Premier hotel on the Isle of Wight responding to what travellers want

The Royal Hotel laps it up with local award-winning producers and attractions to meet the demands of unique customer experiences.

“Travel is now increasingly viewed as a way of having experiences to enhances one’s life. As a hotel, we have to embrace the fact that we are responsible for creating a unique customer experience. One of the main reasons people travel is the thirst to discover more and by including an authentic local environment, food and cooking and wellness experiences, we hope to provide an unforgettable experience on the Island.” William Bailey, Managing Director at the Royal Hotel.

To start the year off, The Royal Hotel has paired up with the Island’s wine supplier and wine connoisseur, Tim Flint from Eurovines to create a Gourmet Wine Weekend in February. This is just one of the many events in collaboration with local producers planned for 2018.

“We at Eurovines have had the pleasure of supplying wines to The Royal Hotel for nearly 10 years now. Over this time, we have seen that we share many of the same values of quality, innovation and care for our clients. As one of the finest hotels on the Island, they provide a superb Wining, Dining and Hospitality experience.” Tim Flint, Managing Director at Eurovines Ltd.

The Royal Hotel has always been recognised as one of the best places to dine and stay for decades and in the last couple of years, the Island has seen a surge in local producers and attractions such as The Garlic Farm, Osborne, Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight Tomato Stall, Isle of Wight Cheese Company and Wight Distillery sweeping up numerous National Awards, so what better way than to come together to showcase the strengths of the Island.

These collaborations allow The Royal to include tempting accommodation, dining and activity packages to ensure a stay at the hotel will remain an unforgettable experience.

  • During the 23th and 24th February, you can sample wines from the enchanting wine regions in Spain to some of Northern Italy’s finest wine regions. You’ll find plenty to choose from with food pairings, and tasting notes. For anyone interested in gourmet food and high-quality wine, this is not to be missed.
  • For the weekend of the 16th – 18th March try our Gastronomic Weekend tour, showing all the amazing local produce including Living larder, Wight Distillery, Isle of Wight Cheese Company, the Garlic Farm and Ventnor Botanic Garden.

Notes

If you would like more information on events, please visit http://royalhoteliow.co.uk/offers for full details. If you would like to explore possibilities of collaborating with The Royal Hotel or experience and feature events at The Royal Hotel, please feel free to contact Marketing and PR manager, Shennon Slade at 01983 852186.

Gastronomic

Generally people don’t want to be sitting in fuzzy environments any more. The food we do is quite serious and complicated, but it’s executed in a way that’s not fussy and is accessible to anybody.”

While many travellers still appreciate the finer things in life, when it comes to luxury travel, they now expect that the experience be personally enriching as well as sensually indulgent. What does this mean for hotel managers? Guests still want fine wines and rich fabric, but they want greater personalized attention. A study from global hotel consultancy HVS London found that the upcoming generation of travellers believe luxury means having unique, enriching life experiences.

Lifestyle trends that today’s guests want include an authentic local environment, food and cooking, wellness, and health.

POP PUNK PRINCESS TOYAH WILLCOX JOINS JACK UP THE 80s LINE UP

One of the most iconic artists of the decade, a regular on Top of the Pops and star of countless TV shows, charismatic Toyah Willcox is set to join hit makers T’Pau and Leo Sayer at Jack Up The 80s next August.

From punk princess to cult stage actress, Toyah is a uniquely gifted performer and an inextinguishable flame. She is one of Britain’s iconic household names, an award-winning rock legend as well as a much-loved stage/screen actress and music composer. In a career spanning over 35 years she has amassed 13 Top 40 singles, recorded 24 albums and toured live across the world.

Organisers said “We’re really thrilled, Toyah was a major force of the UK music scene in the 1980s and has remained a well-respected contemporary artist. She is renowned for her lively, energetic stage performances during which festival-goers can expect to hear hit singles It’s a Mystery, Thunder in the Mountains, I Want to be Free, Good Morning Universe, Brave New World and Rebel Run.”

Jack Up The 80s volume 6 will take place over the weekend of 11th and 12th August and this will be the festival’s second year at its new home Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde.

Owing to the success of the event earlier this year which saw sell-out crowds, 2018 tickets will be strictly limited.

Mainstream Early Bird tickets go on sale on Monday 22nd January and will be available to purchase from jackupthe80s.co.uk. A limited number will also available at over the counter from outlets on the Isle of Wight.

The earlier you buy the greater the saving!

The festival will once again be working with partners Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel to arrange travel packages from the mainland.

Copy ends

Notes for Editors

  1. For further information please contact Sarah Moss, Event Manager

Email: sarahemmamoss@gmail.com

Telephone: 07876 631456

COWES HARBOUR COMMISSION PROMOTES CRUISE CALLS TO ISLE OF WIGHT

Cowes Harbour Commission is working proactively with Destination Cowes and the Island’s tourism organisation Visit Isle of Wight to promote Cowes as a unique destination port-of-call, encouraged by the rising demand in the cruise ship market, including growth in the Northern European luxury cruise market.

Cowes offers exceptional visitor appeal with cruise ship passengers able to visit world famous tourist attractions such as Queen Victoria’s magnificent Osborne House in East Cowes, the palatial royal residence used as the setting for the major feature film Victoria and Abdul.

Every year, a number of small and medium-sized cruise ships on Northern European itineraries are welcomed to the Isle of Wight to enjoy the delights of Cowes, as well as the Island’s stunning coastlines and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes. The new Cowes Harbour Commission initiative seeks to secure increased cruise calls to Cowes for the benefit of the harbour, town and local economy.

Harbour Master Captain Stuart McIntosh said: “We are excited at the prospect of welcoming more visiting cruise ships to Cowes, one of the world’s most famous sailing destinations. However, a visit to Cowes puts cruise guests within easy reach of a multitude of landmark attractions and diverse excursion choices on the Isle of Wight, hence why our Island is often referred to as England in miniature.”

Cowes is ideally located on the central south coast of the UK and is a cost-effective stopover port for European and UK cruise itineraries. The sheltered anchorage offers ample swinging room with a quick tender run to Trinity Landing for disembarkation. Cruise visitors arrive onto The Parade, which is next to Henry VIII’s “Cowes Castle”, home to the prestigious Royal Yacht Squadron and in the heart of Cowes.

After alighting at Trinity Landing, cruise guests may discover the historic town of Cowes and home of world yachting. Opportunities could include a guided tour of the remarkable Sir Max Aitken maritime history museum, housing a collection of unique nautical artefacts, then lunch at a local yacht club and boutique shopping in Cowes High Street.

Nearby in Newport is Carisbrooke Castle, an Elizabethan artillery fortress, a king’s prison and royal summer residence. Inspiring countryside, historic houses and ancient monuments, beautiful beaches, coastal towns and pretty villages, are all just a few minutes apart from each other on a safe and welcoming Island.

Cruise vessels up to 150m LOA can use the Cowes anchorage in the Solent, with a 5 minute tender run to Trinity Landing, while larger vessels over 150m LOA are safely anchored in the ABP Anchorage, from where it is a 15 minute tender trip ashore to the boutique shops, galleries, and cafés in the winding streets of Cowes with its stunning views over the Solent.

To find out more about Cowes as a destination port-of-call, please contact the Harbour Office by telephone on +44 (0)1983 293952, by email to chc@cowes.co.uk or visit cowesharbourcommission.co.uk/cruise for more information.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Cowes Harbour Commission:

Cowes Harbour Commission is the statutory harbour authority for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. The Commission’s vision, strategic objectives and guiding policies for the future of Cowes Harbour are set out in its Strategic Plan 2016-2021. The Commission’s area of jurisdiction commences from the Prince Consort north cardinal buoy in the Outer Harbour and extends south down the River Medina to the Folly.

Cowes Harbour is a key economic driver and gateway to the Island. Ferries and commercial ships enter the harbour 24/7 and carry approximately three million passengers, plus freight and coaches, and 99% of all the bulk shipping import and export goods for the Island, including fuel supplies. Yachting, power boating and the marine services sector also create local jobs and contribute in excess of £25 million to the local economy in Cowes and the Medina Valley.

Cowes is an economical port-of-call for European and UK cruise itineraries. Cowes Harbour Commission provides pilotage for cruise vessels using the Cowes anchorage “C1”, suitable for cruise vessels up to 150m dependent on weather conditions. ABP Southampton provides pilotage for cruise vessels over 150m using the “ABP Anchorage”. Tenders disembark their passengers at the Trinity Landing pontoons. The landing is rigged with a marquee and a welcoming party will be on station to assist passengers. Coach parking facilities are located at the head of the gangway ramp. Cowes is fully ISPS compliant and will provide licensed security staff for the ship to shore connection. This will be arranged via the cruise line’s appointed agent; however, if this is the vessel’s first UK port-of-call, Customs and immigration will attend the vessel on arrival for efficient clearance.

Multimedia:

  1. Photos of cruise ships L’Austral and Ocean Majesty at Cowes
  2. PDF of Cruise to Cowes guide
  3. Digital Cruise to Cowes guide: cowesharbourcommission.co.uk/cruise_to_cowes_guide

High resolution copies available on request.

Media Contact:

Louisa Mamakou, Communications & Marketing Officer, Cowes Harbour Commission, Harbour Office, Town Quay, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AS. Tel: +44 (0)1983 293952. Email: louisa.chc@cowes.co.uk

Queries – For any further information, please contact the Cowes Harbour Office on Tel: +44 (0)1983 293952. Website: www.cowesharbourcommission.co.uk

Cowes Harbour Commission Newsletters – Subscribe to Cowes Harbour news:

cowesharbourcommission.co.uk/sign_up_to_newsletters

Destination Cowes:

Destination Cowes is a public-private partnership of key local organisations that promotes Cowes as an attractive destination for visitors. The website for Cowes, the maritime gateway to the Isle of Wight, can be found at: www.cowes.co.uk.

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 www.visitisleofwight.co.uk, the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: www.visitwight.org.

 

GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE DANCING – JACK UP THE 80’s 2018

Grammy Award-winning and international chart-topping British music legend Leo Sayer has been announced as the second artist to perform at next year’s Jack Up The 80s festival which takes place over the weekend of 11th and 12th August.

Organisers said “Leo is one of the most requested artists we’ve ever had. A superb entertainer with a timeless voice, he played a blistering set for us back in 2015 and left the crowd wanting more. Leo is returning to the UK next Summer to play a select number of dates. We’re delighted to have secured his return to Jack Up The 80s at our new home Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde, in response to public demand.”

Leo and his band will be playing a set crammed full of his numerous Top 10 hits including Thunder In My Heart, You Make Me Feel Like Dancing, The Show Must Go On, More Than I Can Say, How Much Love, One Man Band, I Can’t Stop Loving You, Moonlighting and many, many more.

A larger than life personality, Leo says he’s thrilled to be performing at Jack Up The 80s; “Being a South coast boy I’ve always loved the Isle of Wight and recall fondly my first trip there for the 1970 pop festival. The buzz I got from the crowd last time at Jack Up The 80s was absolutely fantastic, I can’t wait to do it again.”

Leo Sayer is held in great esteem as a live performer and recording artist by all age groups – from 6 to 60. This is as much due to his appearing famously with the Muppets, the Wiggles and on the Charlie’s Angels Soundtrack, as the countless hit songs he has written and recorded throughout his 40 plus years’ career. In the international music charts, there have been more than twenty top ten singles and five top ten albums in his illustrious recording career. Add to this the hits written for Roger Daltrey, Cliff, Three Dog Night, Tina Turner, Gene Pitney, Jennifer Warnes and Dolly Parton. It proves his prowess as an internationally acclaimed and talented songwriter. Now Leo is based in Australia, where he is busier and in more demand than ever.

Organisers warn that 2018 tickets for the ever-popular event will be strictly limited owing to the success of Jack Up The 80s vol5 earlier this year which saw sell-out crowds.

Mainstream Early Bird tickets go on sale on Monday 22nd January and will be available to purchase from jackupthe80s.co.uk. A limited number will also available at over the counter from outlets on the Isle of Wight.

The earlier you buy the greater the saving!

The festival will once again be working with partners Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel to arrange travel packages from the mainland.

 

Copy ends

Notes for Editors

  1. For further information please contact Sarah Moss, Event Manager Email: sarahemmamoss@gmail.com. Telephone: 07876 631456

 

JACK UP THE 80s FIRST LINE UP ANNOUNCEMENT CONFIRMED

British pop group T’Pau who had a string of Top 40 hits in the late 1980s including the Number One ‘smash’ China in Your Hand are the first eagerly anticipated name out of the hat for next Summer’s Jack Up The 80s festival.

The band, led by flame haired 80s sensation Carol Decker will be transporting audiences back to their youth by performing tracks such as Heart and Soul, Secret Garden, Valentine and many more.

T’Pau played the Isle of Wight Festival in 2013 and packed out the big top with their energetic set. They can’t wait to make a return visit to the Island for their first ever Jack Up The 80s appearance in August 2018.

Back for a sixth year, this will be the retro pop festival’s second year at Smallbrook Stadium in Ryde. Owing to the success of the event earlier this year which saw sell-out crowds, organisers have advised that 2018 tickets will be strictly limited.

“We’ve listened to who you want back but have also booked a number of superb fresh names. We’re excited to be revealing details of next year’s line-up in the coming weeks and months, all great household names guaranteed to get you up on your feet reliving the good times. Stay tuned for a superb mix of upbeat party bands and feel-good favourites.”

Jack Up The 80s will take place over the weekend of 11th and 12th August. The highly-acclaimed event provides a family weekend of musical entertainment from chart names, food, attractions, kids arts and crafts and stalls.

Mainstream Early Bird tickets go on sale on Monday 22nd January and will be available to purchase from jackupthe80s.co.uk. A limited number will also available at over the counter from outlets on the Isle of Wight.

Remember, the earlier you buy the greater the saving!

The festival will once again be working with partners Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel to arrange travel packages from the mainland.

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Notes for Editors

  1. For further information please contact Sarah Moss, Event Manager Email: sarahemmamoss@gmail.com, Telephone: 07876 63145

Enjoy a Victorian Christmas with Visit Isle of Wight

Visitors to the Isle of Wight can immerse themselves in a Victorian Christmas this winter with a variety of festive events and traditional entertainment from times gone by.

The Victorian era has seen a resurgence thanks to the recently released film Victoria & Abdul and ITV’s drama Victoria, so why not see how Christmas was celebrated by Queen Victoria and the Royal family in the Queen’s favourite home by the sea at Osborne? On selected dates in December, Christmas at Osborne offers festive guided tours to see the house ‘dressed’ for Christmas as it would have been during the Royal reign with Christmas trees, rooms decorated throughout and grand dining tables set for a festive feast.

For the first time ever, Osborne is opening its grounds after dark with a stunning fairytale of light, colour and sound. Enchanted Osborne takes place from 15-23 December. Follow an illuminated, festive garden trail swathed in strings of lanterns and fairy lights and emerge into a scene of a traditional fairground with a myriad of old-fashioned entertainment.

In addition, The Spectacular Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival, which takes place 7-10 December, sees local churches, pubs and community halls in and around Brighstone and Mottistone, come together to showcase over 200 ‘theme decorated’ trees.

The totally unique and free event includes Santa’s Snowy Grotto, musical entertainment with concerts and carol singing, craft fairs, lace-making demonstrations, handbell ringing and an outdoor nativity pageant performed with local cast and musicians. The tree displays then continue in three locations from 11 December to 2 January, without the additional activities, at The Parish Church, the Isle of Wight Pearl and the Methodist Chapel.

David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight, said: “The Isle of Wight is a magical place to be during the festive season with its thatched pubs, spectacular coastal winter walks and quintessentially English villages. But the Island’s connections with Queen Victoria and its popularity amongst figures of note during the Victorian era – Edward Lear, Alfred Tennyson and Charles Dickens to name a few – means that visitors can step into England’s past. If you want to experience authentic or traditional Christmas celebrations, the Isle of Wight is the place to be.”

For additional seasonal fun this December, kids will love Santa’s Specials at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway with its Winter Wonderland, Christmas market, live music, entertainment and magic shows, all rounded off with a visit to see Father Christmas and a trip aboard a majestic steam train.

For those coming to the Isle of Wight to discover a Victorian Christmas, there is a huge choice of accommodation across the Island. Stay in cosy thatched cottages, seaside apartments, boutique B&Bs, luxury hotels, pooch-friendly pads or large, self-catering properties for big groups.

A two-night stay on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis at The Hambrough, Ventnor costs from £210 per person based on two people sharing an executive sea view room. Valid from 26 November to 21 December 2017, Tuesday to Saturday, the price includes return car ferry crossing from Southampton with Red Funnel.

For more information and other Christmas offers, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/victorianchristmas

-ENDS-

 For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29/07766 705672, sue@visitwight.co.uk

 Notes to Editors

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 www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

IW Mardi Gras 2018: A global celebration!

The New Carnival Company is set to launch the narrative for the annual Isle of Wight Mardi Gras at a celebration event at Ryde Academy Studio Theatre on Thursday 16th November at 17:30.

The IW Mardi Gras always adopts a relevant and educational theme allowing school and community groups to undertake a programme of research and learning prior to designing, producing and performing spectacular carnival costumes. Themes in recent years have included ‘Shakespeare 400’ commemorating  the anniversary of the passing of the Bard and ‘Reflections of India’ celebrating the links between the Island, Queen Victoria and India on the 70th anniversary of the country’s independence.

In 2018 the theme will be ‘Global Biospheres’ and will be produced to support the IW Area of Outstanding Beauty’s application to have the Island recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.

Richard Grogan, AONB Lead Officer explained “The aim of Biospheres is to showcase on a global stage an area where communities are finding ways to bring together the conservation of the stunning places in which they live with the continuing sustainable use of those areas. If we are successful in our campaign to have the Isle of Wight recognised, the reward is international recognition through the formal UNESCO Biosphere designation which puts us up there with Mount Olympus in Greece, Mata Atlantica Rain Forest in Brazil and Yellowstone National Park, USA.  We want to tell the Island about this and working with the New carnival Company on their 2018 Mardi Gras theme seemed an ideal opportunity”

In 2018 the Mardi Gras will be exploring in detail some of the 635 reserves across the globe of which there are only two in England. Then in the following year we will be looking at the Isle of Wight itself for our creative inspiration.

Frankie Goldspink, Creative Director for the NCC added “We are delighted to be working with the AONB on the prestigious project. Groups taking part will be supported to understand what the fantastic opportunities being recognised as a UNESCO Global Biosphere mean and then to work with us in a creative programme to make and showcase spectacular costumes”

Representatives from the AONB and the IW Music Hub, who are supporting Mardi Gras 2018, will also be presenting at the launch event to explain other opportunities to get involved this exciting project.

Any school, youth or community group wanting to take part in the event in 2018 is encouraged to attend the launch meeting or register an interest with the NCC on 01983 716095 or frankie@thenewcarnivalcompany.com.

The Isle of Wight Mardi Gras: ‘Global Biospheres’ will take place on Saturday 30th June, 3pm on the streets of Ryde.  The project is already attracting international attention.

Notes to Editor

  1. The New Carnival Company CIC (The NCC) is the leading carnival arts development agency in the south of England. The NCC is proud to be part of Arts Council’s England’s (ACE) National portfolio, a kite mark for Quality and Innovation in the arts.
  2. The Isle of Wight Mardi Gras was formerly known as the Arts Parade and began in 2003 with the aim of encouraging and supporting more schools and youth organisations to get involved in the creative side of carnival. Today it is the leading young people’s carnival in the south of England.
  3. Mardi Gras translates as Fat Tuesday from the French and celebrates the last day of feasting and merriment before the traditional Christian period of Lent. The word Carnival is Latin for Farewell to Meat, also referring to festivities held at that time. Many of the famous carnivals in the world including Rio Carnival, Trinidad Carnival, Venice Carnival and New Orleans Mardi Gras take place in February on Pancake Day.

Press contact: chris@thenewcarnivalcompany.com

 

English Heritage brings Enchantment to Historic Gardens this Christmas

This December, English Heritage is opening the gates after dark to some of its most prestigious palaces, houses and castles across the country for the first time as it hosts Enchanted, a new season of twilight outdoor events.

Inspired by their unique history, the gardens of such special places as Queen Victoria’s Osborne and Eltham Palace where Henry VIII spent his childhood, will be spectacularly transformed into illuminated worlds for the first time this winter.

For nine evenings only from the 15th – 23rd December 2017, visitors across the country will have the opportunity to experience a whole new perspective on these beautiful locations with fantastically creative designs, bringing each site’s unique history to light.

Audley End House and Gardens, Essex          4.30pm – 9pm

A journey of discovery leads around the expansive grounds with the medieval style flare lights at the water’s edge giving way to a cornucopia of illuminated delights through the Elysian garden, the Kitchen garden and the Stable yard. There’s a surprise round every corner from the talking trees, sparkling gramophones and even the house’s famous taxidermy re-awakened.

EH member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Non member Adult £12 / Child £7.50 / Family £31.60

Belsay Hall, Northumberland              4.30pm – 9pm

A visit to the evocative gardens of Belsay Hall will surprise and delight. Adventure through the quarry gardens, marvel at the ‘starry’ sky and discover the illuminated grotto.  The outdoors is not all it seems, you’ll stumble upon old bookcases, armchairs and even a dolls house as illuminated rooms are created outside.  The long lost furniture from the Hall has reappeared, reclaimed by nature.

EH member Adult £8 / Child £5 / Family £21

Non member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Brodsworth Hall, South Yorkshire       4.30pm – 8.30pm

Take the trail through the flame torches into the mesmerising world of fairies.  You’ll be transported into an ethereal realm as you discover the garden’s beautiful features like never before, from the misty magic of the fern dell to the twinkling majesty of the rose arbour. Play a tune on the Illumaphonium along the way, watching the giant chime bars light up. Book ahead* to meet Father Christmas in the Hall.

EH member Adult £8 / Child £5 / Family £21

Non member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

*additional charge applies for Father Christmas, pre-booking is essential.

Eltham Palace, London    4.30pm – 9pm

Step across the bridge and peer through the time tunnel to experience Eltham Palace’s rich medieval story beautifully illustrated through light.  Wend your way through the splendid grounds of Henry VIII’s childhood home as our enchanting trail draws on medieval motifs of heraldry and royal pageantry along with scenes of hunting and feasting, projected onto the stonework.

EH member Adult £10 / Child £6 / Family £26

Non member Adult £12 / Child £7.50 / Family £31.60

Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire        4.30pm – 9pm

Queen Elizabeth 1’s feted visit in 1575 is the inspiration for the enchanting illuminations of this great castle, evoking Robert Dudley’s ambitious three week long marriage proposal. Projections suggest the whirlwind of festivities hosted for Her Majesty’s pleasure, while beautiful light trails will guide you through the quieter corners of the stunning grounds. The traditional fairground rides and heritage inspired Christmas shopping stalls complete the experience.

EH member Adult £12 / Child £8 / Family £32

Non member Adult £14 / Child £9.50 / Family £37.60

Osborne, Isle of Wight     4.30pm – 8.30pm

The secret lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s nine children have inspired a fantastical journey through the formal grounds and gardens of their private home.  Kids and adults will be delighted as they step into a classic children’s tale of exploration and imagination, using light and sound to elevate the plants, trees, walls and water to an ethereal plane.  The trail leads to the stunning façade of Osborne House, where the carousel and swingboat rides are the icing on the cake of fabulous festive evening.

EH member Adult £12 / Child £8 / Family £32

Non member Adult £14 / Child £9.50 / Family £37.60

With delicious toasted marshmallows, mulled wine and hot chocolate to enjoy along the way, grab the winter woollies and your family and friends and book your tickets for the most enchanting event of the year!

– Ends –

For images and further press information, please contact Isobel Cooley on 020 7973 3354 or at isobel.cooley@english-heritage.org.uk

English Heritage is the custodian of over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites through which we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year.

www.english-heritage.org.uk

 

 

English Heritage reveals details of Queen Victoria’s final Christmases at Osborne House

She has long been known as one of the nation’s sternest monarchs – and perhaps not the first choice of a Christmas host – but this year English Heritage staff at her seaside retreat on the Isle of Wight will be showcasing a more surprising side to the royal’s Christmas celebrations, with grand dinners, family festivities and party games, including an early forerunner to the mannequin challenge.

Though the festive season was subdued in the years following Albert’s death, her later years at Osborne saw the traditions of Christmas and its festivities begin to reappear, particularly with the appearance of more and more grandchildren. Gifts would be exchanged between staff and family (on Christmas Eve, a tradition still believe to be observed by today’s Royal family) before the day itself was marked by an elaborate Christmas dinner.

Recently translated for the first time, the menu from Victoria’s final Christmas, 25 December 1900, shows items that might be recognised by modern diners, including turkey with chipolata sausages and plum pudding, but also a few things that might not make it onto the 21st Century dining table. These include a fish course, and also a starter of Turtle Consommé, or soup – a famous (but expensive!) Victorian delicacy. [see Appendix for full menu].

All Christmas gatherings need games too, and Queen Victoria’s festive celebrations were no exception. That Mannequin challenge entertainment? It was known as the ‘Tableau Vivant’, and Queen Victoria and her guests would gather in the Durbar Room at Osborne and watch, often for several hours, as family members donned costumes and posed against a backdrop to portray a scene from history or a famous painting.

The curtain would fall, participants would change position, before it rose again, with the tableau repeated several times if the Queen desired it, before different costumes and scenes were selected. Live music could even be performed from the gallery above to accompany the poses.

Like most family celebrations, some guests enjoyed the festivities more than others. The journal of a Lt Gen Calthorpe, a regular dining guest at Osborne, was recently acquired by English Heritage. Attending a festive-season dinner in January 1890, he can be found bemoaning one such experience of the ‘tableaux,’ that lasted until 22:30, complaining “along time we had to wait! About 25 minutes!” between changes of scenery and costumes.

By contrast, the Queen’s own journals from this same occasion record her enjoyment of the spectacle, stating “The Tableaux were really lovely & so well arranged.” and that “The music was excellent, & every one was delighted.” There’s always one who inflicts games on everyone else!

Michael Hunter, Collections Curator for English Heritage at Osborne, said “The common misconception of Queen Victoria as a dour monarch has prevailed for many years, but recently people have begun to challenge that. Our research shows that here at Osborne, particularly in her later years, she enjoyed Christmas festivities with her family filled with feasting and games.”

“Although it is doubtful she participated, she particularly enjoyed the Tableau Vivant, and who’s to say she wouldn’t have looked fondly upon the modern day mannequin challenge?!”

English Heritage offer Festive Guided Tours of Osborne every Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday until 22 December, telling stories of Queen Victoria’s Christmas and touring rooms decorated as they would have been during the royal reign.

– Ends –

For further press information and images, please contact:

Phil Harper, National PR Manager, phil.harper@english-heritage.org.uk or 0207 973 3354

English Heritage cares for over 400 historic monuments, buildings and sites – from world famous prehistoric sites to grand medieval castles, from Roman forts on the edges of empire to Cold War bunkers. Through these, we bring the story of England to life for over 10 million visitors each year. www.english-heritage.org.uk Registered charity no. 1140351

OSBORNE

Tuesday 25th December 1900

Her Majesty’s Dinner

Soups

Turtle Consommé

American Cream of Barley Soup

Fish

Turbot with Mousseline (or Hollandaise) Sauce

Breaded Fillets of Sole with Sauce Ravigote

Entrée

Herbed Christmas Crêpes

 

Relevés (Separate Main Course)

Turkey Poult à la Chipolata

Chine of Pork

Roast Beef

Plum Pudding

 

Entremets (Dishes Served after main course)

Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce

Mince Pies

Chocolate Éclairs

Seven reasons for visiting the Isle of Wight in 2018

Bed and breakfast – in a tree

Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in April/May, 2018.  Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight.  Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island.  Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”.  Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor.  The cost is £350 per person; £450 for two people; and £550 for three.  There will be a maximum of ten overnight camps a year. https://www.goodleaf.co.uk

Celebrating 175 years of magic

Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, the oldest theme park in the UK and one of the most iconic tourist destinations, will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2018. Numerous events will be taking place throughout the year that befits this magical, wacky, wonderful theme park. Blackgang Chine was founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843 when all that stood here was the Chine itself – a spectacular gorge that cut some 500-feet, deep into the cliff face. The Victorians travelled from far and wide to experience its breathtaking views; and the very first ‘attraction’ was the skeleton of a whale which had been washed up onto the beach – and is still on display at Blackgang Chine today. (Blackgang Chine received the royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria visited in August 1853 to see the whale skeleton). The park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell, (the current owner’s great, great, grand-father) and the magic has only grown over the years.  Blackgang Chine is now filled with an eclectic mix of attractions, theme worlds and rides – offering something for all the family and the generations of families who continue to visit year after year. https://blackgangchine.com

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

Julia Margaret Cameron – one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, and a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati on the Isle of Wight – was the subject of an exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2014, and featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2015. She will be in the headlines again in 2018 when Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography (is staged at the National Portrait Gallery in London, from March 1 to May 20.  This major new exhibition brings together the works of four giants of Victorian photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. It is now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe. Dimbola Lodge has also been called the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight. http://www.dimbola.co.uk

50 years of a Music Festival on the Isle of Wight

2018 will mark 50 years of an Isle of Wight Festival on the Island.  It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Music Festival on the Isle of Wight. “The Great South Coast Bankholiday Pop Festivity” took place overnight on August 31 and September 1 at Hell Field, Ford Farm, near Godshill in 1968 attended by approximately 10,000 people;  and was followed in 1969 by the Wootton Festival with Bob Dylan, and in 1970 at the Afton Festival (at East Afton Farm and not far from what is now site of Dimbola Museum & Galleries) with Jimi Hendrix and The Doors amongst many others, attracting an incredible estimated 600,000 souls. http://isleofwightfestival.com

There are also plans being drawn up for a commemorative event in 2020 to celebrate this colossal and world-famous music event on the same site at East Afton.

Tiny Homes Holidays

Opened towards the end of 2017, Tiny Homes Holidays is a new, ethical way to holiday on the Isle of Wight. Tiny Homes are all about downsizing your space and upsizing your free time – and living simply in a smallholding environment adjacent to Parkhurst Forest with its walking trails, cycle routes and wildlife galore (including the Isle of Wight’s famous red squirrels).  Another new trend being introduced here, thanks to the construction of a small studio is #studycations. http://www.tinyhomesholidays.com/

Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail

Following hard on the heels of the launch of its Victoria’s Island Trail to celebrate the appearance of the Victoria & Abdul movie in cinemas worldwide, Visit Isle of Wight has published a new Literary Heroes Trail which visitors to the Island can follow all-year-round. One of the highlights of the Literary Heroes Trail is the newly re-opened Farringford in Freshwater, where the renowned poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson once lived (https://farringford.co.uk).  The dramatic Gothic house has been the subject of a meticulous five-year restoration project, and is decorated in a late 19th Century style that reflects Tennyson’s tastes and interests. The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with a walled kitchen garden. Other key locations on the Trail include the sailing village of Seaview, where author Enid Blyton was a regular visitor; and the traditional seaside resort of Ventnor, where Charles Dickens rented Winterbourne in Bonchurch – describing it to his wife as, “The prettiest place I ever saw in my life.” Author Lynne Truss – herself, a regular visitor to the Island – edited the new Literary Heroes Trail leaflet. “I’m not the first writer to be inspired by this jewel of an island,” she says. “Writers have breathed the air here, walked the cliffs and gazed at the glittering sea – and then dashed home to put pen to paper.” The trail also reveals some of its own, home-grown talent, including Oscar winning screenwriter Anthony Minghella who wrote The English Patient. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/literary-heroes-trail

Isle of Wight to host UK Pride in 2018

It has recently been announced that the Isle of Wight will host the next UK Pride, just one year after the Island’s first ever Pride event. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/isle-of-wight-pride-p1427001

For all tourist information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

-ENDS-

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson                  Tel: 07766 705672           Email: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to Editors

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 www.visitisleofwight.co.uk the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities www.visitwight.org.

Visit Isle of Wight Press Office