Garden Cafés: Five of the best the Island has to offer
Botanic tropical plantings, herbaceous borders and sea views… we’ve got the best places to visit for a light bite with that garden vibe. Planning on spending a lazy day exploring some of the Island’s finest gardens? Or just fancy sitting and soaking up the great outdoors?
Here are five garden cafes worth a visit.
Tropical treasures:The Plantation Room Café, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Ventnor
This flagship garden on the Isle of Wight offers something for everyone, with tropical plantings making the most of Ventnor’s famed Mediterranean climate. Make sure you check out the 500 year old olive tree or the rare and endangered Aloe Polyphylla. Sitting amongst the beautiful picturesque surroundings of the Botanic Gardens is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy a fantastic lunch. The Plantation Room Café offers fresh homemade foods prepared using only the finest ingredients from local and southern suppliers, or produce grown within the Garden itself – as well as barista coffees, loose leaf teas or a nice glass of wine for those who enjoy a glass of something chilled on a sunny afternoon.
Royal ramblings: Osborne House, East Cowes
With one of the most stunning, historic gardens the Isle of Wight has to offer, Osborne House is a must visit while on the Island. So while exploring the walled garden, wandering down to Swiss Cottage and the beach and then grabbing a carriage ride back to the main house there are four pit stops to choose from. Enjoy waiter-service at the elegant Terrace Restaurant which serves a seasonal a la carte menu and has wonderful views overlooking the gardens towards the Solent, or for light lunches, soups, snacks and cakes, and a wide range of hot and cold drinks pop into the Petty Officers Café. For snacks and drinks while out exploring Swiss Cottage you can take time out to relax at The Gazelle House. Or why not linger a bit at the Pavilion Beach Ice Cream Parlour which offers Island's famous Minghella Ice-Cream, as well as locally sourced coffees and cakes. The Parlour is perfectly situated next to Osborne’s beach, converted from a pavilion built for convalescing officers in the 1940s.
Elizabethan beauty: The Shack, Mottistone Manor, Mottistone
Nestled between the Jurassic coastline on the south coast of the Island beneath Mottistone Down, Mottistone Manor gardens is full of surprises, with shrub-filled banks, hidden pathways and colourful herbaceous borders. Surrounding an attractive Elizabethan manor house this 20th-century garden is experimenting with a Mediterranean-style planting scheme to take advantage of its southerly location.
Other surprises include a young olive grove, a small organic kitchen garden and a traditional tea garden. With a seasonally changing menu of hot and cold drinks, sandwiches with a variety of fillings, light lunches, warming soup and sausage rolls for cooler days, and a selection of scones and cakes, made using the organic produce grown in their kitchen garden where possible, this is the perfect spot to relax and take in the tranquillity of this stunning garden.
Soulful solitude: Quarr Abbey Tea Garden, Ryde
Set within the gardens of a Benedictine Monastery, Quarr Abbey Tea Garden and Farm Shop is a great place to find a moment of solitude, relax and take in the beautiful walled garden. This award winning café (myIsleofWight Award winner for Best Place for a Cuppa & Slice of Something Nice 2016 & 2017) offers tea, coffee, cakes and light lunches all freshly prepared making the most of the organically grown allotment produce grown on site by the monks. The farm shop offers a range of local produce and the Abbeys own unique range of products including ale, eggs, honey, jam and chutneys, as well as seasonal home grown produce. Make sure to take a walk around the Abbey afterwards and explore the ruins of the original Abbey built in 1132.
Amazing Allium: Garlic Farm, Newchurch
Not exactly a garden but well worth putting on the list, the Garlic Farm is one of the Island’s top stops for visitors. Located in the fertile and beautiful Arreton Valley, you can take a farm walk enjoying flora and fauna, birds, animals, insects and wild flowers which co-exist with their farmed crops. There’s also an education centre you can look round to learn all about garlic, as well as a shop and lots of yummy samples to try before you buy. But the best bit is the Garlic Farm Café, famous locally for its garlicky inspired menus offering breakfast, lunch and coffee and cakes throughout the day.
6 August 2018