What is fast becoming a family tradition is a cycle down the disused railway line from Freshwater to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. This isn’t because we’ve all turned into MAMILs (middle aged men in lycra!) it’s much more basic than that, it’s delicious food and a beautiful setting that gets the legs pumping. Just after 3 miles when I’m starting to think, are we nearly there yet, The River Yar estuary opens up to give a glorious view across the salt marshes, a scene that always reminds me of Cape Cod, New England.
The old line starts to gently curve and roof tops came into view and what starts to slowly emerge is an old railway station and platform, which has been lovingly restored to its former glory. Long gone are the steam trains and their passengers, new visitors have arrived to grace the platform in the form of hungry guests!
‘Off the Rails’ opened its doors last August. The overall effect of the restoration and refurbishment is a delight, with plenty of details evoking the ‘glorious age’ of steam. The interior has been designed in such a charming way with permanent seating which is influenced by 1950’s train travel, creating booths and low level industrial lights hang above each table to give a sense of intimacy.
Luggage racks with old leather suitcases hang from the walls and stacks appear with their destination stickers aplenty looking as if the could be collected at any moment.
Dogs at ‘Off the Rails’ are as welcome as the humans and find they are greeted with enthusiasm after their walk with a biscuit and a pat, as well as a menu especially designed for your four legged friend.
For myself, the breakfast menu is equally as inviting with choices such as Bradshaw’s Breakfast, Coalman’s Break and Portillo’s Pancakes, beckoning me to choose and enjoy. The menu and choice, with daily specials, is varied, interesting and beautifully presented.
After such a relaxing morning cycling, sun-seeking and eating delicious food, the idea of leaving Platform 1 for Freshwater was a reluctant one, but happily I’ve bought a return ticket.