Yarmouth & Freshwater

Penned on the 14th February 2012

Yarmouth & Freshwater

The wild wild west of the Isle of Wight is akin to Cornwall with it's rugged rural landscape interspersed with solitary farmhouses, but at the western tip of the Island is the bustling classy harbour town of Yarmouth attracting sailors and visitors from all over.

Originally called Eremue, meaning 'muddy estuary' it is one of the earliest Norman settlements on the Island, dating back 1000 years. After being regularly invaded by the French trying to get access to England, Henry VIII built the castle in 1547, which is now English Heritage.

The grade 2 listed pier is the longest timber pier in England still open to the public since it's creation in 1876.

Now Yarmouth is a charming town, with some excellent cafes, pubs and restaurants, such as The George and The Bugle Coaching Inn. For dining with a difference try Off The Rails, situated in a reconstructed railway station building complete with a platform for outdoor seating. Dogs are made really welcome and there's even a dog menu! You can walk straight out of the door onto the old railway line which is now a footpath. The town of Yarmouth used to be linked to other island towns by a railway line and, although not in use now, the remaining track system provides great opportunities for walking and cycling. You can follow the Yarmouth Heritage Trail to see places of interest and historic buildings.

The town centre has an eclectic assortment of antique shops, boutiques, and gift shops. Stock up on holiday supplies from one of the lovely delicatessens.

On the westerly tip of the island is Freshwater and Totland, where the beaches have fantastic views both over The Solent and the English Channel and some of the Island's best surfing takes place.

The biggest tourist attraction here is The Needles Park at Alum Bay, home of the famous coloured sands, which provides entertainment for all the family including fairground rides, a chairlift down to the cove and a bus or boat ride along to the Isle of Wight's most famous landmark, The Needles. 

The West Wight Sports Centre has a public indoor swimming pool and an 18 hole golf course on the downs overlooking Freshwater Bay is a stunning location to practice your swing.

Home to the famous Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson you can visit Farringford House or take a walk in the National Trust's Area Of Natural Outstanding Beauty, along Tennyson Down and see the Needles from the cliff top. 

Dimbola Lodge was home to Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron and now exhibits her work as well as the history of the legendary Isle Of Wight music festivals. And while you out west why not pop into Isle of Wight Pearl and learn about cultured and natural pearls.

Freshwater also has some great places to eat including the Red Lion and The Vine. The Piano Café is worth a visit and has regular evening entertainment during summer.

Wight Locations has several stunning self catering holiday cottages in the West of the Island to suit individual needs.


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