With the (imminent) upcoming arrival of tiny human we had a little get away planned to have a little time to relax and gather our thoughts, recharge the batteries and have as much sleep as humanly possible – as we all know we won’t be getting much in the not to distant future!
Having headed over to the beautiful French countryside for the last few summers, I was considering more factors this year. I still wanted good weather, but didn’t necessarily need immense heat as that’s no fun when seven months pregnant. We are usually self catering but feeling like a lazy, rotund woman I didn’t fancy having to cook or conjure up food everyday. If we weren’t self catering then we needed food outlets and eateries in close proximity. It had to, of course, be dog friendly, as that’s a priority for our furry child. We wanted good walks. We wanted the accommodation to feel a little different and less like just a house somewhere other than home. So many specifics the hunt was long…
So having had the search land back on UK soil (as French choices were all a little secluded and isolated), I looked at the south coast and Cornwall, but eventually settled on The Isle of Wight. A gorgeous island just off the south coast of England, quick to travel to (great with a dog that gets car sick), full of long walks, great coast line, touristy stuff if we wanted it, dog friendly activities and pubs and best of all a well priced lodge accommodation that seemed to tick every box. Picked our dates, booked our ferry and had fingers crossed I wouldn’t go into and uber early labour – figured that was fairly unlikely!
Our accommodation, which we’re already planning on a return visit, was The Lodge on the Marsh, in Brading (near the east coast of the island) – a gorgeous wooden cabin set in the grounds of the home of a lovely couple. This lovely couple were not only welcoming and friendly, but also brought the best breakfast hamper each day as well as homemade cakes to enjoy every afternoon. And if that wasn’t enough they had the most gorgeous one year old golden retriever, plus the gardens were gorgeous and the land beyond were breath taking marsh lands perfect for long doggy walks.
Location wise we were surrounded by endless countryside but at the same time a short walk from the village with a selection of pubs, a vintage store, a toy museum, a shop, a vineyard – even a posh restaurant!
Everyone was so welcoming, dogs were happily accepted everywhere even the posh nosh restaurant.
The restaurant in question was a new establishment called Heima, currently offering a delicious seven course taster menu (with a great vegetarian option) and designed with a modern Scandinavian feel interiors with a nod to the coastline for inspiration. Definitely, suitably impressed to find such a delight in our local village and together with the yummy food served in the other surrounding pubs, we did very well to be continually well nourished – especially good for this pregnant mama-to-be who needs constantly refuelling! We spent the fortnight rotating round from pub to pub – The Kynges Well (gastro-y yummy large portioned dishes with a special extra touch for looking as good as they tasted plus insane desserts), The Yarbridge Inn (colossal portions of very, very good food with smaller portions as lunch time options), The Bugle Inn (great pub food with a lengthy menu to choose from), The Pilot Boat Inn (delicious food and lovely bar staff set on the beach side, a perfect stop off during long coast walks, and also owned by our hosts at the lodge) and The Baywatch (not a red swim suit in sight, just lots of local fish options on the menu).
Despite the swollen ankles (that required regular raising) I managed a lot of lovely long walks across fields, through woodlands, along the marshes and round the idyllic desolate beach and coast line. The numerous amount of connected public footpaths guided us all over the east side of the island and to travel a little further to the south coast we hopped on the charming few carriages of the local volunteer run train.
Shanklin down on the southern coast is a little tourist seaside town, quiet and friendly with an abundance of beach front eateries to choose from. It is also home to the beautiful Shanklin Chine – a magical woodland creeping up the cliff side full of wonderful nature, incredible lush tropical planting, streams and waterfalls.
The Isle of Wight is definitely a beautiful place where perfectly we could do as little or as much as we liked. I had lovely hours spent relaxing in the sun but then felt like I’d achieved a lot by doing great treks over to the east to enjoy the coastal walks, to die for villages like Bembridge where we could ogle the houses backing onto the beach and dream about living there, and take a peak around the local village shops.
We were astoundingly fortunate with incredible weather but truly everything came together for the perfect baby-moon fortnight – relaxing for me, cycling heaven for hub and perfection for the fur child who was happier than ever – so many new doggy friends and so many humans that fell in love with him!