Inspiration to pitch-up on the Isle of Wight

Responding to an increase in demand for camping & caravanning holidays on the Island, Visit Isle of Wight has just launched a dedicated microsite and new brochure in a bid to help promote itself as the Camping Capital of the UK.

The new site ( highlights the many and varied options that are currently available to anyone visiting the Island – from luxury yurts and shepherd’s huts, through to American Airstream caravans, VW Campervans and camping pods.

And if further inspiration is needed, it even flags-up the fact that last year the Isle of Wight recorded more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK, making it officially the sunniest destination in the country – and a perfect place to pitch-up a tent!

Recent developments across the Island this year already include a new glamping opportunities at Tom’s Eco Lodge (, where prices start from £85 a night.

Elsewhere, a range of new holiday lodges has also just been launched at the 5-star Woodside Coastal Retreat which lies to the north of the Isle of Wight, between Cowes and Ryde ( Prices here start from £225 (based on a 3 night stay).

Looking further ahead, Robin Hill is planning a development of quality tree houses for 2018

For now, however, it’s all about the range of options, and perfect backdrop provided by an Island with so many sites located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to so many outdoor pursuits and unusual modes of transport – including electric bikes and Renault Twizys.

It is also an Island synonymous with festivals

V-Dub Festival from August 18-22 ( for example, is a family friendly camping and Volkswagen Festival for music lovers. While world famous Bestival, from September 8 to 11, will have its very own Boutique Campsite this year ( with tipis, yurts, squrts (baby yurts, cloudhouses, bell tents, safari tents, airstreams and a wide range of other options from the people who bought us PodPads,

Other favourites on the Island include woodland camping in tree houses ( where red squirrels are said to come and tap at the windows and prices start from £150 per night (for up to 6 people); and Compton Farm (, on the coastal Military Road, where the twelve static caravans have been named Best National Trust site for Camping (high season prices for adults £9pppn, children £4.50pppn.

The Isle of Wight’s new camping and caravanning microsite also features a competition to win a seven night camping holiday on the Island for the next three years (

Gardens galore in Wight in Bloom competition

Wight in Bloom – the annual gardening competition that showcases homegrown grown talent and helps provide a stunning floral welcome for visitors – has attracted another bumper crop of entries this year.

Over 100 gardens from across the Island are currently being judged to become winners and runners-up in each of the following categories:

1. Best Small Front Garden
2. Best Large Front Garden
3. Best Commercial Garden
4. Best Senior Citizen Complex
5. Best Young People Initiative
6. Best Community Floral Project
7. Best Small Tourist Attraction Garden
8. Best Large Tourist Attraction Garden
9. Best Creative Use of a Small Space
10. Best Coastal Garden
11. Best Edible Garden

Managed by Visit Isle of Wight and sponsored by Red Funnel Ferries, Wight in Bloom has once again proved to be very popular. This year 14 school gardens have been entered into the competition.

David Thornton CEO VIOW said:

“We’re especially pleased that this year so many school children have got involved in the competition. Developing those green fingers at an early age is good news for the Island, we hope many go on to develop stunning new garden displays to wow visitors and locals alike. I know Alan is passionate about encouraging young people to take up gardening, and, with the help of some committed school teachers, I feel we’ve really made some great progress in that area this year”.

Judges are in the process of selecting the best of each of the categories and shortlisted garden owners will be notified by the beginning of August, when they will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony at Northwood House in early September. Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL Wight in Bloom patron will be presenting prizes to the winners and runners up.

Kevin George CEO, Red Funnel said “We are delighted to sponsor Wight in Bloom again for the 4th year. The competition remains as popular as ever and it is great to see more entries from schools. Wight in Bloom helps to ensure the ‘Garden Island’ looks its best for summer visitors and on behalf of Red Funnel I would like to thank everybody who has entered”.

Other sponsors include Fiskars who will be giving gardening equipment to each of the category winners, James Karanicolas UK National Account Manager, Fiskars said” We are delighted to support Wight in Bloom. Our premium product Quantum™ Pruners are Scandinavian designed for performance, comfort and lasting quality and will be a beneficial garden tool for the winners.”
Other sponsors will be announced during August.


WIGHT BID ballot result press statement – Issued by Visit Isle of Wight

We are very pleased to announce that the required statutory mechanism to bring a business improvement district into operation on the Isle of Wight this September has been triggered by a YES vote.

The formation of the UK’s first County-wide BID gives the Isle of Wight a unified stronger voice in tourism at a local, regional and national level.   The WIGHT BID plan to attract new visitors and improve the destination through working together will be implemented from this September.

The YES vote was carried by a 63% vote by hereditament and 75% by rateable value of all those who voted. Therefore, all business categories listed in the WIGHT BID proposal will now be required to pay the equivalent of 1.75% of their rateable value, which will contribute to the funding of the BID programme for a period of five years.

Over the next three months we will begin the process of developing a BID governance board and working parties elected from levy payers large and small, representing different visitor economy business sectors. David Thornton and his team look forward to delivering the actions and aims laid out in the WIGHT BID proposals ready for the 2017 season.

Meanwhile Visit Isle of Wight’s summer and autumn current marketing and press activity continues as planned. Work will also commence on securing extra commercial benefits for levy-payers with suppliers and regional, national and international media channels. A voluntary scheme to encourage retailers and other mainland and Island suppliers to support the BID investment plan will also be launched by September.

Visit Isle of Wight would like to thank all those who supported the WIGHT BID, and reinforce its determination to do it’s very best for the whole of the Island’s visitor economy, benefiting all who live and work on the Isle of Wight.


Isle of Wight Council Ballot Officer statement >

The Wight BID proposal and supporting documentation can be accessed here >

For further information please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29)/07766 705672,


A couple from Northamptonshire have just spent their honeymoon on the Island after winning a holiday, organised by Visit Isle of Wight in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Helen Spencer from Wollaston was awarded the prize package after being chosen at random from the thousands who had entered the competition timed to celebrate the Julia Margaret Cameron exhibition at the V&A, which ran from November 28 to February 21 2016.

Helen and David booked their stay at the West Bay Country Club in Yarmouth for the 12th to 15th June after getting married in Northampton on the 11th – and the newlyweds used the prize as their honeymoon.

Last year, Visit Isle of Wight worked with the V&A to promote the bicentenary year of Julia Margaret Cameron, and as a result Dimbola Museum & Galleries – and the wider Island – enjoyed some outstanding press coverage in the Telegraph, the Independent and the Mail on Sunday.

The competition which was hosted on the V&A website under the theme “Follow in the footsteps of Julia Margaret Cameron” was seen by Visit Isle of Wight as an opportunity to further promote the Island.  The V&A website gets around 14 million page views annually.

The Beddalls (Helen’s new married name) won a 3-night break for two at The West Bay Country Club in Yarmouth, dinner at The George Hotel in Yarmouth, tea and cake at The Piano Bar in Freshwater Bay, ferry crossings courtesy of Red Funnel IOW Ferries and entrance tickets to Osborne, Shanklin Chine and Dimbola, the home and workplace of the celebrated Victorian photographer.  A copy of the exhibition book Julia Margaret Cameron was also part of the prize package.

Helen Beddall said: “The holiday was fantastic.  We loved it!  The accommodation was lovely, the meal at The George Hotel was delicious – and a real treat.  Dimbola was really interesting and John Evans, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable.

“We are very thankful to Visit Isle of Wight for organising everything and the Victoria and Albert Museum for putting on the competition. It really made our honeymoon wonderful and we can’t wait to come back – maybe to celebrate our first anniversary”.


For further information please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29),

Notes to editors:

2 x “Selfies” of Helen and David at Dimbola Museum & Galleries and Osborne attached.

Follow in the footsteps of Julia Margaret Cameron 

Holiday prizes supplied by:

  • The West Bay Country Club (3 nights’ accommodation, plus use of their Island Wellness Spa, including a 60-minute spa treatment per person)
  • Red Funnel IOW Ferries (car ferry crossings
  • The Piano Bar, Freshwater Bay (lunch for 2)
  • Dimbola Museum & Galleries (entrance tickets)
  • English Heritage/Osborne (entrance tickets)
  • Shanklin Chine (entrance tickets)
  • The George Hotel in Yarmouth (dinner for 2)
  • The V&A (Julia Margaret Cameron book)

Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A exhibition ‘Julia Margaret Cameron’ has toured internationally, including Ghent Museum of Fine Arts and the Sydney Art Gallery of New South Wales.   After returning to the V&A Museum in London from November 2015, to February 2016, it then went on show at the Madrid Fundacion Mapfre from March 8th to May 8th. The exhibition will open at the Tokyo Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum from June 29th to July 2nd, running until September 25th 2016.

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.



It was anchors away last weekend (18/19 June) as Shipwreck Isle sailed into port and the golden sands of Ryde became a pirates’ paradise for two glorious days.

Hundreds of salty seadogs and buccaneers headed to Ryde for the free event, which is part of Visit Isle of Wight’s (VIOW) Festival of the Sea celebrations.

VIOW worked with Roger Crouch, the man behind the Hastings Pirate Day event – to make Shipwreck Isle even bigger and better than before.  Held for just one day in 2015, the hugely popular event was extended to two-days with events and activities that included a Pirates of the Caribbean Village, Blackbeard’s market, live stunt action and an evening of entertainment on the Saturday night.

Visit Isle of Wight believes Shipwreck Isle has a genuine potential to grow into a major, world-class event for the Island – and encourage more out of season visitors to its shores.

Katie Jones, Events Manager for Visit Isle of Wight, said: “This year’s Shipwreck Isle went extremely well and created a real buzz as local people and visitors interacted with pirates and the various pirate-themed events and activities.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Roger and his team as well as Island businesses people like Airon Baker and Damien Walsh, who were involved in creating such a fabulous event”.

The Festival of the Sea runs from 18 June -3 July and during that period there are lots more sea-themed events and activities for visitors and local people to enjoy.

A new highlight this year, the world’s leading annual solo sailing race, the Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro comes to Cowes from June 22 to 26.

The Solitaire Race Village in Cowes will be free to visit during five full days of fun, and will include food markets, a drinks bar, live music, plus an opportunity for those who want to try their hands at sailing on the Solent – courtesy of the sailing academy UKSA.  Alongside the live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive family-friendly stands and activities.

Other major events include the Shakespeare Mardi Gras on 25th June and the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on 2nd July.

For more information about these and other Festival of the Sea events, please go to

For further information, please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672,


Notes to Editors

Image of Shipwreck Isle attached.

Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:


A new Isle of Wight camping and caravanning guide which invites visitors to “Come abroad to the Camping Capital of the UK” to discover the Island’s “camping secrets” has been launched by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW).

The “Isle of Wight Pocket Book of Camping Secrets” has been produced by VIOW who have teamed up with Solent Co to showcase the many different types of camping and caravanning holidays available on the Island, including award-winning sites in beautiful countryside and coastal settings, family-run holiday parks with five-star facilities, or more unusual options like gypsy caravans, tree houses, Eco lodges and tipis.

For many adults and children, the joys of camping and caravanning in the great outdoors are clear.  It’s great for outdoor pursuits like walking, cycling and water sports – and an easy walk back to camp, where you can watch the sun set over the sea in the evening, star-gaze on a clear, dark night, or listen to waves break on a nearby beach – all magical, memorable experiences.

The camping and caravan sector is of enormous importance to the Island’s overall tourism economy and VIOW is keen to increase market share by promoting its camping, glamping, holiday parks and wild camping sites to families and couples who currently don’t choose the Isle of Wight for their outdoor adventure holidays.

David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight and self-confessed Island campaholic said: “Many people love the freedom that camping offers and the Isle of Wight has so many great camping possibilities.

“You can tour the Island in an iconic VW campervan, stay at gorgeous campsites and explore coastal cycling trails and walking routes, or take romantic afternoon picnics while enjoying the comfort of your luxury camper van or eco lodge.

“We believe our new Isle of Wight pocket book of Camping Secrets will intrigue and engage our audience leading them to discover some of the best camping and caravanning experiences in the UK”.

Also in the new guide, camping and glamping owners reveal what got them started in the business and share their secrets for getting the most out of the trip. There is also a directory of holiday parks, camping and touring providers – plus the chance to win some great holiday prizes, including a seven night camping holiday on the Island for the next three years!

In 2017, the winner of the holiday prize will be able to choose to stay at one of Park Resorts three holiday centres on the Isle of Wight:  Thorness Bay near Cowes, Lower Hyde in Shanklin or Nodes Point near Bembridge – and enjoy two camping holidays in 2018 and 2019 as well!

The main prize also includes an Outwell family tent, free ferry travel to the Island, free bike hire and tickets to some of the Island’s top tourist attractions.   There are some great runner-up prizes too, including free Hovertravel passes, walking boots and attractions tickets

Distribution of the ‘pocket size guide will be through individual requests generated via VIOW’s advertising campaigns, camping stores and other retail outlets in the Midlands and the North of England and selected Tourist Information Centres.   It will also be featured at a selection of exhibitions that VIOW and its travel ambassadors will be attending from now until March 2017.

A dedicated “Camping Capital” page on the VIOW website has also been developed to showcase the Island’s camping and caravanning offer.   A digital version of the Isle of Wight Pocket Book of Camping Secrets will be available later this year.

For further information, please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672,


Notes to Editors

The attached (2) images were taken at Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park on the Isle of


Left to right:  David Brooks, Director of Solent Co, David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight and Kevin Sanders, Director of Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park.

The Isle of Wight pocket book of Camping Secrets features a unique blend of Festival camping, Woodland camping, Glamping, Lo-Fi camping, Camping on the go and Family camping.    Commissioned by Visit Isle of Wight as a brand new separate publication and teaming up with publishing partner Solent Co, the guide is a 32-page document and includes an accommodation directory and a map.

The design and artwork was produced by Words&Stuff, a copywriting and design agency based on the Isle of Wight.

Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:



Father’s Day delights on the Isle of Wight

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19th so why not treat Dad to an overnight stay on the Isle of Wight where he can enjoy some great gift experiences?

He could learn about the restoration and maintenance of steam trains, relax and indulge in the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, pick up some tips on how to create the perfect coastal garden – and even become a pirate for the day at the Island’s annual Shipwreck Isle celebrations!

Shipwreck Isle

Shiver me timbers and man the riggings m’hearties for Shipwreck Isle 2016! The pirate extravaganza is returning to Appley Beach as part of the Festival of the Sea and will be even bigger and better than last year as Ryde seafront is transformed into ‘Shipwreck Isle’. Expect cannon demonstrations, sword fighting and lots more swashbuckling adventures as the Island celebrates its nautical past with a fun-filled weekend for Dads of all ages.

Where: Appley Beach, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
When: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June.
Cost: Free
More info:

Stay: The Royal Esplanade Hotel, pleasantly situated facing the Solent in the attractive seaside town of Ryde. Tel. 01983 562549,,

Father’s Day Workshop at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Steam trains… how do they keep going and how do we know how to repair them? Bring Dad along as the Island’s steam railway throws open its workshop doors and invites you to come and wander around and meet both the old hands and new apprentices who are being trained to do the work of a bygone era. Plus the chance to be transported by steam train through some of the Island’s countryside – and visit the Train Story Discovery Centre to see the impressive historic collection of locomotives, Victorian and Edwardian carriages and other rare rolling stock.

When: Sunday 19th June
Where: Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, near Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 4DS.
Cost: On the gate prices: adult £13.00, child (5-15) £6.50, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £32.50 (2 Adults and 2 Children). If booked online: adult £11.50, child (5-15) £6.00, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £29.00. The prices include train rides. Please note, there is an extra charge for admission to the railway’s new Birds of Prey Centre.
More info:

Stay: Hotel Ryde Castle, the Esplanade, Ryde. Tel. 0845 6086040,

Father’s Day Weekend at Chessell Pottery Barns

Bring out Dad’s inner artist with a fun morning or afternoon spent painting pottery at this small, family-friendly pottery on the Isle of Wight. Over Father’s Day Weekend if your Dad is spotted sporting one of the studio’s aprons, he can have his studio fee (worth £5.99) on them. Put the money towards a delicious Ploughman’s lunch and a glass of local ale in the pottery’s Courtyard Café.

Where: Chessell Pottery Barns, Brook Road, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight PO41 0UE.

When: 18/19 June

Cost: Studio fee (including all materials) £5.99 per person, plus cost of pottery (from £7.50). Ploughman’s lunch (optional) £10. Pottery is ready a few days later to collect, or it can be posted to your home address.
More info: Please book by telephoning 01983 531248,,

Stay: Brook House, which offers luxury self-catering accommodation in the beautiful and unspoilt village of Brook in rural West Wight.

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea

A great gift for gourmet Dads, this robust afternoon tea with a masculine slant includes Fish Finger Sandwich, Tartare Sauce, Quail Scotch Eggs, Roast Beef, Yorkie & Gravy, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel, Pancetta & Potato Scone and Chicken Butter, followed by Boozy Trifle, plus a pint of George’s Brew or two halves of your choice.

When: Book the experience by calling the hotel for availability and they will reserve a date that suits you – note, 24 hours’ notice is required. The ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’ is served daily from 3pm to 5pm.
Where: The George Hotel, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0PE.
Cost: £26 per person, plus postage (free to e-mail voucher).
More Info: Email, tel. 01983 760331,

Stay: The George Hotel, a 17th Century townhouse enjoying a wonderful location nestling on the water’s edge between the castle and pier in the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth.

Design and inspiration with the Isle of Wight Coastal Gardener

Find out about which plants thrive in coastal conditions and learn how to create the best possible environment for your plants to flourish as the Coastal Gardener shares his ideas on designing and planting and offers advice about your own garden (please do bring along plans and or photographs of your garden). You will also visit his own coastal garden in Bembridge and take a short walk along the coast to see what’s thriving on the cliff edge and beach.

Where: This course will be run at the Nursery at Fakenham Farm, Eddington Road, St Helens, Isle of Wight PO33 1XS.
When: Saturday 18th June 2016.10.30am to 3.30pm
Cost: £45.00 which includes all materials, equipment and seeds – please bring your own gloves if you like to wear them.
More info: To reserve your place please call/text 07977 550050 or email

Stay: The Spinnaker, a beautifully restored Edwardian hotel, set in the heart of the chic village of Bembridge. Tel. 01983 873572,

For full details about visiting the Isle of Wight, go to

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight
07766 705672,



The Search is on for “Best in Class” Tourism businesses of 2016/17

Tourism South East is seeking the very best tourism businesses in the South East with the launch of its Beautiful South Awards 2016/17. Backed once again by headline sponsor, Shepherd Neame, the Awards cover a range of categories from hotels to visitor attractions and from restaurants to holiday parks.

There are more categories to enter this year including specific awards for the increasingly popular Glamping, Best Restaurant/Bistro, Café/Tearoom and the Top Dog-Friendly business. The hotel category has also been split into Coastal and Countryside Hotel, Boutique/Small Hotel and Town/ City Hotel of the Year and a new category introduced for single self catering properties.

Previous winners of the Awards not only celebrate being the best but also benefit from the feedback from the judges, improved staff pride and motivation and a raised profile that comes with being a finalist.

The Beautiful South Awards are also the route through to Visit England’s National Tourism Excellence Awards which in 2016 saw a record year for South East businesses winning three Golds, one Silver, one Bronze and four Highly Commended awards.

The Beautiful South Awards 2016/17 will culminate in a prestigious celebration dinner at the Hilton at the Ageas Bowl near Southampton on the 24th November, 2016. 

In launching the Awards, Jonathan Neame, Chief Executive of headline sponsor Shepherd Neame, said, “Shepherd Neame is delighted to continue supporting the Beautiful South Awards, and helping to celebrate the South East’s vibrant tourism industry. South East businesses enjoyed great success in the national VisitEngland Awards for Excellence this year and we hope that our continued support for the Beautiful South Awards in 2016 will see that trend continue.’

Ken Robinson CBE, Chairman of Tourism South East, said, ‘’In tourism, like any other business, quality counts and the best businesses make their own success. Our performance in the National Awards this year showed that the South East has tourism businesses that can compete on a national and international level. We know our most successful businesses inspire others and that’s why we run the Beautiful South Awards each year. With more categories in 2016/17, we are hoping for a record number of entries.’’

The Awards are now open for entry and TSE is encouraging businesses to start their application at the earliest opportunity.  Entry forms can be downloaded from   and must be submitted by 5pm on Friday 10th June 2016. 


Notes to Editors:

The Beautiful South Awards

The Beautiful South Awards is a Tourism South East event. TSE specifies and oversees the category criteria but judging is undertaken by independent industry experts.  Administration of the Awards is conducted for TSE by Services for Tourism. Services for Tourism has an excellent track-record of delivering this and other regional award programmes.

Beautiful South Awards Contact:

Nell Barrington, Services for Tourism,  E:  T: 07968807022

Tourism South East

Tourism South East is a leading membership-based tourism organisation and provider of tourism services operating across South East England, including Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire East and West Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey the Isle of Wight, The New Forest and Kent.   TSE partners with local tourism businesses and destinations, providing services and expertise to support their performance and growth. For images or more information about Tourism South East, its destinations, members or events, please contact:

Tourism South East Contact

Rowena Moore, Destination PR Manager, 023 8062 5400,

Beautiful South Awards Categories:

  1. Access and Inclusivity Award
  2. Bed and Breakfast/Guest House of the Year
  3. Café/Tearoom of the Year
  4. Coastal/Countryside Hotel of the Year
  5. Customer Service Superstar
  6. Dog Friendly Business of the Year
  7. Glamping Business of the Year
  8. Large Visitor Attraction of the Year
  9. Restaurant/Bistro of the Year
  10. Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year
  11. Self Catering Property of the Year
  12. Small Hotel/Boutique Accommodation of the Year
  13. Small Visitor Attraction of the Year
  14. Sustainable Tourism Award
  15. Touring, Camping and/or Holiday Park/Village of the Year
  16. Tourism Event of the Year
  17. Tourism Experience of the Year
  18. Tourism Pub of the Year
  19. Town and City Centre Hotel of the Year
  20. Venue and Business Tourism Award
  21. Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Sponsorship partners:

Headline Sponsor

Shepherd Neame

Coastal/Countryside Hotel of the Year

Shopper Anonymous

Customer Service Superstar

Welcome to Excellence

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Take One Media

Restaurant/Bistro of the Year

Spitfire Gold

Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Quality in

Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Studio Republic

Sustainable Tourism Award

Triodos Bank

Touring, Camping and/or Holiday Park/Village of the Year


Tourism Pub

Great Country Pubs

Venue and Business Tourism Award

Visit Brighton

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Tourism Network

Sponsorship opportunities still exist – for information please contact Robin Barker, Services for Tourism, or 07870 397438


Isle of Wight set to blossom as Visit Isle of Wight launches 2106 Wight in Bloom competition

Residents, community groups, tourism businesses and schools are being encouraged to enter the Island’s 2016 Wight in Bloom competition, which was officially launched at the National Trust’s Mottistone Gardens on Monday April 18th.

Wight in Bloom is an annual gardening and community competition that celebrates our fabulous Island and the efforts of our green-fingered community.

The free to enter competition, sponsored by Red Funnel and organised by Visit Isle of Wight since 2015, encourages and rewards those who take pride in their environment and make the Island a colourful and vibrant place to live and visit.

Wight in Bloom is part of Visit Isle of Wight’s Garden Isle marketing campaign, which this year coincides with Vist England’s Year of the Garden 2016 and the 300th anniversary of the birth of the 18th century garden designer, ‘Capability’ Brown.

Organisers of Wight in Bloom are keen to attract a bumper crop of entries from gardeners at all levels and in all 11 categories, especially from children – a sentiment expressed by Wight in Bloom’s patron and TV gardener, Alan Titchmarsh, who has said that he would like to see more kids in the garden this summer and beyond because he thinks it is vital children are connected to the earth.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said:  “Without question, Wight in Bloom brings communities together and everyone involved does such a great job in transforming towns and villages and creating a blaze of colour across the Island.

“This year we want the Island to look even more fantastic and I very much hope that we get lots of new entrants, especially from younger people and those involved in the Island’s tourist industry.”

This year sees 11 categories in the competition, including Best Small Front Garden, Best Large Front Garden, Best Young People Initiative, Best Commercial Garden, Best Senior Citizen Complex, Best Community Floral Project, Best Small Tourist Attraction, Best Large Tourist Attraction, Best Creative use of a Small Space, Best Coastal Garden and Best Edible Garden.

The closing date for entry into Wight in Bloom is 30th May.  Judging will take place from 27th June to 25th July when local horticultural experts will tour the Island to assess the variety of floral displays, community projects and school gardens.  There is a limited amount of funding available to support parish and town councils purchase plants.  For more information, contact

Entry forms and the list of 11 categories will be on-line at from 18th April.   Forms can also be picked up at Island tourist information points, including the Guildhall in Newport, and selected Island garden centres.

Kevin George, Red Funnel’s CEO, said: “As 2016 is the Year of the English Garden and the 300th anniversary of the birth of 18th century garden designer ‘Capability’ Brown, we are hoping Wight in Bloom 2016 will be one of the biggest yet. Gardeners of all ages are encouraged to enter one of the 11 categories to help ensure the Island is looking its best this summer.”

The awards will be presented by Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL at a ceremony at Osborne in September.

For further information, please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672,


Notes to Editors

In the foreground:  David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, and Jo Hampson,

Customer Greeter, Red Funnel Ferries.

Behind (in no particular order):  Winners’ from last year’s Wight in Bloom competition:

Heath Morgan from Aspire (Overall Winner and winner of Best Community Floral

Project 2015), Guy Eades, Healing Arts, IOW NHS Trust (Best Senior Citizen Complex 2015),

Ann Bunney, the Havelock Hotel (Best Accommodation Garden 2015), David Mansfield (Best

Small Front Garden 2015), Mandy O’Reilly from the Buddle Inn, Niton (Best Public House

Garden 2015), Robert Moore, Head Gardener, Mottistone Gardens (Best Tourist Attraction

Garden – Large 2015) and some of the children and their teacher from Bembridge CE Primary

School (Best Young People Initiative 2015). 

Categories for the competition are

1.         BEST SMALL FRONT GARDEN (Under 5 metre frontage)

2.         BEST LARGE FRONT GARDEN (Over 5 metre frontage)

3.         BEST COMMERCIAL GARDEN (Public House, Restaurant, Shops, Café, Business, Hotel/Guest Accommodation/Self Catering/ Caravan sites)

4.         BEST SENIOR CITIZEN COMPLEX (Private and Public Sector, Healing and Meditative gardens)

5.         BEST YOUNG PEOPLE PROJECT (Schools/youth groups)

6.         BEST COMMUNITY FLORAL PROJECT (Community Groups, Parish or town councils, High Streets, Church Grounds)

7.         BEST SMALL TOURIST ATTRACTION GARDEN (free to enter and paid admission tourist attractions are eligible)

8.         BEST LARGE TOURIST ATTRACTION GARDEN (free to enter and paid admission tourist attractions are eligible)

  1. BEST CREATIVE USE OF A SMALL SPACE (window box, balcony, hanging basket, recycled objects for containers, vertical planting)

10.       BEST COASTAL GARDEN (best use of the environment, use of plants tolerant to seaside location, recycling of coastal finds)

  1. BEST EDIBLE GARDEN (mix of flowers, vegetables and herbs, can be a source of food and a Decorative display).

About Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

About Red Funnel

Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820. Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.3m passengers and over 800,000 vehicles on its ferry route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1m passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on its Red Jet Hi-Speed service.

In addition to ferry travel, Red Funnel is the only cross-Solent operator to offer ferry inclusive bonded holiday accommodation, attraction tickets, festival and event tickets and activity packages. Sub-brands include ‘Red Jet’ (the Hi-Speed passenger only ferry service serving West Cowes) and two food & beverage brands, ‘Steam Coffee Company’ and ‘ReFuel’.

The Company is a founder member of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, the Island’s not for profit destination management organisation and Red Funnel sponsors or supports most of the Island’s premier events including the IW Festival, Bestival, Cowes Week, Isle of Arts, IW Literary Festival, IW Newport Jazz Festival, IW Walking Festival, Ventnor Fringe Festival and Wolverton Manor Garden Show as well as a range of community and niche interest events.

Red Funnel’s 2016 Charity of the Year is Isle of Wight charity, Ability Dogs for Young People.

For further information or images, please contact Carswell Gould

Amy Grinstead
Tel: 023 8023 8001


Bestival 2016 – announce a corking array of artists for the Invaders of the Future stage











WILL VARLEY / THE WYTCHES / VANT / XOCKHA / ZIBRA / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Tumblr


Making Bestival the festival to discover new music is a big part of what keeps us buzzing. Finding an incredible new band that could change your life, or that one amazing unknown track that will blow everyone away is something that our intrepid curator Rob da Bank has made his life’s work. With his monumental musical knowledge helping him to sniff out a cornucopia of mysterious gems, Rob’s track record for discovering the next big thing is unparalleled, and the Invaders of the Future stage is Bestival’s cathedral of cutting edge sounds where you’ll find this year’s selection of bright young things who could just be your new favourite band in The Future.

Rob da Bank says: “Yup, we all love a stonking big headliner at Bestival, and huge DJs and bands that have sold millions of records smashing it on our stages, but mostly where you’ll find me across the weekend at Bestival is in our Invaders stage checking out the new bands. Once more we’ve gone mentally diverse from Radio 1 and SXSW darling’s Danny L Harle, Pup and Sunflower Bean through the amazing Eska and a takeover from the hottest label out there, PC Music, to local island talent Born Ina Barn and Xockha. See you down the front!”

Out on a mission to capture your heart and keep your feet moving at the UK’s official Best Major Festival, the Invaders of the Future stage will be bouncing all weekend long to sets from west London’s All This Noise, high-octane punks Asylums, atmospheric four-piece Black Honey, Island b-boys Born Ina Barn, and soulful pop types Clean Cut Kid, with appearance from Coco, Creeper and Saturday’s late night headliner Danny L Harle.

We’ll also have singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Eska, beguiling trio Fatherson, pop outfit Fickle Friends, rock n rollers The Greasy Slicks, the darkly inventive HÆLOS, visceral Spanish indie quartet Hinds and the swirling sounds of The Japanese House.

Getting those in the know all hot under the collar there will be more Invaders of the Future action from the golden voiced JP Cooper, Illinois’s K.Flay, the folk musings of L.A. Salami, hotly-tipped Merseysider Louis Berry, emo four-piece Moose Blood, punk rockers Milk Teeth, hyperreal ultrapop label PC Music All Stars and Pinegrove.

Don’t miss the chance to check out Merthyr Tydfil’s Pretty Vicious, Toronto’s Pup, the hypnotic and pulsing Rationale, off-kilter R&B producer Royce Wood Junior, epic indie upstarts The Sherlocks, Mancunian powerhouse Spring King, mesmerising 12-piece Stompy’s Playground and incorrigible ravers Subgiant.

And make sure you catch amazing new music from Brooklyn trio Sunflower Bean, Smugglers co-founder Will Varley, purveyors of surf-doom The Wytches, alt rockers Vant, the Island’s own Xockha and indie three-piece Zibra.

Collecting all our top tips for the future in one mind-blowing stage, head to the Invaders of the Future and discover what fires up Bestival’s soul.

There are still plenty of treats to be revealed for our Future paradise, including our Sunday night main stage headliners and much more, so head to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram / Tumblr

For all the latest information.




Adult Ticket (entry from Thursday or Friday) – £190

Adult Premium ‘Wild Copse’ Camping Ticket – £299 (more info)

Student Ticket (entry from Thursday or Friday) – £180

(For full-time students only. Valid NUS or ISIC ID required at the box office. No other student ID accepted)

Teen (age 13-17) Ticket – £120

Teen (age 13-17) Premium ‘Wild Copse’ Camping Ticket – £149.50 (more info)

Child (age 12 & under) Ticket – Free (but you must obtain a ticket)

Child (age 12 & under) Premium ‘Wild Copse’ Camping Ticket – Free (more info)

VIP Ticket (Standard Camping) – £295

VIP Ticket (Wild Copse Camping) – £390

Campervan Tickets – £90 (per vehicle) (more info)

Caravan / Trailer Tent Ticket – £100 (One car only per caravan/trailer tent, no exceptions – more info)

Advance Car Parking – £15

– All Tickets will incur a booking fee

– There are no Day Tickets

– All Tickets incur a £1 donation to the Isle of Wight Youth Trust* (see below for further info)


Bestival’s ground breaking weekly payment plan means you can get yourself a Bestival 2016 ticket for just £9 a week! Spreading the cost across 20 weeks, an initial £25 deposit payment (plus booking fees and p&p), followed by 19 weekly payments of around £9, gets you a ticket for the same price as paying in one go.

This offer is only available online from our official ticket partner Ticketline:


Once again this year we are adding on a £1 charity donation onto all Bestival tickets. The money raised will go directly to the Isle Of Wight Youth Trust (Reg Charity no. 1087163) to help fund their fantastic work offering counselling and support to young people aged 25 and under on the Isle of Wight. The Bestival Foundation is also a proud supporter of the Youth Trust.




Visit Isle of Wight Press Office