Garden Cafés: Five of the best the Island has to offer
Botanic tropical plantings, luscious lavender 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: 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 - so the vegetarian options are always a real treat - as are the specialty gluten free cakes!
Ventnor Botanic Garden, Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, PO38 1UL
By Royal Appointment: 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 after exploring the walled garden, wandering down to Swiss Cottage and the beach and then grabbing a carriage ride back to the main house where you can 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 why not linger a bit at the The Gazelle House in the Swiss Cottage gardens, which offers a delicious menu of light refreshments and hot and cold drinks, including Beatrice cakes, inspired by a 19th century recipe and named after Victoria's youngest daughter. The café is perfectly situated in the historic grounds of the cottage next to the children’s playground.
Osborne House, York Ave, East Cowes, PO32 6JX
Elizabethan Beauty: The Shack, Mottistone Garden, Mottistone Manor
Nestled between the Jurassic coastline on the south coast of the Island beneath Mottistone Down, Mottistone Garden 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 – the perfect spot to relax and take in the tranquility over a refreshing drink.
Mottistone Garden, Mottistone Manor, Mottistone, near Brighstone PO30 4EA
Hey Dilly Dilly: Isle of Wight Lavender Farm, Newport
Visit the Old Dairy Tearoom with its famous lavender ice-cream and large range of homemade cakes. Whilst there take in the beautiful and fragrant surroundings of the lavender farm where they produce the highest quality Lavender. Isle of Wight Lavender are National Collection holders for Lavendula with over 230 cultivars of Lavender. This really is the best place to buy lavender for your own garden or checkout the gift shop where a wide range of aromatherapy and everyday products have been created using their own Lavender oil.
Isle of Wight Lavender Farm, Staplehurst Grange, Staplers Rd, Newport PO30 2LU
Walled & Award Winning: The Tea Garden, Quarr Abbey, Ryde
Last year’s winner of the myIsleofWight Award for ‘Best Place for a Cuppa & Slice of Something Nice’, this tranquil tea garden offers fair trade tea & coffee, homemade cakes and freshly prepared lunches using their own organically grown produce – from the Abbey’s allotment. Tucked within the walled garden at the Benedictine monastery, the café combines a farm shop to pick up a treasure of Island produce including the Abbey’s own range of products which include ale, eggs, honey, jams and chutneys, as well produce grown on site. With views to the Abbey from the beautiful garden, you may see red squirrels running along the garden wall, buzzards circling over the woods, and can explore the grounds and meet the Abbey’s pigs and chickens.
The Tea & Farm Shop, Quarr Abbey, Ryde, PO33 4ES
24 May 2016