Osborne House – Shanklin seafront – Owl and Monkey Haven, this monkey kept turning away every time I tried to photograph him – Selfie with a monkey – On the ferry back to Southampton – Instagram snaps
Two weeks ago today, I got on two trains, a bus, a ferry and then another two buses to Shanklin on the Isle of Wight for a little solo holiday. Originally, I’d booked the holiday for me and my ex boyfriend but as we split up in January and I didn’t really fancy it going to waste, I decided to go on my own. I was shocked at how many people were surprised and even pitied me when I told them I was going on holiday on my own. I saw it as no big deal. While there was nobody to talk to, I had my iPhone and friends and family were only a text/call/facetime away if I got lonely and when you’re on your own, you can do whatever the hell you want! It had been a good couple of months since I last had time off work and got away from my hometown so I was really looking forward to it.
I stayed for three nights (although I’d booked for four but I saw Lana Del Rey in Birmingham on the Monday evening) in a three bedroomed caravan at Lower Hyde Holiday Park which is in the heart of Shanklin. This is also where I stayed the previous two years, it’s such a convenient location. It’s right next door to a Lidl, a short walk away from the town and Old Village and just ten minutes away from the beautiful beaches and seafront. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay on the island, I highly recommend Lower Hyde. I did have problems with my heater being broken so I was absolutely freezing for the first two nights, despite me complaining first thing Wednesday morning but I had no other problems while I was there.
The first day I spent travelling down from Birmingham. It took me just over two hours to get to Southampton and then I hopped onto the free bus to the docks. Luckily, as I used to live down there, I didn’t have to think about where I was going and didn’t have to worry about planning anything as I’ve done the journey so many times before. When I got there, there wasn’t another ferry for a couple of hours so I paid double and went on the Red Jet which only takes 25 minutes and is just a passenger ferry. I was quite excited to go on it although I do prefer the normal car ferry as you can walk around/go to the toilet/go up onto the deck and I just find it really exciting to be on there. Once I got onto the island, I headed to the holiday park and collected my key and unpacked my belongings before going out in search of a Chinese takeaway!
On the Wednesday, I woke up to the sound of rain pounding down on top of my caravan but once I’d actually got up, had some breakfast and got dressed the sun decided to make an appearance. As I thoight the weather wasn’t going to be very nice, I’d already decided that I was going to head over to East Cowes to visit Osborne House which is somewhere I hadn’t been for a good 15 years! At £14 to get in, it’s not cheap but it is a really good day out if you’re interested in Victorian history. The grounds are beautiful too. I really enjoyed sitting out in the gardens amongst the flowers looking over at the Solent. I wish I could have taken photos inside as the decor is amazing, especially on the ceilings! Once I’d finished looking around the house, I went back to Shanklin and had a walk along the seafront and had a play in the amusements where I lost £3 trying to win a stuffed monkey.
On Thursday, I went over to Newport and visited the Owl and Monkey Haven which I’d wanted to go to for a couple of years now. I was quite underwhelmed when I got there as there actually isn’t a lot of owls or monkeys but I listened to one of the keepers give a talk about the monkeys and it was really interesting to learn where each of them came from. There was one in particular, called Xhabu who was really sweet and I loved hearing all about him. Once I’d finished admiring all the monkeys and trying to get photos of them (they move so fast!) I went back to the town centre and treated myself to a Costa before I headed to the cinema and saw The Great Gatsby in 3D. It was a brilliant film and I’d love to see it again. I was pleased to see that I wasn’t the only person in there that had gone on their own.
On Friday, I had to leave my caravan at 10am so I packed up and had a quick walk into the town to buy some rock for my family and friends before I caught the two buses back to East Cowes. This time, I got the normal car ferry and sat at the front and watched out of the window for the whole journey which is my favourite thing to do! When I got back to Southampton, I got straight on a train to Winchester which is only fifteen minutes away and as soon as I got off the train, I felt like I was home. I then went to my friend Hera’s house and our other two friends Lily and Katie came round later on for (another) Chinese takeaway and a catch up. We used to do this regularly when I lived in Winchester but it had been nine months since we’d all been together!
On Saturday, Hera and I walked into town so I could visit all of my old haunts and I was so upset to see that both Blacks and Millets where I used to work had shut down! We went to Asgard and got a piercing each and then had a Starbucks before a cheeky shop in Boots for some make up. I then had to get the train back home at 6pm which got me back for 10pm.
I had such a lovely few days away and now I’m itching to go somewhere else on my own. I’m thinking of booking some time off and going to Paris in August/September. I really recommend going away on your own. It’s a good chance to get some peace and quiet, read and enjoy your own company!