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Isle of Wight

Exterior view over 1 Compton Farm Cottages, Newport, Isle of Wight

Exterior view over 1 Compton Farm Cottages, Newport, Isle of Wight

It’s hard to believe this special place of rolling green countryside and white chalky coastland is only half an hour away from the English mainland; time spent here feels nothing like the frantic pace of daily life. And thanks to low light pollution, it’s one of the best spots in the South to see the stars flash across the dark sky at night – so remember to pack a flask!

Take in the chalk cliffs topped by wild flowers and rambling coastal paths at the Needles Headland and Tennyson Down before admiring The Needles, three gleaming white chalk stones rising out of the sea.

The Compton Bay and Downs in the south west offer miles after miles of golden sand and sheltered coves. Vast swathes of sky and the sound of birds calling can make whole days pass quickly while the chalk cliffs behind the beach seem to glow in the sunset. See the olive grove and blazes of summer colour in the gardens at Mottistone before taking a walk around Mottistone estate across fields of wild flowers where bees, drunk on the sun, buzz all summer long.

For a buzz of an altogether different kind, head to the seaport town of Cowes for the heady atmosphere of the August sailing regatta, and award-winning family-friendly beaches at East and West Cowes.