Solent View Manor is one of those homes you glimpse between the trees from the deck of a day cruiser. You wonder about the decadent and delicious lives of the owners. Now you can slide into their boat shoes, in a light-filled, high-ceilinged haven. Welcome to Solent View Manor on the Isle of Wight, sleeping 16 in the land of sails and sunsets.
Through the sash windows, the blue of the Solent beckons. To the west, shoreline walks take you to sandy beaches and a nature reserve; to the east, Wootton Creek hosts yachts that bob restlessly on the tide. Inside is creamy, spacious and delicious but you’ll probably want to gather out on the stone terrace that overlooks the Solent.
Grown-ups will love the garden, set above an uncultivated, wild-flowered slope with views of the Solent. Feeling adventurous? Take a steep path from the grounds (or steady route five minutes away) down to the shore. You’ll also love the five-acre ramble through lawns and wood, open-fired evenings, crab and lobster on the electric Aga, cream teas and Minghella ice cream.
Roll off the Portsmouth ferry, purr up the carriage driveway and be greeted by yew trees, tumbling acres and the wild wood. This is a place for exploring, experiencing and enjoying. Head west and shoreline walks take you to sandy beaches and a nature reserve. To the east, Wootton Creek’s boats bob on the tide.
Stay on site to slide out through the kitchen/diner’s French doors to the huge terrace and drink in the sea views. Tables seating 16 await glasses charged with fizz and the plates piled high with steaks and sausages from the gas barbie.
The outdoors just keeps on coming here. Splash your way to summer serenity in the heated pool. Towel off in the poolhouse. Bounce on the sunken trampoline. Thrash the folks at tennis. Ramble through the woods. Follow the slope of the lawn down to the wild and unmade path to land on the north shore.
Solent View Manor comes flooded with light, height and space. It’s a splendid Victorian beast brought into the 21st century without a murmur of complaint. It sits proudly overlooking the sea on the Isle of Wight’s north shore, packed with soft comforts, fluffy rugs, deep skirts and swagged curtains.
Make yourself at home. Sit and chat over wine in the large drawing room with half an eye on the ships that plough the Solent. Tackle a G&T, or just turn the pages of a book armed only with a cosy blanket.
If you’re cooking here, you’ll need to resist the temptation to constantly exit the kitchen/diner through the French doors and become hypnotised by the blue sea from the terrace. That way lies starvation. Keep your mind on the job and prepare beautiful local crab and lobster, asparagus, and honeycomb doughnuts from Island Bakers.
The equipment’s here, so no excuses. In the vaulted kitchen/diner, the dining table seats 16 and it’s just an over-enthusiastically risen soufflé from the electric Aga, the electric fan oven and induction hob, and the electric oven and hob. Yes, you have three ovens. So you can cook in teams.
Choose from eight bedrooms here, six of which come with coastal views and all eight wrapped in comfort. Breathe dreamy, deep draughts of sea air and awake with a strange, unusual feeling – that you’ve actually slept deeply.
Everything is creamy and dreamy with high ceilings, sash windows, thick curtains and freestanding baths. Bedroom one is a queen-size with views of the Solent and a luxury en-suite, while bedroom two also sleeps two in a superking, with a garden view and private bathroom.
Bedroom three is a single room with views out over the gardens and an en-suite, while bedrooms four, five and six are doubles with sea views that share a first-floor bathroom and ground-floor wet room. Bedroom seven offers a double with a sea view, and shares a Jack and Jill bathroom with bedroom eight, sleeping three in singles.
Half the fun of holidays for kids is getting there. With Solent View Manor, you’ll wend your way down the winding roads of Hampshire, load up on the Wightlink ferry, get on deck and wave at the Spinnaker Tower in your wake. It’s like going to France – except everyone speaks English.
Arrive and kids will be blown away by the scale of Solent View. They’ll expect to meet the queen. Instead, it’ll be monumental games of hide-and-seek: with a west wing, an east wing and everything in between, they might never be found. So maybe play it safe with the board games, DVDs and pool table in the games room.
Outside, hours will disappear in the heated pool, open from May to September, while you play lifeguards on the sunlounger. Towel them off in the poolhouse, then send them packing over to the garden swing or the all-weather tennis court. Or bounce high above the Solent on the trampoline.
If you’re going for a full-flop wipeout at bedtime, get them out on a ramble through the grounds with small wood. If they’re still buzzing as darkness descends, give in, light the fire and finish the day with cards and charades.