Isle of Wight Walking Festival:

“Four Weddings and a Baby”


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One of the few walking festivals in Britain with a “Speed Dating Walk” on its schedule, the 2013 Isle of Wight Walking Festival will take place between May 4th and 19th.

Now in its 15th year, the UK’s biggest walking festival will take participants back in time and following in the footsteps of everyone from Alfred Lord Tennyson to Jimi Hendrix; on the trail of everything from dinosaurs to the prefect dawn chorus; and heading everywhere from Queen Victoria’s Osborne House to a non-stop walk around the entire 72-miles coastal path in 24 hours!

But one of the most fascinating of all the walks on a programme of more than 300 walks, and in the year that marks the 50th anniversary year of the Island’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), is the enduringly popular Speed Dating Walk which has so far resulted in four weddings and a baby…with a fifth wedding about to take place in April 2013.


Attracting single walkers from the full extent of the British Isles the walk aims to create long-lasting friendships between like-minded people, but also gives participants the chance to meet a perfect partner.  The start and finish of the Speed Dating Walk in 2013 on Sunday, May 5th, will be at the romantic location of the Fisherman’s Cottage on the Shanklin Esplanade.

The full programme of walks, and registration forms, can be found on the Isle of Wight Walking Festival’s website  It features some old favourites, as well as some new walks.

Over half of the Island is recognised as an AONB.  And with its 60-miles of dramatic Heritage Coastline and more than 500-miles of well-maintained and signposted footpaths the Island has long been recognised as a walker’s paradise.

One of its biggest fans, Mark King from Level 42, says: “As an Islander born-and-bred, I’m especially proud of our stunningly beautiful scenery, and what better way to enjoy it than walking the seemingly endless miles of footpaths and bridleways that criss-cross this little corner of heaven.”

For further details about the Isle of Wight, visit

More great acts confirmed for the Isle of Arts Festival 2013

The Isle of Arts Festival is a 3-day festival sponsored by Red Funnel and celebrates music, film, drama, art, photography, literature, comedy and much, much more.

Using different venues in Ventnor, there will be one or more featured headline events each day, supported by exhibitions and cultural events. The festival will also showcase local Isle of Wight talent and give Islanders of all ages and backgrounds the chance to join in workshops and art projects.

We are delighted to announce that Worbey & Farrell and their piano pyrotechnics, The Massive Violins & Stuart Maconie have all been added to a star studded line up that already features the comedian Alan Davies and The Skatonics, who are rapidly making a name for themselves as one of the best SKA bands in the UK.

Broadcaster and travel writer Stuart Maconie will be performing on Friday 19 April, the opening evening of the Isle of Arts Festival, in a show that tells some of the stories behind his twin passions – music and fell walking.

Also added to the line-up is Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell who will astound you as they make the piano sound like you have never heard it before.  They have already entertained audiences all over the globe with their barnstorming blend of sparky comedy and utterly sensational piano playing. And now you can enjoy them at Isle of Arts on Saturday 20 April.

These internationally acclaimed concert pianists can imitate the tones of a Spanish guitar, make their piano resound with the pyrotechnics of Tchaikovsky’s 1812, or pulsate with the passions of the masters of jazz.

Elsewhere on the Saturday programme, The Massive Violins will deliver rock and pop classics in their own dynamic and innovative style.

From Abba to Elvis, Beach Boys to Britney Spears, with some unexpected numbers in between, this virtuoso band have been packing out London venues and garnering rave reviews about their thrilling live experience.


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Details were announced today regarding a potential new leisure development for the Isle of Wight (IOW). The team behind the UK’s first inland surfing facility – The Wave:Bristol – has revealed that it is in discussions regarding building The Wave:IOW.

The Wave brings together surfing, nature and education to create a brilliant day out for everyone. At the centre of the plans is a lake in which cutting edge technology generates perfect peeling waves of up to 1.6 metres high, at a rate of approx 70 waves per hour – with room for both experienced surfers and those trying it for the first time. But it’s not just about surfing. Expertly designed botanical and healing gardens surrounding the lake will be created to provide a wonderful experience in their own right.

Following a market review carried out by Colliers International, the team behind The Wave were approached last year by Wightlink and the Isle of Wight Council about the possibility of creating a site on the island. Both organisations have provided some initial funding to help establish the viability of the scheme. Co-founder of The Wave, Tobin Coles, comments:

“We were already planning to build another ‘Wave’ elsewhere in the UK and were keen to look at locations on the south coast. The Isle of Wight is a great fit for The Wave – it is rural, has a resident surfing community but also attracts a good influx of tourists every year. We are in discussions with a number of key organisations, such as the Council and Wightlink, regarding the project but can now confirm that it is definitely our intention to create The Wave:IOW.”

Stuart Love, Strategic Director of Economy & Environment for the Isle of Wight Council said: “The Island has long been known for its outdoor attractions and as a place where visitors can participate in a diverse range of outdoor sports and activities. We are delighted, therefore, that The Wave team views the Island as a place for investment in a facility that would enhance our reputation as a tourist destination as well as offering a new amenity for residents.

“Given that any development would require planning permission, we are continuing to work with The Wave team to help them put forward a sustainable planning application.”

Clive Tilley, Commercial Director of Wightlink, is a key supporter of the project. He said: “We believe that The Wave:IOW has great potential to extend the appeal of the Island to leisure visitors and presents us with an unmissable opportunity to significantly increase visitor numbers.  Not only will it offer a superb day out for visitors from the mainland catchment area, but it will also stimulate more demand for short breaks by holidaymakers from further afield – a key objective for all of us involved in the Island’s tourism.”

An element that cemented The Wave team’s decision to come to the Isle of Wight is the ‘Ecoisland’ initiative.  Its vision of achieving sustainability in terms of energy, water, food and fuel over the coming years has a real synergy with what The Wave is trying to do.

Co-founder, Nick Hounsfield explains: “Sustainability is at the heart of our project and we have brought Chris Hines MBE on board to ensure we ‘walk the talk’ in terms of sustainability. The Wave will be building the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability into the DNA of the project. In simple terms this means we’ll minimise our environmental foot-print, maximise our social impact and be financially prudent, whilst ensuring our output of waves, fun and relaxation is as great as possible!”

David Thornton, Chief Executive of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, commented: “Over the next few years we have set challenging targets for the Isle of Wight to increase its share of the domestic and international tourism market.  With the tremendous increase in interest in activity-based holidays, The Wave:IOW is an ideal vehicle for the Island and will provide a unique new attraction that can help us to achieve those objectives. Visit Isle of Wight pledges its full support to The Wave:IOW and will work actively to use the full spectrum of promotional activities to make it a success from the word go.”

Tobin concludes: “We are really excited about the prospect of The Wave:IOW and are already assessing a number of sites around the island. We hope to make an announcement regarding a preferred location in the near future. It’s really important to us that The Wave is open to everyone – residents and tourists of all ages, all backgrounds and all abilities. We will be consulting widely and look forward to getting people’s feedback, this is a critical part of the process and will be used to shape the future of the project on the Island.”

More information about The Wave can be found at

Isle of Arts launches its 2013 festival line-up with Alan Davies and more…


Alan Davies, the star of QI and Jonathan Creek, brings his long-awaited stand-up show to

the Isle of Wight, to kick off the evening entertainments in the festival marquee on Saturday
20 April.
Alan’s acute brand of surreal observational story telling has arrived to much acclaim. The
tour that started at the Edinburgh Fringe last year has been honed, refined and perfected in
places such as the Sydney Opera House, Auckland Town Hall and London’s Hackney
Empire. And now we’ve got him in Ventnor!
The Skatonics, who are rapidly making a name for themselves as one of the best Ska bands
in the UK, will be unleashing some classic sounds from the 1960s and two-tone era of the
70s and 80s to bring the ultimate two-tone experience to the late slot in the marquee on
Saturday night.
Elsewhere in the programme, we will have an immersive and hilarious treat for fans of Jane
Austen and improvised comedy alike with Austentatious: An Improvised Novel, a comedy
drama in the style of one of Britain’s best-loved novelists is based entirely on audience

Isle of Wight Walking Festival Update

Walking festival Freshwater Beach

The Isle of Wight Walking Festival this year celebrates its 15th Anniversary! To celebrate they will be having a packed events calendar of over 300 walks, many of which have already been announced.

Some of the walks on offer include historical walks, like “From Ambles to Rambles where you can follow in the footsteps The Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Robert Hooke, John Milne, Queen Victoria, Jimmy Hendrix, Julia Margaret Cameron.

There are walks for all ages and abilities – Children’s walks, Dinosaur walks, Walks from Rails, Ramblers, walks, Exploration walks, History walks, Nature walks, Foodie walks, Nordic walking, Adventures, Dog Walks, Dawn Chorus walks to name but a few.

This year the festival organisers have introduced a new experience for walkers, allowing you to take an Alpaca for a walk in the beautiful countryside in the West Wight.  For those who like adventure there is an opportunity for a Survival Trek with overnight camping, and the Island’s famous Garlic Farm is now offering a great walking experience with a garlic packed lunch.

The Isle of Wight this year celebrates its 50th year of being classed as an “Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty” and there is no better way to see this than with the “Round the Island Walk”. This 72 mile trek can either be done in the epic challenge of a  24 hour walk, or as a more leisurely 3 day version!


As part of the launch weekend, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival organisers are inviting walkers to meet the leaders and sponsors at the Hambrough Hotel in Ventnor.  This informal gathering gives you a chance to relax in a five-star boutique hotel, with its stunning views out to sea.  We are giving you a chance to learn about the walking festival walks and heritage of the Island during a series of short talks from a selection of leaders.  Refreshments will be available to purchase.  Full details will be posted on the


With a fantastic success rate that now includes 4 weddings and 1 baby, the Walking Festival “Speed Dating Walks” continue to gain momentum! These walks attract single walkers from across Great Britain, and have created many love matches and great friendships during their time, including the most recent wedding which took place during the 2012 Walking Festival!

Registration forms are available on  The start and finish of the walk will be at the romantic location of the Fisherman’s Cottage Shanklin Esplanade.  Sunday 5th May 10.30 am start.


Don’t forget as part of the launch of the Walking Festival Brian Blessed will be returning to the Isle of Wight and appearing at Medina Theatre on Sunday 5th May. The actor, adventurer and explorer, famed for his unmistakable voice appeared in 2010 and sold out the venue, so book early to avoid disappointment!