Main Road, Arreton
This magnificent Grade II-listed house has to be one of the most remarkable places to stay on the Island. The current manor dates to Elizabethan times and features a centre block with projecting wings and three double chimneys punching up to the sky. Rooms do not come cheap but the style, furnishings and atmosphere of exposed Jacobean oak beam, creaking staircases and uneven floors really make it special.
The owners will point out the indentations in the flagstones, created by centuries of kneeling monks (the brothers of Quarr Abbey owned the manor for some 400 years before Henry VIII turfed them out). Breakfast is served in the 430-year-old oak-panelled Court Room (so named because Charles I would serve as judge and jury here, in the times when he visited, rather than fled to, the Island) and you can take a stroll in the ornamental gardens where there is a small maze.
Foxhills of Shanklin
30 Victoria Ave, Shanklin
Impressively stylish small guesthouse that gets those little touches just right – appealing throws, spick and span but not surgically so, and excellent breakfasts. Welcoming hosts add to the experience.
Gotten Lane, Chale
The 14th-century Gotten Manor at Chale is set back from the south coast and has won an AA B&B gold Green Island Award. A hugely atmospheric property with lime-washed walls and wooden floors, owner Caroline Gurney-Champion has managed to introduce environmentally friendly credentials on this 600-year-old property while retaining vintage features such as iron baths and Persian rugs. In addition, food is sourced from across the Island and homemade jams and yoghurts are on offer at breakfast. There are also three self-catering properties in the grounds, which exude an equally rustic feel.
Staplers Road, Wootton
Bright, airy rooms furnished in light wood, creams and blues. Also has a handful of self-catering option of equal standard and character, including Red Squirrel Lodge, a three-bedroom property suitable for wheelchair users. Trails allow you to explore the woodlands immediately behind the farm.
Embankment Road, Bembridge Harbour
Three rooms in a converted old military storage barge moored on the harbourside. Views, some from porthole windows, are stirring, particularly spring and summer dawns when a diamond-sharp light fills the harbour. The master suite is the one to book as it has a balcony and a jacuzzi but all three are well-equipped.
Main Road, Brighstone
Really welcoming B&B that’s thoroughly in tune – thanks to its flint construction of church-like proportions – with its laid-back village setting. The light rooms have views of the adjacent downs. In good weather, breakfast can be enjoyed on the sun-filled veranda. The extensive garden, brimming with seasonal and perennial flowers, is a delight. A nice touch is that owners will give you a lift if you have come to the Island on foot.
St James’ Square, Yarmouth
A late 16th-century Grade II-listed building furnished with antique mahogany furniture. In great contrast to the Elizabethan atmosphere of the ground floor, the rooms upstairs are light, airy and fitted with modern comforts. A small tea room on the ground floor is squeezed in around a stone-arched chimney and serves scones, sandwiches and filling pies.
76 High Street, Shanklin
The Romantic poet John Keats rested his quill here in the summer of 1819, when the house was known as Eglatine Cottage. The house dates back even further – some 400 years – and has been thoughtfully refurbished. The result is a pleasing combination of old-world charm and modern fittings with comfy beds, bay windows and nooks and crannies. The owners have commendably managed to avoid overdoing the famous-person-stayed-here motif, though should you choose Room 3 (the Keats Room) you’ll have plenty of his odes available to read and ruminate upon.
Kemming Road, Whitwell
Secluded 18th-century cottage run by friendly hosts. Rooms are immaculately furnished with smart linen and comfy beds while exposed old beams and wooden flooring mean the entire property oozes atmosphere. The garden bursts with wildflowers in spring and summer.
Church Hollow, Godshill
Opulently furnished B&B, firmly aimed at couples. The three rooms feature indulgent touches such as stand-alone baths and carved chairs. Tucked away to the western end of the village, in the shadow, as the address implies, of the church.
41 Quay Street, Newport
This Grade II-listed town house has neatly appointed rooms over three floors. Original features include wood-panelled walls and there’s a sizeable guest lounge with period-piece furniture. A small courtyard to the side of house serves as an informal private bar.
29 St Paul’s Cres, Shanklin
This warm and welcoming Victorian guesthouse has three modern rooms, two with sea views. Attentive decoration is a feature of all the rooms, such as multicoloured tiles in showers or matching beige colour schemes. A good choice in Shanklin and a quiet retreat from the seasonal bustle outside.
150 Park Road, Cowes
Victorian town house with four smart, well-appointed rooms named after Island themes (Tennyson, Solent etc) with top-notch features such as marble baths, hand-printed artwork and the occasional spot of distressed furniture; some have views over the harbour. In warm weather you can tuck into the generous breakfast in the terraced courtyard garden. Cosy rooms – pick a book from the well-stocked shelves and unwind.
1–2 Holyrood Street, Newport
Attic-style rooms, recently refurbished with tasteful period features such as walnut-wood beds and floral wallpaper described as ‘garden peony’. There’s a pleasant flower-laden courtyard and pergola at the back, and a lounge that’s at its best when you can put your feet up next to the fire in the dark nights of winter.
Langbridge, Newchurch, Sandown
Cosy rooms in a friendly B&B, plus a deeply restful location, just off the Red Squirrel Trail. Mature gardens to explore and a patio for good-weather breakfasts. On colder days, retreat to the log burner in the lounge.
Castle Road, Ventnor
Gorgeous 19th-century villa set in subtropical gardens with decked terraces overlooking the sea. The kitchen garden provides herbs and vegetables for breakfast. For a treat, book the deluxe room with sea-view balcony and claw-foot bath.
The Bay Boutique Bed and Breakfast
Guyers Road, Freshwater
Cosy, modern rooms with all mod cons and refurbished vintage furniture, in a completely renovated Victorian building. Excellent breakfast includes vegan and vegetarian options, with almost everything sourced from food grown on the Island.
The friendly and ever-helpful owner, Paul, hires out electric bikes, which are really recommended for getting you up the adjacent Compton Down – he will even offer you his own bespoke routes for exploration. Everything in the house is as environmentally sensitive as can be, including solar panels and heating boosted by biomass boilers.
The Caledon Guest House
59 Mill Hill Rd, Cowes
A lovingly refurbished Victorian house combining modern features with original ones such as exposed beams and fireplaces. Run by a supremely helpful family who make you feel that their home is your home. Breakfast includes fresh local eggs and bread, and the honesty bar – for wine and the Island’s Mermaid Gin – in the lounge is a nice touch.
B&B in a wonderfully charming old Elizabethan manor and which has been in the current owner’s family for the best part of 80 years. Three rooms, decorated with a floral flourish, some with sofas and/or wrought-iron bedsteads, and all with a generously spacious, suite-like feel to them. The wider farm extends to 200 acres and is conveniently within walking distance of the Crown Inn.
For more information, check our Mark Rowe’s guide: