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The Isle of Wights

A tragic review of a sad seaside town.

By Rosie J. SargentPublished 5 months ago 7 min read
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Alam Bay Beach

The last three years have been a whirlwind of struggles that have been emotionally draining and mentality exhausting. This week has been full of magical milestones for my little boy (aged 2), from his first ever theme park experience to spending all our coins down the greedy arcade. My partner and I were so excited to go on our first ever family holiday before our second child comes into our lives early next year. Sadly, however, it has been nothing but endless disappointments filled with awful smells and over-priced, almost unedible food.

The Isle of Wight is a tiny island just 40 minutes from the mainland of the U.K, and has been a place that both my partner and I have visited since we were children. Needless to say, the island has seen better days, and I am leaving with the hope the entire thing sinks into the sea, and fast.

The ferry was relaxing and the journey from the dock to our holiday park was as you would expect. The anticipation of all the memories we would make quickly faded into sourness when we arrived at our accommodation. It wasn't accessible. So immediately I faced challenges that I, as a disabled person, was hoping to escape for at least a week. It was a clean place, that's the good thing, but the shower was unsafe, and as I said, was inaccessible.

Then the weather took a turn and autumn arrived with a windy wash of cold, bitter rain that left us feeling miserable. Us Brits are used to this, of course, but this was as if Neptune himself had conjured up a storm that refused to give away. It felt like the grey clouds were tracking our ever move, like some depressed cartoon character.

The Dinos have to sing for their dinner according to the park

Turns out we weren't the only moody people on the island. In fact, most people we encountered, whether local, tourist, or member of staff, were unbelievably miserable and rather rude. We noticed very quickly that the island was literally an Island of Wights. Majority of people we shared breathing space with were much much older than we were, and reminded us of Madge from Benidorm; a wrinkly tanned lady with bleached blonde hair with a fag hanging out of her sour gob.

This place had become Dino Isle. Unlike the dino lab we visited these fossils walked around like smoking chimneys giving us dirty judgemental looks. As such, we really felt for the younger population on the island. There's not much for them there, and to be honest they looked equally depressed as we were.

On one of our days, it solidified this feeling when we visited Sandown Pier, a famous place to visit on the Isle, and in its heyday was the place to go. The heyday being about fifty-years before we were even born. The entire place smelt of an old pub that hadn't been cleaned since Thatcher was in power. The toilets may as well be an exclusion zone, as it fried my nostils with stale, smelly piss. What's worse, they still had all their social distancing and covid posters still up, which means they hadn't properly cleaned the arcades games and slot machines since 2020 at the very least. It was awfully cramped and you could tell the staff didn't want to be there. They were just there because we all have bills to pay.

Dino Isle

For this reason, we didn't stay long, and when we left, we felt the need to have a shower. We didn't dare touch any food. It's safe to say the whole place needs a revamp, or better still, be washed away by the sea, but even then I fear, it still wouldn’t be clean.

We also spotted what appeared to be fairly fresh graffiti with the words 'hurry up and die' written in black sharpie, which told us all we needed to know. It felt as if it were God's waiting room, and sadly, with the older generation, places like this are going to fall into bankruptcy. There's not much for those in their teens, twenties, even thirties. It's mainly for those on a pension. The Isle of Wight relies on its tourism to keep their economy going. This is going to die with that generation, which is really sad. The Isle desperately needs change.

I was also really shocked to see how white the Isle of Wight actually is. It feels stuck in the past. My partner and I commented on how it felt like we had stepped back into our childhoods, and for all the wrong reasons. What’s worse, I saw someone proudly driving around in a van with a gollywog doll strapped to the front. I had never seen one of those dolls in real life, and I honestly couldn't believe my eyes. I had to take a minute to process what I had just seen, in 2023, really?

Blackgang Chine

I hate to say it but this is only a snippet of what the Isle is actually like and I think if I was to write everything wrong with the place I would end up with a dissertation on why you should save your hard earned money and not bother. Thankfully, there are redeemable attractions on the island. Yet this is not worth dedicating an entire holiday for, maybe a productive day out or an adventurous weekend.

Fortunately, I can say the latter half of the week perked up a bit. The sun shone, and the wind went from gale forces to a causal breeze. Finally, we could enjoy our holiday, albeit for a bit. If you find yourself on the island, I recommend taking a trip to Blackgang Chine, an amusement park that has been around for 180 years.

I know, right? 180 years of pure fun, imagination and excitement still going strong despite the whole park having to move backwards away from the crumbling cliffs every few years or so. Because of this, you can tell a lot of time and money had been put into the area to keep the park updated, while still maintaining its long and fascinating history. Not to mention it is stunning and picturesque, and the food is fairly decent - the chips were delicious and very much more-ish. I had to stop myself from buying another portion. My little one absolutely loved it, especially the dino section and cowboy town. He cried when we left these parts. He really loved them.

Cow Boy Town

What I also really appreciated about the park is that they had signs for wheelchair users letting disabled people know where was safe to go, and where would be a bit of a struggle. Not to mention, there were handle rails everywhere you went, so if you were struggling to get up the hilly bits, there's a rail to help you, and it did. I felt like Bilbo Baggins scaling the Lonely Mountain. It really helped. This meant a lot to me as this means someone actually considered disabled people and our accessibility, which is really all that we ask for, which brings me to my next recommendation.

Another place you need to see is the Needles at Alum Bay. There is nothing quite like the beach that you can get a chair lift too. Which I have to say, I actually shat myself on a little bit, because I am absolutely terrified of heights and I despise the feeling of vertigo. I didn't get any photos of this because I was clinging onto the rails for my dear little life. My boy on the other hand wasn't fazed at all. Additionally, my phobia wasn't helped by a young lad proabbly the around 12 years old jokingly telling his mum to look down because and I quote "it is well scary," little shit.

However, the gents operating on both ends of the lift, where more than happy to help me in and out of the always moving chairs. They were lovely chaps that made me feel comfortable and not a burden, and had a great vibe about them. Shout out to those guys because I was really worried about going on the lift, and they really really helped.

On the beach, the needles and the iconic lighthouse looked like a painting come to life. We were even lucky enough to see a seal, which is also something I had only seen on a screen. It was magical, and it lasted a few seconds, so no photos of that moment either, just the memory. But I must warn you, beware of the wasps. There are loads and are most certainly not afraid to chase you and causally sit on your exposed legs. That day I faced two of my fears; heights and wasps.

And that’s the Isle of Wight(s) a place of pure beauty that needs dragging into the future. Sadly we have no intentions of returning. You can’t have it all, I guess.

Where would you recommend to go?

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And as always;

Stay safe, stay hopeful and stay blessed! :)

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About the Creator

Rosie J. Sargent

Hello, my lovelies! Welcome, I write everything from the very strange to the wonderful; daring and most certainly different. I am an avid coffee drinker and truth advocate.

Follow me on Twitter/X @rosiejsargent97

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