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standard-title About the Isle of WightInformation page about the Beautiful Isle of Wight which has welcomed tourists, poets, painters and Royalty for hundreds of years.

About the Isle of Wight

Information page about the Beautiful Isle of Wight which has welcomed tourists, poets, painters and Royalty for hundreds of years.

 

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The Isle of Wight is the perfect holiday destination whether you’re looking for fun attractions or a quiet spot to relax and get away from it all. Whatever you need, this beautiful island offers so much to see and do, whatever the season.

 

AN ISLAND OF CONTRASTS

The Isle of Wight has one of the UK’s most spectacular and diverse coastlines, and along its length you’ll find a wealth of fascinating wildlife, natural beauty and places to explore. The West Wight remains rugged and unspoilt and is a favourite with fossil hunters searching for links with the Island’s rich prehistoric past. East Wight is best known for its miles of sandy beaches and seaside attractions, and is perfect for family holidays where sun, sea and sand are the highest priority.

Our award-winning beaches offer safe, clean entertainment for all ages, and if you tire of the beach you can still sun yourself with tennis, golf, walking, mountain biking and every type of water sport around the Island’s coast. The Island has retained its status as centre of the yachting world, with sailing regattas and maritime events held throughout the year, and for those more adventurous visitors there are opportunities to indulge in sailing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, whatever your ability or age.

HISTORY & HERITAGE

The Isle of Wight is unrivalled in its variety of historic interest. The Island’s natural wonders led Queen Victoria, its most famous resident, to build Osborne House between 1845 and 1851, and since then many visitors have been attracted to the Island’s spectacular landscapes and ancient history. Carisbrooke Castle sits on a hill overlooking Newport, the Island’s county town, and was home to Charles I days before his execution. Historic churches and stunning architecture abound in every part of the Island, from Brading’s medieval town hall to the historic ruins of 12th Century Quarr Abbey and the imposing towers of its turn of the century successor. The Victorian era saw the Island celebrated by the cream of British culture, with Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson and pioneering photographer Julia Margaret Cameron taking up residence in Freshwater, and visits from eminent figures from Karl Marx to Charles Dickens. Brading Roman Villa showcases one of the finest selections of Roman mosaics in Europe in their award-winning visitor centre, and a spectacular coastline bears the marks made by even earlier visitors, making the Island a popular destination for fossil hunters.

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FUN FOR ALL SEASONS

For an island of only 147 square miles, the Isle of Wight packs in so much to see and do at all times of the year. The summer brings internationally recognised music festivals and sporting events to the Island, along with a wide range of more relaxed local festivals, agricultural shows and renowned town carnivals. Bestival and Isle of Wight Festival continue to attract many visitors and top awards, and Cowes Week welcomes the cream of the yachting world for 7 days of racing that are the highlight of the yachting year. Wildlife parks, historic houses, children’s attractions and areas of stunning natural beauty abound, with the Island’s compact size ensuring that whatever you want to do, something exciting is only a short journey away.

 
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The Isle of Wight remains unspoiled, and its abundance of natural beauty makes it a feast for the senses. as a sensuous and relaxing retreat it is without equal, whether you prefer the drama of a spectacular coastline or the rustic charm of gently rolling downland.

 

THE NATURAL WORLD

The Isle of Wight has one of the UK’s most spectacular and diverse coastlines, and along its length you’ll find a wealth of fascinating wildlife, natural beauty and places to explore. The West Wight remains rugged and unspoilt and is a favourite with fossil hunters searching for links with the Island’s rich prehistoric past. East Wight is best known for its miles of sandy beaches and seaside attractions, and is perfect for family holidays where sun, sea and sand are the highest priority.

Our award-winning beaches offer safe, clean entertainment for all ages, and if you tire of the beach you can still sun yourself with tennis, golf, walking, mountain biking and every type of water sport around the Island’s coast. The Island has retained its status as centre of the yachting world, with sailing regattas and maritime events held throughout the year, and for those more adventurous visitors there are opportunities to indulge in sailing, kitesurfing and windsurfing, whatever your ability or age.

EXPLORING THE ISLAND’S NATURAL HERITAGE

The Isle of Wight’s coastal path is 67 miles long, and from it you can enjoy the natural wonders of both coast and countryside. From the rugged prehistoric cliff faces and wide windswept beaches of the West Wight to the miles of golden, sandy coast in the east, you are guaranteed sights of spectacular natural beauty at every turn. Broad estuaries are the perfect environment for bird watchers, with Newtown’s National Nature Reserve and Brading’s RSPB Reserve being popular destinations. The imposing cliffs of the west are one of the most important areas in Europe for fossils. Many finds have been discovered when the wind-beaten cliffs crumble to the beach below. Dinosaur Isle in Sandown exhibits many of these fascinating finds in a friendly and informative style that will appeal to all ages. Breathtaking natural landmarks like The Needles continue to attract thousands of visitors each year, and the Island’s mild climate ensures that its fascinating natural wonders can be appreciated at any time of the year. The landscape of the Isle of Wight is so remarkably diverse that the Island is often referred to as “England in miniature”. The Isle of Wight’s ancient and unspoilt downland attracts walkers, cyclists and nature lovers throughout the year, supported by a comprehensive network of footpaths and bridleways designed to take you deep into the Island’s natural world. The Isle of Wight is an island of contrasts, and its inland landscapes of rolling downs and lush vegetation are the perfect counterpart to its wind-beaten coast and golden, sandy beaches. There are 500 miles of well maintained footpaths and bridleways to help you discover the Island’s natural wonders, and with over half of the Island designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, nature lovers will not be disappointed. Chalky downland runs like a spine across the Island, and walks across the downs yield some of the best views the Isle of Wight has to offer. You will experience an abundance of flora and fauna, from the famous red squirrel to the Glanville Fritillary butterfly, a species unique to the Island. Rare and protected species such as dormice, voles and Ventnor’s famous wall lizards inhabit the ground whilst graceful birds of prey and rare bats add interest to the skies. The Island is scattered with dense woods and copses alive with wild flowers, and a visit to Brighstone and Parkhurst forests make a pleasant contrast to the walks on the windswept downs. The Isle of Wight isn’t short of more exotic wildlife either, with attractions such as Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Amazon World and Isle of Wight Zoo offering a chance to see rare and exciting species from all around the world.

 

 

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NATURE’S BOUNTY

The Isle of Wight has its own unique climate and provides fertile ground for natural produce. Organic farming is providing an increasing boost to the Island’s economy, and provides visitors with a world of choice when it comes to eating and drinking. Many restaurants and pubs offer exciting menus based on locally grown produce, with a large selection of Isle of Wight ales and ciders to complement your meal. There are several vineyards on the Island, taking advantage of the mild climate and producing wines which gain high praise. Annual events such as the Garlic Festival showcase locally-grown produce, and provide a fun day of food, drink, crafts and entertainment for even non-garlic lovers. Farmers’ markets are held regularly throughout the Island’s towns, with stalls selling everything from honey to fine cheeses. Of course as an Island the sea provides an abundant variety of natural delights, with Ventnor Bay crab a local speciality.

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With its mild climate, wide variety of beautiful landscapes and challenging terrain, the Isle of Wight is a destination that’s made for adventure. From mountain biking to windsurfing, you’ll be guaranteed to leave the island energised and invigorated.

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SPORTS & ACTIVITIES

The Island’s spectacular coastline offers the perfect backdrop to water-based sports and activities all year round. Leading watersports schools offer tuition in every watersport, including kayaking, sailing and surfing, for those who want to make the most of the Island’s coastline. Fans of more extreme pastimes will not miss the chance to improve their powerboating, paragliding and kitesurfing skills across the Island. A more sedate pace can be achieved by whiling away the hours fishing in the Solent for some of the Island’s natural bounty. For fans of surfing the Island offers some of the best on the South Coast. The Island is one of surfing’s best kept secrets and most spectacular destinations. For the more serious sportsman the Island’s year includes world class sailing events such as the Round the Island Race and Cowes Week, a chance to compete against the best in the world in an acknowledged centre of world sailing.

SPECTATOR SPORTS TO HELP YOU RELAX AND UNWIND

During one week in August, Cowes becomes a centre of sailing, and its streets bustle with sailors and spectators from all over the world, with racing continuing throughout the day, and celebrations taking place well into the night. On land, the Island offers just as many opportunities for adventure. With 165 miles of bridleways and 500 miles of footpaths, the Island is a haven for walkers, riders and mountain bikers. For more social activity, there are several walking and cycling festivals and events. Those who prefer a birds eye view will enjoy the opportunity to see the Island by glider, paraglider or light aircraft, and there are schools and centres across the Island for all levels of ability. Sportsmen who prefer a more sedate pace have the choice of several top class golf courses. Freshwater Golf Club is the most spectacular, with magnificent views across Freshwater Bay and the Island’s rugged west coast.

 

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