Explore the Island

 “We enjoyed so many lovely days out on the Island…We left with so much still to do, so we will be back!”

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The West Wight

The historic town of Yarmouth
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The West Wight

The West Wight is a sanctuary of rolling countryside, peaceful forests, picturesque villages and breathtaking coastal scenery; from the rugged white cliffs of Freshwater Bay to the historic market town of Yarmouth with its harbour for visiting yachtsmen and village shops, deli, fine restaurants and traditional pubs. The Tennyson Trail coastal walk takes you along weathered white cliffs with breathtaking views to the famous natural landscape, The Needles. Compton Bay’s long sandy beach is not only a popular spot for surfing and swimming, but also for its world famous dinosaur fossil finds. Families will enjoy the golden sands of Colwell Bay with its beach huts and water sports.

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An Island of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Discover unspoilt beaches, rugged coastline and beautiful countryside
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An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

“She thinks of nothing but the Isle of Wight, and she calls it ‘The Island’, as if there were no other island in the world.”

Jane Austen

Known as the ‘Garden Isle’ because of its beautiful landscape scenery, discover unspoilt beaches, rugged coastline and beautiful countryside. More than half the Island is an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and almost 30 miles of the seashore is designated as Heritage Coast – no wonder Keats, Tennyson and Dickens all found inspiration here. Exploring the beauty of the Island is easy with over 500 miles of award-winning public footpaths and 200 miles of cycle paths. Whether you want to learn to sail, explore Queen Victoria’s summer home at Osborne House, horse ride along sandy beaches, watch the yachts race during Cowes Week, or enjoy a walk across cliff tops and enjoy a fresh ‘catch of the day’ – the Isle of Wight is the ultimate retreat from a busy life and even has its own little microclimate, making it the sunniest place in the UK, so you can truly enjoy your coastal break.

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Rich History

From prehistoric fossil beds to the home of Royalty
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A Potted History

The Island is rich in historical and archaeological sites ranging from prehistoric fossil beds which include dinosaur remains, to dwellings and artefacts of the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman period. The Isle of Wight became an agricultural centre in Roman times, and at least seven Roman villas are known on the Island. During the English Civil War King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight believing he would receive sympathy from the governor but was incarcerated in Carisbrooke Castle – which is now home to displays illustrating human settlement on the Island from prehistoric times. Queen Victoria made the Isle of Wight her home for many years, making Osborne House her summer home and rural retreat.

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Beautiful Beaches

With 57 miles of varied coastline, a trip to the beach is essential
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Beautiful Beaches

With 57 miles of varied coastline, a trip to the beach is an essential part of any visit to the Island. Isle of Wight beaches are recognised as being some of the best in Europe with a combined total of 17 Blue Flag and Seaside Awards – more than any other destination in England. Compton Bay is a great spot to enjoy a picnic while watching the surfers and then take a stroll along the long unspoilt sandy beach and have a paddle in the sea…this beach is also popular for its world famous dinosaur fossil finds! We love the walk from the Gurnard marshes along the coastal path to the beach about three miles along the coast to Thorness. There are lots of amazing shells to collect on this beach! Only eight minutes away by car, Freshwater Bay is a great location for rock pooling. Head towards the left hand side of the Bay and you’ll find a number of rocks and water pools where you’ll be able to discover crabs and little fish. Young children will have great fun crabbing! Pick up a few crabbing kits and head to the bridge at Newtown Saltmarsh. Catch as many as you can and them let them race back to the sea down the slipway. The most westerly tip of the Island is framed by the iconic chalk stacks known as The Needles with the world famous coloured sands of Alum Bay beach – with 21 different shades creating a dramatic backdrop to the beach.

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Local Food Heroes

A ‘foodies’ heaven with an abundance of award-winning local produce to taste
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Local Food Heroes

A ‘foodies’ heaven with an abundance of local produce including Island bacon, lamb, fish, crab and lobster, cheese, vegetables, garlic, honey and ice cream! Many local dairy farms produce their own award-winning cheeses, milk, cream and ice creams. These are supplied to selected restaurants, shops and hotels but are also available from the Farmers Market or the farm itself if you’d like to buy direct. The Island is also home to the largest garlic grower in the UK. The family run Garlic Farm grows over 20 types of garlic and creates delicious chutneys and relishes which can be bought from their farm shop or enjoyed at their fantastic restaurant. Our southerly location and climate make for great chilli growing conditions and the House of Chilli offer a range of products suited to all tastes to spread the warming glow of chilli love offering everything from chilli-infused sauces and chutneys to an aptly named ‘Baptism of Fire’ Vodka. There are also several excellent delicatessens on the Island – great when stocking up with goodies for a beach picnic.

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Island Events

Hosting many internationally renowned events every year from sailing to music
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Island Events

The Island hosts numerous internationally renowned events each year but perhaps the most famous are Cowes Week, the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race and The Isle of Wight Festival. Cowes Week, an 8 day sailing regatta that usually take place in the first week of August, is one of the longest-running sporting events in UK history, dating back to 1826. Today the event attracts up to 1,000 boats with 8,000 crew members competing against each other! Cowes Week sees 100 year old wooden dayboats sharing the Solent with ultra-modern carbon fibre racing machines, and small dinghys racing alongside maxi yachts. With World and Olympic Champions racing against amateur weekend sailors and beginners – this is a truly varied and spectacular sailing event. The atmosphere across the town of Cowes is transformed into that of a festival during Cowes Week, with 100,000 spectators who come to watch the sailing and enjoy the parties and live entertainment. The annual J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race attracts over 1,500 yachts and 16,000 sailors to compete in the 50nm one-day race around the Isle of Wight. In recent years the Round the Island Race has become a popular challenge for sailors at all levels of experience and abilities, attracting classic yachts such as the elegant J Class “Velsheda” as well as state-of-the-art, record-breaking greyhounds. Olympic gold medallists have tried their luck in the Sportsboat Rule and IRC classes, whilst grand old ladies of the sea, “Suhaili”, “Gipsy Moth IV” and “Lively Lady”, have given more modern designs a run for their money. The original Isle of Wight Festival took place at the end of the 1960’s featuring performances from Bob Dylan, The Who, Free, The Doors, Joni Mitchell, Jefferson Airplane and many more. In 1970, 600,000 hippies descended on the island to see Jimi Hendrix perform his penultimate concert. The Festival marked a turning point in UK music history and played a major part in shaping the music festivals we know today. Starting the summer in style, the award winning Isle of Wight Festival takes place in June every year in the town of Newport and is steeped in history and recognised around the world for its line-up, mixing legendary artists with the hottest up and coming acts.

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Fun Days Out

The Island is home to numerous fun days out for the whole family to enjoy
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Fun Days Out

The Island is home to numerous fun days out for the whole family to enjoy! Having earnt the title “Dinosaur Island” there is a great range of dinosaur attractions and activities available including museums and fossil hunts with local experts. Isle of Wight museums and art galleries offer the perfect window into the deep and varied history of the Island, and its rich arts and culture. The Isle of Wight is home to some magnificent landscape gardens, many of which are set in the grounds of stately homes. Take a wander around the historical grounds at Appuldurcombe House, visit the Royal gardens that surround Queen Victoria’s Osborne House, or visit the tropical paradise known as Ventnor Botanic Gardens. For thrillseekers there is a great variety of theme park adventures on the Isle of Wight, whether it’s rollercoasters and excitement that you seek, or pirates, fantasy and adventure, Isle of Wight theme parks have it all! There is a brilliant variety of animal attractions, wildlife parks and zoos to be enjoyed where you will see some of the world’s most beautiful and rare animals, ranging from tigers, lions and leopards to monkeys, meerkats and lemurs.

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Sailing

The Island is the ideal destination for a sailing holiday
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Sailing

Known as ‘the home of yachting’ the Island is the ideal destination for a sailing holiday in the UK. We’ve partnered with the United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA) to deliver our West Bay Club Keelboating Weekends. Based in Cowes, the heart of the yachting world, UKSA is one of the world’s premier maritime training providers – with an outstanding fleet, purpose-built facilities, inspirational tutors and unrivalled industry guidance. Each day includes pick up and drop off from The West Bay Club, a packed lunch and a full day of sailing and tuition if you want to learn and the UKSA team will equip you with everything you need. Our Keelboating Weekend is the perfect introduction to the joys of yachting and can be tailored to create a bespoke sailing experience – whether you have never been out on the water before and would like to learn to sail, are looking to develop existing skills, or just want to sit back and relax while the team take you out for the day! Keelboating is a great activity for the whole family to enjoy together, but if your kids are aged 12 and over they can go out sailing unaccompanied by parents, leaving you time to relax at the Country Club safe in the knowledge that your children are in expert hands.

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Surfing

First time on board or wanting to develop your existing skills
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Surfing & Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Whether it’s your first time on a board, or you’re looking to develop your existing skills, iSurf will help you learn quickly and progress to the next level and lessons can be taught in groups or on a 1:1 basis. During the summer months, this fully mobile surf school tracks down the best weather conditions in which to teach their fantastic range of surf and stand up paddle board (SUP) lessons. iSurf can arrange everything, including lessons and all the gear you need too. Regardless of your ability, iSurf’s tuition will benefit anyone wanting to get in the water under the safe supervision and expert guidance of a fully qualified Surfing GB surf coach.

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Cycling

What better way to discover the Island’s beautiful landscape scenery
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Cycling

With over 200 miles of cycle paths, what better way to discover the Island’s beautiful landscape scenery and rugged coastline than by bike! There are cycling routes to suit everyone, with a choice of challenging off-road bridleways, peaceful byways and level purpose-made tracks on former railway lines. The West Bay Club’s qualified trail leaders cater for beginners through to advanced cyclists and take you on rides that highlight some of the best scenery and terrain the West Wight has to offer. Rides can be tailored to experience and fitness levels and includes bike hire, helmet and your guided bike ride with one of our qualified trail leaders.

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Walking

With over 500 miles of award-winning public footpaths discover ancient woodlands and deserted shorelines
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Walking

With over 500 miles of award-winning public footpaths that criss-cross undiscovered beaches, deserted shorelines, and beautiful countryside there is plenty to explore by foot. Discover ancient woodlands where you can spot red squirrels, wild flowers blanketing meadows bursting with butterflies, and thriving marshlands, estuaries and creeks home to woodpeckers, owls and dragonflies. It is no wonder that the Island hosts the largest walking festival in the UK. This event occurs twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Autumn, with literally hundreds of walks for all ages and abilities.

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Fishing

The Isle of Wight is the ideal destination if you enjoy fishing
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Fishing

The Isle of Wight is an ideal destination if you enjoy fishing. For freshwater anglers there are ponds, reservoirs and streams which hold species including Trout, Carp, Perch, Rudd and Roach. For sea angling there are over 60 miles of coastline available for beach and rock fishing and Bass, Bream, Mackerel, Plaice and Rays can all be caught when in season. For the casual fisherman or visitor wanting to try their luck we recommend Yarmouth Pier for easy access and fishing conditions suitable for the whole family to enjoy.