Dinosaur Island, the UK’s Holiday Island, Adventure Island… the Isle of Wight’s many names shine a light on the huge range of holidays available on the tiny island off England’s south coast.
Here are 10 reasons why you should holiday on the Isle of Wight this summer.
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Best for making tracks: The new £1.2m Train Story Discovery Centre at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway brings to life the locomotives, carriages and wagons that date back to the birth of railways on the Island. Packed with interactive activities and fascinating displays, visitors can taste life from the past and learn how the team and volunteers have revamped the railway and rolling stock for future generations: www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk
Best for mystery: With more than 170 years of history Blackgang Chine is the UK’s oldest theme park, and after completing a major reinvention of its Dinosaur Land, the iconic attraction continues to wow visitors. The mysterious new site, ‘Restricted Area 5‘, brings visitors up close to dinosaurs of all types, including an Argentinosaurus who can rival Godzilla for size: www.blackgangchine.com
Best for royal holidays: Osborne House was the stately holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who fell in love with the Isle of Wight and brought their nine children across the English channel year after year. Highlights include the new ‘Childhood at Osborne‘ exhibition at Swiss Cottage, a full-size ‘Wendy house‘ in the grounds of the main home, where the Royal children were left to their own devices and encouraged to learn the skills of adulthood: www.english-heritage.org.uk/
Best for discovery: Stand in the footprints of six great beasts found on the island by downloading the Dinosaur Island Trail app and discovering the ‘meteorites’ that trigger your virtual encounter with different dinosaurs. It’s possible to cycle between each of the meteorites, and there’s also an Island Coaster bus route taking dino fans to each location: www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/dinosaur-island/
Best for icons: Experience the Isle of Wight’s most iconic view – of the chalk towers of The Needles – from the spectacular chairlift that starts from the top of Alum Bay cliffs and drifts down to the coast. Needles Park is also home to a Jurassic Golf course which features nine-holes surrounded by imaginative water features.
Best for wild walks: The Hamstead Heritage Coast in the north west features inlets, estuaries and creeks, gentle cliffs and woodland that is a haven for migratory birds. In contrast, the Tennyson Heritage Coast has fossil rich wild beaches, the famous Needles chalk stacks and multi-coloured cliffs.
Best for a day in town: The port town of Yarmouth is filled with narrow streets, stylish shops and galleries, and some of the island’s oldest architecture, including a 16th century castle. When the sun comes out, visit nearby Colwell Bay for views across the Solent to Hurst Castle on the coast of Hampshire.
Best on the seas: Round the Island Yacht Race is the headline event of June’s Festival of the Sea, when more than 1,700 yachts from across the world compete to complete the 50 mile course. Watch the crafts speed along the coastline and past the iconic Needles: www.roundtheisland.org.uk
Best for rockers: Each year the Isle of Wight Festival in June presents a glittering line-up of world famous rockers, with The Stones, Bowie, Springsteen and McCartney among past acts. This year the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Kings of Leon lead the way. For something even more eclectic, book for Bestival in September, when peace, love and dancing are the order of the day: www.isleofwightfestival.com/ and www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/bestival
Best for your walking boots: Discover the most beautiful parts of the Isle of Wight by taking part in one of two Walking Festivals, which bring together more than 300 organised walks in May and October: www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk/
Ready to go? Find your Isle of Wight holiday here.