“Now we’re Both in the same Decade – Isle of Wight”

April 24-26, 2016 – Sara turns 30.

While the plan, for the past year had been to take the Eurostar to Paris and to wake up on 25th April in Paris, climb the Eiffel Tower the day Sara turned 30, sometimes plans don’t come to fruition, or they’re not meant to when we think/demand that they should – our compromise – Isle of Wight for 3 days to celebrate the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one.

Our plan – to go over by Hovercraft and stay in a cute little B&B in one of the little villages and mosey round the island  as much as we could in those 3 days.

Our ride across the Solent – from Southsea to Ryde


We took the train from Swanwick down to Portsmouth Harbour and walked our way along the waterside to the Hovercraft dock (with a quick stop in at the Lindt Shop, Gunwharf Quay – to buy some very yummy, delicious Swiss Chocolate). The journey across only took 10 minutes and it was very smooth, very impressed. We arrived in Ryde soon after 11am. We had decided to have fish n chips by the beach for lunch, but as the shop wasn’t yet open we went up the hill in search of a bar for quick drink. However as it was before 12pm, a cold fizzy drink it was.

The Codfather – fish n chip shop, Ryde.


We enjoyed lunch at ‘The Codfather, fish n chip shop, inside as the wind was blowing a gale, we were still by the beach though, just across the road. Fish n chips are served differently here in the UK – they aren’t wrapped like NZ but in single servings, in paper plate/trays and come with a side of mushy peas – Simon enjoys these but Sara doesn’t not. After our lunch it was time to catch the bus round to Bembridge, where we would be staying at the Spinnaker for the next couple of nights.


Being the keen researchers we are when going somewhere new, we’d found that the bus service on the Isle of Wight offered 24 & 48 hour bus passes, allowing you to catch any number of buses around the island as many times as you like within the selected time period. We purchased the 48hr pass – £30 for the both of us. (We thoroughly recommend this to future travelers as single adult rides can be £3-4 each, so can quickly add up as not all buses go everywhere round the island)

Food Caravan in Sandown – Only Food and Sauces

Only Food ad Sauces

Once we’d checked in to our accommodation, we caught the bus to explore further round the island. First stop was Sandown – where we walked along the promenade to the Pier (something that is quite commonly found on most seafronts – usually consisting of a restaurant, arcade and some have a fun park at the end). We couldn’t find anywhere for a drink so we hopped on the bus round to Shanklin – another beach, another promenade and….. a pub to sit and enjoy the view of the channel, seeing the ferry coming in from France. It was surreal to be sitting there and seeing the ferry, knowing that just across the body of water, The English Channel, was France, the European continent – we so close. A different feeling from sitting by the waterfront in Akaroa looking out at the water. A sense of ‘we were really here, we’d really moved to the other side of the world, it had become a reality’.

View back towards Bembridge from Sandown


April 25 – 30 Years!!!

Monday morning came, oddly enough Sara awoke at 6:06am UK time – equating to 5:06pm NZ time, the time she was born 30 years before. A new decade was starting, a new chapter in life was beginning.

Reception Calendar

We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel. Then we set out for the other side of the Isle to see the Needles, a historic monument – there are many, many historic monuments in the UK, oddly enough. We took the bus up to Newport, had a squiz round the shops there then caught the bus down to the other side of the island. It was a couple of hours getting over there but the scenery was lovely.


Most of the buses on the Isle are double decker and it’s kudos to the drivers who maneuver these buses round the narrow, tight and restrictive roads.

We made across to the Needles, the wind was blowing cold but the view was beautiful.

The Needles

We wondered around Alum Bay, took the Breezer Bus up to the closest point to the Needles, where there is the old Battery where rockets were built and tested  in down in the bunker. We asked if there was ever a boat ride out to the Needles, we didn’t really get an answer, not sure the person actually understood what we meant. Oh well, a thought for another day.

After having enough of the cold wind, we hopped back on the bus and made our back over to Bembridge.

Brthday Drinks

Birthday Dinner was at the Crab and Lobster Inn, it was a couple of blocks away by the sea front. Dinner was lovely and we got chatting to an older couple who were over for a few days on the Isle of Wight.

Next morning, our last day on the Isle, we walked back down to the beach to view it in the sunshine. There is a little beach hut cafe, closed, but something to come back to. We wandered round before it was time to collect our bags and take the bus back to Ryde.

Bembridge Beach


Leaving Bembridge


Isle of Wight Bus Map

Map of Isle of Wight

Once back in Ryde, we enjoyed a delicious lunch of bagels. Hadn’t had bagels since NZ and these were delicious. We wandered along the beach front of Ryde, sat in the sun/wind looking out towards Portsmouth, enjoying our time together. Then it was time for our customary drink before the end of a trip. We stopped in at the Royal Esplanade. We went in just in time before the rain and hail hit. It was getting stormy. A good storm while warm inside.

Ryde Beach, before the rain came in.


We left the Isle of Wight mid-afternoon, taking the Hovercraft back across, despite the stormy weather the ride was smooth. Walking back to the train station, looking back across the Solent, there were dark stormy patches but clear sunshine where we were standing.


S & S


  • on September 10, 2016

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