After forty-two years of providing fun and memories for generations of families, Blackgang Chine’s Dinosaur Land, filled with much loved static dinosaurs, is undergoing a major reinvention, taking adventures with dinosaurs to another level, as it prepares to open a new and exciting attraction, ‘Restricted Area 5’, this Spring 2014.

 Enter through the gates of ‘Restricted Area 5’ at your own risk!    Marvel at the gargantuan scale of the new life-size moving dinosaurs and encounter the most realistic experience since time began.  The journey through the ‘Restricted Area 5’ enclosure will bring you up close and personal with dinosaurs of all types including an Argentinosaurus, bigger than a double decker bus and possibly the largest animatronic T-Rex in the country!

Alexander Dabell, Managing Director of Vectis Ventures Limited which owns Blackgang Chine, said, “Blackgang Chine has become an iconic tourist destination over the years and the dinosaurs in our themed Dinosaur Land have created many fond memories for the generations of families who have visited.   What we wanted to do was take that fun experience to another level and introduce the next generation of dinosaurs for our next generation of visitors to enjoy and marvel at.   I believe we have achieved that with ‘Restricted Area 5’, a high security enclosure which contains the most colossal and incredible life-sizing moving dinosaurs.   A visit is a must – but only if you’re brave enough!”

The 2014 season will also see the return of Blackgang Chine’s resident dinosaur celebrities, ‘Shadow & Sheila’, the popular Dinosaur Days and, new for 2014, a spectacular evening dinosaur event during the summer holidays.

To find out more about the new ‘Restricted Area 5’ and events taking place at Blackgang Chine, visit www.blackgangchine.com


For further information contact Michelle Russell : 01983 732123 / 07929 847665 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk


 Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) is pleased to announce that a marketing group from the Island’s British Holiday & Home Parks Association (BH&HPA) are the latest sector to join the tourism industry Board.

With a product range that includes static caravans, camping, touring, motorhomes and holiday flats, the eight participating holiday parks that have joined the board under the BH&HPA sub group banner are Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park, Cheverton Copse Holiday Park/Heathfield Park, Grange Farm, The Old Mill Park, The Orchards Holiday Park, Sandhills Park, Waverley Park Holiday Centre and Whitefield Forest Touring Park.

In 2012, VIOW reported that tourism visitor spending has pumped an extra £20 million into the Isle of Wight economy this summer.   The headline figure in the third quarter report for the Island, put together by Tourism South East (TSE), also showed the highest number of short-break (one to four nights) visitors in 8 years – 37% more than 2012. 

The news came near the end of the first year that David Thornton had been at the helm of Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), the Island’s tourism organisation responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Island. 

However, not all accommodation sectors saw a dramatic improvement last year and many of the Island’s holiday parks have set up a marketing group and are now working with the DMO to see what can be done collectively to improve the situation.    

Research shows that when it comes to making holiday choices, women are the key decision makers and as part of their spring marketing campaign, VIOW is running a series of printed and digital advertisements in national women’s magazines focussing on “small and friendly, independent holiday parks”.  

David Thornton, Chief Executive, VIOW said:  “In 2013, the static caravan and chalet market, which represents as much as a quarter of the Island’s bedstock, didn’t do as well as other areas and the Board recognised that it needed to work with this sector of the market to help it attract more visitors.  

“These first-class holiday parks, independently owned and operated where the personality of each property is its key strength, will form the focus of the new advertising campaign”.

In addition, a new landing page for the parks promoting a range of value-added deals will be launched on the Visit Isle of Wight website to coincide with the advertising campaign.

Tim Gray of The Orchards Park has been elected BH&HPA DMO representative, while Cherry Sanders of Appuldurcombe Gardens Holiday Park will attend monthly Marketing Panel meetings.

Tim said: “The Island has some of the best holiday parks in the UK and we are looking forward to working with Visit Isle of Wight and helping to market the Island as a first-class holiday destination”.


For further information, please contact:  Sue Emmerson, Tel: 01983-201048, 07766 705672.

E-mail: sue@visitwight.org


Notes to Editors:

Images attached – left to right:   Simon Dabell, Chairman, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, Tim Gray, The Orchards Holiday Park and David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, at Cheverton Copse Holiday Park.

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

The British Holiday & Home Parks Association created by park owners in 1950 is the only UK organisation established exclusively to serve and represent the interests of the British parks industry. Membership is made up of the owners and managers of park home estates, touring and tenting parks, caravan holiday home parks, chalet parks and all types of self-catering accommodation.  http://www.bhhpa.org.uk/


Come and build a SandmanSnowman on the beaches of the Isle of Wight during school half-term

The Isle of Wight will be well and truly “open for business” to visitors during the upcoming February school half-term, and is able to offer a host of activities and events…including the fabulous SandmanSnowman event.

Scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 23rd from 10.30am, the sand-sculpting event at Small Hope Beach in Shanklin doffs its Santa’s Hat to winter – as hot chocolate and carrots are dished-out in equal measure to anyone who attempts to build their own SandmanSnowman on the sands of Shanklin.

Elsewhere over the school holidays, ‘Electric Woods’ on the Isle of Wight comprises a series of evening events, featuring a spectacle of themed light, colour and sound in a five-acre pocket of ancient woodland at Robin Hill Adventure Park & Gardens.

First-up this year is Spirit of the Orient – a stunning spectacle of Oriental themed light, sound and colour to mark the coming of the Chinese New Year during February’s school half term holiday.  Set to run from Friday, February 14th to 23rd (5pm-9pm) entry costs £7.50/£6.50(concessions).  For more details, visit www.electricwoods.co.uk.

English Heritage, meanwhile, will be gearing-up two of the Island’s top attraction for another busy year of activity with special half-term events at both Osborne House and Carisbrooke Castle.

Costumes and Crafts’ at Osborne House, for example, will give kids the chance to dress-up in Victorian costume and take part in craft activities under the watchful eye of Osborne House’s Governess from Monday, February 17th to 21st, between 11am and 3pm.  Members will gain free admission, while normal admission prices are £13.40 for adults, £8.00 for children aged 5-15, £12.10 concessions, and £38.80 for a family ticket.

The ‘Castle Quest’ activity at Carisbrooke, meanwhile, will take place every day from Saturday 15th to Sunday 23rd, between 10am and 4pm.  English Heritage members can once again gain free access, while paid-for admission prices are £7.70 for adults, £4.60 for children, £6.90 concessions, and £20 for a family ticket.  Visit http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/southeast/isleofwight/ for further details.

Animal antics on the Island are available at both Amazon World Zoo Park (http://www.amazonworld.co.uk) and the Owl & Monkey Haven (http://www.owlandmonkeyhaven.co.uk) this school half term.  Home to the Isle of Wight’s largest collection of exotic animals, Amazon World Zoo Park will will give visitors the chance to get up close and personal with anteaters, meerkats, penguins and toucans; while the Owl & Monkey Haven recently announced the arrival of Ren, a critically endangered black and white ruffed lemur, and six Barbary Apes to its collection for 2014.

Still very much focusing on the younger visitor, Quay Arts in Newport will be telling the story of Arthur’s Dreamboat in its theatre during the half term holidays in a show that is suitable for 2-7 year olds and their families (www.quayarts.org).

The February half-term holiday is also, of course, one of the first opportunities of the year to visit the Island which provided much of the inspiration for the Christmas blockbuster movie, Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie

With the half-term break now less than month away, Wightlink (wightlink.co.uk) has come up with a trio of family day trip ideas, all under £70 for four people, including attraction entry and day return car ferry travel.  They also have tips for family-friendly accommodation on the Island, where short stays during half term start from £389 for four people (£97.25pp), including return car ferry travel from Portsmouth or Lymington.

Red Funnel is also helping to keep kids entertained this half-term by offering up to 1/3 off tickets to attractions including the Isle of Wight Zoo, Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Dinosaur Isle and more, when booked with Red Funnel ferry crossings.  Day return vehicle crossings cost from £39.50 for a car and up to seven passengers.  For more details, visit www.redfunnel.co.uk.

Combined Hovercraft and attractions tickets are also available with Hovertravel: http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/attractions/isle-of-wight/index.php.

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



 For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672

E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

Newport Jazz Weekend (18-20 July 2014) – First Acts Announced

The organisers of Newport Jazz Weekend have announced the first acts to appear in July 2014. The Jazz Weekend has gained a further major sponsor with support now from Red Funnel, alongside Wightlink and the Isle of Wight County Press. The 2013 event gained coverage and praise from all around the UK, and the organisers are now looking to top their previous success. The 2014 event takes place from 18-20 July and the first three acts have been confirmed.

On Saturday 19 July, there will be an appearance from the award-winning New Orleans gospel/blues outfit Tipitina who have made a couple of very popular appearances on the Island in recent years.         Earlier on the same day, the Bateman Brothers’ “Tribute to Louis Armstrong” will perform. The seven-piece outfit are highly in demand at Festivals across the UK and regularly sell out venues such as Ronnie Scott’s in London.

Sunday 20 July will see the Nigel Price Organ Trio appear at the Apollo Theatre. Nigel appeared last year with Georgia Mancio and is one of the leading jazz guitarists in the UK. His trio includes drummer Matt Home and Pete Whittaker on Hammond organ.

The remainder of the line-up will be announced in December and January with tickets on sale from February onwards. Regular updates will appear on the website www.newportjazzweekend.co.uk

Event Director Jim Thorn said “our aim is to keep a similar formula to previous years, with a varied line-up touching on all styles of jazz. There will be a couple of experiments and a slightly expanded programme because we expect even greater support and interest from both the Island and the mainland”.

Any enquiries, or offers of support or help, can be made via email to njweekend@aol.co.uk


Media enquiries:  jimthorn1@aol.com




Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) has announced a number of significant improvements, updates and enhancements to its award-winning website (www.visitisleofwight.co.uk).

During the summer months, the site welcomed over 300,000 unique visitors from across the globe, a huge increase compared with the old Islandbreaks and GoWight sites, with traffic continuing to break previous records – even out of season.

The official Isle of Wight visitor website is now more popular than many of its competitors, including Devon, Wiltshire and Hampshire, and during August last year even bypassed the top UK destinations Dorset and The Lake District. 

Earlier this year, the VIOW website homepage also took first place at a national website and brochure awards conference, beating Cornwall and the English Riviera into second and third place respectively.

The award sponsored by Carrier Direct Marketing, part of the Carrier Group, was awarded at this year’s British Destinations Annual Conference held in Southend on Thursday, 4th July.

Ali Bruce of The Carrier Group commented at the time: “This is an attractive looking website with a great colour scheme and good use of photography.  The advertising section works well and is very easy to use and extremely pleasing to the eye”.

In 2013, VIOW spent just over £1 million promoting the Island and web advert income was an important part of that fund enabling the DMO to pay for TV and cinema advertising as well as a range of marketing and exhibitions work carried out by VIOW last year.   This marketing fund also paid for press office services generating over £1.8M of new press coverage in the UK and abroad, which all helped to drive traffic to the website.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, who has written to all website contributors thanking them for their support and detailing the raft of benefits available in 2014 said:  “Thanks to the helpful feedback from current industry advertisers, VIOW is pleased to make it possible for even more businesses to be seen by tens of thousands of unique visitors and potential customers.

“Every pound spent with us is reinvested in marketing the Isle of Wight and matched by the Isle of Wight Council and our Solent travel partners – helping us to attract even more visitor to the Island”.

Some of the changes to the website which will be made over the course of this month include:

  • The removal of commission payments.
  • An overhaul of the navigation system to allow quicker and easier searching and browsing of all web pages, properties and attractions.
  • More choices and options: businesses need only pay for the tools and functions they need rather than having to buy packages.
  • The introduction of several new tools to enhance online profile.

More information about the new web pages, which start at just £110+VAT (if purchased before February 14th) can be found on the industry website, www.visitwight.org     Members of the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce will once again be entitled to a 50% discount.

There is also an opportunity to find out more at a tourism industry presentation event entitled “The Big Ticket” which will take place at the Quay Arts centre in Newport on Wednesday 22nd January.   Due to demand, a second, afternoon session will now run from 2-4.30pm and tickets (two per organisation) are available on a first come, first served basis by calling Quay Arts on 01983 822490.


For further information, please contact:  Sue Emmerson, Tel: 01983-201048, 07766 705672.

E-mail: sue@visitwight.org


Notes to editors:

Image attached (left to right): David Thornton, CEO, and Oli Whitehurst, Digital Content Manager, Visit Isle of Wight, who is holding the Website Homepage British Destinations Awards Cup. 

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

The 2013 Brochure Front Cover and Website Homepage British Destinations Awards sponsored by Carrier Direct Marketing took place on Thursday the 4th July in Southend-on-Sea.  The awards, which have been running since 2007, were presented by Alistair Bruce, Business Development Manager for the Carrier Group and Gordon Marsden MP, President of British Destinations at the Annual Conference Awards Dinner. 

The judging criteria for the website homepage are based on the following categories: Design, Content and Ease us Use.

British Destinations was formed on 1 April 2011 from within the existing membership of the former British Resorts and Destinations Association (BRADA) and former Destination Performance UK (DP UK). The new larger and more effective, national body operates in the manner of a trade association for local authority sponsored tourism, tourism partnerships and for the various forms of public, private and public/private sector partnership-based destination management. It also encourages performance management and best practice at destination level. http://www.britishdestinations.co.uk/