Historic Stays on the Isle of Wight
Are you to the manor born or hoping to be a prince or princess for the day in your own castle or manor house? If so the Isle of Wight has several splendid top notch accommodation options to bring out the aristocrat in you.
Be the king (and queen) of the castle when all of the visitors have gone home, by staying at the Bowling Green Apartment within the walls of Carisbrooke Castle. This comfortable two bedroom apartment in the 19thcentury service block looks out over the central courtyard and the stables where the castle’s famous donkeys await their turn to walk the ancient wheel to draw water from the castle’s well. After dark you’re the only residents within the walls of this motte and bailey castle, dating back to the Norman era, and you can explore the ramparts at your leisure.
Nestled beneath St Catherine’s Down close to the ancient village of Chale, the beautifully restored 14thcentury Gotten Manor haslime-washed walls and polished wooden floorboards. By candlelight you can bathe in a huge cast-iron bath in your bedroom. Breakfast is of local and organic produce, including organic jams, marmalades, pickles and yoghurts made by owner Caroline Gurney-Champion. Two converted barns are offered for self-catering too - The Cart House and The Milk House. There are great walks from Gotten Manor across the downs and to the ‘Pepperpot’ – an early form of lighthouse built in penance by Walter de Godeton for purloining wine from a shipwreck back in 1313 – indeed records on Gotten go back to Norman times and you can read them during your stay.
Live it up in luxury at Rocklands Manor – Russell Brand and his mates holed up here for a holiday not long ago. Set in leafy St Lawrence on the south coast, you have views to the sea through the trees and the coastal path and secluded coves are a stone’s throw away. There are 10 en suite bedrooms, the original ballroom is now a spacious lounge and dining room, and French doors from here open to the croquet lawn and the 6-seater recliner hot tub. Fun and games are provided by large flat screen TVs with Sky and Sports packages, a spacious billiard room with bar, table football and a full size snooker table. Plus there’s a large barn with wood burning stove and BBQ shelter. Party on dudes.
Hire a whole fort in the Solent for a shindig in the sea. Spitbank is the smaller of the two refurbished forts and has 8 luxury rooms, some with king size waterbeds and all with sea views. No Man’s Fort has 23 en suite rooms,a choice of five bars, a cabaret club, casual and formal dining and rooftop hot tubs and sauna hut. Arrive by boat from Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, or by helicopter for that real wow factor. In the bowels of No Man’s Fort is a lazer quest adventure floor for corporate team building or stag night shenanigans. A former lighthouse on the top has stunning views, especially from the 360 degree glass enclosed viewing room at the top.
This picturesque Jacobean manor house is one of the largest on the island, built in 1615 on the site of a monastic building that dated back to the 13thcentury. In the deep countryside of the south-west side of the Isle of Wight on the edge of the rural picturesque village of Shorwell, the local thatched pub, church and post office are all within 3-5 minutes walk. The owners, John and Christine Harrison, offer bed and breakfast in three ensuite rooms within the East Wing, and their son provides self-catering for up to 18 people in the north wing (Northclose House) and self-catering for up to 14 in the West Wing (Little Northcourt). In June there’s a traditional village fair held in the grounds with falconry display and dog demonstration, tea tent and stalls and music from local band/folk group.
Once the seat ofMichael Hoy, a successful merchant born in 1758 who worked for The Russia Company and later served as a Sheriff of London, The Hermitage in its 11 acres of mature grounds has recently been renovated in a modern style and has 10 en-suite rooms. With attractive country and sea views, the spacious entrance hall has a grand staircase, and there are elegant panelled rooms, original wooden floorboards and open fireplaces. French doors open to the terrace and manicured gardens, and there’s a games room with pool table, table tennis and even a gym with shower room. Local caterers and spa and beauty therapists can be booked by arrangement.
Hire the whole manor and bring your friends on holiday to the 13thcentury Grade II listed Kingston Manor in the south of the island. With seven bedrooms and six bathrooms, you can party in the Great Hall with its oak panelled walls, flagstone flooring and roaring 17thcentury fireplace for the winter months; retreat to the library for quiet contemplation; withdraw to the drawing room; play on the full size snooker table in the games barn; or relax beneath the stars in the courtyard’s 7-seater hot tub. The sweeping gardens with a stream and hidden lakes have a Medieval carp pond with an old stone bridge and parterre for romantic trysts, plus an enormous south-facing grassed courtyard with paved terraces and outside eating area.
25 May 2018