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 Post subject: Isle of Wight Visitor's Guide
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:21 am 
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The Isle of Wight is packed with places of interest for the visitor. New ones open every year and the well-established ones are constantly adding more attractions and renewing themselves in other entertaining and informative ways.




Castles and Historic Houses

Appuldurcombe House/ Wroxall /One of the grandest of the Island's mansions, though only its outside shell now remains. Originally a priory and later, in Elizabethan times, home of the Leigh family and then of the Worsleys. The Worsley family pulled down the Elizabethan house and built a Palladian-style mansion, standing in fine gardens. House and gardens are now in the care of English Heritage. A new car park has been built alongside.
ADMISSION: £2 (children £1, concessions £1.50).



Osborne House
East Cowes
Queen Victoria's country retreat built between 1845 and 1850 by Thomas Cubitt to the designs of Prince Albert, which are in the style of an Italian villa. "It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot," wrote the Queen after visiting the site, "we have a charming beach quite to ourselves." The Queen's bathing machine is one of the many objects on display. In the house itself, where the Queen died in 1901, the rooms she used have been left largely unaltered. A horse and carriage takes visitors through the grounds to the Swiss Cottage, built as a playhouse for the monarch's children.
ADMISSION: House & grounds £6.90 (children £3.50, concession £3.50). Grounds only £3.50 (Children £1.80, concessions £2.60). 15% discount for groups of 11 or more.




Carisbrooke castle
Standing on a high ridge 2 miles south-west of Newport, the site is Saxon in origin and the castle Norman. Two medieval wells on which the castle depended are still to be seen - one in the massive keep, the other in the 16th-century wellhouse where visitors today may see donkeys turning the wheel to bring up the buckets of water. King Charles I was imprisoned here before being taken to London for trial and execution. The walk round the battlements which he took for his morning exercise can be followed today, and still to be seen are the bowling green created for his amusement in the outer bailey and the window through which he once tried to escape. Until 1944 the castle was the Governor's official residence.
ADMISSION: £4.50 (children £2.30, concessions £3.40). 15% discount for groups of 11 or more.




Quarr Abbey
Binstead
Founded in 1132 by Baldwin de Redvers, the abbey was for 400 years, until the dissolution of the Monasteries, a potent influence on the island. It was destroyed in 1536 and its stone from the quarries of Binstead, sold for other buildings, though some of the ruins can be seen today in the surrounding sea meadows on the shore of the Solent. The abbey came back to life in 1908, when French Benedictine monks began to build the magnificent new monastery in rose coloured brick.
OPEN: Chapel is open to all. Service times are posted by the entrance door.




Dimbola Lodge
Freshwater Bay
The home of Julia Margaret Cameron, the noted Victorian photographer, has been saved from demolition and is being restored. Galleries displaying her work and contemporary photography are open, together with a vegetarian restaurant, camera museum, and gift shop.

OPEN: All year, Tues.-Sun. 1000-1700 & Bank Holiday Mondays.
ADMISSION: galleries £2.50 (children under 16 free, disabled people £1). Museum and tea room free.



Morton Manor
Brading
Elegant house set in charming gardens. Built originally in 1249 by the de Aula family it had a Tudor longhouse added and has subsequently been refurbished and has some stylish Georgian fittings. The Trzebski family have made Morton their home for more than 40 years and personally show visitors round. In 1981 they added a vineyard, and other attractions include a winery exhibition and video, turf maze and tea-rooms. The gardens, among the finest on the island and winner of both the Isle of Wight in Bloom in 1995, 1996 and 1997, and Southern England in Bloom awards for 1996, include an Elizabeth Sunken Garden and Rose Garden as well as a fine Magnolia Grandiflora, many mature specimen trees and a large collection of Japanese Acers.
OPEN: Easter-end October 1000-1130 daily except Saturday.
ADMISSION: £3.50 (children £1.50, Seniors £3.25).



Swainston Manor
Calbourne
Once owned by the kings of England, the history of this elegant manor, set in 32 acres of unspoilt countryside on the Newport-Calbourne road, dates back to 735 AD. It is an English Tourist Board highly commended 5-crown hotel and restaurant where non-residents are welcomed. Licensed for civil marriages, the hotel is adjoined by a 12th century Bishops' Chapel (where full marriage service blessings take place) and there are bishops' mitres on each jamb of the manor's original front door.
OPEN: Weekdays 1100-1000. ADMISSION: Free.




Haseley Manor
Arreton
One of the most interesting historic houses on the Island. The manor offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, with costume tableaux and free informative recordings and a walk through history from the medieval to the Victorians. Past Characters who lived here include the piratical and popular Sir Edward Horsey Captain of the Wight Dowsabelle Mylle, his mistress and Sir Thomas Fleming, Lord Chief Justice and one of the Judges to try Guy Fawkes. Haseley has the Island's largest pottery studio where there are regular demonstrations and children can make an IOW mouse. Haseley also has water, herb and flower gardens, a children's farm, large collection of rural bygones, tea rooms and picnic area.
ADMISSION: £4.25 (children £3.15, seniors £3.50).




Nunwell House
Brading
One of the Island's most beguiling mansions, reflecting five centuries of Island history and still a family home set in lovely parkland and gardens, the house is a fascinating mixture of architectural styles, has six acres of enchanting gardens and a unique collection of family militaria. Henry VIII was a visitor to the house and Charles I spent his last night of freedom here
ADMISSION: £4 (couples £7.50), seniors £3 accompanied children £1. Garden only £2.50.



Yarmouth Castle
Built by order of Henry VIII after the French sailed into the Solent in 1545, and he had witnessed the sinking of the Mary Rose .The castle is in the centre of Yarmouth but largely hidden by surrounding buildings. It has the sea on two sides and a moat on the others and is in a good state of preservation, with a rather small Great Hall, Master Gunner's parlour, kitchen and gun platforms on show, There is an excellent view of the harbour from the gun platform.
Admission: £2.10 (children £1.10, concessions £1.60).




The Needles Old battery
A Victorian fort built high on the cliffs above the sea with a 200ft tunnel to spectacular views of the Needles rocks. The National Trust, owners of the fort, rescued two of the original gun barrels from the seabed and has now re-mounted them in the parade ground. The laboratory and searchlight position, and two position finder cells have all been restored. Information boards explain in cartoon form the history of the fort and how it functioned. Tea room. No vehicles on Headland Road, but disabled access with prior permission (Tel: 754772).
Admission: £2.50. Family ticket £6.




Old Town Hall
Newtown
Now a tranquil village, Newtown was once capital of the Island, a busy port with flourishing salt works and oyster beds. Its harbour, regarded as the safest on the Island, once accommodated ships of 500 tons. The town had lost its importance by the 16th century though it had two Members of Parliament until 1832, but the Old Town Hall still stands as a monument to Newtown's past eminence. Built in 1699 and now a National Trust property it has an exhibition depicting the famous Ferguson's Gang. Interesting walks.
ADMISSION: £1.30.



Mottistone Manor Garden
A property of the National Trust, the garden, laid out in the 1970s, has beautiful flowering and fruit trees, roses and herbaceous borders. Outdoor jazz concerts will be held this year in the garden on 30-31 July and 1 August. The Manor itself dates back to pre-Norman times, but is open only on August Bank Holiday Monday 1400-1730. National Trust members may view 1030-1200. Teas, toilets. OPEN: Garden 28 Mar-3 Oct. Sun, Turns and Bank Holiday Men, 1400-1730.
Contact Garden (01983) 741302.
ADMISSION: Garden £2.00


MUSEUMS


Brighstone village Museum
North Street, Brighstone
Opened in 1994, this tiny museum it an old thatched cottage houses interesting mementoes of the village's history, particularly early school days and records of old residents, including the coxswain of the lifeboat who was also one of the Island's renowned smugglers and whose descendants take an active role in village life The National Trust has a shop in the building.
ADMISSION: Free.



Blackgang Sawmill & St. Catherine's Quay
Two award winning heritage exhibition set in and around a water powered sawmill and a reconstructed Quayside an area of outstanding natural beauty and a site of scientific interest Display include the wheelwright the cooper the carpenter as well as working engines and domestic scenes circa 1890. Animated figures and commentary bring these and other displays to life. The exhibitions a inside the park at Blackgang
OPEN: Daily 22 Mar 31 Oct.
ADMISSION: £5.50, children 3-13 £4.50.
Saver ticket £18.
Fees include admission to blackgang Chine.




Classic Boat
Museum
Newport Town Quay Classic boats, models and memorabilia housed in an old warehouse in Newport Harbour The display based on private collections, shows the work both of local boat builders and designers from the Solent and Southampton water area and of those from many other parts of the world.
OPEN: Easter-and Sept. 10:30 to 16:30.
Admission: £2.50 (children £1, Seniors £2).



Lilliput Museum of Antique Dolls & Toys
Brading
More than 2,000 exhibits comprise one of the finest collections in Britain ranging from an Egyptian stone Ushabti grave figure from about 200 BC to the celebrated Matreshka doll presented by Soviet premier Khrushchev. Many of the dolls have royal connections. The displays, with most exhibits dating before 1945, also include attractive dolls' houses, teddy bears, train sets, rocking horses and other toys.
OPEN: All year, 7 days a week. 10:00-17:00.

ADMISSION: £1.85 (children & seniors 95p).



IoW Museum
Carisbrooke Castle
Attractively located in the Governor's House which was, for more than 20 years, occupied by Princess Beatrice, the youngest daughter of Queen Victoria, the museum illustrates the history of the castle and the Isle of Wight. Archaeological finds, Civil War armour and objects connected with Charles l's imprisonment are displayed in the lower gallery. The upper gallery features 'A Century of Collecting', an exhibition arranged to mark the museum's centenary in the summer of 1998.
OPEN: daily, 1 April-30 Sept
ADMISSION: (Inc. Castle) £4.50 (children £2.40, concessions £3.40)


Roman Villa
Brading
The Romans called the Isle of Wight Vectis and it is believed they farmed the land quite intensively. The villa at Brading had fine mosaic floors, as can be seen today. The west wing is displayed under cover, and the Medusa mosaic, is one of the finest in the country.
OPEN: 25 Mar.-30 Oct daily 0930-1700.
ADMISSION: £2.50, children & students £1.25.
Car Parking Free. Tel: 406223.



Dinosaur Farm Museum
Military Road, NR Brighstone
The fossilised skeleton of a giant plant-eating dinosaur, a brachiosaurid, was found on this farm in 1992. During the summer a dedicated team worked on the skeleton in a barn on the farm. Visitors may watch these experts and bring their own fossils here for identification. New finds are on display this year, and guided fossil hunts are also available. Tea room. Tel: 740401 or 07970 626456.
OPEN: Easter-end Oct. Thurs. & Sun. 1000-1700, also Tuesday and Friday
In July & August and Bank Holidays.
ENTRANCE: £2 (children £1, Seniors £1.50).



Nostalgia Toy Museum
Godshill
Altered and extended for the 1999 season the Nostalgia Toy Museum, High Street, Godshill, features a collection of around 2000 'Dinky', 'Corgi' and 'Matchbox toys, dating from the 1930s to the mid 1970s.
Special exhibitions for 1999 include a display of original 'Star Wars, toys from 1977, to celebrate the release of the new film, a display of 1960s 'Cindy' teenage dolls, and a collection of Beswick Beatrix Potter figurines.
Entrance £1.25, concession 75p, Family ticket £3.25.




Guildhall Museum
Newport
A new museum, housed in the old dock-tower town hall in the High Street, illustrates the Island's history from the time of the dinosaurs to the present day, with the latest touch-screen computer technology videos, and hands-on exhibits.
Open: Easter end Oct 10:00-17:00 Mon-Sat.
Entrance: £1.80, children & seniors £1. Family ticket £4.


1W Wax Works
Brading
2000 years of the Island's colourful history are portrayed in a series of lively scenes combining sound, light and animation. The intriguing setting includes the ancient haunted Tudor mansion, with its colourful courtyards. The all-weather attraction combines the Chamber of Horrors, World of Nature and Professor Copperthwaite's Extraordinary Collection of Oddities. The popular Bugle Family Inn alongside. Please ring to check details.
ADMISSION: £4.50 (children £3.25, Seniors £4.00), under 5's free. Family ticket (2 adults & up to 3 children) Prices will be reviewed in midyear. Tel: 407200.



Bembridge & Maritime Museum
The maritime history of the Island excitingly illustrated in a large collection owned by a professional diver Spread over six galleries, the award-winning displays includes pirate gold and silver, Spanish pieces of eight, countless artefacts recovered from shipwrecks, antique diving equipment, ship models, videos of lifeboat rescues and diving operations, RNLI and local history, navigation, the strange "merman' and an absorbing account of the discovery of the wreck of the submarine HMS + Swordfish, which disappeared off the Isle of Wight without trace in 1940. There is a comprehensive gift shop.
OPEN: Daily 10:00 - 17:00 March-October.
ADMISSION: £2.50 (children £1.55/Seniors and students £1.75).
Family end party rates


Museum of Smuggling History
Ventnor
The Museum is in underground vaults in the Botanic Gardens. It is unique in showing smuggling methods over a 700 year period, displays illustrating the tricks smuggle wool, brandy, silk tea, tobacco, gold, money, watches, diamonds, even people.
OPEN: Daily 10:00-17:00 Easter - end Sept
ADMISSION: £2.20 (children a Seniors £1.10)



Frontline and Aviation Museum
Sandown Airport Housed in two hangars on the far side of the airport runway is a collection illustrating 90 years of aviation history and aircraft, including many from the First and Second World Wars, together with armour and memorabilia from Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Souvenir & coffee shop, picnic area.
Open: All year 10:00 to 17:00
ADMISSION: £3.50 (children £1.25, seniors £2.95) Family tickets available.

1W Model Railways Exhibition & Museum
The Parade, Cowes
The exhibition is designed to be not just a model railway layout but a view of the world in miniature. It is nonetheless a spectacular layout with a diorama of the English countryside and trains, a display set in the American Rocky Mountains, and a low level children's layout The museum has models showing train development since the turn of the century, There is also a shop specialising in model trains.
OPEN: Daily (except Sundays in Winter) 1100-1700.
ENTRANCE: £2.80 (concessions £2).


Longshoreman's Museum
Ventnor
The history of Ventnor, particularly its nautical aspects, is vividly told in antique engravings, old photographs and models, and other displays.
ADMISSION: l0p (children 8-14, 25p).


Cowes Maritime Museum
Beckford Road
The Island's maritime history featured in models, paintings and photographs of the former shipbuilding industry. The yachting collection includes the Uffa Fox boats Avenger and Coweslip.
ADMISSION: Free.

Sir Max Aitken Museum
Cowes
Housed in the old Ratseys sailmakers' loft in West Cowes High Street the museum is devoted to Sir Max Aitken's remarkable collection of nautical instruments, paintings and miscellaneous maritime artefacts.
ADMISSION: £1 (children & seniors 5Op).
Maritime Heritage Exhibition
Fort Victoria, Yarmouth
The exhibition reveals the work of underwater archaeologists around the Island and their discoveries, notably the flooding of prehistoric settlements after the last Ice Age and a number of shipwrecks, including a 16th century wreck found less than a mile from the fort.
OPEN: Easter to end Oct 10:00 17:00.
ADMISSION: £1 (children 5Op, seniors 75p)

Ventnor Heritage Museum
Tiny museum in the headquarters of the Ventnor & District Local History Society contains variety of material reflecting the town's past, including vertebrae and footprint of an iguanadon and a model of the old station, sadly closed in 1966, and an extensive archive section. This year's special exhibition is a history of Island transport.
OPEN: May 15-Oct. 31, weekdays 10:00-12:30 & 14:00-10:30 except Wed & Sat afternoons.
ADMISSION: 5Op, concessions 30p (free to holders of Vectis Rover IoW Passports).


Timmy Taylor's Toy Box
33 Lugley Street, Newport
An evocative private collection of dolls, games, 101 Dalmatian models and many other toys, mostly from the last 40 years, many in their original boxes and displayed in glass cases, with an additional 'Sindy Room' of teenage dolls and a collector's shop.
OPEN: Easter-Oct. For times and Admission details please call 822950.




Roman Villa
Newport
The well-known Roman villa in Cypress Road, Newport, which was probably a farmhouse dating from the 3rd century was discovered in 1926. It has been extensively improved in recent years. The well-preserved baths are now complemented by fully restored living rooms, a Roman garden and new artefact gallery. A resource room is provided for school and group use.
Admission £1.75 (children £90p)


Museum of IoW Geology
Sandown
Above the library, the museum looks at the rocks we stand on. Modem displays interpret millions of years of fossil history.
A special feature is made of ammonites and dinosaurs, with helpful reconstruction's and even the foot prints of those that once plodded around Sandown Bay.
OPEN: Mon-Fri. 09:30-1730 Sat. 0535-1630.
ADMISSION: Free.

vineyards

Morton Manor Vineyard
Brading
The history of Morton Manor dates back to 1249 and the house was rebuilt in 1680. The Trzebski family have lived here for more than 40 years, and will often personally show visitors round. They added the vineyard to the attractive terraced and landscaped gardens in 1981. Seven varieties of grapes are now grown in the 1 3/4-acre vineyard on the edge of the gardens, which are among the finest on the Island. Wines may be sampled, and the attraction for visitors is supported by a video, winery and a museum of winemaking relics.
ADMISSION: (inc. house) £3.50 (children £1.50, Seniors £3.25).


Adgestone Vineyard
Established in 1968, the 10-acre site was carefully chosen to provide the best possible growing conditions, being on a south faring chalky slope in an area of natural beauty overlooked by Brading Down. Since 1976 Adgestone estate-bottled wine has been regularly winning prizes, and is on the list of many top hotels and at the Palace of Westminster it was served at the Queen's D-Day Dinner for the Heads of State at Portsmouth Guildhall in June 1994. In a good year more than 40,000 bottles are produced, the wine coming from three varieties of white grape - MUller-Thurgau, Seyval Blanc and Reichensteiner. On a 1 1/2-acre site a variety of red grape called Rondo has been established, producing a fruity, medium - bodied wine. Coffee shop and gift shop, pony trap rides in season.
OPEN: All year for wine and gift sales, Coffee shop.
ADMISSION: Free.



Rosemary Vineyard
Ashey, Ryde
Newest and largest (30 acres) vineyard on the Island, planting began in 1986 and up to 60,000 bottles of wine and 12,000 bottles of cider are produced each year. The working vineyard offers tours of the vines and visits to the winery to see the pressing, filtering and bottling processes in action. Tasting of award-winning red, white and sparkling wines follows tours. Jams, marmalades and mustards are also made, and are available in the shop. Café.
OPEN: All year daily except Sundays in winter 10:00-17:00 (Sunday 11:00-15:00). ADMISSION: Free. Small charge for guided tour.


Natural World
Brickfields Horse country
Binstead
Brickfields have something for everyone. "The biggest attraction by far?" Said TV's Wish You Were Here.
This award winning centre has more than 100 animals from mighty shires to miniature ponies, farm and pets corner Donkey town', plus in the high season 'Porkers Paradise', an attraction that stole the show last year with its racing pigs and celebrity friends. Other highlights include spectacular parades, wagon rides and guided tours of the heritage museums and celebrated carriage collection, a working blacksmith's forge, Bar, restaurant, play area, gift shop and horse riding available.
OPEN: Daily all year, 10:00-17:00.
ADMISSION: £4.50 (children £3.25), concessions available.


Tiger Sanctuary
Sandown
The Isle of Wight Zoo is situated on Yaverland sea front and here are the big cats - tigers, black panthers, leopards, pumas - and many other species, including snakes, in which the Zoo specialises, offering visitors a chance to handle the harmless varieties. Jack Corney has very positive ideas about the way zoos need to develop - highly educational but also exciting and entertaining. Zoofari souvenir shop, teashop, seafront Tiger Tavern (pub food) and Cubs Den family café.
OPEN: Daily 10:00-17:00 Easter-October. Weekends only in winter 10:00-17:00. ADMISSION: £4.95 (children and Seniors £3.95, under 5 free).


IOW Falconry Centre
Opened this year in what used to be the laundry and brewhouse of Appuldurcombe House, Wroxall, the centre has regular displays of birds in flight As well as a flying arena, there are aviaries with birds of prey and owls from many parts of the world, children's playground, tea bar and shop.

Entry prices include access To house & grounds.
OPEN: Daily 1 Aptil-31 Oct. 10:00-18:00.
ADMISSION: £3.75 (children £2, concession £3).
Family ticket £10.


Marine Aquarium
Fort Victoria, Yarmouth
Occupying a series of case mates, which originally housed huge cannon in the Victorian fort, the aquarium concentrates mainly on sea life, from flatfish to conger eels, starfish to amazing cuttlefish. The tropical reef section contains some of the beautiful, weird and sometimes dangerous inhabitants of tropical reefs.
OPEN: Easter in and at Oct 10:00-18:00.
ADMISSION: £1.90 (children 95p, seniors £1.20


Butterfly World & Fountain World
Wootton
Butterfly World is a sub-tropical indoor garden in which hundreds of exotic butterflies are flying freely. Visitors can see butterflies from the five continents of the world being born, breeding and watch their caterpillars eating and growing, Fountain World has an elegant colourful Italian garden and a Japanese garden with oriental buildings and plants, and colourful Japanese Koi - with many fish over 2 feet long, Koi feeding three times daily. In the gardens is a superb display of fountains and water features. Gift shop, restaurant and one of the Island's largest garden centres.
OPEN: daily 10:10-17:30 (last admission 17:00) Good Friday to 31 Oct
ADMISSION: £3.75 (children £2.40, Seniors £3.00).



Amazon World
Newchurch
Largest and newest exotic animal attraction on the Island, incorporating within three acres more than 200 different species of animals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects, spectacularly displayed within tropical plant rainforest and desert settings, designed to be seen in any weather. New in 1999 is the Hawk Walk showing falcons, owls and hawks, some flown (weather permitting) Facilities also include adventurers café serving freshly cooked food and sandwiches, picnic area, adventure playground, kiddies play area, gift shop. Car and coach parking.
Open All year, daily from 10:00. Admission: £415, children £3.60, seniors £4.15. Family (2 adults, 2 children) £15.95 Tel: 867122



Flamingo Park Waterfowl & Water Gardens
Seaview
An award winning conservation/education project featuring the Island's only colony of Humboldt penguins and one of the country's largest waterfowl collections. Visitors are encouraged to hand feed penguins, macaws, fish and thousands of tame birds. There are more than 100 flamingos, with Chilean Flamingo chicks hatched in 1998. A Willow Walk by the lake leads to the Cascade Room for refreshments. Gift shops indoor plant & bird house, waterfalls & water displays.
OPEN: 1 Apr-30 Sept, 10:00-17:00
(Last admission 16:00). Oct 10:30-15:00
(Last admission 15:15)
ADMISSION: £4.50 (children £2.95, seniors £3.65).
Family tickets & Group rates available.



Rare Breeds & Waterfowl Park
St. Lawrence
More than 40 rare breeds of large and small farm animals, three breeds of deer and a hundred species of waterfowl and poultry set in 30 acres of coastal farmland in the Undercliff at St. Lawrence, an area designated as one of outstanding natural beauty, Miniature horses, donkeys, otters, exotic birds, owls and llamas. Children's section, guinea pig village, chipmunk mansion, picnic areas, cafeteria, gift shop and temperate waterfall house
OPEN: 10:00 17:30 every day. March to 31 Oct.
ADMISSION: £3.70 (children £2.20, under 5' free, Senior £3.20).


Natural History Centre
Godshill
17th century squire's cottage, housing famed shell collection. Displays of minerals, precious stones, fossils, and crown jewel replicas. Aquarium. Gift shop (jewellery shells, minerals, interesting and unusual presents). Schools welcome (evenings by appointment).
OPEN: Daily from 10:00 - 18:00.
ADMISSION: £1.25 (children & seniors 75p).



MILLS
Bembridge Windmill
The only surviving windmill on the Island. It dates from 1700 and was last used in 1913. Much of its original wooden machinery is still in place and is now in the care of the National Trust. Spectacular views.
OPEN: 29 Mar-29 Oct, daily except Sat.
(Open Easter Sat and daily In July & Aug.). 10:00-17:00 (last admission 16:45).
ADMISSION: £1.40.


Calbourne Water Mill
Listed in Domesday Book and working as a flourmill until 1955, Calbourne water mill is now preserved to present a vivid illustration of how a water mill worked. Set in lovely countryside the mill also houses a fine collection of agricultural implements, domestic bygones and a fire engine.
OPEN: daily 10:00-17:30 from Easter to end Oct.
ENTRANCE: £3 (children £1.50, Seniors £2.50)


ARTS AND CRAFTS


Alum Bay Glass
The Needles
founded in 1972, the glassworks moved into its present premises, a part of the Needles Pleasure Park complex on the western tip of the Island, in 1983. The glassware is fee blown, which means that every item made here is unique There is a balcony from which visitors can watch the glass making in progress every weekday except for a fortnight's break over Christmas. The shop also stocks selected glassware from other workshops.
OPEN: march - Nov. glassmaking: 10:00 - 17:00 daily.
ADMISSION: 80p. Shop free.



Afton Gallery
Totland
Original paintings and prints of the Island's coast and countryside pottery and a selection of greetings cards. Free car park 50 yards.
OPEN: times vary (the owners also have studios in Calbourne).
Please phone for details. (Tel: 754664).
ADMISSION: Free



Isle of Wight Pearl
Chilton Chine
A palace of pearls and an insight into the world of pearl jewellery. See craftspeople at work; relax in the delightful coffee shop.
Free parking.
OPEN: all year.
ADMISSION: Free




Oasis
Near Brading
Crafts and gifts from around the world featured in a 12.00 sq. ft emporium. New themed shopping areas have been introduced this year. Coffee shop with cakes and savouries baked on the premises (closes 16:30).
OPEN: Mon-Sat 09:00-17:30, Sun 11:00-17:00, Bank holidays 10:00-17:00.
ADMISSION: Free, and free parking.



New Barn Studio
Calbourne
Classes in portrait and wildlife sculpture portraits made during visitors' stay. Paintings, sculpture, pottery for sale. Holiday art course run by owners of the Afton Gallery in Totland in conjunction with the Isle of Wight Tourist Board's 'Activities Holidays" programme.
OPEN: Times variable, please phone for details
(Tel: 531447 or 754664)
ADMISSION: Free




Quay Arts
Newport
Housed in 18th-century warehouses on the quayside, the Centre has recently been extensively refurbished and has art galleries, studio theatre, contemporary craft shop, café and bar. There is an ongoing programme of exhibitions, performances, festivals, weekend markets and other events. Programme available at tourist centres or phone 822490.
OPEN: 10:00-16:00 Mon-Sat, Closed Sundays.
ADMISSION: Free. Small charge for some exhibition.


Isle of Wight Glass St. Lawrence
Pounded by Michael Harris in 1973, Isle of Wight Glass is a flourishing enterprise whose outstanding designs and technical skills have brought it to the forefront of English studio glass. Each piece is made by hand and comprises a unique blend of decorative and functional glassware, rich in colour Visitors can watch the craftsmen working to create this unique studio glass.
OPEN: Glassmaking Mon - Fri 09:00 16:00, Showroom Mon - Fri 09:00 17:00, Summer weekends 10:00 - 16:30.



Chessell Pottery
Chessell
Established in 1977 by John and Sheila Francis, the pottery is centred in a large converted stone barn in the West Wight countryside, off roads B3399 and B3401. The hand-made porcelain is unique, and visitors may view the manufacturing process in the studio workshops. There is a permanent technical and historical exhibit and a spacious factory shop offering Chessell ware at advantageous prices, all carrying the
'IOW Origin Approved' label. Coffee shop and Clay Play Chalet,
ADMISSION: workshops 50p (children 30p, seniors 40p)


PARKS AND GARDENS


Puckpool Park
The park, which lies behind the seawall between Seaview and Ryde, surrounds what was formerly the Puckpool Battery; built during the 19th century; the last gun was removed in 1927 and the site was sold to St. Helens urban District Council, who opened it as a public garden in 1929. It is now run by Wight Leisure on behalf of the Isle of Wight Council. The park is now a peaceful and pleasant place, with bowling green, tennis courts, obstacle golf and putting green, children's' swings and play area. There is a small wireless museum to the left of the main entrance. Below the seawall is a fine sandy beach with splendid views across Spithead.
OPEN: Park daily all year, Wight Leisure amenities from Easter until September. Wireless museum daily 'when voluntary assistants are available.
ADMISSION: Park free. Please ring for activity prices (tel. 562086).



Fort Victoria Country Park
Yarmouth
Built in the 19th century to defend the Solent against a French invasion that failed to materialise, the remains of the fort are now the centre of a country park offering woodland and seashore walks and beautiful views of the Solent. The fort itself now contains a Marine Aquarium, a Maritime Heritage exhibition, a Planetarium and a model railway
OPEN: Park always open. See separate entries for details of fort attractions.
ADMISSION: free parking.



Barton Manor Gardens
Whippingham
Once a monastery, Barton Manor was bought by Queen Victoria in 1845 as an addition to the Osborne House Estate. The tranquillity of the parklands was greatly appreciated by the Queen and Prince Albert. Today film and stage entrepreneur Robert Stigwood owns the property. The gardens will be open to the public on four days in 1999, each day having its own theme, in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice. Admission includes entry to water and secret gardens and the Island's largest hedge maze.
ADMISSION: £2.50 (children £1, Seniors £2)


Ventnor Botanic Garden
The garden spreads over 22 acres and contains a rare collection of trees, shrubs and plants from many parts of the world, including sub-tropical species that fail to grow elsewhere in the UK, and has the added bonus of spectacular coastal views. There is also a large Temperate House with a good selection of exotic plants. Major development for the new millennium will cause some disruption this year (no tavern refreshments) but a new coffee shop and state-of-the-art exhibition will be opened in 2000.
OPEN: Garden: dawn till dusk. Temperate House:
8 March - 1 November, 10:00-17:00 daily. ADMISSION: Free to garden. Temperate House - 50p (children 20p).


FUN PARKS

Robin Hill Country Park
Arreton
Now owned by Blackgang Chine, Robin Hill's new attraction this year is The Time Machine', a motion theatre. The park also offers a unique combination of downland views, woodland walks and fun activities within an 88-acre site. A 400 metre toboggan run, panel maze, treetop adventure course, countryside centre and nature trails as well as the Squirrel Tower, Rabbit Run and Gypsy Camp are all on offer.
OPEN: Daily 10:00-17:30 22 Mar.-31 Oct. (until 18:00 during school holidays). ADMISSION: £3.95 (children 3-13 £2.95). Toboggan run £1 extra.
SPECIAL OFFER: Return visit for £1 per person.



Blackgang Chine Fantasy Park
Chale
Clifftop gardens originally opened as a scenic park in 1843, and now sympathetically developed as a fantasy park with imaginative play areas for families. Features include Frontierland, Dinosaurland, Smuggler's Land, Nurseryland and Fantasyland. Major attractions include water-slide with rubber boats hurtling down 100 metre run-outs.
OPEN: Daily 22 Mar-31 Oct 1000-1730.
Floodlit daily 29 May-l8 Sep till 22:00.
ADMISSION: £5.50 (children 3-13 £4.50,familly Saver ticket £18).
SPECIAL OFFER: Free return visit within 3 days.



OTHER ATTRACTIONS

Waltzing Waters
Westridge, Ryde
Housed in the AquaTheatre this elaborate fantasy of water, light and music presents an original and spectacular 40-minute show, with moving fountains and water spouts, synchronising with waltzes and music of all kinds, the selections changed every day. The comfortable Aqua Theatre is situated alongside the Tesco Supermarket
ADMISSION: £4 (children £1.50, concessions £3.50)



IOW Steam Railway
Wootton - Havenstreet
Smallbrook Junction
What is rightly described as a nostalgic trip back on the old time branch line, recreating the romantic age of steam train, has been created from a collection of finely restored locomotives and rolling stock, with a museum of the islands railway history. Some carriages and rolling stock date back to the 1870's. steam trains run from Wootton to Smallbrook junction (5 miles) where they connect with the Ryde-Shanklin electric trains. Trains run daily from 29 May - 26 September and on other selected days between 25 March and 31 October there are also refreshment facilities, an adventure and recreational playground, picnic area, and a woodland walk, souvenir and bookshop at Havenstreet Station.
OPEN: Daily 29 May-25 Sep.
Mar-Oct (selected days).
ADMISSION: to site only £1, Fares £6.50 (£6 after 13:30), Children £4.00(£3.50 after 13:30)



Arreton Old Village Barns
Arreton
Most of the barns and old farm buildings around the Manor have been converted into a series of new attractions. These include a craft shop, a supervised indoor soft play area (with separate baby enclosure) and outdoor adventure playground, a carp pond, the House of Lavender shop with themed gardens and water features, and the Barn pub and bistro. Free parking. Tel: 528353.
OPEN: daily from 10:00.
ENTRANCE: Free.



Model Railway
Fort Victoria
Computers control the speed, direction and inertia of the trains, as well as the points, signals, level crossings and other accessories. This means that four programmes can be run simultaneously. With 240 track feet before long-distance trains have to turn back, this can claim to be the longest model railway display in the country. Tel: 7671553.
OPEN: Daily, Easter-30 Sept 10:00-17:30. Admission: £3.30 (Concession £2.20).



Shanklin Chine
The Chine is a natural fissure in the cliff, formed by water cutting through sandstone to the sea. It drops 105 ft to sea level through a deeply shaded path winding down besides waterfalls to the shore. There are more than 150 varieties of wild plants and many species of moss along the route. During the Second World War the Chine was used by the Commandos as an assault course. The exhibition 'Poets and the Island - a Celebration', (final year of showing) together with a pictorial history of the Chine and the PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean) display is in the Heritage Centre next to the Gift Shop and the new Victorian Tea Room.
On the beach below Fisherman's Cottage built by William Colenutt in 1819, offers a choice of excellent food and real ale, which can be enjoyed on the sun terrace.
open 29 Mar.- 20 May 10:00 17:00.
21 May-19 Sept 10:00 22:00.
ADMISSION £2, children 60p, seniors & students £1.50.
Access limited for mobility impaired £60p


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