Etchings

Ventnor, Isle of Wight, United Kingdom Book from Book from £62 per night

A beautifully decorated townhouse turned 3-bedroom holiday rental in the heart of beachside Ventnor
Ventnor is arguably the prettiest coastal town on the Isle of Wight, and the sunniest, too. Tucked beneath chalky St. Boniface Down, facing due south across the Channel, its mild microclimate has spawned handsome Victorian Gothic houses banked above the narrow Esplanade and gold-shingled beach, as well as thriving Mediterranean gardens bursting with magnolias, hops and lizards. It’s the perfect setting for this beautifully converted and playfully decorated 3-bedroom holiday home, which sits a block above the High Street and 5 mins’ walk from the sea and coastal paths.

Bought and fully refurbished in 2017, it bears hallmarks of the owner's stints in Hong Kong, Singapore and India – a Chinese teak daybed, a hand-painted pewter elephant – to create a tasteful, feel-good holiday vibe. Think pale-painted floorboards and pink Anglepoise lamps in the bedrooms (2 double and 1 twin), bold wallpapers and pop-arty scatter cushions in the cosy sitting rooms (yes, there are 2 of them), and a brightly lit, well-equipped kitchen for lazy mealtimes. Outside is a small courtyard and a raised suntrap garden; shops, quaint cafés and some emerging gastro-eateries are a short walk away.

Highs

  • This was a labour of love for the owner, and it shows: from Asian lamps and antique dressers to beautiful fabrics and super-comfy beds
  • Other generous touches include an honesty spirits bar, Nespresso machine, washer-dryer, and local hiking maps
  • We loved the spacious family bathroom (clawfoot tub, chandelier) as well as the separate tiled wet room
  • Perfect for a family of 4-6, or a multi-gen group (grandparents, parents and 2 kids), plus dog
  • It also works for a couple: you won’t rattle around - and it’s affordable

Lows

  • Etchings is a compact townhouse: don’t expect vast rooms or rolling gardens
  • Set on 3 levels, be prepared for plenty of steps-ercise during your stay
  • Outside space is limited, and the small courtyard rather overlooked
  • The raised garden is not toddler friendly
  • Weekly stays only (starting Fri or Mon) in summer, with short breaks (Mon-Fri or Fri-Mon) available at other times

Best time to go

The house is available all year, and if you pick a sunny week in spring or autumn (and there are more of those here than almost anywhere in the UK), then it's absolutely magical. Think lung-busting coastal walks, near-empty beaches and glittering seas studded with marine traffic small and large. Summer, of course, is always popular; Ventnor beach is busy (but not crazily so), and the Botanic Gardens burst with colour.

Don't rule out a winter weekend: Ventnor is the kind of place that still has off-season music gigs, all-season fishing and shops for the year-round population.

Our top tips

Book your ferry crossing as early as possible - prices rise as departure date approaches. We love the Lymington-Yarmouth crossing, which is less crowded, and allows you to drive the scenic Military Road from Freshwater to Chale on the way to Ventnor. You pass spectacular chalk-cliff coastline, sometimes draped in atmospheric fingers of sea mist.

Don't forget your National Trust and English Heritage cards for entry (and free parking) at the Needles, St. Catherine's Down, Mottistone Estate, Bembridge Fort and Osborne House. If you're not members yet, this could be the time to join.

Great for...

Beach
Cheap & Chic
Family
Great Outdoors
  • House rental
  • 3 bedrooms
  • Self-catering; restaurants and shops nearby
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Laundry Service
  • Weekly cleaning
Room:

Rooms

The ground floor has 2 cosy sitting rooms – one left, one right – which is handy if some want to watch TV and others to enjoy a quiet pre-prandial. Vintage bucket chairs, brightly beaded pouffes and an authentic Chinese teak daybed (from the owner's Hong Kong days) invite relaxation; a few books, games and maps are supplied – but no DVD player or separate sound system. Fairy lights and stacked logs brighten up the (decorative) fireplaces.

Upstairs are 2 lovely double bedrooms and 1 twin. The rear-facing double, at the top of the house, is the most secluded. Open eaves and a Velux window keep it bright, while anthracite walls are offset by burned red accents in the carpet, bedspread and bowls of Asian ‘love-beads’. French windows lead via a balcony up to the small garden (so bear in mind that anyone going to the garden will pass through this room). There’s a grey tiled wet room 2 steps down.

On the middle level is another lovely double room – this one front-facing, with duck-egg walls, retro pink Anglepoise lamps, a dandelion light and pale-painted floorboards – and a very generously sized bathroom opposite, with clawfoot tub and chandelier. At the rear is a twin room designed more for kids, with 2 single sleigh beds and cheerful star-spangled bedspreads, but not much of a view.

We found the beds (kingsize doubles, wide singles) very comfy, with medium-firm mattress and toppers. Despite being in town, it's surprisingly quiet; the top-floor double, in particular, is a haven of peace. Bathrooms are supplied with small bottles of Scottish Fine Soap toiletries.

Features include:

  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hairdryer
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Satellite TV
  • Toaster
  • Toiletries
  • Tumble dryer
  • Washing machine
  • WiFi

Eating

The spacious downstairs kitchen comes with sleek white surfaces, a 5-ring gas hob and electric oven, a good-sized fridge-freezer, all the usual gadgetry (including Nespresso machine and 4-slice toaster), and a huge armoire packed with crockery and glasses. All cooking essentials are present and correct, from pots and pans to sharp knives and sieves. A microwave hides in a small utility room, along with dog bowls and food.

An adjacent dining room comes with a table for 6, and an ‘honesty shelf’ including 3 gins when we visited (the island makes its own gin, Mermaid). Bright downlighters and splashes of red keep the spirits high.

It’s a 2-minute walk to the High Street, with a well-stocked Co-op, a Tesco Express, plenty of cafés, restaurants and independent stores. If you want to treat yourselves, the owner recommends The Crab and Lobster Tap for fresh seafood and Sunday roasts. And we love the sound of the 6-course fine-dining menu at Edulis in Ventnor Botanic Gardens, much of it home grown (including mushrooms and 'micro herbs') or locally made (IOW soft cheeses and chutneys). Just be prepared for a wait if it's busy. Alternatively, walk to Steephill Cove for lunch at The Boathouse - but bear in mind that it's seasonal and tables are like gold dust.

Features include:

  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Dishwasher
  • Fridge
  • Full kitchen
  • Hob or stove
  • Microwave
  • Oven
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Toaster
  • Basic ingredients
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Ventnor is a charmingly low-key seaside town, with a mix of imposing 19th-century villas, thatched fishermen's cottages and clapboard beach huts sitting in the lee of the famously crumbly chalk cliffs of St. Boniface
  • Its sand-and-shingle beach (7 mins' walk) has the usual fish-and-chipperies, bucket-and-spade shops and a busy fishing 'haven'; plus the perennially popular Spyglass Inn for cold beer, live music and a pint of prawns
  • Don't miss the Botanic Gardens ("Britain's Hottest Gardens"), which burst with colourful Mediterranean flowers from spring to autumn, as well as wall lizards, sub-tropical trees, winter-blooming magnolias, a mushroom chamber and a secret tunnel to the sea
  • Bracing coastal paths lead across the chalky undercliff in both directions: head west, atop wave-pounded cliffs, to Steephill Cove (rockpools, crab pasties, an old donkey and no cars) - and further towards St. Catherine's Point if the spirit takes you
  • Drive to the island's west tip for breathtaking views over plunging white cliffs to the rock stacks of the Needles, the foaming green shallows of Scratchell's Bay and the WW2 gun points of the Old Battery
  • In rainy weather, hit the slot machines at Shanklin, go bowling in Ryde, explore Queen Vic's palatial retirement pad at Osborne House, or the monastic tranquillity (and superb garden café) of Quarr Abbey

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Horse riding
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Sailing
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

This is a lovely house for a family of 4-6, or for a multi-gen holiday with grandparents, parents and 1-2 children. We'd recommend it for ages 4+, but not for toddlers. There are 2 double bedrooms and 1 child-friendly twin; a spacious bathroom with tub (as well as a separate wet room), and 2 sitting rooms (one with TV) so you can divide and chill.

The town of Ventnor has a lovely sand-shingle beach (though the sea can be wavy), several family-friendly restaurants, and plenty to do nearby if it rains.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

All bedrooms have sufficient space for a travel cot (provided).

Baby equipment:

  • Travel cot (extra cost)
  • High chair (extra cost)
  • Children's dining chairs (no charge)

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Ventnor beach and paddling pool
  • Ventnor Botanic Gardens (Lizard Trail, Nature Hunt, picnics)
  • Ventnor Falconry Centre (3.5 miles)
  • Wroxall Donkey Sanctuary (4 miles)
  • Sandown Trampoline Park (5 miles)
  • Sandown Pier - amusement arcade (6 miles)
  • Godshill Model Village (6 miles)

Families Should Know:

There are unprotected drops around the upper rock garden. The house has lots of stairs, including a fairly steep flight between lower ground floor (kitchen/dining room) and upper ground floor (sitting rooms/twin bedroom). Stair gates are available by prior arrangement.

Distances:

  • Shops & medical centre: 1-3 mins' walk
  • Beach: 7 mins' walk
  • Hospital: 30 mins' drive (Newport)
Kid Friendly:

Location

Etchings is in the small town of Ventnor, on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.

By Air:
There are no airports on the Isle of Wight; the nearest are Southampton, Bournemouth and Heathrow.

By Ferry:
Frequent sailings from Southampton, Portsmouth and Lymington to the Isle of Wight; most take cars. Book early for the cheapest fares.

On the Island:
You'll need a car to get from your arrival port to Ventnor, and for exploring the island. If you don't want to bring your own car, you could hire one (limited outlets; most will meet you at your ferry) or, if you intend to stay in Ventnor most of the time, use taxis. There are regular but slow buses from Ventnor to Newport and to Ryde (via Sandown).

Detailed directions will be sent when you book through i-escape.

More on getting to the UK and getting around

Airports:

  • Southampton 50.0 km SOU

Other:

  • Beach 0.5 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.2 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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