Isle of Wight day 4 – Osbourne House

Another blistering hot day and off we went wobbling our way down the roads to Osbourne House (via the chain ferry as we took a wrong turn and turned a half hour drive into an hour and a half, and a pop in to Waitrose for a sandwich to take).

This is one of the star attractions of the island – Queen Victoria’s family home. Overall I was rather disappointed – mainly because of the way we explored the grounds due to poor signage. This it seems is a common gripe on Trip Advisor – to which I added my own at the end of the day.

Osbourne House

Being English Heritage, you are greeted with the unavoidable ‘buy English Heritage membership’ booth and a run down of the benefits for disabled people. Thanks but no thanks. You are cleverly pushed through the gift shop to the ticket desk. Finally we got in and you are greeted with roads and an expanse of not a lot. To your right is their mini bus stop and a sign to the left points you along the road to the house.  Most people seemed in the 60’s plus with the odd family and we tried to find a place to picnic. The map said there were tables by a play area but we didn’t see them… we headed off towards the house. It was just road and an expanse of grass (I was expecting some kind of manicured lawn with plants and paths and a fountain or something grand). A few people sat on the dried out lawn. Eventually we headed for an alcove feature thing which had a seat in it.

After our not so grand lunch (because the cafes were sandwiches and ice cream or full waiter service) we debated on getting the mini bus to the Queens Beach – but the sign was covered up so we assumed it had stopped running perhaps. So we  we did a trip to the loo (terribly signposted) and walked back to the entrance. Here we took a mini bus to the Swiss Cottage (not accessible for disabled people and no photos of what it was like around the outside – in fact no information boards about anything on the property). You could order your picnic lunch (very basic) at a cost of  £20.50 from the kiosk here. We settled with bottled water. A walk past a lovely walled picnic spot (not mentioned in the maps) a vegetable patch, meadow and museum of things collected., shot and stuffed or gifted to the royal family finished that corner of the grounds. I really liked the museum but some things in the glass cases can’t be seen from a low wheelchair height. I was impressed with there ramp though – it was wooden and the floor was carved to match the tiled outer path that it ‘took over’ from to lead you inside. Very well done in keeping with the building. From here it was a ten minute walk (well that is what they claim) through a wood, to the beach. I don’t know how long it took us, it was pretty steep and allowed a good half an hour for the midges to take chunks out of us.

Osbourne HouseThe beach was very pleasant, pretty empty with a kiosk selling ice cream and some tables and chairs outside. A few brave people were standing in the water. It is another ‘short’ walk to the bus that takes you back to the stop at the front of the house which we had seen boarded up! You can take the bus or walk another 1.2 K up a huge hill. Whilst on the bus you have a little commentary on the sewerage system for the house. It got a chuckle on the bus if nothing else.

So our trek around the property took 4 hours – and we arrived back at the house just in time for it to close. So we never even got in (it shuts at 5 even if the rest shuts at 6). I can see a common theme to our holiday here.

All in all, better sign posting would have really helped (and other’s were muttering the same thing). Ah well.

Advertisements

Isle of Wight – day 3, Seaview Wildlife Encounter

This was a great day for duck lovers like me. Seaview Wildlife Encounter is an award winning park is not far from Puckpool (I kid yee not rofl) and is situated on a hill at Sea View. The park has a modern feel and makes a feature out of getting as close as possible to the animals. The most memorable are the thousands of ducks (free roaming and in pens) from all over the world, walking through the wallaby enclosure. It was prime time for baby ducks – and the level of cuteness blows your mind. You can see those that have just popped out of their eggs in the baby care building.

Two Baby Ducks

Getting around was quite easy with wide paths, lightly stoned and not so many people. I made good use of my new chair feature being able to tilt in space going up and down the slopes. I can imagine it’s not so easy if you have to push yourself or someone else.

Everything apart from the meerkats were viewable from my height.  The fact you can walk through the tropical house with free flying birds and wander through pens with the wallaby and farm/pet area means you have uninterrupted views.

Map view

There were lots of birds (owls, parrots, flamingos,pelicans and penguins) and a few standard park issue (otters and petting areas for rabbits and goats etc).

Having the wallaby group virtually sitting on your feet is a nice experience 🙂

wallabyWe had lunch in their modern cafe/restaurant – today was more chips and a sausage in a burger bun. I’m not a great fan of chips and could already feel the grease oozing out of my pores.

Much time was spent with the ducks by the lake and I  easily managed to fill up my phone with a hundred and one duck photos.

ducks_me

The tropical house is new and planting wasn’t well established – it was about 80 degrees outside and about 90 in here (my husband left within seconds). I really liked it though and sat with the finches and other birds as they busied themselves munching.

tropical

We were the last people to leave and it was a good day. The only down side was the terrible ‘disabled’ toilet where they had a large space but failed to leave enough space both left and right of the loo (so you could not transfer from a wheelchair). It was another man handling job and sitting slightly sideways whilst praying I wouldn’t fall off. They were also not unisex so my husband had to bee seen walking into a lady’s ‘accessible’ loo. I had to choose to cross my legs for the rest of the day as it was too difficult to go twice.

Isle of Wight Day 2 – Calbourne Water Mill

Day two was a hang onto your head day.  We drove along military road which is enough to give you a concussion, and then miles around country lanes which fortunately had very little traffic. It would seem that not many people take these roads – understandable given their condition! My neck was cracking and paining and the sun was throwing everything she had at us.

So we went here for the day – Calbourne Water Mill

Calbourne Mill

My heart was whooping with delight at the entrance sign advertising scrummy looking sweet and savoury pancakes and all day breakfasts in their cafe. Starved and shaken up, we headed in.

Pancake sign

We got the carer’s discount (always nice) and dived into the modern restaurant/cafe in the grounds.

“I’ll have an all day breakfast pancake please.”

“We aren’t cooking pancakes today.”

“Oh, what about the all day breakfast…”

“Were not doing them either today.”

We were gutted to say the least. I had a run of the mill cornish pasty and chips and Kevin had a pricey sandwich. Not the best of starts.

What a strange place.

The whole place is rather odd. An eclectic mix of dusty farm machinery, rotten wood harvesters and wagons, with a few shed/workshops being used for pottery making and the like.

As you walk through the sheds, you look up and pray nothing falls on your head as the roof underside is covered in saws and other agricultural blades held on by rickety metal studs.

Scary sheds

The main attraction are the peacocks – I spent the afternoon stalking them for a photo whilst Kevin wandered around. I couldn’t really get around the mill so this kept me amused. I stalked one around the small war museum building complete with a resin cast of Churchill (as in PM not the dog – although both are quite jowly and the resin cast didn’t show him in the best of health).  One came up to check out my knees – so he made it into my photo montage.

Peacock

As we got back into the car, Kevin found his camera he couldn’t find before we went in. So he went back in to take some photos before we did the wobbly journey back home to our holiday cottage. It was a relief to be able to speak to the cottage owner and get the wifi password to connect to the world. Usually you get a folder with all the details in like nearest shops, petrol stations, manuals for the house equipment etc. This one was disappointing as the only thing we had was a notice board where the prominent sign was to make sure that if you are pregnant you don’t sit in the hot tub for more than 10minutes unless you are aiming to induce your baby… not the most helpful of info really for the average holiday maker.

Isle of Wight – Day 1 Godshill

We were about 5 miles from Godshill – named as such because it is claimed the church foundations were to be placed where a pub now sits … but overnight the stones were miraculously moved to the top of the hill.  We arrived late in the day with the aim of having a pub lunch, looking around the shops and visiting the model village which had got 5 star ratings on Trip Advisor. I also downloaded every App available for the Isle of Wight just to make sure we had some digital information on hand. I’m sorry I did thought because they all turned out to be rather rubbish.

We dodged the busy traffic (pavement was hit and miss up the street) weaving between pavement and narrow road. Some of the shops had already closed on the way up so people were hiding out in the remaining tea shop that was open. We went up the hill and found the cottages, then onto the church and we had it all to ourselves pretty much.  A sign on the church said a ramp was available behind the organ to get in – but Kevin couldn’t see it. I sat in the porch and took pictures of gravestones.

Image

Image

Anyway, the Model Village said it was open until 6 in late July and that is what we had aimed to see. We went on the 14th of July but at 4.45 was told it was closing at 5… so not late enough.

We headed back down the dodgy road (a bit scary) and into the pub for tea. My small portion was huge and I happily munched through a pile of nachos and a cauliflower and ‘something or other’ cheese crumble. It was baking hot with temperatures of 27-30 degrees all week.

So that was day 1. We headed back to our holiday cottage to melt a little bit more.