A Christmas Tree Festival in a 14th century village, Christmas carnivals winding their way through seaside towns, Christmas markets in historic settings and the opportunity to pick up unusual seasonal gifts, this year why not treat your loved ones to a cracker of a Christmas on the Isle of Wight?

Lots of Island towns and villages will be celebrating the festive season with delightful decorations, lights and markets.    The annual Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival (5 to 8 December) will create a magical atmosphere for visitors who can view the beautiful exhibits of over a hundred themed and decorated trees and take part in a brilliant range of festive events in and around the historic hamlets of Brighstone and Mottistone.   Take time to visit Brighstone’s National Trust shop and museum housed in a row of attractive thatched cottages – especially on Sunday the 8th when NT staff will be serving complimentary mulled wine and mince pies.


Or step into a Christmas wonderland at Osborne’s showpiece Victorian Christmas event also held over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of December.  There’ll be Victorian carols to sing along with, a magical merry-go-round, traditional sideshow games, hot roasted chestnuts and of course Queen Victoria will be there, all under a frosting of perfect white ‘snow’. 

A Victorian strong man show will wow the crowds and there’ll be special 30 minute performances of A Christmas Carol. For the first time, there’ll be Victorian festive falconry displays on the Durbar lawn and on Sunday, author Jeremy Archer will be reading from his book ‘A Royal Christmas’. After taking the kids to visit Father Christmas, you can pick up some charming and unique gifts that you won’t find on the high street and enjoy the house dressed in its Christmas finery,


Another seasonal option is Ryde’s Dickensian Christmas event (7/8 December) with strolling performers, singers, actors,  a street circus and a Christmas Grotto in the Royal Victoria Arcade Museum and Heritage Centre.   At 11am on Saturday 7th, Queen Victoria and her entourage will be getting in the Christmas spirit with a tour of this Victorian & Regency Town.

Warm up afterwards with a delicious mug of hot chocolate at the Chocolate Apothecary, a former Victorian chemist’s on Ryde seafront  (http://www.chocolateapothecary.co.uk/).

Not only is the shop – which has been dubbed “A chocoholic’s heaven” by TripAdvisor  – filled with delicious hand-made chocolates, but the owner, Sue, also supplies Briddlesford Lodge Farm shop, Brading Roman Villa, Made On the Isle of Wight, IW Steam Railway and makes special garlic flavoured chocolate for the Garlic Farm and lavender flavoured truffles and fondants for Isle of Wight Lavender. If you want something individual for someone special, the Chocolate Apothecary can make you chocolate delicacies to order

More food heaven can be found at Cowes Christmas Festival on 14th and Sunday 15th December, which features a food theatre with demos from top local chefs and talks from IW producers.  There will also be stalls selling Island food and drink, arts & crafts, plus children’s face painting, live music and Santa’s Grotto.    Father Christmas will also be returning by horse and carriage to the Needles Park and to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’ Santa Specials where visitors will be able to meet Santa’s Alpcas and enjoy a bustling Christmas market.




The annual Ventnor Boxing Day swim (Thursday 26th December) when 100 brave swimmers/dippers including children is a sight to behold.  The dip is at midday prompt – fancy dress is optional – with seafront pubs providing food and hot toddies to swimmers and onlookers alike. 

For four days between 27th & 30th December you can also enjoy the majesty of Robin Hill in mid-winter.  To celebrate the launch of Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie on 20th December, the park will be re-opening its popular “Jurassic” trail (http://www.robin-hill.com/).  Or take part in one of Dinosaur Isle’s popular guided fossil walks which are running throughout December: http://www.dinosaurisle.com/newhomepage.aspx

In Newport, perfect Christmas gifts and craftwork can be purchased at the Quay Arts Craft Shop. Every year their Christmas selection flies off the shelves with a choice of over 60 artist’s works for sale ranging from wooden sculptures, silver handcrafted jewellery to fun-packed handmade educational children’s items (www.quayarts.org).

David Thornton, CEO Visit Isle of Wight said:  “There’s nowhere quite like the Isle of Wight for some good old-fashioned, Christmas cheer.

“Local communities come together to create a truly unique experience and this can be enjoyed by everyone who chooses to spend this special time of the year on the Island.”   

For those visitors who would like to attend midnight mass, there are plenty of village churches offering Christmas Eve services.   As an alternative, the monks of Quarr Abbey will be providing midnight mass to local people and visitors alike at the Island’s Benedictine monastery on 24 December, as well as a mass at 10am on Christmas Day.   Visit www.quarrabbey.co.uk for further details.  

With regular ferry services from Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington and Southsea and an abundance of special Christmas accommodation packages, the Isle of Wight presents the ideal opportunity for a wonderful Christmas break for the whole family.   

For a full schedule of festival events, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/christmas


For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672      E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Ryde’s Dickensian Christmas event (7/8 December):

The highlight of the festivities is a Royal visit on Saturday the 7th at 11.30am giving shoppers, visitors, well- wishers and shop workers a chance to show off their

Christmas spirit whilst the Royal party takes a tour of our Victorian & Regency Town

For more information, please contact Ryde Business Assn: carol_rba@ymail.com





Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and VisitEngland (VE) are holding a tourism industry presentation event entitled “The Big Tourism Ticket”, which will take place on Wednesday 22nd January at the Quay Arts Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight.   

Primarily intended to stimulate engagement and debate with the wider tourism industry on the Island, The Big Tourism Ticket will be used to update the industry about significant changes to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk, share UK and Island research, and announce new campaign themes for 2014.

The half-day event is free and takes place between 10am and 1pm and will be followed by a buffet lunch and networking opportunity.    There will be a number of short industry presentations, including “Ways to grow your business” and “Top social media tips and ideas” and a Q&A session.

In addition, VE will be there to share the latest UK visitor economy research data, while VIOW’s new Sustainable Transport Marketing Executive, Tom Ransom, will talk about a new “Cyclists Welcome” scheme.    John Allen, the Chairman of the Chamber’s tourism advisory board will also be presenting on the day.

Guests on the day will also hear how the heritage and arts & culture sectors are now working alongside tourism to grow the overall appeal of the UK’s number one holiday Island.

David Thornton, Visit Isle of Wight’s CEO, said: “At this event we will present a review of our first year and launch our 2014 marketing opportunities.

“It’s a great opportunity for anyone with a vested interest in visitors to meet the destination management stakeholders groupahead of the Chamber’s Tourism Workshop day in March, hear how we can work together to capitalise on the Island’s tourism brand and help us mould our plans for the future.”

Tickets are available on a first-come, first served basis and any industry members wishing to attend this event, should call Quay Arts on 01983 822490 to secure tickets for the event.


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, tel. 01983 201048, e-mail sue@visitwight.org


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 (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





An Isle of Wight tourism business has been awarded a regional accolade at this year’s Beautiful South Awards, hosted and organised by Tourism South East (TSE).

Corner Cottage, Nettlecombe Farm Holidays in Whitwell, has scooped the Gold award for Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year.  After months of anticipation, nearly 300 expectant guests from tourism businesses across the South East gathered at The Felbridge Hotel in West Sussex to hear the results and share in the winners’ success.

The Beautiful South awards, hosted and organised by TSE, recognise exceptional levels of customer service and dedication to raising standards in the tourism industry.  Now running for over twenty years, the awards celebrate the very best the South East has to offer for all types of tourism businesses including B&Bs, hotels, holiday parks, self-catering, visitor attractions as well as recognising those businesses that have gone the extra mile on accessibility, sustainability and great customer service.

Nettlecombe, which has been in the Morris family for over 100 years,is a working farm that offers luxurious self-catering holiday accommodation, coarse fishing, yoga retreats and function barn hire.

Proprietor, Jose Morris said: “We are delighted to have received this recognition for the Island.”

“Our motto at Nettlecombe is to continually improve our facilities and services for our guests to exceed their expectations. Receiving this award has not only given us a sense of pride but has also led to an influx of bookings for 2014.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “I would like to offer my congratulations to Nettlecombe Farm and look forward to seeing them on the national stage at the Enjoy England Awards for Excellence in April.

“Planning for next year has already begun and Visit Isle of Wight is keen to encourage our best local businesses to take part.  Details of how to get involved will be posted on our industry website (www.visitwight.org) in the New Year.”     

View all the winners and finalists at http://www.beautifulsouthawards.co.uk/.


For further information, please contact:   Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Notes to editors:

Attached image of  Amy Shepherdly (Jose Morris’ youngest daughter), Nettlecombe Farm, receiving the Gold award for Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year at the awards ceremony held at The Felbridge Hotel in West Sussex on Wednesday evening, 27th November 2013.



TSE Chairman, Ken Robinson CBE

Managing Director, Tourism South East, Peter Colling

Nettlecombe Farm, Amy Shepherdly

Nettlecombe Farm, Carrie Wallis (friend of Amy Shepherdly)

Travel journalist and broadcaster Alison Rice


List of Finalists by Accolade

Business Tourism Award

Sponsored by Shopper Anonymous

Gold     Blenheim Palace

Silver   Marwell Hotel

Silver   Macdonald Windsor Hotel

Highly Commended     Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa


Access for All Tourism Award

Sponsored by Tourism for All

Gold Radisson Blu Edwardian Guildford Hotel

Gold Beaulieu Enterprises Limited

Highly Commended        Jurys Inn Brighton


Bed and Breakfast, Guest Accommodation of the Year

Sponsored by Barclaycard

Gold     Kester House Bed & Breakfast

Silver   Colliers Farm Bed and Breakfast

Highly Commended    The Old Vine

Highly Commended    Five Arrows Hotel


Tourism Experience of the Year

Gold     Weber Grill Academy

Silver   The Chapel Down Winery

Silver   Knights’ Glamping

Highly Commended    Bill Spectre’s Ghost Trails


Small Visitor Attraction of the Year

Sponsored by Flagship Consulting

Gold     Chiltern Open Air Museum

Silver   Shepherd Neame Visitor Centre

Highly Commended    Didcot Railway Centre

Highly Commended    Go Ape Black Park


Tourism Event of the Year

Gold     Beaulieu International Autojumble

Silver   The Hampshire Food Festival

Silver   Wallingford Food Festival

Highly Commended    Lingfield Park Resort – Hooves & Grooves


Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

Sponsored by Tozers Solicitors

Gold     Hoburne Bashley

Silver   Crowhurst Park

Highly Commended    Away Resorts Ltd

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Sponsored by Take One Media

Gold     Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Silver   Marwell Zoo

Silver   Spinnaker Tower

Highly Commended    The Beaney, House of Art and Knowledge


Tourism Pub of the Year

Sponsored by OBC The Accountants

Gold     The Feathered Nest

Silver   The Old Drum

Highly Commended    The Farm @ Friday Street

Large Hotel of the Year

Sponsored by Quality in Tourism

Gold     Coworth Park

Silver   Lainston House Hotel

Silver   Aviator – a hotel by TAG

Highly Commended    Tylney Hall Hotel


Outstanding Customer Service Award

Sponsored by Welcome to Excellence

Gold     West Marden Farm Accommodation – Carole Edney

Silver   Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa – Colin Parkes

Highly Commended    The Feathered Nest – Carl Morgan

Highly Commended    Tony Read Kent Life


Sustainable Tourism Award

Sponsored by Shepherd Neame

Gold     Jurys Inn Brighton

Gold     Oakley Court Hotel

Silver   Mapledurham Estate

Highly Commended    Burford Visitor Information Centre


Small Hotel of the Year

Gold     The Montagu Arms Hotel

Silver   Fallowfields Hotel and Restaurant

Silver   Pelham House

Silver   The White Horse Hotel and Brasserie

Highly Commended    Cloud Hotel


Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Sponsored by Anytime Booking

Gold     West Marden Farm Accommodation

Gold     Corner Cottage, Nettlecombe Farm Holidays

Silver   South Winchester Lodges


Flavour of the South East

Sponsored by Whitstable Bay

Gold     The Feathered Nest

Silver   Aviator – a hotel by TAG

Highly Commended    The Old Dunnings Mill


Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Sponsored by Tourist Network

Gold     Maidstone Visitor Information at Maidstone Museum

Silver   Guildford Tourist Information Centre

Highly Commended    Kingstonfirst


VisitEngland Awards

In addition to winning in the South East, the top four businesses from most categories have been selected as the Beautiful South’s representatives in the national VisitEngland awards and will be asked to submit a new and different entry form for the VisitEngland awards (www.visitenglandawards.org).


Title sponsors:  Shepherd Neame

Sponsors and Partners:  Tozers Solicitors, Tasty Marketing, Shopper Anonymous, Barclaycard, Tourist Network, obc the accountants, Take One Media, Flagship Consulting, Quality in Tourism, Welcome to Excellence, Anytime Booking, Whitstable Bay, Tourism for All, Pyramid Audio Visual, The Felbridge Hotel.


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