Once part of the county of Hampshire England’s largest island – the Isle of Wight – is now an administrative county in its own right. Situated four miles from the mainland and reached by ferry the Isle of Wight has been a favourite holiday destination for generation; Queen Victoria loved the island so much that she built her summer retreat here. Steeped in history, dramatically beautiful coastal scenery, a host of charming towns and a calendar chock-full of world-class festivals the Isle of Wight offers enough diversity to ensure that everyone who visits will have an enjoyable and memorable holiday experience. Here are some of the reasons why the Isle of Wight one of the UK’s best and most popular holiday destinations.
Spectacular walking opportunities.
The Isle of Wight boasts more footpaths and bridleways per square mile than any other English county and the good news for lovers of the great outdoors is that more than half of this small island is a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. For a perfect walking holiday it’s possible to follow the Isle of Wight Coast Path which covers the entire perimeter of the Island – roughly seventy miles – and can be walked in four days. Besides stunning cliff top views of the island’s shore, the Coast Path takes in woodland, sea estuaries, the famous Needles rock formation and much more. Inland, you can explore the network of pathways that criss-cross the island’s rolling chalk downs; open grasslands that teem with wildlife and wild flowers. From short circular walks around or between picturesque villages to large-scale expeditions with opportunities for climbing, the Isle of Wight offers unparalleled walking opportunities for everyone.
Fabulous music festivals
Music lovers rejoice! When it comes to music festivals, the Isle of Wight punches well above its weight. Of course, there’s the legendary Isle of Wight Festival itself – a mammoth three-day music fest held in Newport each June which has seen some of the biggest names in contemporary music (e.g. the Rolling Stones, R.E.M., the Sex Pistols) perform since its resurrection in 2002 after a thirty-year absence. July sees the Last Night of the Proms at Osbourne House in Cowes – a celebration of Britishness where you can join the crowd in lung-busting choruses of Jerusalem, Land of Hope and Glory and other favourites in an evening that ends with a spectacular summer firework display. Bestival, the Isle of Wight’s more ‘intimate’ indie-music festival which nonetheless features as many as four hundred acts also takes place in July.
The annual Cowes Week Regatta
Cowes is hailed as ‘the home of world yachting’ and this really comes to the fore at the world-famous Cowes Week Regatta. The largest regatta in the world, Cowes Week sees up to a thousand boats crewed by both amateur and professional sailors compete in range of daily sailing events on the Solent. During this week each August, the town of Cowes is completely given over to the regatta, hosting many onshore events and parades to complement the excitement on the water. A charming and picturesque town in its own right, once a year Cowes becomes immersed in a joyous carnival atmosphere and is an unmissable destination for anyone with even the slightest passion for sailing.
Plentiful family fun
What would a UK holiday destination be without its share of fun destinations and attractions for all the family to enjoy? Happily, the Isle of Wight has enough family fun to fill any number of holidays. Animal fans will adore Seaview Wildlife Encounter where kids can get up close to meerkats, penguins and even snakes! Step back in time at the magnificently preserved 800 year old Carisbrooke Castle, mums and das will love the gardens whilst the kids can dress up as Norman soldiers and relive the Civil War. Blackgang Chine is a traditional theme park with rides and amusements for everyone to enjoy including a rollercoaster, log flume, giant maze and plenty more. Ideal for kids and ‘big kids’ Goodleaf Tree Climbing gives everyone the chance to climb trees for fun! Whether you’re eight or eighty you can scoot up a tree safely and enjoy views of the surrounding countryside from the upper branches. In fact, the Isle of Wight excels at offbeat family fun so you’ll never have to look far to find the next model village, zoo, interactive museum or amusement park for a great day out.
A seaside resort for everyone
Whatever you’re looking for in an Isle of Wight holiday you’ll have no problem in finding a resort that’s perfect for you. From the Victorian seaside traditions of Sandown to the fabulous sunbathing beach and rustic charms of Shanklin, the peace and isolation of Bembridge with its pretty harbour or the vibrancy and bustle of holidaymaker’s favourite Hyde, any of the Isle of Wight’s dozen or so coastal towns would make the perfect base from which to explore this fabulous UK holiday destination.