Hidden Gems of the Isle of Wight – Quarr Abbey

You can see Quarr Abbey from the car ferry to Fishbourne, nestling among the trees on the shore. Passengers visiting the island enjoy taking various guesses at what it could be.

Quarr Abbey

Shore-side, many will have driven past the entrance to Quarr Abbey, the magnificent building on the road from Newport to Ryde. Some may even have ventured closer within the grounds to be impressed by the inspiring buildings and beautiful, peaceful settings.

But what will you find when you venture into the grounds of this Benedictine monastery?

Quarr abbey is a working Benedictine monastery, set in beautiful and peaceful grounds. It is home to a community of Benedictine monks who dedicate their life to prayer, contemplation and community life.

The centre of the monastery is the private cloister that surrounds a garden, whose cultivation parallels the spiritual work of allowing God to make the soul beautiful just as he makes the flowers grow. Essentially it is a hidden life. That does not mean, however, that you can’t see any of it.

The Abbey has a fascinating history. Founded in 1132, the old abbey was dissolved more than 400 years later by Henry VIII. The ruins remain visible to this day.

In 1907, French architect and monk Paul Bellot designed the abbey church and monastery combining French and Moorish architectural styles. The church was made with Flemish bricks involving around 300 Island workmen. Work commenced in April 1911 and the church was dedicated on October 12 1912. Quarr abbey now celebrates 100 years.

Quarr Abbey and the old Cistercian site was selected for inclusion on the 2012 World Monument Watch, which calls for international attention to the challenges facing cultural heritage sites around the world.

Quarr Abbey Pilgrim's Chapel

With free entry to the grounds, you can visit the church and pilgrim’s chapel, pop along to the art gallery and bookshop, or simply wander the grounds to experience the tranquil atmosphere of the monastery.

Sail the good ship HMS Bestival for their 10th Anniversary



HMS Bestival

The Bestival will be celebrating it’s 10th anniversary this year, and to celebrate they will be beating the drum for a decade of dancing on the Isle of Wight by inviting everybody to jump aboard HMS Bestival with their 2013 fancy dress theme!

HMS Bestival skipper and all-new Isle of Wight amabassador Rob da Bank said;

“All the nice girls love a sailor and all the boys love a mermaid. Think deckhands, anchors, beach parties, Moby Dick, tattooed ladies, Titanic, shipwrecks, Hawaii, Treasure Island, rum bars in scuzzy ports, message in a bottle, the crow’s nest, sea legends, monster breakers and tall-tales of life on the ocean waves. Nautical but nice! There’s no better time to join the good ship HMS Bestival and our trusty crew of merrimakers than now with Crimbo approaching, so get your Golden Early Bird Tickets and prepare to set sail me hearties!”


Rob Da Bank

In addition to the theme announcement the good folks at Bestival have announced a special Early Bird Christmas promotion to thank everyone for their support over the last ten years. If you buy a ticket to the Bestival 2013 before January 1st 2013 you will get the ticket at the 2012 price AND you will get an exclusive memento golden souvenir ticket! Early Bird tickets can also be bought through the weekly payment plan, so it’s even easier to join the party!


Even better news for Isle of Wight music is the announcement of the Bestival as “Best Major Festival” at the 2012 UK Festival awards. On top of that the Bestival Saturday night headliners New Order picked up the award for “Best Headliner”, and declared how much they enjoyed the the Bestival in their speech!

 Bestival 2012 site 2 (c) Vic Frankowski