Grange Farm was the second campsite that we stayed in on the Isle of Wight. Before we set off on our holiday, we were looking forward to staying here, having looked at the website and seen the location and the views. Having already spent a few days being rained on and blown about by the British weather though, we were more than a little nervous about staying at the top of a cliff!
On arrival at the site, we were checked in at the site shop. We were helpfully told about the cliff top path that goes through the site and which can be followed in either direction if you fancy a walk, the animals on the site, and the freshly baked pastries and baguettes that would be available in the morning. We were given a pitch marker and told that we could choose to pitch anywhere where there was electric. The site is laid out in marked rows, although the actual pitches are not marked, giving you space to spread out if you want it. We chose a spot close to the cliff edge to set up camp if you can call it that.
It was exceptionally windy when we arrived, or at least that’s what we thought. Maybe it’s always like that on the South coast of the Isle of Wight, who knows. There is a sign up in the pot-wash area recommending that you invest in some decent tent pegs if visiting the site, so wind must be a common feature. We parked up and took a look around. The tent in front of us was straining at its guy ropes, in fact so much so that we felt the need to go and see whether we could help by tightening the ropes while it’s occupants were t for the day. The tents behind us were trying desperately to shelter from the wind behind a small hedge and there was generally a lot of flapping of tent fabric. We decided against putting up the awning straight away (it flaps a lot at the best of times) and actually were not brave enough to put it up in the four days that we were there. We risked putting the pop-top roof up a couple of times, but having been woken up in the middle of the night by the wind rocking the van, decided that this was not wise either. Come the morning, it looked like the campervan in the next pitch had put their roof down in a hurry in the night too. So basically, we were camping in a car since we had no roof up and no awning, although at least this taught us that it is possible to camp without the luxury of the additional space.
Putting the wind to one side, this is a nice site. It seemed to be popular with campervans as we counted at least five others while we were there, but there was also a mixture of tents and caravans. The facilities are of the standard that we have come to expect when camping. The toilets and showers were clean and there seemed to be enough of them since we never had to queue, although the site was not full when we stayed there. There’s also a large indoor pot-washing/laundry area with plenty of hot water and lots of interesting information to read while you’re doing the washing up. There’s also a great play area for the kids. The best thing about the site though is the view, and it was particularly special waking up one morning to look out of the window and see hundreds of yachts sailing past as part of the Round the Island Yacht Race.
Eating and drinking establishments close to the site are limited. There is a snack van on the site which was open quite a lot of the time, selling various things including chips, sandwiches, burgers and hot and cold drinks and there’s also the small on-site shop which seemed to do a roaring trade in freshly baked breakfast items. To go off site for food, and to get away from the windy cliff top, we walked across the fields into Brighstone village (it took about 20 minutes and you’d need a torch in the dark). We visited the Three Bishops pub in the village and had a decent meal.
We would have liked to walk along the coast path from the site, but were put off by the wind and the rain (and the fact that in various places the cliff-top path seemed to have already slipped into the sea!).
All in all, this is a good site and I would recommend trying it out. The views are great and the facilities are good but the trade off is the potential for windy weather. If you were lucky enough to get a period of good weather then this would greatly enhance the experience, otherwise, you need to make sure you’re well prepared.