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The Needles

The Needles are probably the most photographed aspect of the Isle of Wight. But the best way to see them is probably not from the amusement park (despite the breathtaking chair lift ride) but from the decommissioned artillery batteries above them. There is a spectacular open-top bus tour, operated in the summer by Southern Vectis that has exclusive use of the road along the cliff edge up to the Battery.

Osborne House

Osborne House - Queen Victoria's beloved seaside home, designed by her husband Prince Albert and the scene of her death in 1901. Now under the care of English Heritage, the royal apartments are open to the public as well as the extensive gardens. The House hosts picnic-style concerts in summer with acts ranging from Simply Red to Girls Aloud.

Carisbrooke Castle

Carisbrooke Castle - the royal connections here are far removed from summer holidays. This is where Charles I was incarcerated for fourteen months before his execution in 1649. The castle has been described as the finest Norman building in Britain. The main rooms are in good repair and one of the chief attractions is The Well-House, still operated by donkeys. There is a Museum here with a collection of exhibits relating to the Island's history.

Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Isle of Wight Steam Railway - the Island used to have 54 miles of railways, most of which were closed in Dr Beeching's reforms of the 1960s. However, some elements of those glory days can be enjoyed by taking one of the original Island steam trains from Havenstreet that run along the five miles of track between Wooton and Smallbrook Junction.

Brading Roman Villa

Brading Roman Villa - this 12 room courtyard villa is housed in an award-winning Exhibition and Visitor Centre. The villa's fine Roman mosaics are on display, depicting scenes of Roman fables and characters. There is also an extensive collection of Roman archaeological finds including coins, pottery and tools. With still more to discover, excavations are in progress on site.

The Lavender Farm

The Lavender Farm - a family run business producing the highest quality lavender with over 230 varieties. The farm also produce their own lavender products and sell them in the gift shop. They also have a cafe where you can enjoy lunch or a cream tea.

Dimbola Lodge

Dimbola Lodge - Dimbola Lodge was the home of the celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. Saved from the bulldozers literally at the last minute, Dimbola has since been described as an "unexpected delight" and the "best kept secret on the Isle of Wight". There's lots to see at Dimbola. They have permanent exhibitions of Julia Margaret Cameron's work, a changing programme of contemporary photography and art exhibitions, a History of IOW Pop Festivals, the Jimi Hendrix Garden, and the Cameron Tearooms and giftshop. 

Day bike rides

Different day bike rides around the Island.

Please be aware of that not all of the routes starts from Hillside Ventnor.

The Sunshine Trail
- a varied circular route around the area of the Isle of Wight that receives the record amount of sunshine in the UK.

Route 1 - Yarmouth - An easy route, mainly on the road.

Route 2 - Yarmouth - Longer fairly easy cycling on cycleway and country lanes.

Route 3 - Cowes - An easy fairly level ride after the hill at East Cowes.

Route 4 - Cowes - The off road, level surfaced Medina cycleway between Cowes and Newport is ideal for a short there and back ride.

Route 5 - Brighstone - A fine introduction to mountain biking this route on the ridge of the Downs is easy to follow and gives wonderful views of the West Wight.

Route 6 - Brighstone - A figure of eight ride from Brighstone along gently undulating country lanes to Chale.

Route 7 - Ryde - Explore the landscape of hedgerows and woods that lie behind Ryde.

Route 8 - Ryde - A longer ride combining coast and countryside, with a choice or shorter routes direct to Brading.

Route 9 - Newport - The first part of this ride is along the Sandown cycleway - go there and back to Merstone for an easy ride.

Route 10 - Carisbrooke - A fairly easy ride on country lanes through the rural heart of the Island.

Route 11 - Sandown - A short fairly easy ride.

Route 12 - Shanklin - There are two big hills on this route, but they are well worth it for the interest and variety on the ride.

Taste Round the Island Cycle Route

The Round the Island Cycle route was first created in 1985 using the Island Wayfarer cycle Touring clubs Randonee route. This 100Km course is attempted by over 3000 people on the May bank holiday.

The whole route in a day is a definite challenge, but the Taste Round the Island Cycle route doesn't have to be that rushed.

As you travel along the Taste Round the Island Route, just off it or right on the route, you will find numerous food and drink locations.

It is possible to start this route from Hillside Ventnor.

Chalk Ridge Extreme

Chalk Ridge Extreme
A challenging long distance mountain bike route on some of the countries.
Lenght: 50 miles
Difficulty: Hard

This 50 mile circular mountain bike route has been called the "off road round the island cycle route". It follows some of the country's most stunning chalk ridge single track and downhills.

There are stunning views and scenery visible from the spine of the Island, between Freshwater and Niton. The route then dips into the Arreton valley before climbing yet another chalk down before you hit the islands wooded Northern claylands. 

Not a route for the faint hearted, it is challenging both in its gradient and the trail surface from mud to slippery chalk. Relatively easy sections can be found though, to give you welcome breaks, these are where the route follows public byways across rural farmland.

It is possible to start this route from Hillside.

Red Squirrel Trail

Red Squirrel Trail
Length:23.32 miles
Difficulty:Easy

Red Squirrel Trail has been tailored for cyclists who prefer car-free cycling on mainly flat, gentle routes. Much of this trail runs along purpose-made tracks along the Isle of Wight's disused railway lines, ensuring a leisurely cycle through the Island's countryside.

The rail trail between Newport and Sandown has been well used and much loved for over a decade, passing the sculptures and picnic area on the popular "Troll Trail" along the way. The route then continues along the popular Isle of Wight "Sunshine Trail" which runs a circuit through Shanklin and the surrounding area.

It is possible to either start or end this route at Hillside.

Red Squirrel Hot Spots
Parkhurst Forest - just off the Red Squirrel route, to the West of Newport, the forest has extensive conifer tree habitats and a Red Squirrel viewing hide.
Alverstone Mead Nature Reserve - turn left off the trail at Alverstone and the entrance to the reserve is 50 metres along the road. There is a bird / red squirrel viewing hide located here.
Shanklin Chine - head to Shanklin Old Village where you will find the entrance to the Island's oldest attraction, Shanklin Chine. You will discover loads of different wildlife in the Chine as you descend through to the seafront.

Round the Island Yacht Race - 29thJune

Starting at The Royal Yacht Squadron, Cowes passes Hillside, Ventnor...