We provide bespoke guided tours of the Isle of Wight. We do not run regular group tours that anyone can opt into. You therefore do not need to ask us which day a certain tour operates or where the pick-up/drop-off point is. It is where you want it to be and the tour is what you want it to be, because it is YOUR tour, nobody else is joining you on it, unless they belong to your party!
If you are booking a guide with us, then the tour planning is normally undertaken by us free of charge as part of the guiding fee. However, if you either require tour planning on its own or if the tour is very complex and lengthy, then a separate tour planning fee may be due.
As our tours are personalised, it is very likely that we will enter into an email or phone correspondence with you before you undertake your tour, so that we are sure to know exactly what you want and to ensure we get it right.
It is also a way of forming a good working relationship with you before you arrive, enabling us to discuss your wishes, answer your questions and generally put your mind at rest, especially important for our overseas clients.
The minimum duration of a tour is 2 hours. However, our beautiful Island is rather larger than most people think. Really to take advantage of your visit, you need to be looking at 4 hours plus. Most of our tours tend to be full day tours – but not always. Sometimes they run over a couple of days, or can even extend to a week. This depends entirely on your own personal requirement.
Our clients are very international. Many come from The US and Canada, others from Australia, and many from European countries – in particular from Germany. We also have a lot of UK visitors. All are equally welcome. Many of our clients have just disembarked from or are about to board cruise ships, or they are a complete coach party - either staying on the Island for a time or touring round the country. Others are independent travellers - either passing through or staying here for a longer period. We cater for everyone and pride ourselves on our ability to make every tour a personal tour.
Group size will vary considerably. You may have your own transport, or may need help in booking something.
We have an excellent arrangement with local IOW transport providers. Whether you need a coach, mini bus or taxi (in addition to a guide) we can help. Please see transportation charges below for a few examples of taxi prices.
A selection of our more popular tours. These are just examples and can be modified to suit your individual requirements – e.g. routes and attractions can be substituted and the tours can be shortened or lengthened (perhaps to include an exhilarating walk?)
We always include time to eat and drink – whether delicious locally-sourced picnics – themed if desired (lovingly created individually for you by us) – or at well-loved local hostelries/ quirky establishments.
It might be true to say that our Panorama Tour tends to be the most popular – simply because people with limited time want to see as much as possible. Some people include a visit to Osborne House in this, others not. If including Osborne House - you really need to allow around 7 hours to do this tour justice.
However, many of you will already know the highlights or want to see something a little different and approach your tour in a more leisurely fashion.
For this reason, I have included a few sample tours. Remember – they are just that – samples. Nobody is obliged to pick one of them in its entirety as it stands. But for a lot of people who don’t have much, or any, prior background knowledge of the Island and what it has to offer, these should be helpful. Remember – you can easily mix and match.
Round the Island: Grand Panorama Signature Tour
Tight for time but don’t want to miss a thing? Hear tales of King Charles I, Queen Victoria & Prince Albert, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Darwin, Julia Margaret Cameron, Charles Dickens, Garibaldi, Marconi, Winston Churchill, Ian Fleming, Jimi Hendrix and many more on our best-loved day tour.
Visit Queen Victoria’s ‘dear Osborne’, see the 1970 IOW (Pop) Festival Site, wonder at the exterior of Carisbrooke Castle, drive along the stunning south coastal route with its tales of smuggling, shipwrecks and dinosaurs and across the Island’s central downs, see Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor and its spectacular views, Blackgang, through Newport with its hidden royal tomb, Tennyson’s Farringford and neighbouring Dimbola, along with tucked away ‘chocolate box’ villages, all before finishing at the Needles. Consider the Island conquered!
Victorian Wight – Cowes (North)
Visit St. Mildred’s (Whippingham), Queen Victoria’s Church, designed by Prince Albert and burial place of 4 Royals.
Cross by floating bridge over to West Cowes, home of Cowes Week and sailing capital of the world.
‘Royalty, Racing and Rigging’ walk, providing a fascinating insight into the history of Cowes, including its connections to Winston Churchill and other people of note. Alternative provided for non-walkers! Pimm’s, pint or other liquid refreshment in a typical hostelry, if desired.
Tennyson Tour – West Wight
Including fossil/dinosaur footprint hunt on Compton Beach, Dimbola Lodge (former home of Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron), St. Agnes Church (rare example of a thatched church), Farringford, home of former poet-laureate, Alfred Lord Tennyson. If open and time permits, take an audio-guided tour through this magnificent and newly-restored house. On to The Needles to and the amazing coloured cliffs of Alum Bay.
Weather permitting, take a stunning chairlift ride down to the beach, sweeping over the cliffs. Possibly take a boat ride (with commentary) round The Needles. Drive past the IOW Festival 1970 (Pop) Festival Site and visit quaint little Yarmouth, the Island’s smallest and oldest town.
Roman Wight – ‘Vectis & Victuals’ (Central)
The Romans chose to settle on the fertile chalk downs which form the Island’s backbone. Start at Brading Roman Villa, then an audio tour at Adgestone Vineyard (Roman) followed by a wine-tasting (sampling of some local IOW cheeses might also be arranged for groups of 6+).
The neighbouring Garlic Farm is also on Roman soil. Weather and time of year permitting, enjoy a guided tractor ride over the growing fields. Free product tasting and a perfect lunch stop. To conclude, experience a short but scenic train journey on our (Victorian) IOW Steam Railway.
The whole day is a real off-the-beaten track, ‘turning the clock back’ treat.
Shipwrecks, Smuggling, Priests and Penance (South)
A spectacular drive along the stunning south coast of the Island – destination St. Catherine’s Lighthouse, where you will hear a watery tale or two. After making a brief stop at The Buddle Inn, we will stop at St. Catherine’s Oratory (The Pepper Pot), the oldest surviving monument on the Island. Drive on to Brook Beach to listen to more sea stories.
Visit The Dinosaur Farm and then up to the adorable village of Mottistone, to Mottistone Manor Gardens and The Longstone (neolithic). Pay a quick visit to St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Mottistone (famous WW1 horse and a modern celebrity marriage) before moving inland to historic Carisbrooke Castle and its lesser-known beautiful neighbour Carisbrooke Priory.
Chocolate Box Cottages, Fab Fresh Fish and Seafood and Flora & Fauna
Also, Shanklin Chine, the Island’s oldest tourist attraction and highly praised by people such as Jane Austen, the painter Turner, Charles Darwin and many more besides. There will be many literary links on this tour – including beautiful Bonchurch, where Charles Dickens lived while he worked on David Copperfield. At Ventnor we will visit the Botanic Garden, second only in reputation in the UK to Kew.
Take a peek at Steephill Cove, a hidden treasure with the freshest seafood available, including their renowned crab pasties! Ventnor itself has a resounding Victorian elegance and a fascinating past as one of the country’s first health resorts.
Local History Walks (approx. 2 hours)
Entertaining, highly informative, moderately-paced tours.
Cowes: ‘Royalty, Racing & Rigging’
North, South, East, West and Central. We have the Island covered!
For groups of 6+ all walks are also bookable as ‘foodie walks.’ (Sufficient notice required and additional food supplement will be applied.)
Our basic price is £30 per hour (minimum of 2 hours booking). This DOES NOT mean PER PERSON but per booking. The hourly rate is the same however many people there are in your party.
Entrances and Food - Costs are in addition to our basic guiding charge of £30 per hour.
Transportation - Costs of any transport hire are in addition to our basic guiding charge of £30 per hour.
Extra cost can be as little as an £10 per hour for your group. E.g. transportation by taxi for a small group of 3 or less is a total of £40 per hour for taxi driver PLUS a guide. For a group of 4, the cost is £40 for a driver guide (same person). These are just examples. Please apply for individual costings for your proposed tour.
Guiding in GERMAN - (or possibly in other languages) Additional £5 per hour. (i.e. total of £35 per hour)