When my eldest was 3 months old we took a trip to the Isle of Wight in April. We have some lovely memories of the area we stayed in, however as we stayed in a B&B we needed to eat out during the day which proved tricky as many places were closed off season. We wanted to give it another try, knowing that we had the freedom and flexibility of Coast to really explore and enjoy the island.
We planned a 2 week stay across 3 campsites. Windmill Campersite: We could have happily stayed here the entire 2 weeks! A meadow sandwiched between farm fields, full of character and charm - a campervan paradise. Stewart, the host had transformed the campsite into a wonderful creation. Last year he brought in and converted a Wessex Helicopter named Galahad to a 2 bedroom home! As much as we love Coast it just so happened that the only availability they had was for our dates… it would be rude to say no! So first stop the wonderful Windmill Campersite. We had told the boys about our trip but kept the helicopter a surprise. The look on their faces when they awoke from the journey to find themselves transported to an acre of happiness. Stewart had wonderfully and delicately transformed Galahad keeping as many original parts as possible including the cockpit with all buttons and sounds for the children to enjoy being a pilot! It did rain, it did leak, it didn't matter. Interestingly enough the fact that the washing machine was infact a car with bubbles needed no explaining to them! The showershack was such fun, what a great invention! This campsite was pure joy and hands down the best campsite we have stayed at in the UK. We look forward to returning to our happy place :-)V-Dub Island - We visited here for a few days over the weekend, fab festival spirit and really enjoyed the campervan coffee shop who provided a much needed early morning caffeine boost! The Orchards Campsite - this was a recommendation from someone we met at VAG at the Manor in Wokingham. It was a great base with fantastic facilities, an indoor and outdoor pool, field for the dogs to roam in and onsite shop. The laundry and washing up facilities were a luxury, ironing boards included!
Some days were filled with activities, others spent wandering and exploring - it rained and it shone but over the days we fell in love with the island and saw it in a new light.
Some of the places we visited:
Alpaca Farm: What a lovely place to stop off for a bite to eat, with freshly cooked pizzas in the pizza oven and lovely little shop with a parrot (we named Polly) which my youngest was fascinated with. He must have spent a good 40 minutes having a conversation with his new friend who was more than happy to chat back to him!The Needles: I have such memories of coming here when I was younger so it was definitely on the to do list. We took a boat ride out to the Needles, made glass sand bottles and of course had an ice cream. Black Gang Chine: This was an all round fantastic family day out thoroughly enjoyed by us all - we even went back later in the trip as you can return for free within one week. We also visited Robin Hill Country Park using the same tickets :-)The pubs. We love cooking back at camp but decided to mix it up a bit over the 2 weeks. Having failed at eating out off season on our last trip we were a little sceptical. We had come across "The Fighting Cocks" pub and decided to give it a try one evening. The effort this pub had gone to to transform the garden to a children's play area was remarkable. The garden had fantastic play equipment, building blocks, bouncy castle and huge blow up go-kart track - the children had hours of fun over the evening, making friends and exploring the garden. The food was fantastic too. We are on the lookout to find a similar pub back home with such a family friendly atmosphere. This being a huge success we decided to try its sister pub "The Griffin" - again a huge success - it even had a giant maze! The Horse and Groom was another great pub with garden and crazy golf. We look forward to returning to one (ok all) in the future.
Just the simplest of things brought joy to their day - flying the kite, jumping in puddles, toasting marshmallows over the BBQ, checking on the chickens, blowing bubbles around the campsite, making sandcastles, playing with hay bales.
A great way to spend the summer - definitely will be back in 2018!