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We recommend Isle of Wight for:
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Places to go and things to see;
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Places to go and things to see;
You might think that the Isle of Wight is small. But it’s England’s largest island and also one of its most beautiful. Did you know that nearly half of the island has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? And with over 500 miles of footpaths and bridleways for walking and cycling, it’s absolutely perfect for fans of the great outdoors. Visit and you’ll see why.
As you’d expect, the Isle of Wight is home to some breathtaking seaside views. The beaches are great too. Try the gorgeous golden sands at Ryde. They stretch out for 6km offering you plenty of room to find your own piece of paradise. The shallow waters are also perfect for paddling. There’s nothing much better on a clear blue summer’s day. And what’s really great is that Ryde Beach is just a stone’s throw from the Bay Royal Esplanade Hotel. Ideal.
But if you thought that the Isle of Wight was all about sand and sea, think again. The scenery is spectacularly diverse. Head up to The Needles Battery on the cliff edge for excellent views of the world-famous Needles, a collection of striking chalk stacks rising dramatically out of the sea that were formed 60 million years ago. The Needles Battery itself is a cliff-top coastal defence that was built between 1861 and 1895 under the threat of a French invasion. It’s a joy to explore and the views from the ramparts across The Needles, the Solent, Dorset and Hampshire are spectacular.
If you don’t have such a good head for heights, try visiting Shanklin Chine on the east coast of the island. This beautiful wooded ravine contains well-managed footpaths and walkways that snake past lush forested areas and cascading waterfalls. It’s a lovely area and has long been one of the island’s most highly regarded scenic hotspots.
The Isle of Wight also has no shortage of attractions. Try Waltzing Waters in Ryde, a 40 minute show where thousands of dazzling patterns are created as jets of dancing water are illuminated by lights. Or how about finding your inner explorer and heading to the Dinosaur Isle Geological Museum? The Isle of Wight has long been renowned as a great place to track down dinosaur fossils and you can get up close and personal to all kinds of ancient beasties. Then there are the beautiful botanical gardens at Ventnor, ideal for floral fans. There’s much more too, from the painstakingly crafted Godshill Model Village to Osborne House, a former retreat of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It’s all waiting to be explored.
But for a real treat, head for the Rosemary Vineyard and Vineleaf Coffee Shop. They are the home of English wine and one of the largest producers in the country. Their award-winning wines, juices, ciders and liqueurs are all produced from grapes and apples grown on the estate. Take a tour and treat those taste buds to some of the local produce on a tasting session. They make it all, from full-bodied reds to sparkling whites. Relax and toast the good life.
Of course, the island is big on watersport too. Especially sailing. And no event in the sailing calendar attracts as much attention as Cowes Week. It’s the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world, welcoming around 1000 boats, 8500 competitors and in excess of 100,000 spectators to the town of Cowes every year. With its exciting racing schedule and superb shore-side activities, this annual August event offers something for sailing enthusiasts and spectators alike. It’s a must see for sailing fans and yet another must-see for visitors to the island.