The Isle of Wight is England's largest island and is known as one of the country's favored holiday destinations. It is between two and five miles off the southern coast of England and has been a holiday resort since Victorian times. In some ways, it reminds one of the quaint Isle of Man that is actually a country that everyone forgets about.

The Isle of Wight is favored for its mild climate (although the south of France and Spain is still better) and is a stunning landscape of Chines and picturesque fields. It is part of the historic county of Hampshire and is designated as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.


As one steps onto this splendid island one can see why it is seen as the perfect holiday destination for the Brits (who can't get to the Mediterranean). It is only two hours' travel from London and offers plenty to do in all the seasons.

It has been much loved - even Queen Victoria built her summer residence here - the Osborne House. Additionally, it houses old Roman villas and there is the Carisbrooke Castle to explore.

In 1970 the isle hosted the largest rock music event ever held - the Isle of Wight Festival. Additionally, this remarkable isle has some of England's richest cliffs and is one of the best sites for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

  • Size: 150 Sq Miles or 380 Sq Km

One unusual fact about the north coast of the island is that it has four high tides every day, with a double high tide every twelve and a half hours. This is due to the particular shapes of the channels around it.

On another note, in its history, it has boasted a maritime and industrial tradition that has built flying boats, hovercraft, and even Britain's space rockets.

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Getting To The Isle and Its Attractions

To get to the island, the quickest public transport link is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea. There are also three vehicle ferry services and two catamarans services liking the isle with the mainland of England.

The island has beautiful (English grade) beaches, miles of quaint footpaths, and cycle tracks meandering their way through the garden-like countryside.

Despite its small size, it is often called "England in miniature" so maybe it's a good destination if one wants to see all of England in a short time? :)

The coastlines and cliffs of the Isle of Wight are of particular interest. In the west the coastline is dominated by the chalk downland ridge, these run across the island and end in the Needles stacks.

  • Blackgang Chine: Had a Reputation For Shipwrecks, Gangs, and Smugglers - Now Home to a Theme Park
  • Ryde: The Largest Town, Boasts Great Georgian and Victorian Buildings. As Well as Lively Pubs and a Seafront Promenade.



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Some of the most popular towns to visit are the south-eastern towns of Sandown and Shanklin. And to the north are the towns of Cowes and Newport.

  • Season: In England, Summer is Always Best but Many Of The Isle Of Wight's Attractions are open Year-Round

Some of the places to visit while here are Dinosaur Isle, the Osborne House, Blackgang Chine, The Needles, Monkey Haven, Carisbrooke Castle, and Yarmouth Castle.

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Osborne House

The Osborne House is the former royal residence of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as their summer home and rural retreat. Albert designed the house himself in the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo. The best palace (and favorite of movies) is said to be Blenheim Palace in England - and you can visit).

  • Built: Between 1845 to 1851
  • Queen Victoria: Died At Osborn House On 22 January 1901
  • Adult: £19.00 ($25)
  • Child: (5-17 years) £11.40 ($16)
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

Carisbrooke Castle

Located in the heart of the isle is Carisbrooke Castle. It is a historic motte-and-bailey castle in the village of the same name. For students of history, this is where King Charles I was imprisoned after losing the English Civil War and before he was put on trial and executed. He tried to escape from the castle in 1648 but was unable to get through the bars of his window.

Around the year 1000 AD, a wall was built to defend against the Viking raiders and over the centuries it was improved and grew. It became the strongest castle on the island. From 1896 to 1944 it was the home of Princess Beatrice the daughter of Queen Victoria.

Today it is a tourist attraction drawing holidaymakers on the isle and is under the control of the English Heritage.

  • Adult: £11.30 ($15)
  • Child: (5-17 years) £6.80 ($10)
  • Opening Hours: 10 am to 5 pm

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