Those visiting the Isle of Wight for the first time are often struck by its natural beauty. What the region lacks in land mass it certainly makes up for in countryside, woodland and coastline. There are spectacular views to be had across our picturesque island, many of which are best reached by foot.
No wonder then that walks prove so popular with locals and holidaymakers alike. Thousands set off on coastal paths, inland trails and themed treks yearly, all hoping to capture the essence of the island, not to mention a photo or two…
The Royal Hotel welcomes those hoping to pound the pathways and have highlighted some of our favourite routes for their consideration.
Ventnor Coastal Path
Given our location it would be remiss of us not to begin with the Ventnor Coastal Path. A rewarding stroll turned hike this journey is book-ended by two stunning seaside resorts separated by 3.5 miles.
Starting on Ventnor Front you will conclude at Shanklin Beach but not without taking in a bucketload of sights.
Visitors to the hotel will know that Ventnor is built upon steep slopes that make for breath-taking views. Botanical Gardens filled with tropical plants make for an idyllic starting point. These will lead into Horseshoe and Wheelers Bay respectively, where weather permitting a quick dip may be in order.
Before long you will wander onto the Bonchurch Landslips, an area defined by sprawling, beautiful woodland. As you negotiate its dense trees know that the sea flanks you, you may even catch a glimpse between branches.
This terrain leads out into a peaceful village proudly boasting the famous Old St. Boniface Church. A much-loved tourist attraction, this place of worship dates back to the 11th century and its tolling bells mark the midpoint of your venture.
Appleby Steps may well be the steepest section of the journey but is well worth the ascent. Stunning clifftops will leave you breathless and inspired in equal measure and remain the topic of conversation as you wind down into the quaint Luccombe village.
Finally you’ll reach Shanklin and the cherished Shanklin Chine. A paradisaical setting, its wooded coastal ravine is like something out of the movies. Marvel at waterfalls, trees and vegetation as you tread along walkways in wonderment.
Whether you retrace your footsteps or catch a ride back from whence you came, we promise you’ll savour this particular walk.
Billed as The Beat In Your Walk, this route remains wedded to the River Medina in Newport. Beginning at the Museum of Island History – itself a great pit stop – docked boats provide a classy backdrop to this leisurely stroll.
Chart a course through Seaclose Park, famed for hosting the Isle of Wight Festival. While we cannot guarantee you’ll bump into the likes of The Rolling Stones or Bruce Springsteen, know that they and hundreds of other artists have graced these same sprawling fields.
Be on the lookout for wildlife as you head towards the Island Harbour. Unsurprisingly yet more lavish boats are anchored here, creating a classy conclusion to your walk. We can think of few better places to enjoy a celebratory drink (or two!).
Top of the Wight
They say the best things come to those who wait. Or is it walk? Those willing to put in the hard yards can make their way to the Isle of Wight’s highest point, this just south of Wroxall Downs.
With plenty of legwork ahead of you, we’d advise catching a bus to Wroxall The Star before heading through its High Street. Having left shoppers in your wake its full steam ahead as you begin a steady ascent.
Higher and higher you’ll climb, slaloming between trees, stiles and gateways until you reach the summit and our answer to Everest. Look down upon the Channel as it meets the Solent in the north, knowing you’re some 240m above sea level. For context that’s almost twice the size of Salisbury Cathedral!
After a well-earned breather, you can begin a decidedly easier descent into Ventnor Downs. The chances are you’ll encounter some new friends along the way, with cattle, birds and a host of other wildlife going about their business in the fields. Don’t expect them to match your enthusiasm, they are well accustomed to such magnificent views.
The Isle of Wight is synonymous with beaches, castles and royal residence. Lesser known however is its link to dinosaurs. Yes, really.
Some 65 million + years after their extinction fossils for the likes of Tyrannosauruses, Velociraptors and Triceratops are still being unearthed right here on the Wight, hence the moniker Dinosaur Island.
It’s a label the area has certainly embraced, hence the emergence of this tailored safari. Stretching 20 miles from Yaverland in the east to Compton Bay in the west, historians, Jurassic Park fans and the just plain curious can go in search of remains.
Beginning at the Isle of Wight Zoo, walkers are led along a coastal route to the top of a nearby landslip. This overlooks rich dinosaur beds where remnants can still be dug-up. Look out to sea as you hunt your treasure, this before slowly moving onto Compton.
The Bay features 3D footprints that indicate where Triassic tribes once dominated. While these have been filled with sand and turned to rock for preservation they remain no less astonishing.
Top off a memorable day with a visit to Dinosaur Isle, the biggest museum dedicated to the species. Inspectors will be only too happy to assess what you’ve discovered throughout what we guarantee will prove an epic the day.
Yet more history can be found in the form of the Warrior Trail, a themed walk dedicated to a legendary war horse.
Raised and trained on the Isle of Wight, Warrior became known as ‘the horse the Germans could not kill’ throughout World War I. Indeed to the astonishment of many, he survived several of history’s deadliest battles alongside his heroic commander, General Jack Seely.
Not satisfied with returning a local hero, Warrior even went on to compete in the Isle of Wight Point to Point – winning the Lightweight Race to great fanfare in 1922.
A walk celebrating his achievements takes you through his long-term exercise route, this charting Carisbrooke Castle out onto Brook Bay.
Additional pitstops include Mottistone Village where the courageous Seely once resided. From here you will take in Mottistone Down, Neothilic Long Stone and eventually a section of the Isle of Wight coastal path.
Six miles or pure history, this route will leave you feeling proud and patriotic.
To many planning a holiday the idea of forgoing relaxation with long, arduous walks is frankly absurd. What they fail to appreciate however is certain landscapes demand exploration. The Isle of Wight is one such location, where walks rich with sea views, scenery and history bring their own rewards. Pack the appropriate footwear and see for yourself…