Recommended Places and ferries

Due to the coronavirus some places of interest  may still have only timed prebooked entry. Please check. Also some restaurants may restrict the number of tables.


We recommend you bring a torch so you can walk through the garden to our local pub called the Crown. ( as at 3/07/2020 the Crwon will only open for drinks) This can be booked on 01983 740293. Also, bring walking/wellington boots / outdoor shoes for the garden as some of the paths can be muddy, and uneven whatever time of the year.

Ferry. If you have not yet booked a ferry, this is best done through the internet or Lymington) or  (Southampton to E.Cowes). There is no need to book for passenger ferries. We can provide a booking service at a trade rate but require payment in advance , booking time and car registration number. In peak periods we might save you 25%. We recommend the Lymington to Yarmouth crossing as this is the shortest route, nearest us and the most attractive route . Additionally if you have to wait for the ferry Lymington and Yarmouth are much the nicest places to wait. Although longer to drive  through the New Forest, it is a less crowded route (and you avoid having to negotiate Portsmouth, Southampton and Newport traffic). If you book through us we send the ticket to you by email, but would expect payment upfront. The ticket would still be valid if you arrive early or late and catch a different ferry, but a space might not be available . We can change the ferry times at no cost  but would need to give the ferry company  at least two hours advance notice to do so. If you cancel 24 hours notice is required by the ferry company.  It is possible to book one way via Lymington and return to Portsmouth or vice versa on the same ticket as it is the same ferry company and rate. in winter the ferry companies may have special offers.

Wightlink have introduced a new large ferry, the Victoria from Portsmouth. This can take longer to load and unload and you may have to park on the upper car park. Arrival at least 30 mins before departure seems more essential at busy times.

Bus information is available on and ferry routes on We have bicycle storage.  The bus service number 12 is 2 hourly and stops outside our gate, via Yarmouth (changing at Totland) or Newport. There is a regular service from Cowes or Ryde every 15 minutes or less to Newport. 

If travelling from London by train the trains from Waterloo to Southampton are the fastest ( about 75 minutes) and there is a free bus to Town Quay. The redjet operated by Red Funnel takes 20 minutes to Cowes, where a bus should be waiting.

Finding us. Our house is behind the village shop, with the entrance at the bottom of the steep hill (if you approach from Carisbrooke/Newport) on right opposite some thatched cottages. Approaching from the south-west, through Brighstone, and onto Shorwell, the drive is 200 yards on left after the Crown, on a bend, before going up the hill, just after the shop. Newport can be a bit of a bottle-neck, but as you arrive at the big roundabout, from Fishbourne, take the town centre-second exit (not Sandown). After the lights and new shops turn right in front of MacDonald’s, and then immediately left before Barclays and after HSBC. Continue for a mile up Carisbrooke Hill, and after the church on right turn left at the mini-roundabout in front of the Waverley pub. The steep hill into Shorwell is about four miles from there. Beware satnav not always to be relied upon, as you may get lost or end up in a ford at Carisbrooke!

We welcome guests from 16.30( 16.00 in winter). We really appreciate guests not arriving early as we will probably be busy in the garden until then, and we probably will not be found and like to finish our jobs and put tools away before coming in!. Please could you also let us know if you are arriving after 18. We request that guests vacate their rooms by 10.30 on day of departure. If you are arriving on the Island early you can get light refreshments or tea at Dimbola – 200 yards above Freshwater Bay. This was the home of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron ( At Yarmouth in station road is the newly converted railway station off the rails Mottistone manor garden is only open from Easter, but is also near us and good for tea/light lunch ( Out of main season Osborne House tours should be booked through 01983 200022. Carisbrooke Castle is ten minutes drive, open all year. If in East Wight the Brading Roman Villa is open every day and does light lunches/tea ( The Garlic Farm near Newchurch in mid East Wight near Brading is also excellent for lunch or tea. Niton Post Office and Chessell Pottery at Calbourne serve the best cream teas. There are of course wonderful walks all around us. Many of the best walks are around the West Wight area of Freshwater Bay, Brook, Mottistone, and around the most Southerly point, St. Catherine’s Down. Also try the newly opened highly rated Piano café on the Freshwater to Alum Bay road( or the Waterfront at Totland Bay with its superb location over the sea, along the sea wall.
For tea near the sea in west wight you could also head for Colwell Bay,or Fort Victoria country park.
Other recommended eating places are the Red Lion in Freshwater (01983 754925), New Inn in Shalfleet, Nr. Yarmouth (01983 531314), all in West Wight, but Ventnor has now become the fashionable food resort. The Taverners at Godshill is our first choice for reasonably priced good food (tel. 01983 840707). Or if near Bembridge try or Ventnor visit the crabshed at Steephil Cove. or the garlic farm if arriving at Fishbourne
Just don’t become tied up in the traffic around Newport or Ryde, avoid Newport from the North if you can.

Please note we do not take credit cards, but we do take most debit cards. Many guests now pay by  bank transfer before they arrive or on departure.
Northcourt is a non smoking establishment. There are TV’s and tea making facilities in the bedrooms, fresh milk and fridges available. Also some free Wi-Fi coverage. Please let us know if you have any particular disabilities/requirements.
We hope you have a good journey and enjoy your stay. Let us know if we can help in any way.

Eating out guide (our choices as at 2018) those in bold being our favorites.

Nearby area
The Island is well endowed with good country pubs and coastal restaurants.
From Northcourt The Crown is just three minutes away serves typical pub food, (01983 740293) ( Unfortunately it is no longer open for food and is up for sale).  We used to like to go a little further West to the Sun Inn at Hulverstone for the evening sunsets, and garden (14 minutes by car), which is also a good one to walk to (5 miles). The Three Bishops in Brighstone is now  acceptable.
The White Mouse, Chale,is within 15 minutes and very popular with families. A little further is the Buddle in Niton, just over the top from Blackgang, for its smaller older charm, and good after a short steep walk down to the lighthouse. The White Lion, Niton is much recommended.  The blacksmiths arms about 11 minutes drive is excellent, although sometimes a little noisy.( tel 01983529263. It is very popular and needs booking a few days ahead.

West Wight area
The better restaurants are mostly in coastal resorts.
Yarmouth has the George (760331) where you may pay top prices, but top quality. It is about 20 minutes away. On the Rocks (760505) in Yarmouth is for those happy to cook their own steak or tuna on hot stone, and Salty’s for those who love fish( and do not mind sometimes a lively atmosphere). The New Inn (531314) at Shalfleet is a favourite for fish loving yachtsmen, and on the shoreside there is a cafe at Colwell Bay and Fort Victoria. We tried the Hut at Colwell right on the beach and trendy, and expensive but great location. The piano cafe at freshwater ( 400 yards up from the bay towards )Alum Bay is good, and the newly opened Off The rails in station rd Yarmouth is the latest local fashion. If you are near Alum Bay the Highdown does good cream teas and meals, and is a good place to park nearby for a pleasant 45 minute walk to the needles without paying parking charges at the rather unattractive Alum Bay amusement park ( best avoided). The waterfront at Totland bay has a great position on the seawall, open all day for refreshments and meals -01983756969. There is also a new Italian style restaurant up the High St in Yarmouth- La Cucina 01983761176 which has had good reports.

Cowes area
If near East Cowes, the Folly is a favourite of the yachtsman right on the river, but food variable. Mojacs in West Cowes has the best rating and the smoking lobster. North house has just taken on a top chef and  should be excellent. There is a good choice of restaurants in Cowes, if you want to go and choose one, but best to avoid during Cowes week.

Ventnor & South Wight area
More recently Ventnor has become more fashionable with the Hamborough (856333) setting the scene, and its sister The Pond at Bonchurch (855666). In Ventnor too the Spyglass Inn at the end of the Seafront is good for its maritime atmosphere and position. For lunchtime summers only The Boathouse (852747) restaurant in Steephill Cove (not for the less able to reach, or in rough weather) specialises in crab and lobster on the beach in a Mediterranean atmosphere. It is booked weeks ahead, but lunch only. There is also the Crab Shed for crab sandwiches. For a grand meal you can usually get in at the grand Royal Hotel (852186), and the Hillside at Ventnor has really good reviews. Also  the Met Tapas bar are good. The Bonchurch Inn is the most unspoilt if you like Italian dishes, but as at February 2018 closed. Fine Nammet In Shanklin has some of the best reviews and is reasonably priced. The Royal does a posh afternoon tea, the Royal tea, but a very good value lunch, and now the Botanic gardens have a much better tea and lunch facility. We fancy a lunch at cantinos in the high st., highly recommended. Le Tour de Monde has been much recommended. The Masala indian restaurant has been highly recommended.

Central Wight area
Pointers Inn at Newchurch has some good reviews, but we like the Taverners in Godshill, where we have never been disappointed (tel. 01983 840707). This is about 8 miles away and never disappoints and is our personal favorite place to eat. The Essex at Godshill is another good alternative. The white horse Inn at Whitwell is very  good.

Newport & Carisbrooke area
Valentinos in Carisbrooke is an Italian restaurant that has survived some 25 years without change, and is just 9 minutes away, and easy to find (522458). Burrs in Newport is a favourite of ours if you can get in for a cosy bistro meal. Popular with locals you definitely must book (825470). The Blacksmiths Arms, just outside Newport at 15 mins drive is not too far. Newport, the business town with less to choose from has Olivio’s for Italian food and Nabab for Indian. Robert Thompson has opened up in Newport and is on its way to be the top Isle of Wight restaurant.( This is in line for a Michelin award. For light lunches try Quay Arts centre, where there are regular Art exhibitions as well. 

Ryde & East Wight area
The Boathouse at Appley, Ryde has a menu that is very similar to the New Inn. The Seaview Hotel in Seaview has a long standing reputation but Seaview is a long way – 18 rural miles, and if you know the way it is still 37 minutes to get there (612711, but some say is not what it was). We also have good reports on the White Lion at Havenstreet (near Ryde). For crab sandwiches/lobster try at Bembridge or The Pilot Boat inn at St.Helens. Better still is Dan’s kitchen . The bandstand at Sandown has a good location and menu.
If you can make the long journey to Bembridge Lockslane Bistro the best reviews after Robert Thompson below under Newport, or on the way to Bembridge, Kynges at Brading has great reviews. On the beach there is the three Bouys, which we much recommend. We have had a good recommendation for the Heron, in Ryde.

Local produce
For local food and fresh vegetables the Garlic Farm near Newchurch promises much as a centre for IW food. Try Briddlesford farm shop and tea room if you are near Newport/East Cowes, or the farm shop at Arreton Barns.. . For fresh fish to buy go to the harbour in Ventnor. There is a good village shop near us at Brighstone which has an excellent choice of fresh vegetables , fruit and IW produce.( snacks also available).

Cream teas
Best summer cream teas at Chessell Pottery near Calbourne, Mottistone Manor (National Trust). Dimbola the photographic museum is a must, with good wholesome lunches and piano accompaniment for Sunday lunches. The Roman Villa at Brading is also a good light lunch or tea stop, and the visitors centre Osborne House. Ventnor Botanic Gardens has a café too, or on the beach below it is a café in Steephill Cove, just above the waves. If near Alum Bay the Highdown inn has good teas, or enjoy the view from the coastguard lookout at the battery at the Needles .

There are just too many to choose from, Cowes, Sandown and Shanklin and Ryde all having big choices, for whatever budget. Just remember the Island roads are different and take longer – especially after a good meal!

Look at for the very latest or the Mat and cat reviews

All the bridleways are bicycle routes, but not public footpaths. There is a cycle track from Newport to Cowes on old railway and Newport to Sandown, otherwise no bicycle only routes. Gurnard to Cowes is a pleasant cycle along the front. Beware many of our roads have steep hills .
See and

Recommended places

Best things to do
• Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of Northcourt.
• Explore the garden.
• Walk up on the Downs.
• Tennyson Down walk, or walk from Northcourt to Freshwater Bay and the Needles (8 miles).
• Osborne House and or Carisbrooke Castle.
• Compton Bay at low tide.

Best walks Where?
Shorwell to Freshwater (3 hours, take the bus back) Over the Downs
Shorwell to Atherfield Bay (1 hour each way) Shorwell (Atherfield Bay is the nearest beach)
Mottistone Down to Freshwater (2 hrs) Mottistone
Tennyson Down from Freshwater Bay to the Needles (80 minutes one way) Freshwater Bay
St. Catherine’s Down to pepper pot (30 minutes one way) Above Blackgang
Ventnor to St. Lawrence via coast/undercliff Botanic Gardens in Ventnor.
To Bonchurch from St. Lawrence or Ventnor Botanic Gardens or St. Lawrence
Ventnor to Shanklin via Luccombe Botanic Gardens
Mottistone Manor to Longstone (25 minutes one way) Mottistone Manor
The manors of Shorwell (40 mins) Shorwell
Shorwell to Carisbrooke (2 hrs, take the bus back) Shorwell
Shorwell to Chillerton Down and back (70 mins) Shorwell
To Headon Hill from Totland or Alum Bay (50 minutes one way) Totland
From Niton to St. Catherine’s lighthouse and back via Castlehaven Cove St. Catherine’s Rd, Niton
St. Catherine’s Monument/Down from Chale Park near Post office Chale green.

Cliffs above Blackgang chine and lighthouse


Easy walks on the level
Old railway line, Yarmouth – Freshwater Church 30 minutes each way
Bonchurch shore to Ventnor 30 minutes each way
Gurnard to Cowes along seafront 30 minutes each way.

Totland to Colwell along sea wall.
Seaview to Ryde along seafront 30 minutes each way
Yarmouth to Fort Victoria and Totland to Colwell 20 minutes each way
Newtown to quay 20 minutes each way
Shalfleet to quay 20 minutes each way

Best beaches Where?
Compton Bay – especially West end, midday/evenings, best at low tide, but can be windy. South-west of here, 12 minutes by car. Check the tides .
Totland Bay – West end (not pier end), evenings, low tide, good for swimming, calm sea. Colwell also good for children. Totland
Whitecliff Bay – mornings, afternoon Bembridge
Sandown Bay – Yaverland end. Or Appley Ryde Yaverland car park/ Appley car park.
Chale / Atherfield Bays – remote shingle beaches, for those wanting privacy, difficult access, rougher sea at  Atherfield, but quite a climb down
Priory Bay, St. Helens – especially at mid tide in the mornings, or Seagrove Bay, Seaview Access via Seaview or the hotel. Parking/access not easy
Osborne Beach Access via Osborne House

Freshwater Bay- any tide but steep and large pebbles

Best attractions Where?
Brading Roman Villa, Brading
Osborne House, East Cowes
Yarmouth Harbour, or Newtown Harbour
Newtown harbour and reserve
Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Road from Ventnor to St. Lawrence
Dimbola – photographic museum, Freshwater Bay
Mottistone Manor garden (when open), Mottistone
Northcourt gardens – after breakfast and in the evenings Shorwell
Island churches Godshill, Shorwell, Bonchurch, Shalfleet and many others
Carisbrooke Castle, Carisbrooke
Boat trip from Yarmouth to Hurst Castle (in good weather), Yarmouth pier
Boat trips from Ventnor harbour – weather permitting, Ventnor pier

For children Where?
Blackgang Chine, Chale
Robin Hill country park, Arreton
Isle of Wight Zoo, Sandown
Amazon World, Arreton
Dinosaur Isle, Sandown
Fossil hunting with The Fossil Man, Island Gems, Isle of Wight Pearl
Boat trip to the Needles, Alum Bay
Needled Old & New Battery, Alum Bay
Swiss Cottage at Osborne House East Cowes
Tapnell Farm-playbarn and animals( Between freshwater and calbourne
Donkeys at Carisbrooke Castle Carisbrooke
Brickfields (horses & riding), Binstead/Ryde
Fishing Yafford or Yarmouth pier
Kayaking, Freshwater Bay
Coasteering, Freshwater Bay
Goodleaf tree climbing, Contact Goodleaf for more information
Bowling, Ryde
Owl and monkey Ryde
Colwell Bay Beach (dinghy hire) Colwell
Chessell Pottery, Nr Calbourne
Fort Victoria attractions, Yarmouth- check whether still open.
Steam Railway, Havenstreet

Other ideas and activities
• Canoeing at Freshwater Bay
• Surfing at Compton Bay
• Guided walks (IW Council / Ramblers)
• Wind surfing / kitesurfing
• Offshore sports
• Steephill Cove below Ventnor Botanic Gardens ( pay to park at Botanic Garden)-steep hill.
• Newtown Harbour from Newtown village
• Nunwell House/Garden when open
• Watch sailing at Fort Victoria in Yarmouth
• Appuldurcombe Park (circular walk around the park)
• Quay Arts Centre in Newport
• Shopping in West Cowes
• Guildhall Museum in Newport
• Shanklin Chine
• West Cowes seafront when racing is starting – approach from Gurnard
• St. Catherine’s lighthouse and Castlehaven
• Walk above Blackgang towards Niton
• Bird watching at Newtown or Brading Haven.
• Astronomical Society- newchurch

Places we avoid
• Needles pleasure park- although the fort is worth visiting but very large car park.
• Sandown seafront
• Ryde seafront
• Fast food restaurants in Newport
• Newport roundabout at rush hour especially.( try and bypass)
• Driving around the island (especially East and North-East)
• Godshill in season at coach time.

NEW Farringford House. Lord Alfred Tennyson’s house but house not open in 2021. 

For tea and light lunch
• Needles old coastguard (NT)
• Dimbola in Freshwater Bay (for vegetarians)

Briddlesford Farm 

• Chessell Pottery
• Garlic Farm
• Niton post office
• Ventnor Botanic Gardens
• Quay Arts Centre in Newport
• Warren Farmhouse, cream teas in Alum Bay or The Highdown towards Alum bay.
• Off the Rails and The piano café.

Food trail
• Garlic Farm shop in Mersley, nr Newchurch
• Chillies, nr Godshill
• Farmer Jack at Arreton Barns Farm Shop
• Briddlesford Farm Shop
• Blake’s Fish in Ventnor
• Brighstone village shop for fresh produce and IW food.

Harvey Browns at Arreton has just opened up for farm shop and food.

Favourite villages and towns
• Shorwell – walk past the manors
• Calbourne – visit Winkle Street
• Newtown – walk to the harbour
• Yarmouth – walk to Fort Victoria/Red lion.
• Bonchurch – walk to the shore
• Newport – for Quay Arts centre
• Ventnor – for its undeveloped state