- Population 6,300
in Victorian days
- The stylish
Isle of Wight resort
- Unique microclimate
Ventnor is at the south of the Isle of Wight protected by St. Boniface Down - the highest point on the island. This creates a microclimate which encourages lush vegetation and varied wildlife and some of the UK's sunniest summers and mildest winters.
Bermuda House and Bayview are situated just above the centre of the Esplanade, Beach View Apartment is above the west of the Esplanade. The western esplanade has a part sand, part fine shingle blue flag beach, good for sunbathing and swimming with nearby pubs, cafes, amusements and paddling pool. The eastern promenade leads to Bonchurch, the Island's best preserved Victorian village much favoured by prominent Victorian literati. Charles Dickens wrote part of David Copperfield whilst staying at Bonchurch which he described as "The prettiest place I ever saw in my life, at home or abroad".
Shopping includes traditional butchers and delicatessen, a traditional haberdashery shop, handmade jewellery, hardware, toys and a number of collectibles and antique shops, as well as a reasonable size Coop supermarket.
In Victorian times Ventnor became a fashionable holiday and health resort. Sir James Clark, Queen Victoria's doctor, endorsed the health-giving properties of Ventnor's climate."Nothing along the south coast will bear comparison with it" he enthused. The town is currently reinventing itself as a stylish destination with new residential development, luxury hotels, wine bars, a piano bar and a new harbour. It was recently listed as the 7th best coastal town in Britain in Coast magazine, and was described by BBC Radio Solent as the new Notting Hill.
Bermuda House and Bayview look out over the blue flag beach and new harbour, Ventnor Haven, which is for smaller craft and where fresh fish and seafood are landed and available daily. Crab and lobster are particularly recommended.
Things to do, places to go in Ventnor
- St Boniface Down: The highest point on the island, is reached by a footpath from the old railway station in Mitchell Avenue. The view is amazing, and once you're there you can walk over the downs to Shanklin or Appuldurcombe or walk back via the undercliff and Bonchurch. The top can also be reached by car from a road on the right as you are leaving Ventnor on the Newport road.
Botanic Garden: This is a pleasant walk away around the coast path and has exotic plants from around the world in themed gardens within a landscaped setting. The temperate house has many exotic species in a 'tropical' climate. More info ....
- Steephill Cove: This lies on the round-island coastal path, between Ventnor Bay and the Botanic Garden. Steephill remains a tranquil retreat with an appearance that has changed little with the centuries. It is still a working port, with crab and lobster fishermen bringing in their daily catch.
- Boat trips: Cheetah Marine operate boat trips in season along the coast by catamaran from Ventnor Haven harbour. More info ....
- Cascade and Paddling Pool: on the cliff in front of Bermuda House and Bayview, a lovely garden with water (the former mill stream) tumbling down through it ending with an Isle of Wight shaped paddling pool on the Esplanade.
- Longshoreman Museum: Housed in a converted cottage on the Western Esplanade with a small personal collection of historical and nautical items.
- Ventnor Heritage Museum: The Ventnor Heritage Museum in Spring Hill has displays of old photographs, prints, documents, and artifacts relating to Ventnor and district. There are also exhibits about the local railway with models (including one of the Mill which used to occupy the Bermuda House and Bayview site). More info ....
- Ventnor Park: On Park Avenue close to Beach View Apartment and about 10 minutes to the west of the Bermuda House and Bayview has a bandstand, which was originally at the end of Ventnor Pier, and Putting Green as well as the usual amenities.
Eating and Drinking
Ventnor is rapidly becoming a food destination of the island with a wide variety of places to eat and drink at a range of prices. Here is a small selection, all within ten minutes walk of Bermuda House, Beach View Apartment and Bayview:
The El Toro Contento Tapas Bar an authentic Spanish place to eat in Pier Street opposite the Co-op has lovely food at reasonable prices. More info ....
- The renowned Hambrough with Robert Thompson in charge, less than 100 yards away from Bayview and Bermuda House, is the only Michelin starred restaurant on the island. It has three AA rosettes and was awarded Restaurant of the Year at the 2009 Island Life Food and Drink Awards. More info
- The Spyglass on the Western Esplanade close to Beach View Apartment has won many "best pub" awards on the island. It has pub food, real ales, nautical memorabilia and seating right on the shore. It is a pleasant, if somewhat crowded, place to spend a summer's afternoon or evening. More info ....
- The Met, on the Esplanade near the Haven, is a contemporary style wine bar which serves a range of tapas style food. More info ....
- Phileas Fogg, a relatively new restaurant on the High Street, is popular with diners, featuring a menu of food from around the world. More info ....
- Eastern Eye in the High Street is a small but popular Indian restaurant, who also do takeaways and deliveries.
- The Royal Hotel in Belgrave Road, close to Beach View Apartment has a 2 AA rosettes bistro which is open to non-residents. More info ....
- Besty and Spinky's Blue Ocean Quay is and friendly and stylish beach cafe on the Eastern Esplanade next to the paddling pool. Widely regarded as serving the best breakfasts in Ventnor. More info ....
- The New China House in Church Street is a good value Chinese restaurant, who also do takeaway and delivery.
- The stylish Rex Piano Bar in Church Street serves food in a pleasant atmosphere - the outdoor seating has breathtaking views - but there is no piano. More info ....