Isle of Wight: the perfect day trip for Portsmouth students
In this article Max, a postgraduate student studying International Relations, tells us what makes Ryde, the town that sits opposite Southsea Common on the Isle of Wight, the perfect escape for students.
As exams finish, deadlines are defeated and the sun comes out many of you will be looking for the perfect way to unwind. Ryde, a historic British sea-side town with Mediterranean-esque sandy beaches offers the perfect escape.
Getting there and getting aroundWhilst the pandemic has seen flights to sunnier climates suspended, you can still ‘fly’ to the Isle of Wight. The hovercraft ‘flight’ to Ryde takes 10 minutes from Southsea and drops you on the beautiful Victorian esplanade with its grand hotels and classic pubs. The hovercraft is a tourist attraction in itself and is the only passenger hovercraft service in Europe so make sure to grab an Instagram story.
Alternatively, a passenger ferry runs from Portsmouth Harbour with a sun-deck in sunny weather that offers beautiful views of Portsmouth, Southsea and the Solent.
There is an extensive bus service on the Island and even the opportunity to ride classic London Underground trains on the Island’s own train service.
Enjoying the beach and sea views
After arriving, if you turn left and follow the seagulls you’ll find several miles of golden sand beaches with plenty of space to settle down for a swim and a sunbathe. The beaches have good facilities including toilets, shade, lifeguards and most importantly places to buy an ice-cream.
Ryde boasts a whole host of beautiful pubs, bars and restaurants which overlook the Solent. On a sunny day grab a seat and a coffee at the Dell Café or The Boathouse after a stroll along the promenade for a beautiful view of Portsmouth and the Solent, you might even be able to see your halls of residence.
Exploring the history
If it’s history you’re after Ryde has you covered. Take a relaxing stroll through the Island’s beautiful countryside from the heart of Ryde to Quarr Abbey, a Game of Thrones-esque Abbey with stunning views and a lovely café offering cream teas. Ryde Pier is one of Britain’s longest and oldest Victorian piers and worth taking in even if you took the Hovercraft. Moreover, a shopping trip up Ryde’s Union Street is alive with history from classic shopping arcades to pub-gardens set beneath prestigious hotels.
Trying the local food
Ryde has a great deal of fantastic restaurants with a vibrant and growing ‘foodie’ scene. Try some classic Turkish ‘meze’ at Ada Mediterranean Kitchen on Union Street, grab some traditional fish and chips at ‘Wights’ on Ryde High Street. Beloved local Italian run ‘Michelangelo Restaurant’ offers some of the best pasta dishes in England. Bendula Bar & Restaurant offers authentic Caribbean and African dishes and ‘Craft Vegan’ on the Esplanade offers perhaps the best vegan pizza you’ll ever eat, paired perfectly with their wide selection of craft beers. Regardless of what you’re after Ryde has you covered, you’d be hard pushed to leave hungry.
Seeing more of the Island
There are a whole host of hotels in the Town should you wish to extend your stay, suiting all budgets. Moreover, the Island offers plenty of natural beauty and deep history. Short bus trips to Cowes and Newport can take you to Queen Victoria’s beautiful summer home or to a fine, classic British Castle in Newport that during the English Civil War imprisoned King Charles I. Furthermore, the Island has countless cycle routes and walks to keep you entertained.
If you’re looking to freshen up your Instagram after the Winter Lockdown look no further than a trip to Ryde and its sandy-beaches and ‘micro-climate’. Crossing the water will give you that holiday feeling and you’ll no-doubt leave Ryde with a little sun-burn, a full stomach and plenty of memories. So as the Beatles once sang, why not grab a ticket to ‘Ryde'.