Ventnor is a very steep town, built on terraces rising from the beach & esplanade, 700 feet to the summit of St Boniface Down. Cycling can be quite difficult on some of these hills, with gradients of 1 in 4 or more. The 2 hills down to the beach in particular are very steep with 2 or 3 sharp hairpin bends.
Walking is by far the best way to get around, and the effort required to do so is one of the reasons why Ventnor became a fashionable health resort in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. There are also buses, the main terminus being outside Boots in the High Street. Ventnor is not connected to the train system anymore.
address: Undercliff Drive, PO38 1ULThese gardens are some of the best in the country, due to Ventor's unusual climate, being very southern and sheltered by the hill to the north. There is a little museum of smuggling in the grounds. The gardens are built on the site of The Royal National Hospital which was demolished in 1969. Formerly owned by the council and free to the public, the gardens have now been privatised, and charge entry. Tickets: £8.50 adults, £5 children.
address: 11 Spring Hill, PO38 1PEThis small museum offers a wealth of information and photographic history of Ventnor's past, as well as many small books and pamphlets, many written by local volunteers.
phone: +44 1983 852484address: Appuldurcombe Road, Wroxall, PO38 3EW
Steephill CoveA cove only accessible by foot at the southernmost tip of the island. There is an incredible seafood restaurant right on the beach - the owners catch their own lobsters and crabs daily, you would find it hard to get fresher seafood anywhere! And the view from the tables over the cove and out to sea is breathtaking.
Blackgang ChineThis was formerly a dramatic gorge through which one could walk to the sea. Following a catastrophic collapse, the Chine ceased to exist some decades ago, but the bizarre entertainment park, with its animated figures, is still worth a visit. This is the world's first and oldest theme park. Shanklin Chine, a smaller gorge, can still be visited. Bus #6 serves Blackgang.
The beach is much smaller than the huge yellow sands at Sandown and Shanklin but it is less commercial, a better place to go to unwind. There is an arcade, and shops selling ice creams, buckets and spades and other seaside stuff.
The Met is a stylish tapas bar located right on the Esplanade with views out on the sea.
The Spyglass Inn on the sea front is nice, and you can sit outside and watch the sea. The brave can try the "Oyster Stout" from the Ventnor brewery.
Ocean View Housephone: +44 1983 852729address: 46 Zig Zag Rd
phone: +44 1983 852186address: Belgrave Road