What to see in The Isle of Wight

Osborne House

Osborne House

Some people do not feel like they are on holiday unless a flight is involved. The feeling of traveling across water to a different land or destination offers a refreshing start to any holiday, leaving the stresses and worries of every day life behind for a week or two.

The only problem with traveling abroad can be the disruption at airports and the long time involved travelling between destinations. However, for those in the know, the Isle of Wight off the south coast of England can provide that feeling of escape, with less time wasted on travel and you still get that feeling of escaping mainland Britain.

The Isle of Wight is the largest island in England and is surrounded by the English Channel. The closest county is Hampshire which is around 2-5 miles away depending of the tide. The island is separated from mainland England by the Solent (a narrow stretch of water).

Victorian Holiday Destination

Victorians used the Isle of Wight as a holiday destination and the island sprang to fame during this era with tourist facilities and holiday accommodation being built to accommodate the influx of tourists from around the world.

The poets Swinburne and Alfred Lord Tennyson made the Isle their home, as did Queen Victoria. Victoria loved the island so much she ordered a summer residence to be built. Osbourne House was constructed for the Queen in East Cowes, this turned out to be her final home.

The Victorians realised the isle was not only rich in wildlife and beauty, but also one of the richest locations of prehistoric fossils in Britain and Europe.

Festivals & Sailing

Shanklin Beach

Shanklin Beach

Many thousands of tourists flock to the Isle of Wight each year, and the tourist population swells dramatically at certain times when the isle plays host to some fantastic festivals.

The Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival takes place as does ‘Bestival’ which is covered by national media and now has a cult following thanks to Rob Da Bank of ‘Sunday Best’ fame. Bestival is a hot chilled out dance music event on the worlds festival callendar.

More recently the ‘Isle of Wight Festival’ has been revived. The festival first began back in 1968 and in 1970 was said to be the largest and most famous music festival in the world with over 600,000 revellers attending. The festival has been a stage for famous rock musicians such as Bob Dylan, The Who, Jimi Hendirx, Miles Davis, The Doors and Joni Mitchell.

One of the most popular attractions in The Isle of Wight is Cowes. Cowes is notorious for sailing and hosts many racing regattas featuring thousands of yachts who all compete in varoius events such as ‘Cowes Week’, ‘Fastnet Race’, ‘Round The Island’, Admiral’s Cup, and the ‘Commodore’s Cup’. The isle has also been home to the internationally renowned ‘Americas Cup’.

Tourism on The Isle of Wight

Bembridge Windmill

Bembridge Windmill

The Isle has plenty to see and do, from beautiful beaches which often benefit from warm sunny condition being far south, to holiday resorts such as Ventnor and Alum Bay, not forgetting the main town of Newport. The isle is popular with sports and wildlife enthusiasts.

Walking is a popular pastime here with an annual walking festival taking place. Cycling is extremely popular with many cycleways and trails criss crossing the isle.

Finally, no visit to The Isle of Wight can be complete without a visit to one of  the World’s oldest theme parks.. ‘Blackgang Chine’. Built in 1843 the park is now home to two main rides, a rollercoaster and waterslide as well as two heritage attractions.

The Isle of Wight is really worth considering if you’re looking for a pleasant stress free break away close to home, but with a feeling of being abroad. There is ample holiday accommodation, and Isle of Wight holiday parks are superb, all helping to make this wonderfull little island a popular choice for an enjoyable holiday get-away!

Article by Simon Lucas

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