Blue skies and sunshine provided us a perfect day on our trip to Katwijk. A popular seaside destination for Dutchies looking for sand between their toes and a dip in the sea. Unlike Scheveningen, which is very touristic within the summer period, Katwijk has the neighbourly feeling of only Dutchies and locals.
It’s hard to write just one post about the Isle of Wight, as it’s the place I was born and raised for 17 years of my life. So much to say and so much to see! But for now I’ll pick some topics and expand from there!
Whether you are visiting on your own, with your partner or with children these 6 walking routes (which are some of my fav) are fun for all to explore and enjoy!
1. Tennyson Down
To reach the top you can start either at Alum Bay and take the pathed road via the Needles (great views) or from Freshwater Bay. Once you reach the top, there is a memorial to Lord Tennyson, a poet who lived nearby for 40 years. It’s often windy so dress appropriately and don’t walk too closely to the cliffs! For more information check out this National Trust webpage.
Don’t miss the opportunity to check out the Alum Bay while you are there, where you can walk down to the beach or take the chairlift for some fantastic views of the lighthouse.
2. Parkhurst Forest
Are you ready for a red squirrel hunt? There is a special route you can follow to spot the famous isle of Wight red squirrels. They can also be spotted at different locations on the island, but in my experience I have seen most here! There are also plenty of other paths to explore the forest and enjoy the peace and nature too.
3. Compton Beach
This beach is perfect for walking along with sand in your toes (or exploring the rocks), swimming and to watch the sun set in the distance behind the cliffs towards Tennyson Down (above those beautiful white cliffs). You can walk all the way along the beach when the tide is out, but you can also walk along at the top too. Just be aware that the edge is very slowly falling down into the sea, so dont walk to close to the edge if on the beach or above it. This beach is perfect for dogs too!
4. Steephill Cove
This hidden treasure can be reached walking down from the parking area, but I recommend to walk to from Ventnor along the coast. Take an afternoon here and stop at the Crab Shed for lunch. On a clear day you may even see France!
5. Cowes Cycle Track
This track used to be the railway track from Cowes to Newport, transporting goods and passengers from 1859. Now tarmacked, it can be walked and cycled from Newport to Cowes and back. Closer to Cowes there is a refurbished wooden bridge to cross over, a popular place now to feed ducks from. This one is pretty easy with as its flat and just under 10km there and back.
This less popular touristic area is a place I would visit often as it does not compare to anything else on the island, reachable by car, bike and a local bus. Mostly used by birdwatchers, it’s also a natural harbour and marshlands that is used by local fishermen. The 17th century historic town hall is now open to the public so take a look and learn the history of how the French raided in 1377, which destroyed most if not all of the village. Take the wooden walkway all the way along to the end of the route to try and spot some uncommon native species!
Check out more walking routes and extra information on the National Trust – Isle of Wight routes.
The cloudy morning turned to sunshine as we had reached our first destination of the day, Pointe Du Hoc. Free to get in we walked past through to the viewpoints of the bunkers and monument. Amazing to see the view and how far along the coast you can see, how the Germans positioned themselves during the war. Here you could also experience the damaged bunkers (could go in a few) and the massive holes in the ground left behind from the bombs.
We took the drive from Pointe Du Hoc to Carentan, in search of a place for lunch and our next destination the La Combe German Cemetery. It wasn’t very advertised with road signs so we had to use the sat nav and address, obviously not a place the French like to advertise. How strange it was to be walking among 22,000 graves of German soldiers, many of them aged between 16 to 22. Most graves consisted of two people, with too many that were unknown with no name.
Keeping other cemeteries in mind, we headed next to the American Cemetery & Memorial, which was the complete opposite of the German cemetery. This place seemed the busiest out of all of our chosen museums and places we visited during the weekend. The American cemetery is close to Omaha beach where most American soldiers lost their lives. The cemetery is filled with perfectly lined white crosses with one grave per soldier. It was all very touching with different graves having flowers placed in respect.
The last museum on our list was the Overlord Museum. Greeted with original tanks situated outside we went in and looked at the big collection of items from June 6th, 1944. There was some interesting personal items and stories of witnesses and soldiers throughout the museum and compelling to see items like a tank full of bullet holes.
We finished the day with a dinner in Bayeux followed by a long walk around the beautiful city. Couldn’t resist a nutella pancake for pudding too!
Check out Day Three here!
We spent our first morning in Arromanches visiting the 360 Museum and D-Day Museum De Debarquement, parking our rented car at the top of the cliff and walking down to the museums and beach. The small town was pretty and clean, with an amazing view out to sea with high tide covering the ruins of the wall that was built during WW2. We enjoyed walking around there so much that we didn’t realise it was already 2:30pm and we hadn’t ate, so before we left we bought a nice baguette and drink each!
The afternoon lead us to Pegasus Bridge museum, visiting the original bridge that the English fought at, with a very interesting tour through the museum about the glider planes and how easy the bridge actually was to take over with only 2 Germans guarding the bridge at night.
We really enjoyed this museum, the lady who gave the tour even got a little emotional telling a story of a guy who had returned to Pegasus Bridge after 70 years, seeing the graves of his comrades and speaking for first time about what happened when he was there. The guy was a pilot who helped direct the glider planes to the bridge, which were full up with 28 men. It was so emotional to hear as he had so much responsibility for the glider plane towed behind his plane, which unfortunately broke loose too early, causing the men to die under his watch.
We headed back to Arromanche for a pizza, followed by an relaxing walk on beach. It was now low tide, so we could walk all the way out to the ruins of what had been left in the sea. We finished the evening watching a summer fireworks event at Port-en-Bessin-Huppain with all the locals.
Check out Day Two here!