Isle of Wight Guided Tours

ISLE OF WIGHT GUIDED TOURS
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Freshwater Bay - Tennyson's Celebrity Circle

Freshwater (Bay) - Tennyson and His Celebrity Circle

Alfred Lord Tennyson was Queen Victoria’s long-standing poet laureate. In 1853 he bought his Freshwater home Farringford. As his wife Emily looked out of the drawing room window for the first time, she famously exclaimed, “I must have that view!” The rest is history – and the Tennyson family lived in the house for 40 years. A Celebrity Circle formed around the great poet (often referred to as ‘The Freshwater Circle’), including the likes of the painter G.F. Watts, actress Ellen Terry, dramatist Henry Taylor, nonsense-rhyme writer Edward Lear, astronomer John Herschel, novelist William Makepeace Thackeray & his 2 daughters Anny and Minny, author of ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and photographer Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) and many more.

This leisurely stroll around the village will introduce you to different houses where various members of the Circle (as well as other notable celebrities of the day) lived or stayed. Of course, the main focus will be Farringford itself – now beautifully restored and open part-time as a museum. If open – we will visit and take an audio-guided tour (chargeable). If not – we will view and discuss it from the outside. We will also visit the neighbouring photographic museum Dimbola - (entrance chargeable – unless just using the tearoom) former home to Julia Margaret Cameron and family – close friend of Tennyson and  pioneer Victorian portrait photographer. The story of these 2 families overlaps considerably. We will also visit neighbouring St. Agnes Church (the Island’s only thatched church, built with money donated by the poet’s elder son). This small bay is packed full of history and tales relating to the brilliant and eccentric poet, his Calcutta-born friend and neighbour Julia and others. Time for a tea/coffee and cake – either in Dimbola or The Piano Café – so named because it was once the workplace of Queen Victoria’s piano tuner!

Freshwater Bay - Tennyson's Celebrity Circle

Freshwater Bay - Tennyson's Celebrity Circle

Freshwater Bay - Tennyson's Celebrity Circle

 

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