After an interesting start to our weekend on the Isle of Wight, off the South Coast of England. Our adventure continues!
You will have probably twigged by now that our weekend on the IOW was characterised by bad weather and this finally beat us on our second (and last) day. The cycling tour that morning was cancelled due to high winds but thankfully, we still managed to squeeze in a bit of sightseeing before our last supper. En route to lunch at Farringford’s (former home of Poet Laureate Lord Tennyson) we stopped off at The Needles lookout. Armed with brollies and waterproofs, we tip toed across the puddles and up to the view-point overseeing Alum Bay. The Needles is possibly the IOW’s most iconic landmark and consists of a series of rocky pinnacles jutting out of the water and topped off by a pretty lighthouse warning sailors of the dangers lurking beneath the waves.
Having taken our somewhat cloudy Needles photos, we then continued our journey to Farringford’s, pulling into the exquisite grounds which were lovingly crafted by Lord Tennyson himself – author of those famous lines “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all”. The grounds are overlooked by the striking Neo-Gothic building lived in by Tennyson and his family during the 1800’s and we were lucky enough to be given a sneak preview of the restoration works being done there by the new owner Martin.
Aside from the beautiful and historic surroundings, we were blown away by Farringford’s newly opened restaurant. The chef, Justin Brown, is Michellin starred and this really did show in the taste and quality of the food!
We were also blown away by what good value for money Farringford’s offers – three courses for just £19.95! I had a beautiful Twice Baked Blue Cheese Souffle with Beetroot and Walnut salad to start, followed by Roast Lamb, Veg and Mint Sauce and a desert of Vanilla Crème Brule &; Lemon Shortcakes; while Rich opted for Roast Tomato Soup, the Lamb and an amazing (from the sound of the loud “Mmmmm”s) Chocolate Brioche Bread & Butter Pudding with Bailey’s Anglaise.
It’s fantastic that Farringford’s makes fine dining accessible to all whilst giving visitors a chance to indulge themselves in the memories of Tennyson’s work. Once again, a visit here is thoroughly recommended, so if you’re heading to the Isle of Wight any time soon, make sure this place is on your list.
Feeling fully satisfied and privileged to have been inside Tennyson’s home (which won’t even be open to the public for another 18 months) we made our way to the Red Funnel Terminal to catch the ferry home.
We were really sad to leave the Isle of Wight as we felt that we had only just been given a taster of what it has to offer. However, in the short time that we were there we had already decided that this wasn’t the last that this island had seen of us. Our mountain bike adventure and rugged IOW countryside had inspired us and the visit to Farringford’s reignited our interest in local history and culture. To us, all of this has proven that if you’re open minded, enthusiastic and willing, even the dreadful English weather can’t dampen your sense of adventure.
A big thank you to Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries for arranging this weekend. Visit their website for cheap ferries to the island.