Off The Rails: The UK’s Best Bike Friendly Stop Offs



Off The Rails – Yarmouth

Yarmouth Station was constructed as part of the Freshwater Yarmouth Newport Railway in the early 1880s, the first train ran from the station on 20th July 1889. The railway line never connected with the Lymington ferry, and as a result, all coal, livestock, and passengers had to be transported down the backstreets of Yarmouth to get to the train. There was another platform on the south side of the tracks, but because of the river opposite the actual station, it was built 100 yards down the track towards Newport.

The FYN railway never really made any money and was taken over by the Isle of Wight Central Railway in 1923. The line closed forever on 20th September 1953 and the station remained empty for many years. Until 1960, when an old wooden barracks hut was attached to the east end of the old station. For the next 50 years, the building was used as a meeting hall and became the Yarmouth Youth Club.

The building was sold by the Council in 2010 and the wooden hut was demolished to make way for a larger reconstruction of the original station. The signal box was added to create a viewing area over the marshes, and the building was given a Southern Railway theme. August 2014 saw the opening of the “Off The Rails” restaurant and has since given the old station a new lease of life welcoming walkers, cyclists, birdwatchers, tourists, and locals to the area.

Off The Rails Yarmouth ©
Off The Rails Yarmouth ©

Off The Rails is an extremely unique place to eat and drink on the Isle of Wight as it is set along the old railway line. The restaurant overlooks the natural beauty of the Yarmouth Marshes and Mill Copse. Located along the Causeway, Off The Rails is a highly popular pitstop for walkers and cyclists. The restaurant is located 5 minutes from the Yarmouth Wightlink Ferry terminal.

The Isle of Wight is not short of cycling routes with the most popular being The Red Squirrel Trail. The Trail is a 32-mile ride that follows the beautiful countryside of the Isle of Wight, taking in woodland, farmland, and the fabulous coastline. The trail makes an ideal cycling tour taking about two or three days to complete, this ensures riders take their time to enjoy the attractions and wildlife along the way.

The route is named the Red Squirrel Trail in honour of one of the Isle of Wight’s most iconic species, the native Red Squirrel. Removed from the mainland of southern England and much of the rest of the UK, the Isle of Wight is one of the last few strongholds of the Red Squirrel. If you plan to cycle the Trail, you can even register with PedalAid. The downloadable app that allows you to raise money for charity while you ride. Every kilometre you ride along the designated routes releases money for the nominated charity. Each month there is a Charity Challenge with an overall distance target and if the target is reached the donation per km is doubled.

The restaurant offers a wide menu served from 9 am till 3 pm with each meal prepared delicately by their talented onsite chefs. They have created a menu that caters to all dietary requirements, from vegan to gluten or dairy-free. They open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or merely refreshments and cakes to help you refuel along your journey. Off The Rails also welcome dogs to the restaurant and even offer an extensive menu including a range of dry meals, treats, and even dog-friendly ice cream for our four-legged friends.

Off The Rails Yarmouth ©
Off The Rails Yarmouth ©

Dishes are stylishly presented to ensure that every inch of your view at the restaurant is picturesque and Instagram-worthy. Off the Rails has won several good food guide awards since its opening in 2014, restoration project awards, and hospitality awards, making the restaurant one of the go-to places when visiting the Isle of Wight.

Off The Rails are well known for being one of the most up-and-coming places to dine due to their theatrical-themed evenings held during the winter months. These evenings include the sitcoms “Allo Allo” and “Faulty Towers” as well as Murder Mysteries and Valentine-themed evenings. The events have proven a huge success since 2014 with the newest event set for January 2022. Booking is essential for these evenings and due to popular demand, some events have three available performances to book.

Also located at the station is Wight Cycle Hire. Where visitors to the island can hire a bike for the day to soak up the scenery. Pre-Booking is essential and Bikes will be on the track ready to go when visitors arrive. Their helpful staff will help you with adjusting the bikes, fitting your helmet, and route suggestions at your request. Helmets are provided if required, along with enough bike locks for each group and a route map. However, they are currently closed for hire but will reopen in April 2022.

Off The Rails can be reached following the route from Yarmouth to Freshwater. The route isn’t part of the Red Squirrel Trail but offers similar easy cycling on the west side of the Island, following the disused railway with a short section on-road to complete the route to Freshwater Bay. The route is mostly flat and the whole former railway section is traffic-free. Perhaps the most appealing feature is the stunning views of the Yar Estuary, the beautiful cliffs, and clear water when you conclude your journey at Freshwater Bay.

“A must for anyone looking for a great meal in Yarmouth – The food is clearly made with love and expertise.” – Reviewer


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