People are overrated aren’t they? They’re always blathering on about this and that when really you’d rather just have a quiet sit down and a chance to listen to the waves lapping on the shore.
Sometimes you need a beach without loads of people. Sandown, Shanklin, Ryde, Ventnor and Colwell are unlikely to offer you that unless it’s 3am on a wet Wednesday in November.
Here are some of our favourite spots for avoiding people on an Isle of Wight beach holiday. Apologies in advance if this page leads to a mass influx of visitors to previously quiet locations but I think that's unlikely.
If you've got your own favourites, please share them in the comments.
1. Chilton Chine, South West Wight
To be fair, most of the Isle of Wight’s South West coast is as empty as it is beautiful. However, some beaches are easier to access than others.
Chilton Chine has a small car park next door to Isle of Wight Pearl on the Military Road. You clamber down a few steps and then you’ve got a pleasant stretch of beach which is sort-of-sandy and sort-of-stony. If you look carefully, you might discover an enormous dinosaur bone and become world famous. Or more likely, you won’t.
Whale Chine on the same coastline used to be a favourite of ours before the steps disappeared and the council were forced to block it off and put up enormous red signs saying things like “DANGER OF DEATH”. I do wonder whether the phrase "danger of death" helps the Island’s tourist industry, but I’ll let that one go.
2. Gurnard’s hidden beach, North Wight
Gurnard and Cowes beach both get pretty busy on a sunny day, but we usually head for the ‘hidden’ beach in Gurnard which is quieter although not completely empty. Take the footpath round the back of Gurnard’s sailing club and you get to a rocky and sandy-ish beach. You can park quite nearby with this one, which is a bonus.
I did swim there on our last visit but the tranquillity and peace was destroyed when I stood on a jagged rock under the water.
3. Far end of Compton Bay, West Wight
The Hanover Point end of Compton Bay is not a good choice for avoiding people on a busy day. The car park overflows, the ice cream van has a queue like Primark after lockdown ended and there’s an awkward back and forth as you work out whose turn it is to use the steps.
However, if you love that stretch of beach and want to avoid people as much as possible then it is much quieter at the far end. Park at the Compton Farm car park, walk through a field and climb down the steep steps with the gorgeous views down the coastline. The steps are a bit hairy if you’re also carrying three bodyboards, a windbreak and a picnic bag.
4. Binnel Bay, South Wight
Most of the South Wight’s beaches are quiet, apart from Ventnor and Steephill Cove.
Binnel Bay is a rocky beach which we’ve had to ourselves before.
When I say that it's rocky, I don't mean it has that tiny shingle which you can sink into. I mean that it has massive great rocks which will poke you in the bottom. Top tip: find a rock with a similar indent to your buttocks for maximum comfort.
Click on the image below and you can have a look around, although this is a bit further along from the bit we have visited.
5. Orchard Bay, South Wight
Orchard Bay in the South Wight gained a bit of local attention about 20 years ago when it turned out it was the landing spot for a massive drug smuggling operation.
For a while, you couldn't access it because the steps had given way. Thankfully, the St Lawrence Community Association and the landowners worked hard to get the steps re-opened. Three cheers for nice people doing a nice thing!
Here's a virtual tour thing from On The Wight:
6. Woodside Bay, North East Wight
Woodside Bay is hard to access unless you're staying at Woodside Coastal Retreat and Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat. The bay gets used by residents at the holiday parks but it's a long stretch of beach so it isn't terribly busy.
It's shingly with the occasional patch of sand(ish) and is a bit too stony and seaweedy for swimming. However, it's facing the right way for sunsets. My mother told me 'it has a Robinson Crusoe quality about it' but I didn't see a single cannibal when I was there.
It's also right by the spot where Bob Dylan headlined the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival.
7. Watcombe Bay
Now, this one’s a bit specialist but if you’ve got a kayak and know what you're doing, you can make your way round from Freshwater Bay to Watcombe Bay.
The only other way to access it is by abseiling down from the cliffs so you aren't likely to find many other visitors there.
We visited as part of a trip out with Isle of Wight Adventure Activities so there's a chance that a whole school party will turn up just as you get settled in. There are also some caves which you can explore but I'd caution against doing that unless you are with a guide. Otherwise you'll probably end up as part of a cautionary tale used by the RNLI when they train their coastguards.
I wasn't completely convinced that virtual tours were the answer to keep us all sane during these unprecedented/difficult/worrying times (delete according to mood).
I thought it might be like putting up pictures of an ex-girlfriend all around the house straight after being dumped. You'd be much better to put on an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, make a ham and cheese toastie and begin listing reasons why you're better off without her (Ed: think you might be oversharing).
But after taking a look at a few of them, I felt they were worth a share. If you really get into it, try setting up a desk fan next to the screen to offer a cool breeze. Pour some concrete into a C-shape in your garden and decorate it with dinosaurs for the Isle of Wight minigolf experience. Or for the authentic seaside day out ask a neighbour to charge you £7 to park on their drive for the day, from a safe distance of course.
1. The Isle of Wight Guru Car Park Viewpoint tour
We normally recommend our Car Park Viewpoint Tour for cold or rainy days where you want to see some of the Isle of Wight without getting off your bottom.
However, it's also useful during a global pandemic when you would like to see the glorious views from the top of Brading Down, Gurnard seafront or Freshwater Bay.
We've embedded a couple of our favourites here, but the whole selection can be found here.
You can click on each one and turn around.
2. Seven seconds at Compton BAy
I assume this 360 view of Compton Bay from Wightlink had to be limited to seven seconds because the camera is set up on the cliff edge which tends to collapse regularly (remember when the car park was twice as big?).
Still, it's good fun being able to turn around briefly, particularly as it includes real life moving people.
Get yourself an ice cream out the freezer and a coffee in a polystyrene cup and you'll feel like you're there.
3. Amazon World
Here's a slightly longer 360 degree video, featuring a selection of human and animal species.
4. Ventnor Botanic Garden
Next up it's everyone's favourite microclimate - Ventnor Botanic Gardens. I wouldn't quite say you could persuade yourself that you're there, but it's a good effort nonetheless.
5. Newport Roman Villa
Finally, a trip inside Newport Roman Villa. As I've mentioned before, my only memory from visiting here was on a school trip when us nine year olds were overwhelmed with giggles when we saw the scantily clad statues.
I'm not an especially crafty sew and sew but I can recommend Hama beads as a way of filling an hour during a global pandemic.
Whilst child one started rummaging around for brown beads for her poo emoji shape, I set to a more wholesome project of an Isle of Wight Hama bead shape.
If you're attempting this for yourself, I recommend sticking a map underneath the board (I used this one) and taping the whole thing down. My first attempt was abandoned after a half finished project was bumped by a small child. You may have heard me crying in anguish if you had the windows open at the time.
To add a certain amount of nerdiness I decided to highlight some themed Isle of Wight landmarks in white, grey, orange and yellow. Hopefully you figured out that the blue bits are rivers.
I'll leave you to work out what the different colours represent.
I'll be honest, writing a blog about days out on the Isle of Wight is a bit of a struggle during a national lockdown.
Perhaps I'll cook up some Isle of Wight doughnuts or feature some Isle of Wight craft activities as an alternative to outdoor activities. (Don't) Visit Isle of Wight has come up with a number of Isle of Wight themed lockdown suggestions to work your way through.
For the time being I'll have to stick to photos from people who are lucky enough to live within walking distance of the beach.
So here we go.
Thanks to Dan, who used his government-approved-exercise time to walk to the beach near Brighstone in the West Wight and captured the sun going down. Rest assured, he maintained a distance of two miles from anyone else.
Don't worry guys, the sunsets will still be there once the lockdown is over. Stay safe!
Cafes have come on a long way since I was a nipper.
They used to be places which served one type of tea in floral china on wobbly saucers. Nowadays, they serve decaf vegan latte macchiatos and smashed avocado on toast. Well, apart from the ones who are using mismatch floral china on wobbly saucers in a self-aware nod towards the past.
Anyway, child one recently suggested that we share ideas for cafes on the Isle of Wight which are particularly good for younger visitors.
So here goes:
1. Board, Newport
The Isle of Wight's only board game cafe is in Newport town centre. Not exactly the most picturesque location on our beautiful Island, but it's a welcome shelter on a stormy day. You pay a small cover charge to have access to all the games and then order whatever you like.
If you've not been to a board game cafe before, these aren't the sort of places which have a copy of Connect 4 with half the pieces missing. There are loads of interesting games to choose from, including some complicated ones for grown ups which take all afternoon to play.
Youngest player rolls first.
2. Arty Shakes, SHanklin
There are a few pottery painting places on the Isle of Wight, but if you want to combine it with a sugar rush then head to Arty Shakes in Shanklin.
Last time I checked, you paid a four pound fee for the paints and glazing and then buy whatever you want to paint (from about three pounds). I recently spent forty pounds painting a mug and a cupcake at Center Parcs, so Arty Shakes seems pretty good value to me. Needless to say, I felt like a mug.
Other pottery painting options on the Isle of Wight include Isle of Sweets Craft Centre in Shanklin which is great value and very friendly but not really a cafe, Fired Art Ceramics in Ryde (not really a cafe either, but they do painting and glazing) and Chessell Pottery Cafe in the West Wight (more of an emphasis on the cafe side of it than there used to be, but you can still paint pottery there).
3. Brown's Golf Course Cafe, sandown
Brown's Golf Course Cafe doesn't look anything much from the outside but inside it's a lovely light and spacious cafe with toys for toddlers.
The golf course also hosts free Campfire Sessions on some evenings with live music, fire pits and the like.
4. Comicoffee, Newport
Newport is also home to ComiCoffee, which will probably appeal more to older children (and Dads).
It's a half-coffee shop, half comic-book store which can be found in Pyle Street.
5. Soft play cafes
I reckon there are two types of parents at a soft play area.
The first is the parent who runs around with the children, offering 'supervision' whilst trying not to smile too much or say "weeeeeeee" too loudly when they go down the slides (that's me).
The second is the parent who orders a coffee, sits down with their phone and leaves them to it until one of the children turns up at the table and says "daddy, Harry's hurt himself...".
There are a few soft play areas on the Isle of Wight with cafes attached. Tapnell Farm Park is probably my favourite as it is a large space and has a proper cafe. However, it is part of a larger attraction so you pay about ten pounds to get in and really need to spend a few hours there.
A more recently opened option is Monkey Madness, which is attached to Amazon World but runs as a separate attraction. The cafe area was quite small when we visited, although that was a few months ago. Leave a comment below if you've been more recently and can offer an update.
Other soft play areas are covered in our toddlers' guide.
6. Freshwater Coffee House
The Freshwater Coffee House in the West Wight was very child-friendly when we popped in a little while ago, even though we blocked off a big chunk of the cafe with our huge pushchair.
There's also a fairly good playground nearby in the playing fields in Freshwater. NearbyFreshwater Bay is a great spot for children to fill their pockets with stones and then argue with you about whether or not they can take them home.
As it is February and howling a gale outside, it didn't occur to us that some Isle of Wight cafes are perfect for children in the summer.
Thanks to Andrew for the suggestion of Besty and Spinky's Cafe in Ventnor which sits alongside the Isle of Wight shaped paddling pool.
You don't have to visit the cafe to use the paddling pool, but it's an excellent opportunity to drink a latte whilst your children try not to fall into the 4-inch deep Solent.
Know of any other child-friendly cafes on the Isle of Wight? Comment below if so...
As I've shared many, many times, my proposal to Mrs Guru was up there with the best. It involved spelling out 'Marry Me' in the sand at Compton Bay and then walking her to the cliff edge with a blindfold for a bird's eye view.
The tide had come in and washed away half of the Y so that the message read 'Marr Me' but she got the idea.
If you want to impress your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/life-partner on the Isle of Wight this February, then here are five ideas to get your started, entirely pinched from Instagram.
Please feel free to add other ideas at the bottom of the page if you're a local business owner who is shrewd enough to cash in on romantic fools like myself.
1. Tuk tuk into a burger
The Isle of Wight Tuk Tuk is a new thing for 2020 and they're doing a deal with The Cow at Tapnell Farm where they'll pick you up and drop you off at the restaurant.
The Ts & Cs say that you need to be within 5 miles of Tapnell Farm, or you can pay a bit extra. I'd suggest that 5 miles is a reasonable limit, as the 20 mile drive from Bembridge to Tapnell Farm might be a wee bit nippy on a February evening.
2. An enchanting break
The Enchanted Manor in Niton must be a contender for the Isle of Wight's most romantic accommodation. They offer four poster beds and a sort of rustic vintage decor which Mrs Guru approves of.
3. Dining at the Garlic Farm
I am hoping that the menu for the Garlic Farm's Valentine's meal won't be garlic flavoured soup followed by garlic tart (served with garlic bread) and garlic ice cream for pudding.
If so, I'd say there's very little chance of finding romance unless the bill comes with a very generous pile of mint imperials. Let's hope that it just provides a nice setting for a romantic meal with only a modest portion of garlic.
4. The Spirit of the Orient at Robin Hill
How about celebrating Valentines Day with a Chinese New Year themed walk in the woods instead of a romantic meal? According to the official blurb the Spirit of the Orient will be a fusion of sound, colour, illuminations and oriental flavours'.
Just make sure you pack a woolly hat.
5. Dine at the Duck
Finally, how about going the whole hog (Ed: surely, you mean Duck?) at The Duck in Ryde. After six courses, you'll want to walk it off along the Esplanade at Appley.
If you run a business and want to promote your Valentines Day plans, please feel free to comment below.
In my day, the Christmas holidays flew by in what felt like a 20 minute blur of frantically opening a stocking, singing a couple of carols and then being forced to do a walk around the pretty part of Carisbrooke after a huge lunch. As far as I remember, I was putting my school uniform on whilst still digesting the turkey and was bundled back to school on Boxing Day.
Perhaps my mind is playing tricks on me.
Nowadays, the Christmas school holidays seem to last as long as a Premier League football manager – or just under three weeks to be precise.
After about 25 minutes of filling time with board games and CBeebies, we decided a change of scene was needed and booked a last minute break at Woodside Coastal Retreat at Wootton Bridge.
As it was winter prices we could afford to upgrade to a sea view and a hot tub, which made the whole thing a lot more appealing.
There are two adjacent lodge parks at Wootton Bridge called Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat and Woodside Coastal Retreat. They are both run by a company called Darwin Escapes which has about 20 lodge parks around the UK. This is an Isle of Wight website so let’s not worry about those other mainland ones. Suffice to say, the Isle of Wight ones are superior to all of them, even the ones I haven’t visited.
For those with a long memory, the parks sit on the spot (roughly) where Bob Dylan headlined the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival to a crowd of 150,000 including John Lennon and various other stars of the day.
I'd have called the sites Bob and Dylan to avoid confusion, but I have now got a good understanding of the pros and cons of the similarly named parks. If you haven’t already lost interest, please do a drumroll in your head and I'll give a summary.
Woodside Coastal Retreat was built first and is the smaller park. It is right by the beach and some of the lodges called Carisbrooke View and Osborne View are so close to the water that you could probably go fishing from your veranda (although that’s not an invitation to do so). Several of the lodges have hot tubs.
Pretty much all of the lodges on Woodside Coastal Retreat have at least a bit of a sea view, as the site is on a slope.
The downside of Woodside Coastal Retreat is that a) it doesn’t have any facilities and b) it is a couple of years older than the other park.
Meanwhile, Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat was built second and is significantly bigger. It’s got about 120 lodges compared to about 35 at Woodside Coastal Retreat.
The good things about Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat are that the accommodation is slightly newer and fancier and that it has got its own restaurant, gym and spa so someone can stick cucumbers on your eyes, or something like that.
The downside is that the majority of the lodges at Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat don’t have any sea view as the site is surrounded by woodland. Towards the entrance of the park you do get a distant sea view, but you’d only have the cheek to call it a “stunning sea view” if you were an estate agent who was desperate to reach your monthly sales target so you could keep up with the repayment fees on your Audi.
Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat also has two rather quirky treehouses with hot tubs, which are next to the woodland path.
The two resorts are linked by a woodland walk which runs alongside the beach. It is only five minutes between the two parks, so I would only be swayed by the facilities if you plan to use either the gym or the restaurant regularly. Although if you are the kind of person who complains about having to walk to the gym then uses a treadmill for half an hour, then I’m afraid we can’t be friends.
Both sites have a nice feel to them, as they are on steep slopes with decent views rather than just being a load of lodges lined up in a field. They’re also nicely maintained with plenty of plants and trees.
So really, the main thing to decide is whether you want a sea view (Woodside Coastal Retreat) or newer accommodation (Woodside Bay Lodge Retreat).
We went for Woodside Coastal Retreat. The lodges with the word ‘View’ in the title were all booked, but we booked into a Carisbrooke Premier with a hot tub. During the summer months you pay a considerable premium for a hot tub, but during winter it wasn’t so bad (when I looked in August, the same accommodation seemed to be up to £700 extra for a hot tub whilst it was more like £200 extra in January).
If you can get one of the ‘View’ properties, I would pay the extra particularly during the quieter season. I looked rather enviously at residents of the row of lodges in front of ours.
Considering this was the ‘older’ park, I was impressed with the accommodation. There was the odd sign of wear, such as a random hole in the verandah table and some of the carpet was a bit worn but everything else was very good. There were a couple of board games, but only half a Monopoly board. Perhaps someone had thrown the other half in the sea after landing on a hotel on Park Lane.
Issues such as our frying pan being damaged were sorted out quicker than you might reasonably expect an ambulance to arrive in a rural area.
We had three good sized bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dressing area so that we could look our best for the other park residents and an open plan kitchen/diner/lounge. I much prefer ‘lodges’ to ‘caravans’ as they are generally about twice as wide and have proper sized beds rather skinny mattresses.
My dream of looking at the sea whilst sat in my hot tub didn’t quite come true, as the hot tub is sunk into the ground but I enjoyed the novelty of being able to break wind without anyone realising.
Of course, the challenge on an Isle of Wight holiday during January is finding stuff to do as there’s an assumption that the whole Island shuts down on the 1st of November. There is some truth to that, but there is still enough to keep a family entertained for a week.
Our days out included:
There were also plenty of other wintery things which we didn’t do, including the cinema, swimming pools, several animal attractions and so on. On one occasion we had a close up view of one of the Isle of Wight’s famous red squirrels whilst at Woodside Coastal Retreat, although I’m not sure I can count that as an attraction.
There are certainly downsides to a winter holiday on the Isle of Wight – the coldness, the dark evenings which mean you can’t admire the view whilst you eat dinner in a seaside restaurant and so on. But there are also plus sides, including considerably cheaper accommodation, cheaper ferries, quieter roads and some free on-street parking. If you’re a dog owner (which I’m not) then you’ve also got the advantage of being able to walk on all the beaches which you can’t do in summer.
We were pretty lucky with the weather. It only rained for half an hour all week and we had a few minutes of sunshine here and there. Most of the time it was greyer than the Manchester United away kit of 1996 but it wasn’t quite as cold as I expected.
It was certainly better than trying to fill three weeks watching CBeebies.
My brother's family recently had a wintery trip to the Isle of Wight. Despite my advice that there were quite a few winter days out to choose from, he decided that they would visit Tapnell Farm Park six times in a seven days.
By the end of the week he was handing out unwanted advice to passers by on how to achieve a good lap time on the go-karts and asking the manager if he could deliver a talk on mini-beasts.
Now, I'm certainly a big fan of Tapnell Farm Park, particularly in winter but I think it's time we look at some of the new stuff coming to the Isle of Wight in 2020 for people who are stuck in a rut of visiting the same stuff every year (are you reading this, Brother Guru?).
So here are 6 new things coming to the Isle of Wight in 2020:
1. 1970 Festival celebrations
Back in 1970, the world and his scantily-clad dog turned up at the Isle of Wight Festival. Some estimates reckon that 600,000 or 700,000 people were there, although no-one knows for sure because they don't make clickers which go up that high. Some of the locals found it a bit much and needed to lie down in a darkened room for 32 years before the Festival returned to the Island in 2002.
In 2020, a reunion festival called Experience 1970 is taking place on the original site.
Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight Festival will no doubt mark the occasion in one way or another. The current lineup includes Lionel Richie, Duran Duran and Snow Patrol. Seeour festival guide for more info.
2. The Sandown Sprint
Some wags might claim that young men have been racing along Sandown seafront for years, but 2020 will see a legal option with up to 100 cars taking part in the Sandown Sprint. The roads will be closed and cars will race along the seafront against the backdrop of Bembridge Downs.
3. Sandown's High Nets Course
I haven't managed to find an opening date for Sandown's new high nets course, but I have a hunch it will be in 2019. Sandham Gardens has seen a number of upgrades recently including the new dinosaur themed minigolf course which is turning it into a decent attraction which will eventually fill several hours on a sunny day.
It was originally going to be high ropes, but it turned out there was a slight risk that it might fall to pieces thanks to the sea air.
4. Tapnell Farm's Aqua Park
The thought of falling into a lake doesn't seem especially appealing in mid-December, but I'm sure that will all change by the Spring when the Isle of Wight's 'first outdoor floating aqua park' opens. I guess it'll be a bit like that Total Wipeout programme where Richard Hammond made sarcastic remarks from his lounge whilst a presenter on the other side of the world did all the running around. Perhaps they'll call it Total Wightout?
And here's a photo of how it is coming along, from one of my brother's many trips to Tapnell Farm...
5. Er, something new at Shanklin Seafront's Summer Arcade
I'm afraid I don't have a lot of insider information on this one, but our last trip to the Summer Arcade on Shanklin Seafront revealed a couple of big changes.
The outdoor space has now got a roof on it (see the first photo) and the bumper cars and inflatable slides have gone to make way for...something.
Meanwhile, the indoor mini go kart section in the arcade has gone too (see the second photo).
We shall return in the spring to see what's arrived.
6. Premier Inn on SAndown seafront and Priory Bay Hotel
OK, so we don't know for certain that these two hotels will be opening/re-opening in 2020 but I thought they were worth a mention.
Premier Inn has been on the cards for some time and the official updates website says it hopes to open in Spring 2020. This may sound like a great big plug for one hotel, but there aren't many chain hotels operating on the Island and they generally aren't in prominent seafront locations.
Meanwhile, Priory Bay Hotel is one of the poshest hotels on the Isle of Wight. It was bought a couple of years ago and has been undergoing a big redevelopment across its 60 acre site.
It even has its own beach which is one of my favourites thanks to its ability to look paradisaical on a summer's day. My father told me that the sand on the beach was imported to make it extra golden but it's quite possible he made that up. We don't have an opening date for that one yet - Google tells me that it is 2020, but the official website just said TBC when I checked, so don't get your dinner jacket dry cleaned just yet.
Have we missed any major new events or attractions opening on the Isle of Wight in 2020? Feel free to give them a plug in the comments section below.
I bought a new front door a few months ago.
It came in anthracite grey and has a small diamond shaped window, a bit like the shape of the Isle of Wight on its side.
The guy who sold it to me (Keith) was full of praise for its ability to withstand repeated beatings from masked intruders carrying sledgehammers. He offered to show me a video on YouTube on his phone.
I tried to explain that I live on a cul-de-sac in a quiet village, surrounded by retirees, and that the risk of rioting was minimal unless there was an unexpected result in the Strictly dance-off.
I offered Keith a cup of tea. Keith was persistent so I coughed up £1200 and said thankyou.
It was perhaps the most boring way that I have willingly spent money and I'm still getting over it.
As an old man would say, you don't get a lot for your money nowadays.
With this in mind, I want to make the exact same argument that I made last year that the Isle of Wight Festival is good value.
Here's the lineup so far, in case you missed it.
If you were quick off the mark, you could have bought the early bird Islander tickets in June 2019 for £115 or £126 including the booking fee. The full price tickets will be £185 and the Islander rate is £145 (plus fees) -they go on sale on Friday or there's a deal with Barclaycard for another 10% off.
So how does that compare to individual gig tickets?
Let's assume that you wanted to see Lionel Richie on tour after watching his famous Glastonbury performance at the local cinema. You paid £30 for two cinema tickets and a bucket of popcorn and you'd like to relive the magic.
Tickets to see Lionel Richie at the one day Hampton Court Palace Festival 2020 start at £115 (although when I looked, the cheapest pair of tickets on Ticketmaster was actually £148 each plus booking fees).
So, a one day 'festival' costs the same as the early bird price for the whole three/four days of the Isle of Wight Festival including camping. And the actual price you can get tickets for is about the same as the standard Islander rate for the weekend.
Perhaps though you don't like Lionel Richie. Perhaps you don't want to stand in Seaclose Park and sing Dancing on the Ceiling.
Perhaps you'd rather put a glostick in your straw hat and dance to Pete Tong's Ibiza Classics at the O2 in London. That'll be £40 please...plus a booking fee.
Or how about Lewis Capaldi at the SSE Arena? That's £32 please, sir. How will you be paying today? Did I mention there's a booking fee?
How about the Kaiser Chiefs for another £27 or Supergrass for £43? Can I take the long number from your credit card please?
Sam Fender in London? That's £26 please. Primal Scream in Nottingham? That's £30 please - can I take the three digits from the back of the card please, sir?
James Arthur at the O2? That's £34 please, or can I interest you in a 'platinum' ticket for £174? Dido in London? That's £42 please.
You'd rather see Snow Patrol at the Royal Albert Hall? That's £66 please. Will that be VISA or Mastercard, sir? Did I mention that there's something called a 'handling fee' which is entirely necessary even though the ticket is digital and can't actually be handled? Would you also like to pre-book parking in Central London for the same cost as a new car?
But you're a Duran Duran fan? I'm afraid they aren't touring at the moment, but you could have headed over to the USA and paid £250 to see them if you wanted? Don't forget to plant a couple of trees to offset all that guilt.
I'm sorry, I got carried away.
Now, obviously you're not going to want to see every single act at the Festival, but if you're interested in one or two acts per day I reckon it's good value. And that's without all the other festival stuff, like the kids' zone and the smaller stages.
Ah yes, but you've got to pay to get to the Isle of Wight. Isn't it the most expensive crossing in the world, or something like that?
Yes, it's certainly true that the ferry can be expensive but if you travel as a foot passenger it's £11 return with Red Funnel, £16 with Wightlink, or 50% off with Hovertravel.
And let's not forget that the rest of the lineup hasn't been announced yet.
If you'd like to put on a better value festival, please go ahead and I'll buy the first ticket.
During the dark days of Child One not sleeping especially well, I explored many avenues to calm her. One unsuccessful technique was a 10 hour video of a hairdryer on YouTube which claimed the calming noise would soothe even the most persistent baby.
The view count was sensational, perhaps because everyone else, like me, was watching in case the hairdryer caught fire after being left on for 10 hours.
Another noise which I reckon deserves 10 hours of your attention is Freshwater Bay on a stormy day. There's a wonderful thing about hearing the loud thud of the breaking waves followed by the sound of hundreds of pebbles being dragged up and down.
Our most recent trip to Freshwater Bay was a bit of a different one, since it was low tide and the waves were so weak that they were barely tickling the pebbles. Without the waves, the water was wonderfully clear and there was even a whiff of sunshine despite the time of year. Not exactly "we'd better get the suncream out" weather, but certainly enough to say something like "oooh, it's brightening up a bit".
Child One (who now sleeps much better) liked the look of the litter-picking challenge at the beach so we grabbed the grabber and wandered round to the second beach at Freshwater Bay, which is round to the right as you face the sea. I was pleased to see that there wasn't a huge heap of rubbish but we found enough to fill a few minutes and a quarter of a carrier bag.
After that we began clambering on the rocks which are exposed at low tide. Freshwater Bay doesn't quite match Bembridge for rockpooling but we found a good selection of sea thingys (don't ask me to name them) and the only other family on the beach said they'd seen crabs and prawns. I did wonder if they were talking about lunch but they looked like a proper outdoorsy lot with boots and waterproofs, whilst I was unwisely wearing my new jeans and my best pair of trainers.
We ended the trip with the familiar discussion of how many stones the children could bring home. I limited them to one and discreetly dumped the others before we headed back to the car. One day I'll return at night and return all the stones they've collected over the years.
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