This isn't a scam. I’m serious. A whole weekend away for under £100, including everything. I'm sorry just incase you missed that, I said including EVERYTHING… I shall reveal all.
But first let me explain a few things…
For my entire life I have lived on the same street. Some of you might think this is boring. You’d be wrong. Very wrong. Picture Desperate House Wives meets Friends, our Wisteria Lane is called Kings Drive and on it live 6 of my best friends.
Sometimes we close the street, have a party, and do wild things, like... put flowers in potholes. Surrey not Surrey.
Okkkkkk so it hasn’t always been happy families, in fact at points it’s been pretty brutal, there’s been tears and I mean tearssssss, punches, hate clubs, itching powder, biting - to name a few. I once hit one of the group with a metal pole (I was 10), it’s not my proudest moment. Sorry Frankie. Anyways...
Basically all you really need to know is there are 7 of us, we are called 'The Street' or 'The Streetlings' because well, we are pretty street... or the most non street people you've ever met. Irony, yes we are being ironic. Slash it's as simple as we live on the same street.
Having known this bunch for 22 years (give or take a few weeks) we have never managed a holiday… Until now.
I’ll admit I used to be a bit of a travel snob, so the idea of the Isle of Wight didn’t blow my socks off. You will be glad to hear I have learnt the error of my ways and am now a fully converted non snobby traveller. Hurray. Enough about me, let's get to the nitty gritty...
5 WAYS TO KEEP COSTS DOWN
Firstly we managed to get an absolute bargain of a house, called ‘The Barn’. Need I say more - cracking name. At £100 for 3 days (yes that is for 7 people) it was a steal, working out at £14.2857143 per head.
Just to point out, it wasn’t a 22 bed hostel or shared housing, it was a beautiful country barn, with hot water, Wifi, TV and an AGA. A real life AGA! If that doesn't sell it to you, how about the fact that it’s set in a teeny weeny village called Bembridge, now COME ON that just sounds idyllic. Bembridge people, Bembridge!!!
I would recommend checking out Airbnb for large groups as it often works out far cheaper than a hotel as the prices are based on per night, rather than per head. Most importantly though it is so much fun. ALL THE FUN. TOO MUCH FUN. ILLEGAL FUN. LEGAL FUN. You get the idea… we had fun.
With accommodation in the bag, we were pretty smug, now the problem of getting there. Our group opted for two cars, which cost £29 per head return, via the ferry. Not bad considering we booked to travel on the first day of school holidays - rumour has it the busiest day of the year to travel.
You can go from either Portsmouth, Lymington or Southampton, up to you, prices don’t really vary that much, so whatever floats your boat - see what I did there.
With £56.7142857 left in the Kitty we decided to splurge £25 on food each, mostly wine actually. Naturally we needed to cover all bases, so stocked up on white, red and rosé.
Making your own food is the easiest way to keep the costs down. Obviously I understand that eating out is part of the luxury of being on holiday, so I'd suggest a stop at The Garlic Farm, yes everything is garlic. I'd recommend the mezze sharing platter, which works out at roughly £12 a head. It contains all things garlic from garlic breads, garlic mayonnaise to oven baked garlic. They even serve garlic ice cream for those who dare!
Not a fan of garlic? They also have a flower garden to walk around, garlic bread workshops or a chance to walk a ferret for £3.00. So much choice.
However I would suggest popping down the road to visit the West Wight Alpacas who are £12.00 to walk, when do you ever get the chance to walk an alpaca? NEVER THATS WHEN. If you just don’t want to walk any animals, do what we did and pay £3.50 to meet the donkeys, chickens (my favourite animal), goats and alpacas. You can also buy chicken food for £1.00... I pushed the boat out - lucky chickens.
4) Things to do in the sun!
I’m now left with £15.2142857 but thats ridiculous so I’m just going to say £15. In terms of activities it really is your call, there is plenty to do regardless of your budget. The Needles are an obvious choice and cheaper than expected. For £3.00 I bagged myself an unlimited chairlift pass - check the vouchers given in the carpark as I saved a pound! The chairlift takes you down to the beach, you can paddle, sunbathe, take a boat ride if you fancy or just eat you picnic. I’d also suggest a coastal walk along the chalk cliffs giving you a better view of the needles. If you really can’t get enough of dem needles though, you can pay to get that bit closer, personally the viewing platform worked fine for us.
Considering the Isle of Wight is an island, there really is only one thing to do in the sun.
Hit the beach. Personal preference, but i'd avoid Sandown beach unless you love the touristy vibe, it's just a bad Brighton. The pier claims 'A whole days fun in one' I would strongly object to that, but if you enjoy arcade games, then maybe you really can have a whole days entertainment there. My fun however was found at Fat Harry's, a whole big bag of cheesy chips for £2.50! Thank you Harry.
The island is covered in beaches, just go and find another hidden gem.
5) When the inevitable rain arrives.
I would highly recommend a trip to the Rosemary Vineyard, firstly it's FREE and that's with testers! They make cider, apple juice and wine. Carol was an absolute babe, giving us all the chat and dirt on wine making. Just saying, apparently we created Champagne before the French... Aside from the fact you get a tour of the winery you can also mooch around the Vineyard at your own discretion. The photo's a giveaway we did go on a sunny day, but the majority does happen indoors so don't be fooled.
If you happen to have taken my previous advice on the whole Airbnb thing, if the rain does arrive you are perfectly equipped to hit the sitting room. BOARD GAMES. They're really a must with our lot, come rain or shine, it's board game time. For three days we packed Twister, Jenga, Articulate and Balderdash.
There you have it the Isle of Wight with £9.00 and a few pennies left in my pocket. Hopefully this makes you realise that holidaying doesn’t have to be about far away destinations, sometimes you can have just as much fun in your own country. Lets bring back the British summer holiday.
Lots of love,
Jess and The Streetlings xx