Isle of Wight

Cast adrift from the mainland and over looking the Solent, the Isle of Wight is a major holiday destination for visitors looking to relax and unwind. Take in the views, enjoy resorts such as Shanklin and Ventnor and discover dinosaurs footprint and fossils along the beaches and cliffs.

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Isle of Wight Overview

Welcome to the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight, or The Island, is the largest island in England and is situated about 2 miles off the Hampshire coast across the Solent.

Isle of Wight has a resident population of around 140,000 people, which swells considerably in the summer season as holidaymakers arrive to take advantage of its mild climate, beaches and resorts such Shanklin and Ventnor.

The Isle of Wight has a strong military history due its strategic position, an industrial manufacturing heritage and is the world mecca for yachting during the famous Cowes week.


History

Once landlocked as part of a larger continent, the Isle of Wight is long separated from the mainland.

It was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century and became an important defence for the likes of Portsmouth and Southampton against the Spanish Armada.

The Isle of Wight became a county in its own right in 1974 following the Local Government Act of 1972. The Island inevitably has a strong maritime influence with sail making, boat building, flying boat construction and hovercraft building all part of its heritage.

The Island became popular for holidays and tourism in Victorian times and is an important component of the local economy.


Places to Visit in the Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight has a wide choice of great of days out to keep all the family entertained. The Needles are an iconic attraction and probably The Island’s most well known landmark. Visitors can ride the chairlift and enjoy a range of attractions including 4D cinema, sweet factory and traditional amusements, shops and places to eat.

If you are looking to discover the history of the Isle of Wight there are numerous places to visit. Carisbrooke Castle is a popular attraction, famous for the imprisonment of Charles I and has some fantastic views, stunning gardens and various exhibits detailing the castle’s history.

Military history buffs can enjoy a tour of various locations including Fort Victoria just outside Yarmouth which dates back to the mid 18th century, Yarmouth Castle – a Tudor castle whose location is a great spot to watch the yachts in the Solent below and the Needles Old Battery a spectacular cliff top defence with a range of exhibits.
The landscape of the Isle of Wight is great for walkers – The Island hosts a 2 week walking festival. Walkers can explore the cliff top paths, coastal walks and rolling countryside. For those looking to go uphill, the Yarborough Monument and Tennyson Monument await discovery. Being an island has meant this is one of the locations in Britain where red squirrels have been able to flourish, whilst the cliffs are home to some rare butterfly populations.

Isle of Wight has a number of important houses, stately homes and glorious gardens open to the public. Undoubtedly the most famous is Osborne House, the holiday residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert which led many famous Victorians to grace The Island. Nunwell House & Gardens is a Jacobean house with seaviews. Appuldurcombe House was once a magnificent 18th century house which has seen better times – though the gardens remain worth a visit. Elsewhere visitors will find impressive gardens at Mottistone Manor, year round colour at Morton Manor and the 22 acres of Ventor Botanic Gardens with a collection of rare specimens from around the world and over 700 varieties of rose.

Everybody do the dinosaur! The Isle of Wight was once part of a larger continent and fossil hunting is a popular pastime on The Island. Comb the yellow, grey and brown rocks and beaches at the likes of Yaverland Beach, Brook, Brighstone and Compton Bay to discover fossils and dinosaur bones. Hanover Point is home to giant stone cast dinosaur prints.

Isle of Wight’s famous names include actor Jeremy Irons, athlete Kelly Sotherton, comedian and broadcaster Phil Jupitus and actress Shelia Hancock.

Isle of Wight has a large range of annual events including IOW Walking Festival, The Garlic Festival the world famous Cowes Week and IOW Festival – a huge music event.

The climate benefits the Isle of Wight growers and the island is well known for its tomatoes, asparagus and garlic. Seafood – including crab are local favourites, whilst tourists can enjoy delicious cream teas.


Getting There

Once you have made your way to Hampshire which will be via the M3 and M27 for the majority of road users, ferry, catamaran and the world’s only hovercraft service are the routes onto The Island.


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