The Isle of Wight – proven in the past to be one of the sunniest places in the whole of the UK – has a hot summer season of festivals, events and activities for its visitors to enjoy this year. We asked the experts at Visit Isle of Wight for ten reasons to spend some time there this summer:
1. The Carnival Capital of the UK
The Isle of Wight is home to the oldest carnival in the UK. Ryde Carnival was first held in 1888, following a highly successful and hugely popular event of the previous year, which marked the Queen’s Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria who attended the event herself. This year’s Ryde Carnival takes place on Thursday, August 27th. All the Island’s major towns host similar carnivals, and have also been joined on the summer calendar by Bestival’s Carnival Fancy Dress Parade.
2. Dinosaur Isle
Named the “Dinosaur Capital of Britain” in 2013, the Isle of Wight is the perfect destination for anyone inspired by the latest Jurassic World movie. Download the Dinosaur Isle app to follow in the footsteps of giants and have photographs taken with them, or head to Compton Bay or Yaverland beaches to search for fossils. Dinosaur Isle at Sandown, meanwhile, is an interactive museum with life-sized reconstructions, some of which move, that also houses over 1,000 fossils.
3. Sailing Isle
The Isle of Wight’s world-famous Cowes Week is scheduled to take place this year from August 8th to 15th. But Visit Isle of Wight and Universal Yacht Charter have also joined forces to create a new Bike & Sail experience for the summer. This new short active break is expected to attract interest among groups of friends, families and perhaps businesses looking for something slightly different.
4. Music Isle
Having already successfully staged the latest edition of The Isle of Wight Festival, the Island will be staging v-Dub between July 23th and 27th, followed by one of the world’s best music festivals, Bestival, from September 10th to 13th
5. Isle of Arts
Each July, Isle of Wight artists and crafts-people open their studios, homes or exhibit in public venues over two open studios weekends. This gives visitors the opportunity to meet local artists, see their work and find out more about the techniques they use and the passions which inspire them. Open Studios is a free event and offers the chance to view and purchase a great range of work including painting, sculpture, print-making, photography, textiles, jewellery and ceramics. Open Studios will be held in West Wight from July 17th to 20th and in East Wight from July 24th to 27th.
6. Garden Isle
The newly introduced “Wight in Bloom” has as its Patron Alan Titchmarsh, and will result in a garden party/awards ceremony this August. Perennially popular with green fingered visitors, the Island can lay claim to Osborne House, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, and Appuldurcombe House with all of its Capability Brown associations. A new Isle of Wight Gardens Trail is also planned for launch this summer.
7. Taste of the Wight
Rachel Koo will be the special guest at this year’s Garlic Festival over the weekend of August 15th/16th; the Isle of Wight’s annual Sweetcorn Fayre will this year take place on September 26th to 29th; and the Bembridge Harbour Food Festival is set for September 25th/26th. A full listing of Taste of the Wight events can be found here.
8. Attractions Isle
Children will enjoy the Island’s mix of attractions this summer, including Punch & Judy at Osborne, the Knight School at Carisbrooke Castle, The Railway Folk at the IW Steam Railway, Dino Nights at Blackgang Chine and Music & Magic in the Skies at The Needles Landmark Attraction with entertainment, fun and interaction for the whole family. There are also lots of outdoor nature activities like nature trails, bug hunts as well as lizard safaris at Ventnor Botanic Gardens – and a unique rockpooling opportunity and discover the amazing array of marine life that has made a home Under the Pier – bring a net and a bucket if you have one and make sure to wear wellies or waterproof shoes. Expect to get a bit splashed!
9. Pure Wight
Adventurous visitors should consider Compton or Freshwater Bay for surf lessons, or kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding to hidden caves and Victorian forts. For a thrilling view of the coastline, take a high-speed RIB ride around The Needles or paraglide from a hillside near the unspoilt chalk cliffs of the West Wight. Rewarding views and a treetop hammock are on offer for those who conquer technical tree climbing, whilst those searching for something a bit different should consider climbing into a three metre inflatable ball and ‘zorbing’ their way down a hillside. Or if G-forces are not your thing, stick to two wheels and glide around a Segway course.
10. Bicycle Island
The family-friendly Red Squirrel Trail has been tailored for cyclists who prefer car-free cycling on mainly flat, gentle routes. Stop-off at golden beaches and cafes passing woodland and the wild flower grassland of Alverstone Mead nature reserve. Bring your own bike – Island Coaster buses can take up to six bikes each – or why not hire one? Routfifty7 bike hire are based just 300yds from Shanklin railway station and lead directly on the Red Squirrel Trail as well as the Chalk Ridge Extreme Trail and the Round the Island Taste Trail.
For all other information about the Isle of Wight, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk
*header image courtesy of Bestival