Isle of Wight - Ventnor
Picturesque setting, different levels set above small sandy bay
Good choice of restaurants and bars
Lovely walks along the coast, and in surrounding hills
Quite steep, may not be suitable for some
A Victorian seaside resort on the Isle of Wight's south coast, Ventnor is sheltered below Boniface Down, one of the highest points on the Island, and is south facing so enjoys its own microclimate. Ventnor is set on a number of different levels, joined by a series of steep winding roads and paths, making it a picturesque place to visit.
The small bay of Ventnor has a sand and shingle beach, and offers excellent surfing facilities. There's a wide choice of cafes, bars and restaurants overlooking the bay, including the Island's only Michelin starred restaurant. From the esplanade you can walk the winding road up to the quirky shops in the town, past the gardens with their cascading waterfall.
Further along the coast is Steephill Cove, a traditional fishing cove which now has a number of small cafes selling local seafood, and which can only be reached on foot or by boat. Close by is Ventnor Botanical Garden featuring several plants, such as echium, agaves and aeonium which wouldn't normally grow outside in Britain. If you're lucky you may even spot the small lizards which live in the walls of the Garden.