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Autumn on the Isle of Wight

As summer fades away and autumn colours appear on the trees, there is still so much that the Isle of Wight has to offer, rather than going into a slumber until the following year, the Island re-awakens from long sunny days down the beach with plenty of autumn awesomeness.

Autumn is an ideal time to visit the Island, with many of the attractions still open but far fewer people about, you’ll find you don’t have to queue even for the most popular tourist spots. For the cost-conscious, this off-peak season rewards you with cheaper ferries, whilst most Isle of Wight hotels and bed & breakfast accommodation will tempt you over with amazing rates & ferry inclusive deals.

The baking hot beach days of summer give way to more comfortable walking conditions, allowing you to try some of the Islands amazing coastal walks, whilst in the evening you can rest your weary feet in one of many good old Island pubs with homely log fire and local ales aplenty. What’s not to love about the Island in autumn?

One attraction that is perfect for an autumn afternoon is Quarr Abbey, for visitors wishing to spend a relaxing few hours, this working monastery complete with its visitor-centre, monastery shop, art gallery, tea-shop and farm provides a serene break from the rat race of city life.

“While you are sitting in our beautiful garden, you may see red squirrels running along the garden wall, buzzards circling over the woods, and ravens perched on the belfry of the church. You can be quite sure a robin or two will come and eat any crumbs you can spare.” – Courtesy of Quarr Abbey

A short walk takes you to the ancient ruins of the original Quarr Abbey that date as far back as 1132, the visitor-centre explains the rich history of this wonderful monastery and Island landmark.

A popular place to visit in autumn is Shanklin Chine, located within a few minutes’ walk from the Clifton, the autumn rains flowing off the downs at Ventnor reinvigorate the wonderful waterfall making a splendid sight, and fewer tourists around mean you can enjoy the natural beauty without interruption.

“The wondrous Chine here is a very great lion; I wish I had as many guineas as there have been spyglasses in it” – John Keats 1819

With the sun setting earlier you also get the chance to see the Chine illuminations, the night time display of lights that make this mystical wonder appear even more magical. Shanklin Chine is also the home of the Chine Heritage Centre that is brimming with information about the history of Shanklin and the Isle of Wight, including some of its many famous visitors and residents, whilst in the heritage centre it you will also see an exhibition about the role it played in the D-Day landings with 40 Commando and PLUTO (Pipeline under the ocean) that supplied fuel to the Allied troops in France.

Shanklin-Chine

The Island is usually blessed with good weather, in fact, the Isle of Wight is generally milder and sees more sunshine than nearly any other region in the UK, even others on the south coast of England. However being coastal the Island has throughout history been prone to sudden sea storms (Mainly in the depths of winter so you should be fine in autumn) it has left the south-west coast littered with ancient shipwrecks, whilst I doubt many of you would really fancy diving off a wreck in Mid-October, there is a chance to get up close to some and explore this fascinating part of Island history at The Shipwreck Centre displaying an amazing collection of artefacts discovered by dedicated diver Martin Woodward, it is one of the largest exhibitions of its type in the UK.

“Bursting at the seams with thousands of objects recovered from shipwrecks, antique diving equipment, Spanish gold and silver, ship models and a multitude of other intriguing relics from the past” – Courtesy of The Shipwreck Centre.

shipwreck-centre

The Shipwreck Centre is based at Arreton Barns, which itself is a wonderful place to spend a few hours especially on a blustery autumn day, but be careful with so many things to do a few hours could easily become a whole day. This Arts & Crafts centre is the largest on the Island and home to the famous Isle of Wight Studio Glass, you may even get a chance to see Timothy Harris work his magic turning a lump of glass into a majestic masterpiece, it truly is a sight to behold, but that’s no wonder as he considered one of Britain’s leading glassmakers. Arreton Barns if surely the home of artisan glass, as there is also a second glass studio Sculptglass that has delighted visitors for 17 years with its diverse range of colourful hand-crafted glass, and the Barns are home to the Isle of Wight Glass Museum with well over 1200 pieces including some of the best examples of European Art Deco glass.

Arreton Barns is not just all about glass though, it really lives up to its Arts & Crafts reputation with a leather working studio and shop, pottery studio Ceramic Crafts where the stunning artist Sally creates bespoke personalised pieces to order, mixed craft cabin and for those with a sweet tooth you’ll love Sweet Memories a traditional sweet shop with handcrafted sweets, and fudge so good you will no doubt make the Isle of Wight a place of sweet pilgrimage for years to come.

With summer now becoming a distant memory and winter just around the corner you may want one last fling with a gin and tonic before hot chocolate and Lemsip become the regular evening tipple. For a gin lover, the Island has a special treat that we’re sure you’ll love as much as we do, yes you’ve guessed, of course it’s Island gin, the range of artisan small-batch gins produced by Isle of Wight Distillery are a local favourite, with their Mermaid gins in their distinctive bottles now found in most pubs and restaurants across the Island. The distillery located in Pondwell on the outskirts of Ryde is open daily and offers free admission, visitors are invited to watch the distillation process whilst sampling some of the finely crafted spirits on offer.

“The first and only distillery on the Isle of Wight was licensed in 2014 by friends Xavier Baker and Conrad Gauntlett. Combining a wealth of experience in brewing and wine-making with locally sourced ingredients, they have created a range of premium spirits that express the beauty and character of the Island they love.” – Courtesy Isle of Wight Distillery

Isle-ofWight-Mermaid-Gin

The Mermaid Bar at the distillery also serves a great range of other local produce, meaning there is something for everyone, from wine made at the Islands Rosemary Vineyard to local ales from Goddard’s Brewery. You can also find Mermaid Gin and Mermaid Pink Gin infused with Island Strawberries in the Clifton’s Snug Bar throughout the season.

If you’re thinking about visiting the Isle of Wight this autumn, or any time of year, Shanklin is bound to hold many of the attractions, events and eateries that you’ll just love. Enjoy the town as a base when staying at The Clifton, and never be more than a short walk away from all of the action and excitement. Take a look at our Last Minute Accommodation deals for your autumn break, or check out our great value ferry inclusive spring bed & breakfast package.