In the footsteps of Queen Victoria's poet laureate

Alfred Lord Tennyson came to live on the Isle of Wight in 1853 at the age of 44, making Freshwater Bay his home. He drew inspiration from the natural surroundings, composing much of his most famous poetry on walks across the downs.

The Tennyson Trail, Isle of Wight

The Tennyson Trail

The 14-mile Tennyson Trail starts at Carisbrooke Castle, where Charles I was held before his execution. It then swings over to Brighstone Forest, onto Compton Down, and follows the coastal path towards Tennyson Down. It finishes at the Tennyson monument overlooking the Needles, just along the coast from Norton Grange.

Tennyson Monument, Isle of Wight

The Tennyson Monument

A standalone climb up to the monument can begin at the Needles, Freshwater Bay or from the car park at the end of High Down Lane. The path up to the huge granite cross is steep certainly, but worth the effort for the views across to Old Harry Rocks on the Dorset coast.

A meander with Maud

Named after one of Tennyson’s most famous poems, Maud, this figure-of-eight hike is challenging and seven miles long but can be split into two shorter, more manageable walks. The Tennyson Monument is a good starting point. For the full route, clifftop paths then lead to the Needles viewpoint, on to the Needles Old Battery, towards Alum Bay, Freshwater Bay, and back around to the beginning. Alternatively, The Piano Café at Freshwater Bay is a great starting point. From here, it’s a case of walking anywhere between two and eight miles across the cliff tops towards the Needles.