The Space- The Old Post Office is a piece of Seaview history, in the very heart of the village. It was fully Refurbished in 2012 and Updated again since then (most recent work Christmas 2016). It is a charismatic and comfortable double fronted Victorian house, classic for the area, though modernised and maintained above to very high standard.
- High quality appliances & conveniences: Super fast fiberoptic broadband; 3 Sonos systems; Apple TV; Sky; Bosch Kitchen appliances; Separate drinks fridge in the kitchen; integrated BBQ in the outdoor living area.
- It is the perfect Space for Couples as well as groups of Friends and extended families. Open kitchen has a table which comfortably sits 8, but can be extended to sit an additional 10 people. Guests who most love staying are either Couples/Sailors who want to stay in high-end and well-located accommodation during their time on the Island; or on the other hand extended families down for a wedding, weekend or holiday and want a place where the whole family can unwind, relax and have fun, with comfortable space for grandparents, friends, cousins and nannies/au pairs.
- Beautifully finished, and professionally-designed, interior & exteriors. Clean, comfortable living areas and bedrooms. Modern bathrooms with spacious and powerful showers.
- Car Parking Space for 2 cars, with a third space if you park across the first two.
- Outdoor area has a casual sofa / seating area, a dining area, a well-lit integrated BBQ, and an outdoor shower for rinsing off after sailing or swimming in the sea. It looks awesome at night with atmospheric integrated low-level lighting and some candles.
- As you walk in through the main door the open plan living area is straight ahead of you, looking through to the triple french doors which let light flood into the house through the day. The left hand side is a flexible living space: use it as an extra sitting room, a separate dining room, more of a quiet anteroom, or a nursery area. The right hand side is the kitchen area with solid oak kitchen table (seats 8 comfortably) opening into the stunning kitchen area. Right in the middle of the ground floor is our piano and guitar where we have singsongs and jams that focus more on enthusiasm than quality. (The piano can be bashed around; children are welcome to have a crack at it; however please treat the guitar with respect and be sensible with regards to who uses it)
- The kitchen is slick white high gloss with integrated handles and clean surfaces. There are 3 Bosch oven/microwave/grills, 2 fridges (one for drinks!?), 2 freezers (let us know if you want us to clear freezer space), an integrated Bosch electric hob, a hot tap for easy tea/coffee/cooking, an insinkerator, integrated dishwasher, white corian worktops with built-in sink, and anything you might need for a family or group.
- Also on the ground floor is a separate TV/living room with Sky Satellite TV, Apple TV, 2 sofas, and a beautiful bay window which lets in the stunning morning sun, has a glimpse of Sea View, and is perfect for watching the world go by.
- Opposite the TV/living room is a utility room, which echos the kitchen with clean white high-gloss finish with integrated handles, a sink built into the white corian worktop, 2 more Bosch Oven/Microwaves, another (half size) Bosch washing machine, and another under-counter fridge.
- Through the utility room there's a fun and beautifully made double berth bunk bed (sleeps 4 at a push), which then leads into another flexible living space. This room used to be the Old Post Office itself and the original floor shows the wear of tear of footprints that trod their path from the shop counter to the preserved giant safe in the corner. We use this room as a play room. It is full of toys, as well as a desk for creative work, an extendable table for playing board games, and a TV for when the kids are exhausted to point of collapse. (Many happy times there watching James Bond films... and slightly less happy times watching Peppa Pig)
- Also on the ground floor are 2 clean modern loos, each with wet-room style showers for when the house is at full capacity or people are back from the beach and need to rinse off.
- Little explorers can look for the hidden den on the ground floor (a converted under-stair cupboard) which has blue-LED "stars" in the ceiling, a window and postbox in the door. Our boys love to grab every cushion in the house and turn it into a soft cuddly secret space.
- Going up the original stairwell, with long winding oak bannister, and comfortable carpet, you reach the office-nook on the landing. This is a large (almost double) desk area, which gets great morning light. Our family HD computer is there (let us know if you need access).
- The first floor opens into a large open-space landing off which are the bedrooms, which will be unlocked based on what your accommodation requirements are. Our master bedroom and ensuite is usually not available to guests except in extenuating circumstances. The main spare bedroom has Kingsize bed, chest of drawers, bedside tables, and a rocking chair, plus a view of the sea, and lovely morning sunlight. The second spare bedroom has a small double bed, with clothes storage (including hanging). It can fit a couple but is more comfortable as a single. The 3rd bedroom is usually set up as a snug TV room, but the sofa can be extended into a sofa-bed (again, ideally for 1 but possible for two), and there is storage for clothes. All bedrooms have blackout/almost blackout blinds.
- The piece de resistance is the upstairs bunk room: 2 TRIPLE HEIGHT bespoke bunk beds that sleep 6. Please be warned on this room that the mattresses are children singles, so slightly shorter than adult-length. Please ask if you have any questions about the suitability of this room for your guests/ages, or questions on safety. Our kids have slept in them from about 18months old (the bottom bunk is basically a mattress on the floor); moving to the middle bunks at about 4 years old; and to the top bunks at about 7 years old. During the day time they are in constant use as forts, dens, climbing frames, as well as at times a mini-tourist attraction in their own right for locals who have heard about them and want to come and have a look.
- Also upstairs is a family bathroom with bath and large walk-in shower; and also a washing machine with hanging space to dry things. Guest Access- We have advertised this as a whole house, which is the main purpose. However we are open to a conversation about a room-only basis when we are at home too under certain circumstances. So feel free to ask if the dates you want aren't available.
- The basic rate for the house covers access to the living areas plus relevant sleeping accommodation.
- We would usually lock off our master bedroom and ensuite, as well as any unused bedrooms. We also tend to lock off our shed/workshop/boat-store which has work tools, bikes, some of our personal items, beach toys and games.
- We also tend to lock the access cupboard to the HD computer and wifi/sonos controls.
- We have loads of kids stuff in the house but quite a lot of it is likely to be put away when you come to stay. If you want access to any of it or for us to have it out and ready for you please just let us know.
In fact, let us know if you want to discuss any of these. Interaction with GuestsThis is your holiday. We are available to help you plan but will otherwise give you as much space as possible. You should treat it as your home (unless you are a group of students or stags who treat your home like I used to in which case definitely do NOT treat it like your home).
Specific stuff we can help with includes:
- travel arrangements
- great places to go (Osborne House, Carisbrook Castle, Needles, Lifeboat station, Blackgang Chine, Robin Hill, Cowes, one of the Solent Forts)
- things to do (sailing, swimming, waterspouts, walks, cycling, eating, beaches, crabbing, day trips)
- what you might need to pack
- what is in the house / what you can help yourself to (most things)
- the best pubs, restaurants, cafes
- childcare, babysitters, drivers, extra cleaning, catering, occasional household help, sailing instructors
- shopping & groceries, including the BEST local suppliers (there are amazing local butchers, crab/lobster people, florists, breweries, dairy-products and fruit & veg)
- anything we can get ready for you in the house before you arrive
- specifically child arrangements in the house : cots, high chairs etc. The NeighborhoodThe Isle of Wight is fecking awesome, and our little corner of it is the best of a good bunch. (Objectively speaking, natch). Here are some highlights of stuff we love and you might want to try.
SEAVIEW VILLAGE - LOCATION
Seaview sits near the eastern tip of the Isle of Wight, between Ryde and Bembridge. It is a unique village with extensive views across the Sea and Solent. It is an upmarket resort and as such is very popular with both visitors to the Island and also with locals. During the summer months the village becomes a busy centre for families, sailing and watersports.
As the season (May-Sept) begins, the village comes to life and there are lots of things to do locally. Seaview became a hotspot in Edwardian times, built on its panoramic sea views and great sandy beaches, which remain two of its iconic assets. It is also known for it's friendly atmosphere, where "everyone knows everyone".
We regularly walk in our PJ's to the village shop for fresh croissants in the morning. Whilst it's only 100 metres from our house, it can take 10 minutes due to the (optional!) chit chat with passing people, dogs and shopkeepers.
WHAT TO DO IN SEAVIEW
Seaview comes into its own during the summer months when all the stuff we've spoken about (sailing, swimming, crabbing, sand-castles, cycling, running, walking, water-skiing, kayaking, messing around on the beach) is available on our doorstep.
That said... We particularly love the quieter months of autumn, christmas and spring. During these times we have long walks with pub lunches, cuddle up to watch films, feed our kids tea (with a cheeky pint) in the Old Fort, watch International rugby in one of the locals, and get AMAZING massages/facials and other TLC in Seaview Beauty Clinic across the road.
BEST BEACHES WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE
1. SPRINGVALE beach offers some of the best views, straight across the Solent to Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower and the famous, and intriguing, Solent Forts. Above the beach is Puckpool Park which is built within a former Victorian Fortification Battery and has a (ropey) tennis court, mini golf, and a pretty decent playground within its gardens. We particularly like the Dell Cafe, which does surprisingly good food, has killer views, and allows you to chill out with a coffee/drink whilst watching children play on the beach under you. (To get to the Dell Cafe walk to the beach, turn left, and walk for 1.25 miles. Accessible in all tides and weather. As you walk there you pass the Boathouse Pub, which is super accessible for prams, bikes, cars and is exactly 1 mile from the house for anyone who wants to measure a 2 mile beach-run.
2. SEAVIEW BEACH is the ideal launch platform for boats and watersports. It sits right under the main village and shops, and it's less than a 2 minute walk from our home. You can talk to the Sea View Yacht Club about a temporary mooring if you have friends coming by boat to visit you. Unlike Bembridge, where you can only get in and out during some parts of the day, in Seaview there are no tidal restrictions to access. There's great crabbing all around that area - you can't miss the toddlers and children around. (buy your kit from the local toy shop, Bookworm, which is less than 1 minute from the house). We'd particularly recommend going swimming in the little cove to the right as you get to the bottom of the High Street. We do the Seaview Drift which involves getting in there at high tide then drifting with the tide for 100 meters or so (usually to the slipway by the old fort pub). Its magic.
3. SANDCOVE BEACH is a fairly unknown gem and again only 2 minutes from our house. Come out of the house, turn right, and its at the bottom of the hill on the left. It's sandy, but it also has some great rocks for exploring. In high tide there is no through-fair to Seaview village but you can have fun jumping off the slipway into the water. It's sandy on low tide, yet deep enough for good swimming during high tide. We quite often have breakfast on the beach there, or sometimes candle-lit BBQ suppers. When our kids were babies it was a life saver as it meant we could go to the beach without spending any time "packing for the day" as it's so close.
4. SEAGROVE BAY is another ten minute walk further on. It's probably the most popular beach in the area and offers gently sloping golden sands for swimming, cricket, hockey (seriously - check out the daily matches at Easter), football and other activities. The sea wall at the far end is very popular, especially for BBQs, picnics, and for walks to the incredible Priory Bay.
5. PRIORY BAY has further great views and shallow sands. It gets incredible morning sun, looks over St Helens Fort and the Bembridge Lifeboat station. During summer weekends it can be heaving but during weekdays or offseason it can be like having a piece of paradise to yourself. It is not accessible by road, doesnt have loos (nearest one is Seagrove Bay), nor a cafe - so go prepared! If you have a wannabe-boy-scout in your group, you can have quite spectacular evenings there with bonfires, BBQs, drinks under the stars, swimming and maybe even waterskiing.
6. ST HELENS BEACH. At low tide you can walk around the far end of Priory Bay Beach to St Helens beach which has something for everyone - a bit of sand, some good rocks for climbing, shingles, the ruins of the original St Helens' Church, and beautiful views over Bembridge Harbour, the lifeboat station and St Helens Fort. The "cafe" there is called Baywatch and is surprisingly decent. The service can be improved on but it generally does the job for coffee, ice-cream, and decent fresh food / seafood. We like to stop there on longer walks, or have it as a destination for a family lunch, or an evening date (moules marineres, red wine and watching the sun set over the water).
PLACES TO EAT IN SEAVIEW
There are a bunch of places to eat in the area. I'll flag our favourites (most of which we go to several times a week!).
1. LILY'S CAFE, right across the road from our house. Owned by the charming Maureen and Lee (London Lee to his mates). Very high quality locally-sourced meats and dairy, and a topnotch coffee. Good for a coffee; Good internet access if you want to get some work done outside of the house; Great quality but non-fussy breakfast; friendly staff. Mention our names when you go there.
2. THE OLD FORT PUB, 2 minute walk from the house. Right on the seafront, overlooking the Solent, the solent Forts, the village sailing (in the summer), and the village comings and goings. Owned by local superstar, Peter Hall, and run by his wonderful daughter and son in law, supported by a team of friendly and fun locals. Great beer, and a really good menu that has a nice combination of "seaside classics" like scampi and chips, alongside whatever the local fisherman has brought in that day, and also some successfully-experimental dishes (the curry burger is a winner). If you're looking for inspiration on what to eat then ask the guys and girls behind the bar for their input. We go there most evenings to feed our kids their tea (great kids menu) over a pint and a chinwag. Wednesdays is "curry night" which is an institution - about a tenner for a plate which you then eat as much curry as you can with. Booking is advisable in winter and a must in summer (when they do 3 sittings each curry night).
AMENITIES IN SEAVIEW
1. GALLEYS CONVENIENCE STORE, 1 minute from the house. Some local produce including milk, fresh croissants and baked goods in the morning, daily papers, and household essentials.
2. SEAVIEW PHARMACY, 1 minute from the house. Not your average opening hours or sales-manner but it has the basics and calpol/nappies for emmergencies.
3. LILY'S CAFE, as above, for coffee and a quick bite
4. BOOKWORM TOY SHOP, an institution, and 1 minute from the house. PLEASE go there and buy things. Ray Smart, who runs it, is one of the nicest and hardest working men we know. The selection of things in there, as well as the prices, are extraordinary.
5. Slightly further afield, is LONDIS CONVENIENCE STORE in Nettlestone. Its about a 4 minute drive / 15-20 minute walk. Longer opening hours, slightly bigger selection, and a cash machine. Visited in times of emmergency or when passing through Nettlestone.
6. For GROCERY DELIVERIES, Tescos is near, and Waitrose in Cowes deliver.
7. For meats, we STRONGLY recommend ISLAND FOODS, which is tucked into an estate by Tescos in Ryde. The food, as well as prices, is off the charts. A lot of us will buy their monthly deal then drive it back to London to live off for the next week.
8. For Fish and other produce there are a few little places to try. One of the most fun is Farmer John's farm, right next to Oasis in St Helens/Brading. Give it a whirl! Bembridge has a selection of local butchers, fishmongers and greengrocers and is a nice wander.
1. The WALKING/CYCLING/RUNNING on the Island is highly regarded, and with routes for all ages and stages. We have loads of maps and routes in the house, or just look it up online.
2. You MUST try SALLY'S RIDING SCHOOL, which is a short drive away. Riding from 4 years old up, on friendly horses and ponies. No prior experience needed. This was part of my childhood. In the right season and tide they take you riding along the beach - I went the day before my wedding.
3. If you want to SAIL dinghies or yachts - whether single handed or with an experienced helm - we can advise you.
4. POWER BOATING & OTHER WATERSPORTS are all available. There are a few good local suppliers, including Bembridge Outboard. Happy to advise and introduce you.
5. There is a healthy FLYING community on the Island - near us the helicopters come and go from the Priory Bay Hotel, and the planes land & take off from Bembridge Airport.
FURTHER AFIELD ON THE ISLAND
Depending on what your appetite and interests are, these are some of our favourite places. Feel free to check in with us if there are places we haven't mentioned or you're interested in discounts etc.
1. KIDS. Blackgang Chine, Robin Hill, Butterfly World, JD Zone soft play, Carisbrooke Castle, Isle Jump (mega trampolining), Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Tapnell Park, The Garlic Farm. (Some of those will look odd when you look at websites - believe me your kids will have a BLAST). Tapnell Park will go down as one of the best family days out you'll ever have - WELL worth the trip across the island.
2. FOODIES. Dan's Kitchen (soo yummy, so lovely), PIlot Boat Inn pub (good pub, walking distance), Crab and Lobster Pub (a long walk away), Thomsons in Newport (michelin star, young and fun, get the chefs table, adults not kids, dinner more than lunch), The Little Gloster (breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails, great views, awesome team), The Hut at Colwell Bay (St Tropez on the island, take a boat if you can, think rose/surf/turf in the sun on the beach, booking essential).
3. GROWN UPS / TRIPS FOR ALL THE FAMILY. Seaview Beauty Clinic (impressive number of treatments, wonderful owner Jane, competitive pricing); Osbourne House (a really worthwhile day out for the family); Quarr Abbey (local Catholic abbey, good cafe, good services, beautiful grounds); The Garlic Farm (great food, grounds, activities, animals, tractor-rides, log fire, good foodie shop) - we spent a lot of time there with newborns. The Bembridge Lifeboat station is good fun. Check out whats going on in Shanklin Theatre - the pantomime at Christmas is a highlight for us. In the summer check out events at Osbourne house - they often have concerts and outdoor films under the stars.
THERE'S A WHOLE BUNCH MORE STUFF...
We've probably forgotten stuff here - happy to answer any questions.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Very interested in your feedback on any of these places, or any other places you visit. Getting AroundThe Old Post Office has 3 car parking spaces (unheard of in Seaview, and a source of huge envy in high season).
That said, we find we rarely use cars on the Island. We spend most of our time pottering around the village, on the water and on the local beaches. I'd recommend bringing or hiring bikes!
There are frequent bus services that run from the end of our road to the whole island.
The local taxi firms are great - we use Ryde Taxis on (PHONE NUMBER HIDDEN).
Getting to the Isle of Wight is really easy. Depending on where you are coming from we use these 3 methods regularly:
1. Bringing the car across > Wightlink Car Ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne. (NB Gunwharf outlet shopping is by the Portsmouth Terminal). Definitely need to book (look for deals, book early), though they will try to accommodate if you miss your ferry. They run every half hour or hour depending on how busy it is.
2. Coming by Train > The Waterloo train to Portsmouth Harbour connects straight onto the Wightlink Catamaran (Gunwharf to Ryde Pierhead). Buy tickets to Ryde Pierhead and book a Ryde Taxi when you know what time you're getting in. Generally no need to book. Crossings about once an hour.
3. On Foot / Leaving Car in Portsmouth. The quickest (and most fun?) crossing is on the Hover which only takes 10 minutes. Leave your car in the carpark at Portsmouth Hover Terminal then just step aboard. Generally no need to book. Crossings about once every 30 minutes. Other Things to NoteSOME COOL STUFF
1. Breakfast is not included in the price; BUT let us know if you would like us to arrange breakfast. We can provide local Island bread, milk, eggs, bacon, sausages as well as delicious fresh cold pressed juices, and other ingredients. If you want to put your feet up, we can also arrange an excellent breakfast at Lily's cafe right across the road which is owned by good friends of ours and which we regularly have our family breakfast at.
2. This is our home, which we love, and which we hope you will love too. As such you'll see personal things throughout the house, albeit that the house is tidy and surfaces are clean. When we chat on the phone we will discuss how much cupboard space you would like us to clear in each bedroom for your group. Please raise any questions or special requests you have and we will do what we can to address them.
3. Aside from advising you on your holiday, we can also get you discounts at some of the best local restaurants, beauty salons, cafes, pubs and attractions. Lets just pick up the phone to chat about all that.
THE LESS COOL STUFF - "Being a Responsible Guest"
It feels odd to even write this but... for the record:
1. We have neighbours, some of whom are elderly. Please behave in an appropriate manner, including keeping noise down after 10pm. If we hear complaints of noise we assume you are happy for us to buy the neighbours a large bottle of champagne out of your deposit.
2. We remind you that the house is strictly no-smoking.
3. We remind you that our party policy is "no parties". Please discuss with us at point of booking if you have any intentions in this regard.
4. If you break or damage something, please tell us. We understand that these things will happen, and we won't be pr1cks about it. All the same, we do need to know so that we can replace it. (Don't worry too much about this - the house isn't precious in general - it's a family home designed to be lived in and enjoyed - definitely not a museum of treasures and delicate objets d'art!).
5. We will take a dim view of anyone who misleads us on their booking, including with regard to number of visitors, animals, parties. (See notes on the deposit below)
6. Please note we have a strict cancellation policy.
THE SMALL PRINT - when we may claim your deposit
The advice for AIRBNB hosts is to make it clear, and in writing, that guests are liable for any damages they cause whilst staying on our premises. So - for the sake of legal clarity:
We will consider making claims on deposits for:
1. Any damage or loss of property by the responsible guest, or anyone in their group.
2. Any theft that can be deemed due to negligence of the responsible guest, or anyone in their group
3. Any guest who has misled us when making their original booking, including in manners stated above (number of guests, parties, animals).
4. Under circumstances of complaint over behaviour or noise at unreasonable times
(NB This last paragraph is legally covering our backsides. We are pretty cool people and will make efforts to be reasonable on damage, especially where it doesn't arise from negligence. That said, we'll be happily cashing the whole deposit under the circumstances whereby we have been misled at the point of booking.)