Incredible scenery, beautiful beaches and 1,001 things to do
Over half of the Isle of Wight is designated as 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' much of it in the West Wight. The Isle of Wight Coastal Path (pictured left) runs through the Country Park and right past the cottages. There are some fantastic beaches all over the West Wight, including one right on the doorstep.
The historical harbour town of Yarmouth, the destination point for ferries from Lymington, is a short walk away or just three minutes by car. Yarmouth has plenty to offer in the way of pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops and delis. The shopping is just as tempting as the nature. It also has it's own castle..
There are so many places to visit nearby: the castle where Charles I was imprisoned, the summer residence of Queen Victoria, and the home of one of the pioneers of photography, as well as adventure parks, zoos, children's farms and a steam railway.
On the edge of Fort Victoria Country Park, looking out to sea over Lymington and the New Forest, just minutes from Yarmouth and meters from the scenic IOW Coastal Path
The cottages were built 160 years ago to house officers from Fort Victoria, once part of the island's coastal defences and now home to a tea shop and attractions such as a planetariuman, an underwater archaeology museum, an aquarium and a model railway.
The country park is a mixed woodland and beach nature reserve, with an extensive network of paths, viewpoints and wood carvings. There's plenty of discoveries to be made by beach combers, wildlife enthusiasts, fossil hunters and generally anyone with a sense of adventure.
From the woods there's wonderful views over the Solent to Hurst Castle, one of the forts built by Henry VIII to defend himself against his first wife's angry relatives. Hurst Castle can also be seen down on Fort Victoria Beach, next to the cottages.
Right next to the cottages, Fort Victoria Beach (below) is a great place to take an early morning or twilight stroll. The sunsets here are often spectacular.
Through the woods and past the Hurst Castle viewpoint is Colwell Bay, a traditional bucket and spade beach with rockpools, ice cream and naughty postcards.
Our favourite beach is Compton Beach (above and left) the rugged stretch of partly black sand next to the soaring chalk cliffs of Freshwater Bay. Dinosaur footprints can be seen here at low tide.
A short walk towards Yarmouth takes you to Sandhard Beach, where there are public barbeques, and a pontoon for catching the water taxi across the harbour into town.
Past Colwell Bay is Totland Bay, and further still Alum Bay (below), nestled in the shadow of the famous Needles. Alum Bay is home to the bizzarre multicoloured sands in the cliff, and the even more bizzare ski chairlift.