The Gardens of the Isle of Wight - GW

4 Days

From £1195pp

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  • Private tour of Queen Victoria's favourite gardens with Alan Titchmarsh

  • Enchanting woodland and waterfalls at Shanklin Chine

  • The surprisingly gentle climate at Ventnor

  • An exciting lunch at The Garlic Farm

  • Return ferry ride across the Solent

It is often said that the entire world's population could stand shoulder to shoulder on the Isle of Wight. We're not sure about the veracity of that claim – and certainly don't have the resources to test it – but behind this popular anecdote is a hidden truth: this island should not be underestimated.

The Isle of Wight is a veritable treasure trove of plants and gardens: varied, thriving, temperate, and yet still easily accessible from the mainland. We journey to a number of its beauty spots: the historic tourist attraction of Shanklin Chine, whose cascading waterfalls and shaded vegetation impressed the likes of Austen and Keats; Ventnor Botanic Gardens, with its gentle, almost Mediterranean microclimate; Mottistone Manor, whose enchanting flower gardens attract happy hummingbird hawk-moths in the grounds of a stunning Elizabethan house; and the award-winning Morton Manor, with its huge collection of colourful Japanese Acers. We even take a tractor ride around the natural grounds of The Garlic Farm, where the curious can sample Black Garlic ice cream or beer...

The jewel in the crown has to be Osborne House and Gardens, however, Queen Victoria's holiday home. We pay a very special visit to this breathtaking seaside estate with the wonderful presenter, gardener and author, Alan Titchmarsh at our side. As the queen herself once said, 'It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot.' After a morning spent touring the grounds with Alan and its head gardener we are certain you'll agree.

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Day 1

We depart from our designated pick-up points and board a late-morning ferry to Fishbourne from Portsmouth. Once on the Isle of Wight we journey to the world famous gorge at Shanklin Chine, a natural fissure dropping 105 feet from the top of the cliff to sea level. The chine walk winds down beside waterfalls to the shore, featuring over 150 varieties of wild plants and many species of moss. Following this we have free time to explore the Old Village with its cottages, craft shops, tea rooms and public gardens. We then travel to our hotel, the 4-star Royal Hotel in Ventnor, where this evening's dinner is served.

Day 2

After breakfast we travel to the Ventnor Botanic Gardens, with its head-turning collection of familiar favourites and rarities. Set on a 22-acre site abutting the southern coast, the sub-tropical Undercliff area in which the gardens are based makes this an ideal environment for trees, plants and shrubs which are difficult to grow elsewhere in the UK, such as the fragrant clerodendron.

Next we visit The Garlic Farm at Newchurch, where we enjoy a tractor tour through the fields, with an expert to tell us all about garlic growing. We also enjoy a light lunch (included), which features the farm’s home-grown garlic in various forms...

Day 3

We begin our day at Morton Manor – multiple winner of 'Isle of Wight In Bloom', and twice winner of 'Southern England in Bloom'. Dating back to 1249, the manor boasts an impressive collection of Japanese Acers and an Elizabethan sunken garden. White, red and rosé wines are produced nearby, and visitors can tour the adjacent vineyards as well tasting wine on site.

This afternoon we visit Mottistone Manor, near the quaint village of Brook. The manor's gardens were laid out in the 1960s and 70s, and highlights include colourful herbaceous borders, a rose garden and sea views.

We enjoy our final dinner together this evening at our hotel.

Day 4

Saving the best for last, we spend a day at Osborne House and Gardens. With splendid views across the Solent, this was Queen Victoria’s favourite home, and boasts the island's most extravagant formal gardens. Alan Titchmarsh accompanies us as on a guided tour conducted by the Head Gardener. After lunch in the Terrace Restaurant (included) Alan delivers a talk, followed by a Q&A session.

Next we enjoy a comprehensive tour of the house, with its sumptuous state and family rooms, including the bedroom where Queen Victoria passed away.

Our trip concludes with a late-afternoon ferry to Portsmouth. We return to our original pick-up points in the evening and say our goodbyes.

What's Included

  • Three nights' dinner, bed and full breakfast at the 4-star Royal Hotel, Ventnor. All rooms have private facilities.
  • Three lunches
  • Return ferry crossings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne
  • Comfortable coaching throughout
  • Guided tour of Osborne House & Gardens and visits to Shanklin Village & Gorge, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, The Garlic Farm, Morton Manor and Mottistone Manor
  • Special appearance by Alan Titchmarsh at Osborne House, including talk and Q&A session
  • Services of a Brightwater Holidays tour manager

Supplements per person

  • Single room supplement: £150.00
  • Insurance: £21.00 (under 65); £42.00 (65–74); £63.00 (75–90)

Rail/air connections and/or overnight accommodation in London are available on request

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Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.

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Depart Return
(Tothill St, Westminster)
0800 2030
(Wightlink Ferry Terminal)
1030 1800

Please note all timings are approximate and may be changed. They will be confirmed when the joining instructions are sent out, approximately ten days prior to departure.