Discover the cultural highlights of the Isle of Wight, with a particular emphasis on its Victorian heritage
Explore the connections between the island and the Pre-Raphaelite movement
Delve into the broader history of the Isle of Wight, from Roman times to the 20th century
“The variety and juxtaposition of visits was excellent, well-timed, very interesting and informative”
“[Paul Atterbury] has an incredibly broad and in-depth knowledge… his lectures were outstanding”
– ACE travellers on the 2021 Isle of Wight tour
The Isle of Wight features picturesque scenery once favoured by royalty, from charming thatched cottages to medieval churches that stand alongside Regency and Victorian towns.
The island will forever be associated with Queen Victoria, whose reign came to an end there at the beginning of the last century. We will explore the former royal residence of Osborne House and St Mildred’s Church in Whippingham, frequented by the Queen; and our tour is based in the seaside resort of Cowes, which still bears substantial traces of Victorian England.
As well as these royal links, the Isle of Wight also holds connections with the radical Pre-Raphaelite movement of the 19th century, which we will explore during the tour. Many of the artists linked to and inspired by the Brotherhood lived and worked on the island, including the 19th century photographer Juliet Margaret Cameron, and the painters George Frederic Watts, John Brett and Val Prinsep.
We will visit Dimbola Lodge, overlooking the stunning Freshwater Bay, where Julia Margaret Cameron made her home, and will also pay a visit to the recently restored Farringford House, former home of Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate during much of Queen Victoria’s reign.
Our itinerary includes several other stunning houses that stand on land layered with history. Northcourt is the largest of the island’s Jacobean manor houses, built in 1615 on the site of a medieval monastic building, while the spectacular 18th century Appuldurcombe, a Baroque masterpiece, survives as a shell of the former mansion and enjoys 11 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscaped parkland. The awe-inspiring Benedictine Quarr Abbey is one of the most important religious constructions of the 20th century in the UK.
Further tour highlights will include the beautiful Mottistone Gardens, a haven for wildlife set in a sheltered valley and featuring delightful herbaceous borders that are full of colour from spring through to the early autumn. We will also view the Princess Beatrice Garden, designed by multiple Chelsea award-winning garden designer Chris Beardshaw, on our visit to Carisbrooke Castle.
We will stay throughout at the three-star Best Western New Holmwood Hotel, situated on the water’s edge in Cowes, which enjoys a sea-facing lounge and restaurant. Double rooms with a sea view (for double or single occupancy) are available at a supplement – please contact the ACE office for more details.
This tour will be hosted by Richard Pailthorpe, formerly Director of the Weald & Downland Living Museum and South East Regional Treasurer of the Historic Houses Association.
The group will be joined throughout the tour by expert lecturer Paul Atterbury, BA, Hon DPhil, a historian, writer, lecturer, curator and broadcaster specialising in the art, architecture, design and social history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Paul has curated exhibitions for institutions including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and has written or edited around 50 books, on topics including antiques, travel, railways and the history of canals. An experienced tour leader, he has also been a member of the team of experts on the BBC’s Antiques Roadshow for many years.
Included: return ferry travel as foot passenger, accommodation based on sharing a twin or double bedded room, breakfast, one lunch, dinner with water & coffee, excursions & admissions, gratuities.
Not Included: travel insurance, double room for single use supplement £125.