With beautiful sceneries and a relaxed way of life, it’s no surprise that the Isle of Wight is so popular. Call me naive but I expected that the Isle of Wight would be ten years behind the vegan revolution and I’d be stuck with salads and chips. I was completely wrong.
Day One – Pasta & Views
Lunch on the first day was at a sea-front Italian where I had a classic vegetable pasta dish. Huge portions with plenty of veg, this was a total winner for me. This left me so full, I only had roasted chickpeas for dinner.
Stroppily following my sister into an ice cream shop, imagine my delight to see two vegan flavors. “We change those regularly” the server told us. Their vegan flavors range from mango to banoffee pie and salted caramel. Bonus points for the suitable for vegans cones too!
The day activities included exploring the local area and sea front by foot. Vendnor is incredibly beautiful and we couldn’t get enough of the sea view from our Airbnb.
Day Two – Donkeys & Garlic
Not letting the overcast weather bring us down, we started the day by visiting the Donkey Sanctuary nearby. The sanctuary runs on donations and offers a home to unwanted donkeys, ponies and horses. This year they’re celebrating thirty years caring for donkeys. A visit to this sanctuary is a must; there are roughly 90 donkeys which you are allowed to pet for free and pay to groom, they’re in large open spaces and seem very well looked after. We popped into the cafe for a cuppa and found that they had soya milk and vegan snacks.
Next up we visited the Garlic Farm. As a garlic lover, this was a type of heaven for me. There was a tasting area, a shop, a tour of the fields and a restaurant. If you head to the taster room and ask behind the till for the allergen list, they’ll happily let you know what’s suitable for vegans and what’s not. My favourite was the hoisin sauce, closely followed by their fig, apple and garlic chutney. The tractor tour across the fields is nice and informative, so easily worth the £2.50 per person. Following our tractor tour we headed to the restaurant where they’re well informed on vegans. I ate vegan garlic bread (different to their regular garlic bread) and a curried cauliflower couscous dish served with hummus, chutney and pitta. They also offered a couple of vegan desert options: flapjack and brownies.
Finally we headed to play some adventure golf at Shanklin seafront with the choice of a pirate or jurassic theme course. Definitely good fun, even if you come last (despite being the only one to score a hole in one). Whilst here, you may as well pop to Toppings. Ask at the ice cream stall for their dairy free options. I grabbed a chocolate ice cream with a plain cone and enjoyed it in the sunshine.
Day Three – Rain & Trains
With terrible, rainy weather for most of the day we crammed in a lot less. During a dry patch we travelled across the Island to Alum Bay, which involved a chair lift with beautiful views of the sea. The food options around here were dire, and even worse for a vegan. If the weathers nice, I recommend packing a picnic to take down to the beach. We avoided the food and the rain and jumped back into the car and off to Off the Rails.
Off the Rails is a trendy restaurant that’d look at home in Shoreditch with it’s niche train theme. The vegan options here are limited to two lunch options. I opted for the Portillo’s Penne and it was totally delicious and a lot quirkier than expected (I’ll be adding cacao nibs to all my pesto dishes now).
Following this we had a relaxed afternoon on the highstreet running from shop to shop to avoid the rain. This included checking though the beauty aisles in TK Maxx and grabbing a couple of bargains.
Day Four – Chocolate & Ferry
Even worse weather, our achievement of the day was popping into Chocolate Apothecary before heading to the ferry back. Their soya dark hot chocolate was incredible. Unlike most highstreet hot chocolates which taste like sugar with a hint of cocoa, these taste luxuriously thick and dark. I had mine served with a mini vegan florentine on the side.
Despite my doubts, the Isle of Wight catered very nicely for vegans with everyone understanding straight off what vegan meant. The vegan friendly day activities were fun and different (going to a garlic farm was a dream come true). The Isle of Wight has many incredible beaches, which unfortunately we didn’t appreciate in their full glory due to the poor weather.
The one downside is that this island would be hard to get around without a car. I visited with my sister and father and my sister driving us about. We relied heavily on the car and spent hours driving each day. Whilst I’m sure there are other options, driving seems to be the easiest mode of transport across the Isle of Wight.
Let me know if you’ve been to the Isle of Wight and what vegan delights you found in the comments below.