The Needles are a famous chalk formation sticking out at the end of the Isle of Wight. We had sailed past these impressive rocks on our way to Cowes and last year had taken a trip on the Needles chairlift and enjoyed a brezzy open top bus journey up to the Old Battery but had never actually visited the National Trust site. So this year we paid our £7.10 entrance fee and spent a few hours exploring The Needles Old Battery & New Battery.
Now please note this is different to the Needles Landmark Attraction which is slightly down the hill and, along with the chairlift, has a host of family amusements and attractions.
Did you know that the name The Needles comes from a now non existent fourth rock, which was needle-shaped and known as ‘Lot’s Wife’? This rock fell into the sea 1764 but the name remained.
The Old Battery is full of history. Soldiers first came here in 1864 and the last left in 1945. From here they would keep a view over The Solent, protecting it and the dockyards at Portsmouth from enemy invasion. Nowadays the Old Battery is full of information and facts about life back then, weapons used and uniforms and clothing, some of which you can try on!
Outside in the Parade Ground there’s a tiny spiral staircase which takes you down to a long, narrow tunnel. At the end you are rewarded with the closest views of The Needles. We were also fortunate to witness the local coastguard helicopter practice a rescue from the lighthouse, an unexpected treat!
The New Battery was used between the mid 1950’s and 1970’s and was used as a secret rocket testing site. Here you can find out more about these secret British space rockets!
There is also a very quaint 1940s style tearoom serving cream teas, snacks and light lunches.
Overall we were very impressed! The views are simply stunning and of course its the closest you can get toThe Needles on land. The exhibition rooms are very well detailed and it actually wasn’t that busy – always a bonus! Find out more about this National Trust sie by visiting www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery
VIDEO: The Needles
A little video of our few hours at The Needles. Of course if you like please give us a ‘thumbs up’ as it all helps 🙂 And don’t forget to subscribe!