Trip Planner:   Europe  /  UK  /  England  /  Isle of Wight  /  Freshwater  /  Miscellaneous  /  Tennyson Down

Tennyson Down, Freshwater

#2 of 11 in Things to do in Freshwater
Outdoor Activity
Tennyson Down is a hill at the west end of the Isle of Wight just south of Totland. Tennyson Down is a grassy, whale-backed ridge of chalk which rises to 482 ft/147m above sea level. Tennyson Down is named after the poet Lord Tennyson who lived at nearby Farringford House for nearly 40 years. The poet used to walk on the down almost every day, saying that the air was worth 'sixpence a pint'.OverviewIt is part of the chalk ridge that forms the backbone of the Isle of Wight, this ridge extends to the west for 3mi where it ends with The Needles. To the east the hill descends gently down to Freshwater Bay where the sea has cut through the ridge. To the south is Highdown Cliffs, a near vertical chalk cliff drop of over 100 metres to the sea below.The top of the Down is fairly flat and is predominately grass downland which provides a wide area for walking. There is some scrubland and small trees mainly on the northern side which is away from the prevailing wind.The Down is owned and managed by the National Trust and is grazed by cattle and rabbits which ensures that its grass surface is closely cropped. It is open to the public.At the top of the Down at a height of 147m stands a huge granite cross commemorating the life of Alfred Lord Tennyson. From here on a clear day it is possible to see Old Harry Rocks and the Isle of Purbeck to the west, Yarmouth and Lymington to the north, and to the east, much of the Solent, Fawley Oil Refinery, a large part of the western half of the Isle of Wight, and St. Catherine's Point, 20 km away across Brighstone Bay. Surprisingly it is not possible to see the Needles from here as they are hidden beyond the next hill to the west which is known as West High Down.
Add Tennyson Down and other attractions to your Freshwater trip itinerary using our Freshwater tour planner.
Create an itinerary including Tennyson Down
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
110 reviews
  • I came up here as part of the Isle of Wight XC Half Marathon. The views are truly spectacular, and well worth the effort. Especially as when you return to the bottom there is beer waiting.  more »
  • Went for a walk with the dog up here. Hard to get parked as the car park only takes around 12 cars so avoid at the weekend if you drive there. A very steep path up but well worth it as you can see rig...  more »
  • Reaching "the summit" can be fairly easy or a bit harder depending on which side you approach from. your are rewarded with a fabulous view at the top. Nice memorial- do read up about Tennyson before y...  more »

Plan your trip to Freshwater

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Freshwater

Browse hundreds of hotels and read guest reviews on the world's leading online travel agency website.
Millions of travel reviews
on TripAdvisor