With professional pressure squeezing our personal lives, we are becoming disconnected from family, our bodies, the seasons and a sense of self.
Left unchecked, stress can result in burnout. So if you’re somewhere on the scale between slightly toasted and totally frazzled, maybe it is time to relax and find a place to chill.
For over a century the Isle of Wight has been used as a place to calm the mind, relax the body and restore a healthy glow. The restorative features that the Island boasts were in strong demand during the Victorian era and have developed through the decades to create a safe haven and retreat for many tourists to the Island.
Today the Isle of Wight remains a private sanctuary for royalty and celebrities, yet fame is no longer a prerequisite for experiencing the Island’s serenity. Only 90 minutes from London and a short ferry ride away, it is an easy and affordable getaway.
“Because the Isle of Wight is detached from mainland England it gives people a sense of release,” says yoga teacher, Carol Macartney. “The moment you sink down into your seat on the ferry and the vessel glides away from shore, there is a wonderful feeling of letting go.”
Carol has been teaching yoga for over twenty years and runs retreats and one to one classes at Nettlecombe Farm in Whitwell. This award-winning converted farm is just one location where visitors can access Pilates, Hatha, Yin and Ashtanga yoga, as well as meditation to increase clarity and promote a peaceful mind.
The Westbay Wellness Spa in Yarmouth also holds regular yoga classes and weekends as well as a range of therapies, facials and treatments.
For an extra special pampering, The Cabin on Ventnor seafront provides holistic treatments in an elevated room with the ocean as a natural soundscape.
If lying around isn’t your cup of tea, fear not. The Island’s 500 miles of walking trails, unspoilt coastline and ancient woodlands will inspire Enid Blyton-style adventures, taking you back to a nostalgic yesteryear.
You could walk across the east of the Island and take in the views on offer along the shorelines of Sandown and Shanklin. Or perhaps try the ‘Back of the Wight’ where you can explore the beautiful regions of Compton Bay and the Mottistone Estate, managed by the National Trust. Or, like so many, you could journey from one to the other. Walkers can return to a simpler time, meandering through the peaceful Italianate gardens of Osborne House or the labyrinth paths of Quarr Abbey. Whatever you choose to do, the fresh air and rambling trails are a perfect and healthy way to appreciate the beauty of the Island.
Recognised as one of the best places in Europe for award-winning beaches, the Isle of Wight has excellent water quality, making it an ocean-lovers paradise. The Island promises long sandy beaches, rock pools for paddling and hidden coves to watch the sun go down.
The opportunities to engage with nature and see things from a different perspective are numerous on the Island. Stand up paddle boarding provides you with the ideal means to cruise rivers and creeks, or to venture out on the sea and observe the coastline from afar. The silence and serenity of paddle boarding offers a calm environment with stunning views.
Apart from making the mind sharp and the body lean, the ocean also provides an abundance of fresh seafood. Much of the Island’s lobster, crab, bass and mineral-rich seaweeds such as samphire are supplied to local hotels and restaurants.
Following the launch of the Wight Marque in 2014, consumers can be assured that if the food they buy holds a Wight Marque badge, it is produced on the Isle of Wight and of great quality. This means that you really can get a taste of the Isle of Wight cuisine.
It’s not all about fruits of the sea. The Island is home to the biggest garlic grower in the UK. Over 20 varieties of this health-hero can be sampled in the Garlic Farm shop and restaurant.
Elsewhere, artisan bread and locally produced cheese and honey are available from Farmers’ Markets … perfect for a picnic on the beach.
After a relaxing day you can retreat to your hotel, eco lodge or yurt and experience the deep sleep that comes from breathing the Island air. Only ever a few miles from the sea, the atmosphere is charged with healthy negative ions. These help to balance serotonin in the body as well as increasing the body’s ability to absorb oxygen. This leaves the mind feeling alert and energised.
Irrespective of whether visitors have come to the Isle of Wight with wellbeing in mind, it is impossible to return without feeling calmer, clearer and deeply restored.
Thanks for reading! Ready to destress? The Island really is a fantastic place to come and unwind, even if it's just for a day. If you’ve got a favourite place to relax then we’d love to hear from you @wightlinkferry on Twitter.
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