Quarr Abbey Farm Shop & Café, Ryde, Isle of Wight

Situated within 200 acres of pasture, woodlands, coastline and formal gardens, Quarr abbey is a place of peace, tranquillity and worship. In true monastic tradition, it’s also a hive of activity as the monks grow their own produce and keep pigs and hens.

Sheep grazing in the fields at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight

If you’re arriving on the Isle of Wight via the Portsmouth to Wootton ferry, you’ll find that Quarr Abbey is just a 5 minute drive away. Pop in to buy groceries from its small Farm Shop or to enjoy a cup of tea and a slice of cake in its tranquil walled garden. Children will love feeding the pigs and walking the nature trail around the abbey’s extensive grounds. It’s the sort of place where, as soon as you turn in to its long tree-lined drive and see the sheep grazing in the fields, a feeling of calm washes over you.

The Foodie Travel Guide

  • Take Afternoon Tea
  • Farm Shop
  • Feed the pigs
  • Tour the gardens & abbey

The Story

In 1132, a Cistercian abbey was founded on the Island’s north-east coast. The abbey flourished here until 1546 when Henry VIII brought to an end Catholic religious worship in England. The stone was transported to the west side of the island to build Yarmouth Castle, one of Henry VIII’s new coastal forts leaving the ruins of the original abbey which still stand on the site today. Wander around and you’ll see a portion of the kitchen and refectory and the monks’ servery hatch.

Admire the Belgian Brickwork

In the 20th century, Benedictine monks came to the Island from France and commissioned the design of a new monastery and church next to the ancient ruins. It was built by Islanders using Belgian brick. During the Second World War, the Island’s emergency food supply was stored in the abbey’s cellars.

 Quarr Abbey Chapel Isle of Wight
 Vegetable Plot Quarr Abbey Isle of Wight 

Enjoy a Heavenly Afternoon Tea

Sit in the garden and enjoy a delicious cream tea served with the abbey’s homemade jam. The monks are a productive bunch putting their land to good use and their hard work is visible all around. In the orchards, there are over 200 trees including old and local varieties of apples, pears and stone fruits. The apples are pressed for apple juice and still and sparkling ciders. The vegetable plots and polytunnels provide fresh fruit and vegetables for the kitchen and tea shop. There’s a wildflower meadow that was created to provide a pollen and nectar source for the many beehives, and chicken runs which are home to rescued ex-commercial hens who produce eggs for the abbey.

Feed the Pigs

It’s the pigs who are really the star of the show here though. Once you’ve finished your afternoon tea, they’ll love you if you buy bags of pig feed from the Farm Shop and pay them a visit.

 Feeding The Pigs at Quarr Abbey Isle of Wight
 Quarr Abbey Tea Shop & Farm Shop, Isle of Wight 

Stock Up on Provisions at The Farm Shop

Shop for Quarr Abbey Ale, cider, apple juice, homemade jams & chutneys, honey, vegetables and eggs. The Farm Shop also stocks other Island products including Tipsy Wight fruit vodka (try the wild plum or the rhubarb & vanilla). Bakers can buy bags of flour from Calbourne Water Mill.


Tips

  • Pick up Explorer Kits and do the Wildlife Trail and you might see the native red squirrel
  • Guided tours of the abbey take place every first Tuesday of the month
  • Buy membership of English Heritage and drive to the east coast to visit Yarmouth Castle. It provides a magnificent picnic spot with wonderful views over the Solent

Cook’s Tip

Drizzle Quarr Abbey honey over a bowl of breakfast porridge or a summer salad of broad beans, radishes and feta cheese


WHERE TO STAY ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT

The Hambrough Ventnor Isle of Wight

The Hambrough

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

The Hambrough offers boutique rooms overlooking the sea, a short walk from Ventnor beach.

Rooms from £108 a night.

The George Hotel Yarmouth Isle of Wight

The George

Yarmouth, Isle of Wight

In the heart of Yarmouth, the George is an elegant 17th-century town house.

Rooms from £125 a night.

Hillside Ventnor

Hillside

Ventnor, Isle of Wight

Offering boutique rooms and a restaurant, Hillside has panoramic sea views with a Scandinavian feel.

Rooms from £156 a night.


DOGS

Fox terrier, Mr Hendricks, expert on dog friendly days out in Devon

They tell me that it’s Guide Dogs only.

Mr Hendricks


HOW TO FIND QUARR ABBEY

Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4ES

Website: www.quarrabbey.org