My wife and I love the Isle of Wight, and have taken many short breaks (and some longer holidays) over the years.
We first discovered The Royal Hotel at Easter in 1982 - back when Lord Forte owned the hotel. Since then we have had many holidays on the Island, sometimes with long gaps in between whilst we travelled the world, but always returning to the Island - and The Royal. The hotel is in a wonderful setting, and provides great accommodation, service and food. The garden has always been a draw for us, and sitting on the veranda with an aperitif, before being called by Diane to go into the Appuldurcombe Room for a splendid three-course dinner, is simply the perfect way to end a day!
We have stayed at The Royal at many different times of the year, from New Year through the various holiday periods, such as Whitsun, Easter and Autumn. Probably our most memorable visits were in August, coinciding with Ventnor Carnival, Cowes Week, and the marvellous Chale Show.
Held in a large field near the Military Road, the Chale show is a nostalgic take on traditional fetes, with everything from flower and cake stalls to “splat-a-rat” contests and ferret racing. There are old steam engines and vintage vehicles to admire, but also helicopter rides and motorcycle acrobatics, as well as animal shows in the arena. It all adds up to good old-fashioned fun, and a super day out for the family!
The Ventnor Carnival and firework display is another highlight of the summer calendar, and amongst the best I have ever seen. It is truly amazing what can be achieved by a small but enthusiastic team of locals! The floats are outstanding; with a different theme each year, there are always some highly imaginative designs and detailed costumes. The carnival takes place on a weekday, and is repeated on the next Saturday evening, illuminated by fairy lights, which is just spectacular. Fireworks from the pier follow, and we like to watch these from the hotel’s Riviera Terrace for the best view. As the Carnival ends near The Royal, its leaders and organisers often drop into the bar afterwards to quench their thirst and round off the evening with an impromptu party. It really is a great evening of local entertainment.
An excellent place to watch the yacht racing during Cowes Week is Gurnard promenade. You can park on the road beside the seafront, sit on the sea wall or shingle beach, and enjoy a ringside seat to all the action on the water. We like to take a packed lunch and refreshments, but you can walk into Cowes past the starting canons outside the Royal Yacht Squadron. Whilst these look very shiny and decorative, they are used throughout the day to start and finish all the races, to deafening effect!
If you have any time left during your stay, the Isle of Wight Zoo, and Dinosaur Museum in Sandown are both well worth visiting. Godshill Model Village and the IOW Pearl showroom both make fascinating trips too. Closer to home, Ventnor Botanic Gardens is just a short stroll from the hotel and features some amazing plant species that you would normally only see in hotter climates like the Canary Islands or Amazon jungle! A favourite haunt of mine in Ventnor is nearby Steephill Cove, where I like to treat myself to a fresh crab lunch, and walk back along the paths behind the cove, before heading onto the coastal road to return via Ventnor Park.
"I cannot recommend a stay at The Royal highly enough."
In the hotel’s own grounds, The Royal’s swimming pool is a favourite of visiting children. Rain or shine, the pool’s water is always heated, so parents can sit back and relax in the garden, whilst the kids splash to their heart’s content!
I cannot recommend a stay at The Royal highly enough. Perhaps I will even meet you on their veranda one day, enjoying a pre-dinner drink or afternoon tea. I shall definitely be there again soon myself.