephill Cove is good old-fashioned beach-side picnic fun at its best with plenty to do and see from rock pooling, sand castle building and swimming to watching the local fishermen land their catch or just snoozing on one of the rented deckchairs. In summer cafes and shops are open to help complement your picnic. Grab a crab pasty from the Crab Shed - freshly made and yummy!

Sarah Sims

22 May 2016

By Sarah Sims in Articles