The Isle of Wight, only two and a half hours from London, has become Britain's latest place to be.
Festivals and events jostle for position in the Island's calendar - from rock and jazz concerts to extreme sports, cycling, and beach soccer events. All these, combined with the world famous sailing regatta at Cowes, have turned the island into what The Observer calls 'the new cool'.
Long, sandy beaches offer a great variety of water sports, and five hundred miles of footpaths make the Island a walker's paradise. For cyclists, there are a myriad of designated routes, bridleways and spectacular coastal tracks.
Blessed by Britain's best weather, and rich in visible history - Roman villas, medieval castles and historic houses - the Isle of Wight possesses an extraordinary grace. Over half of it is preserved as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with lush green pastures, pristine streams and animal and bird sanctuaries.
The Grange is situated in Shanklin, known as the 'jewel' of the Island. Although moments from the charming thatched cottages, cafés and gift shops of the Old Village, it's very secluded as its garden faces acres of woodland. The beach and Shanklin Chine, which is laced with delightful waterfalls and is home to an unusual range of flora and fauna, is just a short walk from the bottom of the garden.
The island's transport links to and from the mainland are so good that many islanders commute to the mainland daily. Trains from London to Portsmouth leave regularly from Waterloo station. The simplest way to get here is by train, as you can book a ticket that takes you directly to us in Shanklin - including the 15-minute ferry crossing from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde, plus the connecting island train from Ryde to Shanklin (see www.nationalrail.co.uk.). The Grange is just a few minutes from Shanklin station by taxi.
If you are travelling by car, a quick crossing (40 minutes) is from Portsmouth Harbour to Fishbourne with Wightlink Ferries (see www.wightlink.co.uk). Alternatively you could travel from Southampton to Cowes with Red Funnel Ferries (see www.redfunnel.co.uk). The car journey from Fishbourne to Shanklin takes around 40 minutes and you can plan your journey using the AA's Route Planner at www.theaa.com. Limited parking is available at The Grange and, in peak times, locally for a small fee.
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|The Grange Hotel, 9 Eastcliff Road, Shanklin, Isle of Wight, PO37 6AA, UK Tel:+44 (0)1983 867644|