There are so many reasons that the Island is a great place to live, from its cheaper house prices and mild climate to its stunning scenery and vast choice of outdoor pursuits, its history and attractions, world famous events, and delicious local produce. It’s as little as ten minutes away from the mainland and yet it’s a world away from the hustle and bustle and traffic jams – a place where you are never more than a stone’s throw from a beach but with access to a whole host of new adventures and opportunities – there really is something for everyone on the Isle of Wight.
Historic and popular attractions
The Isle of Wight attracts around 2.4 million visitors every year and tourism is a key part of its economy. It also means the Island has many attractions and places of interest for its residents to enjoy time and time again.
Some of the most popular include:
Alum Bay - famous for the many different colours of sand which appear naturally on the beach. A traditional souvenir of the Isle of Wight is a picture or glass paperweight filled with the different colours.
Blackgang Chine - formerly a dramatic gorge through which it was once possible to walk to the sea. Following a catastrophic collapse, the chine ceased to exist some decades ago, but it’s now home to what’s thought to be the world’s first and oldest theme park.
Osborne House – officially the summer home of Queen Victoria, but which was used as her main residence for some time after the death of Prince Albert. Most of the well-preserved house and grounds are open all year round.
Carisbrooke Castle - Charles I was held prisoner here. The castle appears in the popular children’s story ‘Moonfleet’ and it’s also popular for its battle re-enactments and jousting events.
The Needles - a very famous headland and offshore rocks at the extreme western end of the Island. There are early sea defences such as the Needles Old Battery and Tennyson Down, the national memorial to Alfred Lord Tennyson, and the sight of spectacular sea and land views.
World famous events and festivals
The Isle of Wight Festival – one of the first major festivals in the UK summer calendar every year, with a history reaching back over 45 years. The event emerged from a series of festivals between 1968 and 1970, widely acknowledge as Europe’s equivalent of Woodstock. Since 2002, when the festival was revived, it has gone from strength to strength, with some of the biggest names in the industry performing on the famous stage.
Cowes is considered by many to be the UK’s home of sailing. Cowes Week in early August is the town’s main sailing event with about 8,000 sailors and another 90,000 people who come along as spectators or to just enjoy the ambiance of the event. The Round the Island race in late June/early July is also worth watching, with over 1,500 yachts competing in various classes.
Vast choice of outdoor pursuits
Walking is promoted by an annual walking festival. There is a superb and extensive network of footpaths and bridleways. There are a number of ‘long distance trails’ of which the coastal path is the longest, at approximately 73 miles.
Meanwhile, cycling on the Island is a fantastic way to get around and keep green. The Island has over 200 miles of cycle ways, much of which can be enjoyed by families off road. Major trails to note are ‘The Sunshine Trail’ which incorporates Sandown, Shanklin, Godshill and Wroxall in a 12-mile circular route. ‘The Troll Trail’ leads from Cowes to Sandown or vice versa (90% off road) and ‘Round the Island Cycle Route’ circumnavigates the Isle of Wight on a 62-mile ride (not for the amateur or faint hearted).
The Isle of Wight is fast becoming the foodie capital of the south coast and it is easy to see why!
Exploring the great places to eat is one of the highlights of living on the Island, which offers a fabulous array to cater for all tastes and appetites. The diversity of the landscape is reflected in the quality and choice of local produce on offer in many of the eateries or from local farmers markets.
We are spoiled for choice, with an abundance of afternoon tea rooms, country pubs, quality restaurants and beachside cafes. Or, if you’d rather pickup or get food delivered to your door there are also plenty of takeaways and fast food outlets to choose from. Every town and village across the Island will have places to tempt you. Whether you are looking for family friendly or gourmet dining, the Isle of Wight is truly unique in what it can offer. Garlic has been produced on the Island for centuries and is one of its most important exports. Islanders are so besotted with their crop of this wonderful superfood that they created the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival; a celebration of all things garlicky.