ISLE OF WIGHT GUIDED TOURS
PRIVATE GUIDE AND TOUR PLANNER
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Shanklin Walking Tour
Although now a lively town with good shops and restaurants, it is the ‘old village’ with its famous quaint thatched cottages that draws in the visitors. Once the homes of fishermen and smugglers, these are now mostly tearooms. Shanklin has a lovely sandy beach and cliff formations of such significance to serious students of geology, that they are textbook examples as far away as Australia!
Surrounded by idyllic hiking country, walkers can be as active off-season as in the more popular months.
Its main claim to fame is Shanklin Chine (a Saxon word meaning a deep narrow ravine, formed by water cutting through soft sandstone which leads to the sea). This is a magical world of sub-tropical vegetation with a stunning waterfall, discovered by intrepid 18th century explorers. It was admired and painted by J.M.W. Turner and much loved by both the poet John Keats (for a time residing in nearby Keats Cottage) and novelist Jane Austen.
American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow also spent time in Shanklin, as did Charles Darwin, who needs no introduction!
A section of the WW2 PLUTO (Pipeline Under The Ocean), built to carry fuel to the troops fighting on French soil, is still visible within the Chine. There is also a fascinating exhibition which is dedicated to this incredible feat of engineering.
We will ‘walk and talk’ you round both Village and Chine (including exhibition) down to the beach at the bottom. Taking a little stroll there, we will no doubt make a quick pit stop at Fisherman’s Cottage, originally built in 1817 by the family who first cut a pathway through the Chine.
We should also visit the beautiful Rylestone Gardens and see how many red squirrels we can spot! Another ‘must’ is some refreshment at ‘The Old Thatch’, the oldest village tea shop, unmistakable both because of its pink exterior and its quirky themed interior and enchanting fairy garden! And one stylish shop which definitely can’t be overlooked is ‘Cavanagh & Baker, The Island Made Emporium’, which sells just about everything that the Island produces!