“Good winter rental - would be stunning in summer”
Location. This was the perfect geographical location for us. We usually stay on the other side of the island but we have family on this side and the cottage is no more than 5mins drive from the Yarmouth ferry. That meant drivers and train users alike found it really easy to get here and we could meet them with no fuss as it was only a few minutes away. It's easy enough to drive 5mins into Yarmouth - which has a couple of really nice places to eat and useful shops - though you could also walk ...
Location. This was the perfect geographical location for us. We usually stay on the other side of the island but we have family on this side and the cottage is no more than 5mins drive from the Yarmouth ferry. That meant drivers and train users alike found it really easy to get here and we could meet them with no fuss as it was only a few minutes away. It's easy enough to drive 5mins into Yarmouth - which has a couple of really nice places to eat and useful shops - though you could also walk it if you fancied (take a torch in the winter). I'd recommend not staying here without a car unless you know you're staying in Yarmouth, but that applies to almost everywhere on the Isle of Wight unless its on the tourist side (west) which has a little train service.
Winter. I want to put the rest of this review in context. We stayed in the depths of winter when the weather was a little cold and very, very rainy. Some of the things we mention below would be entirely irrelevant in the summer months! It was a very wet week but it was January though - so that was expected!
House setting. The house is based on a riding school farm. The riding school had about 36 horses and 9 dogs when we stayed; a couple of our number went riding and enjoyed themselves very much. However, you'd barely notice it was there if you weren't interested in riding; it was perfectly peaceful. The house is attached to the actual farm house (with a separate drive and entrance). This is a rural location and thus it's very dark; until the owners pop up some motion-sensor lights we HIGHLY recommended packing a few torches if you're going in winter as you won't be able to see from the drive to the house.
House. The house is really very nice - and as an added touch the owners had placed fresh flowers around the house and left a little care package of teabags, cake and biscuits, and ice in the freezer. The eat-in kitchen is fully equipped. The living room seats five people comfortably (probably more if they are little people) and there is a tv and wifi which, once we realised we could hop onto two wifi services, worked in the whole house. (It would be worth bringing a chromecast/firestick/roku if you have one as the wifi is about good enough to stream and the tv has an accessible port.) There are four bedrooms. One bedroom is a small single that doesn't have an exterior window but is absolutely fine if you don't plan doing anything but sleep there; the twin room is light and airy. The double room without the en suite is the biggest and has a nice view and is easily the nicest bedroom (though we couldn't see the Needles) and the double with the en suite is a good size albeit overlooking a roof. In the summer perhaps, the downstairs bathroom wouldn't feel cold and damp but as it was winter we avoided it; it doesn't have a proper shower down there and you can hear everything (*everything*) in there, so we used the en suite bathroom almost exclusively - and left a lamp on downstairs at night so the downstairs one could be used then without waking up the house. The en suite has a fantastic power shower and we left the light on all day and the bedroom window open a little to make sure the steam cleared well. This does mean you should consider that en suite bedroom a bit of a throughway if you think you'll all want to use the power shower. That is, don't put anyone in that room who wants to close the door and keep people out!
Parking. (I've not talked about the garden as, it being winter, it wasn't something we used.) The listing says there is parking for three cars. This may technically be correct, there are a few things to note. First, the cars go in one by one, so you may end up playing car tetris if you're not using every car every day. We were asked not to park on the verge outside the cottage gate (which prevented said issue) so we did a lot of moving the cars in and out to get the rights ones out. The owners could usefully re-gravel the drive: in summer i'm sure its fine but in winter it is a muddy mess and the garden gets waterlogged: we lived in wellies for the week to manage the few yards between the drive and the house, and this is highly recommended for winter. It was recommended we kept the driveway gate closed to deter the dogs from visiting: the dogs did not visit (though we wouldn't have minded) and we found it essential to keep the gate open partly because it was very muddy and hopping in and out wasn't practical when it wasn't really needed and also if you have more than one car there's no room to do that.
Nearby. We are biased as we love the Isle of Wight. Essentials are the Garlic Farm for lunch and shopping, with a visit to nearby Arreton Barns to spend some 10p coins on ancient arcade games and sights; Fishbourne Inn for food and a visit to to the bay and pop into Quarr Abbey. Closer to "home" explore Colwell Bay and eat at the Waterfront (and maybe The Hut when it re-opens). In Yarmouth we can't recommend highly enough On The Rocks where your steak is delivered for you to cook on a volcanic rock slab on the table: lovely staff and a fun evening (only open on the weekends in Winter). If you have runners in your group - we did! - make sure they pack reflective clothing as it's dark a lot and there are few pavements.
All in all we had a lovely holiday. The house was warm and safe and well equipped; we love the area, and being able to ride if you like is a nice additional extra. Things to remember to pack: loo roll, soap for loos, j-cloths, everything you need to cook with.