Price wise I found my trip quite reasonable, the return train from Bath to Portsmouth, the return catamaran from Portsmouth to Ryde and 3 nights in a B&B totalled less than £140. Travel around the island was also fairly cheap as with an NUS card you can travel half price so a 48hr rover ticket cost me just £7.50.
Monday - Travelling light?
Leaving my house at 6.40 am I was packed up with a rucksack, a satchel and a handbag as well as a travel mug of coffee to keep me going. My bus to Bath was on time and I waited at the train station reading one of my books ( I took 3) to pass the time. The train journey was uneventful and I managed to get even more reading done. Arriving at Portsmouth harbour I headed from the train straight down the slope to the Catamaran terminal and was able to get on an earlier crossing than the one I booked. The crossing was lovely, helped by the gorgeous weather and the fact you could sit on the sundeck. Once in Ryde I walked down the pier (you can wait for a train) and headed for the bus terminal to pick up some information and a timetable. Not long to wait for a bus into Sandown which was where my B&B was, though I was slightly too early to book in so I sat alongside the beach and soaked up some of the sun. Having asked for directions to the correct street I walked to the B&B (http://www.bertramlodge.co.uk/) to book in. I was met by a very friendly couple who showed me my room, the dining area/living room and explained that it was okay to come and go as I pleased, no time limit to be in by as a front door key was included with the room key. My room had a single bed and an en suite shower room just perfect for me, a TV with freeview, large chest of drawers, wardrobe, dressing table, full length mirror, in fact I thought it was quite big for a single room.
Having been in contact with a fellow OU student I spent the evening at The Reef, by the beach in Sandown with a nice glass of wine and lovely company. Once back at the B&B I made plans for the next 2 days.
Tues I would go to needles park and Shanklin chine
Wed I would go to Osborne house and the Zoo.
Tuesday - Newport to Needles
Following a lovely cooked breakfast I caught the bus to Newport in order to catch a further one to Alum bay- Needles park (travelling by bus means getting through a lot of reading). Having planned out my day last night I headed straight for the chair lift down to the beach. Armed with my camera I started snapping away at the view before realising quite how high up I was! Jumping off at the bottom I went straight to the Jetty to join the boat trip to the Needles and lighthouse, plenty of photo opportunities here.
Not wanting to brave the stairs back up to the top, I took the chair lift back up where they very kindly take a photo of you on route!!!
Back up at the top I visited the sand shop,glass blowing, gift shop and the pantry for some lunch (where in all honesty the staff could do with some customer service skills!) following lunch I took the open top bus to the needles battery which gave some beautiful views of the needles and out to sea. Awaiting the bus back to Newport I overheard a lady talking about the Queen visiting so decided to investigate when I returned to Sandown. Back in my room I found the details for the royal visit Wed in Cowes so made a change of plan to my day in order to take in the Queens visit. Later in the evening I caught the bus to Shanklin to visit the Chine once it started getting dark as they light it all up. I walked around the old village as well as around the chine. Wednesday - A Royal Morning, A roaring afternoon So due to my change of plans I had to miss breakfast in order to get to Cowes in time to see the Queen, her majesty had a lot to answer for! ;) once in Cowes I found a spot near to where the boat would dock and hoped I would be able to get a photo at least, thankfully I did.
Once I managed to get out of the huge crowd I found a lovely cafe to have some breakfast http://www.eegons.co.uk/ and very lovely it was too. Following directions from the lovely staff I walked down to the floating bridge in order to get across to East Cowes to continue my Royal morning and visit Osborne House. Viewing the house as an adult is a lot more interesting than as a child(from what I remember anyway) Unfortunately I was visiting too early to be able to see the beach that they are now featuring, maybe that's a good enough excuse for another visit. On returning to Newport I caught the bus back to Sandown and went straight to the Zoo. Disappointingly it's a very small zoo and didn't take long to walk around at all; however the lion's and tigers are beautiful to look at and the white lion made me think of Aslan from Narnia.
After a walk back along the seafront I treated myself to chips by the sea and had a walk along the pier, spending money in the amusements at the same time. A lot of walking having been done today I took my tired legs back to my room and started packing for the journey home.
Thursday - homeward bound
All packed and ready for home, breakfast eaten and room paid for, now what? well I had plenty of time before my trip home and had arranged to meet up with my fellow student again before I returned so I took advantage of the sun and spent the morning on the beach. Needing to cool off I went for some lunch and a bit of shopping (not easy when loaded up with bags!). My friend arrived and we went off to visit Arreton craft village for an ice cream and look around before going on to the Roman villa for a drink before returning to Ryde pier head ready for my return trip. A slight delay on the train to Bath resulted in me having to run between platforms, with 3 heavy bags and wearing flip flops!! in order to catch the last train back to Chippenham. Made it just in time though and managed to finish my 2nd book before returning.
I had a great time away and didn't experience any major problems being on my own (except not being able to suncream my back) the Isle of Wight is easy to get to and easy to find your way around, there are plenty of places to visit many of which I missed this time around so maybe I'll have to revisit the island sometime soon.