Full Day Tour – Island tour including Ferry from Southampton to Cowes, The Needles, Alum Bay, Freshwater Bay, Osborne House and Ryde
No, lunch isn't included. There will be plenty of opportunities to eat in or to buy some lunch.
There are no toilets on the buses, however we will make plenty of convenient stops throughout our tours.
Plenty to do and see here! Enjoy a hot or a cold drink in the tea rooms
Vist Alum Bay Glass for a glass blowing demonstration
Hop on the world famous chair lift and enjoy the views
Try some sweets from the Sweet Factory
Make your own unique coloured sand souvenirs
Take your children on the local children's attractions
Wear something comfortable as the day will be long and there is some walking involved too. It is a good idea to have an umbrella or a rain poncho with you, you can not trust the English weather.
Queen Victoria's holiday home, you can purchase a ticketing including entry. If you don't wish to visit, your guide will take you to Ryde (see details below).
Please purchase a ticket without the Osborne House entrance fee and bring your EH card with you on the day. Please note without the card you will have to pay even if you are a member.
The day starts with our morning drive to the City of Southampton to catch the 9:00 am ferry down The Solent to Cowes. The ferry leaves from the heart of the Port of Southampton, one of the UK’s busiest ports. You are likely to see cruise ships, container ships and other cargo vessels alongside or passing through this bustling waterway. There are lots of sights to see as you pass down the channel and your guide will be on hand to point out things of interest. The ferry itself is very comfortable with plenty of reasonably priced food and drink options.
The crossing takes approximately an hour and delivers us right into the heart of Cowes.
On arrival we head straight off on our island tour taking us to the western tip of the island to The Needles and Alum Bay. Although close to the mainland, the Isle of Wight has a very different feel, a county in its own right it is England’s largest island. You will have about two hours at The Needles and you can chose to walk out (20 mins) to the headland itself with The Needles Battery, build to defend the entrance to this important waterway, or spend time in Alum Bay at the Needles Park. This tourist attraction has a variety of things to do, the most famous is the chairlift to the beach and the brightly coloured sands.
When we leave The Needles we then drive around Tennyson Down through the villages of Freshwater and Freshwater Bay, then along the military road that hugs the southern shore of the island. After stopping to enjoy the views at Compton Bay back toward Freshwater Bay and the Needles, the tour then takes you north across the island to Osborne House via Newport (the “capital” of the Isle of Wight).
Osborne House was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s seaside palace and it is said to be the place where they were at their happiest, Queen Victoria said of it “It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot”. Explore the Italianate palace which is furnished as it was during the time of their reign, walk amongst the extensive gardens and parkland, designed by Prince Albert himself. You can walk down to the beach where you will find, nestled in the woods, the Swiss Cottage, a two storey play house built by Prince Albert for their nine children.
Entrance to Osborne House is in addition to the price of the tour, but can be included at the time of booking. Entrance is free for English Heritage members, but please remember to bring your card. Those who do not wish to visit Osborne House can instead go down to Ryde, a pretty seaside resort with small shops, cafés and pubs and a chance to see one of the few passenger hovercraft services in the world. We catch the 5:30 pm ferry back up The Solent to Southampton, returning you to Bournemouth for about 7:00 pm.