About The Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is 40 kilometres (25 miles) by 20 kilometres (13 miles) in size and about 140,000 people live on the island. It has more sunshine hours than any other UK tourist resort and tourism is one of its biggest industries with approximately 2.6 million visitors a year.
Wight is a Middle English word from the Saxon “wiht” meaning a creature or living being and was adopted after the Romans left in the 5th Century AD. During the occupation by the Roman Empire 50 to 400AD, the Island was called ‘Vectis’ and the word Vectis is still much in use on the Isle of Wight today.
The island is often referred to as the Garden Isle, as it is home to many rare plants and animals. There is a thriving population of Red Squirrels which you don’t see often on the mainland as the larger more aggressive grey squirrel has often taken over; the Island also has its own unique species of snail and butterfly. Over half of the island is officially designated as an Area Of Outstanding Beauty and the Island has recently been declared the Jurassic capital of the UK as it is widely recognised as the most important site in Europe for finding dinosaur remains.
There are 60 miles of beach, 15 Seaside Awards, 4 Blue Flag winners and over 20 beaches to choose from, all accessible by car and most by public transport. Situated at the most western end of the Isle of Wight are the spectacular Needles rocks; in the East, the clean golden sands of some superb blue flag beaches in Shanklin & Sandown, the crescent-shaped red sandy beach of Ventnor’s delightful Victorian resort lies to the South and in the North, Osborne beach, Queen Victoria’s private beach attached to Osborne House in East Cowes which has recently been opened to the public. Queen Victoria often used to visit the Isle of Wight and the island was also home to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson.
The first Cowes Regatta was held in 1812 and subsequently attained international status. Enhanced by the presence of the Royal family, Cowes Week is now the world’s biggest international yachting event and Cowes is often referred to as the Mecca for sailing enthusiasts. There are many other land and water based sporting events, guided walks and cycling challenges, music festivals and concerts, exhibitions, fairs, shows and rallies, and don’t forget to visit the castles, lighthouses and other historic buildings. Isle of Wight Events calendar
Finally – the island is renowned for its local produce from vineyards and orchards to farms and fisheries. Locally brewed cider and beer, smoked garlic, artisan breads, locally caught crab and lobster, ……………. the list is endless and eating out in the good restaurants is a complete joy!
www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/plan-your-visit/travel-information For train, ferry, coach, bus, steam, boat charter, walks etc
www.redfunnel.co.uk/island-guide For Beach guide, Places to visit, Things to do, Events, Festivals, Towns & Villages, Pubs & Inns, Places to eat etc & of course, ferry and train travel
www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties For Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle, Appuldurcombe House, St. Catherine’s Oratory and Yarmouth Castle
www.ratings.food.gov.uk To check the individual hygiene rating of each B&B, hotel, restaurant or inn before you eat there