We’re well into the winter walk season now, so here are a few warming ideas for keeping you cosy on the Isle of Wight as the temperatures drop.
If you walk down the road to St Catherine’s Lighthouse to see the waves crashing onto the beach at Rocken End, you could warm up around the open fire at the Buddle Inn on your return to the top. Reputed to have been used by the smugglers who plied their trade in these parts, the Buddle often has live music in the bar at weekends, and if it’s a sunny day you can sit outside and admire the view across the English Channel.
Compton beach is a great favourite for winter walks and if the surf is up you may see surfers - on windy days kitesurfers will be riding the waves. Wander along the sandy beach and see if you can find fossils that have fallen from the cliffs. Afterwards you could make your way to The Piano Cafe, which is always warm and welcoming. The sun pours in the windows here on fine days and it can be really hot, when outside it’s freezing!
Or you could make your way to the Sun Inn at Hulverstone, where there’s a log burner in the bar and views across the fields to the coast from the restaurant. At weekends there’s often live music and they have game on the menu during the season.
Walk along the causeway from Freshwater to Yarmouth and get a drink to warm you up at The George Hotel in Yarmouth, where there’s a roaring log fire in the wood panelled lounge. You could take afternoon tea or an early evening drink before dinner in this snug lounge. At the other end of the causeway is the Red Lion, which also has an open fire in the bar during winter months and fab food.
Chessell Pottery is staying open this winter and they’ve got a lovely wood burning stove in the middle of their café to warm you up. Plus their scones are amazing, with a special scone of the day plus the traditional plain or fruit scones with sultanas. Or you can have a savoury tea with cheese scone and Isle of Wight cheeses. The walk up to nearby five barrows is great bracing climb with fabulous views from the top.
The Garlic Farm has a big open fire in their Allium Café where you can tuck into loads of garlic themed dishes as well as those without the magic bulb. Find out all about its healing and culinary history in the heritage centre. From the rear of the café you can watch red squirrels feeding from the squirrel tables. Pick up a map of the farm from the shop and you can follow trails around the fields.
Fancy a little solace? Make your way to Quarr Abbey where you can hear the Gregorian singing in the huge abbey church and wander the grounds. There’s a great bookshop here, a permanent exhibition on the history of the abbey and an art gallery. Then warm yourself up in the farm shop and café where there’s a welcoming wood burner, and loads of lovely dishes made from produce grown in their walled garden.
There’s a huge woodburner in the bar of the Culver Haven Inn for warming yourself after a walk on top of Culver Downs. Amazing views across the Bay area of the island and of Bembridge Ledges from here – especially at low tide. You can walk up from Yaverland beach car park if you want a really good ramble and at least it’s all downhill on the way back.
After a hard day’s sailing you could snuggle in a rug around the fire pit on North House’s terrace with a hot toddy whilst watching the stars. A basket of rugs are supplied for this very purpose at this new boutique hotel in the centre of Cowes.
7 December 2017