May Bank Holiday Weekend on the Isle of Wight: there’s never been more choice!

Famous names, famous faces.  Walking, cycling, sailing, and plenty of interesting places.  There may never be more choice for visitors to the Isle of Wight, than the first Bank Holiday Weekend of the year…

The Isle of Arts festival in Ventor has now established itself as a major four-day celebration of music, comedy, drama, film, literature and the visual arts – and this year’s headline guests, appearing between May 2nd and 5th will include BBC presenter and gardener Monty Don; Clint’s son Kyle Eastwood (with his band); writer and agony aunt Virginia Ironside; poet Roger McGough; the Tenors UnLimited; the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; and US comedian Rich Hall.  As well as the Edinburgh Fringe sensation Luke Kempner in “The Only Way Is Downton”.

Tickets can be booked in advance, and further details can be found at

Famous for its Speed Dating Walk, which has so far resulted in five weddings and a baby, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival ( is this year scheduled to run from May 3rd to 18th.  Now in its 16th year, the biggest Walking Festival in the UK boasts 16 days of unbeatable, informative and healthy walks for all abilities.  Its organisers have also teamed-up with Red Funnel this year to create a special offer for anyone talking part in any of the walks – with 20% off the cost of a car and up to 7 people, and for foot-passengers, travelling on the Vehicle Ferry service.  Valid between May 1st and 22nd, full terms and conditions can be found at

Cyclists, meanwhile, are being encouraged to consider joining a unique tour around the whole of the Isle of Wight on Sunday, May 4th.  The Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club, established the Isle of Wight Randonnee in 1985, which takes-in minor roads and lanes where possible – enabling the rider to see and enjoy the best of the Island’s scenery.  The event now attracts around 2,000 participants every year, and full details can be found at

The event links-in nicely with the Isle of Wight’s brand new campaign to turn the Island into the UK’s No.1 cycling holiday destination.  “Bicycle Island” was launched at the end of March, and now offers cyclists a host of ways to “drive less and see more”:

May is also officially “National Watersports Month” – a fact which the Cowes-based UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) will be marking by offering some special deals on taster sessions at the weekends, Bank Holiday Mondays, and throughout the half-term holidays.  There will be opportunities to have-a-go at kayaking, or sailing a keelboat or dinghy during half-day sessions lasting three hours each, and priced at £20 per person.  One-hour sessions for paddle-boarding and windsurfing, meanwhile, are also available and are priced at just £10 per person.  Suitable for anyone aged 8 and over, all sessions must be booked in advance.  For full details, visit

The Isle of Wight is also joining-in with the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you’re 11¾” campaign on Monday, May 5th, by giving families the chance to have some fun outdoors by trying a whole host of outdoor activities, from bug-hunting to geocaching, in different parts of Newtown’s National Nature Reserve.  Full details can be found at

And green fingered visitors will be given a rare opportunity to delve inside Sunny Patch, in Freshwater this Bank Holiday Weekend – as it opens its doors to the public on May 2nd and 3rd, under the National Gardens Scheme.  Created by an eccentric plantaholic and ornament collector, this light-hearted garden of ‘rooms’ includes acers, magnolias and many herbaceous plants and shrubs, two ponds, a fairy wood, and a folly.  Light refreshments of tea and cakes will be available.  The entrance fee is £3 for adults.

Visitors to the Island may also like to take advantage of the Spring Special available at Wightlink Ferries this May Bank Holiday:  The offer includes car, driver and up to six passengers when travelling from now up to July 23rd (excluding June 12th to 16th, when the Isle of Wight Festival takes place); and is eligible for all travel on the Lymington to Yarmouth route on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

For further details of these, and many other events on the Isle of Wight this May Bank Holiday Weekend, visit


For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672


Quay Arts Brings Shakespeare’s Globe to the Isle of Wight

Quay Arts are delighted and proud to announce that they are bringing to the Island for the first time, a production by Shakespeare’s Globe, the accessible comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Working in partnership with English Heritage, the production will be performed outdoors on the lawns of Osborne House from Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st June this year.

Tickets go on sale from Wednesday 23rd April to coincide with the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth on the same date in 1564. Tickets will be available to purchase from Quay Arts Box Office, online at, County Press Shop, Red Funnel and Osborne.

Performances will be Wednesday – Saturday 7.30pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees 2.30pm and tickets are £17, concessions £13 and schools £9.

Much Ado About Nothing

Claudio loves Hero and Hero Claudio and nothing seems capabe of keeping them apart. Claudio’s friend Benedick loves Beatrice and Beatrice Benedick, but (because neither will admit it) nothing seems capable of bringing them together. Only the intrigues of a resentful price force Benedick to prove his love for Beatrice – by killing his best friend.

Driven along by a romance all the more charming for being in denial, Much Ado About Nothing is a miracle of comic and dramatic suspense and gives us, in the bantering Beatrice and Benedick, two of Shakespeare’s wittiest, most endearing pair of lovers.

Performed at the Globe and touring across the UK and Europe. Directed by Max Webster, designed by James Cotterill and composed by John Barber.


 Note to the Editor:

For more information on Quay Arts please contact:

Ceri Mason, Marketing and Media Coordinator

Telephone: 01983 822490

Steve Ross Foundation for the Arts is the charity, which runs Quay Arts (charity no 272007).  Quay Arts Trading is the trading arm that supports the foundation.  All money raised through the café, ticket sales, craft shop and conferencing goes to support the aims and objectives of the charity.


Visit Isle of Wight launches search for Festival of the Sea events

The Festival of the Sea is a lively 8-day celebration of the Island’s rich maritime history and Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW), the Island’s tourist board, is launching a search for more nautically-inspired events to encourage visitors to come alongside and drop anchor this spring.

The first Festival of the Sea, held in September last year, saw over 50 Island companies and organisations staging events across the Island.  These ranged from special tasting menus, sea shanty events, arts on the beach, maritime talks and walks, discounts for admission to attractions and offers on boat trips, pirate fun days, barbeques on the beach, and even open days offering an introduction to sailing and other activities.

The star attraction this year will be the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, which takes place on the June 21st, along with a whole host of activities and events in Cowes, but VIOW are also looking for more sea-themed events across the Island.

Once again, VIOW will invest in marketing this theme on the mainland, and is inviting companies, organisations, towns and villages to “come aboard” by coming up with their own nautically-inspired events, which will be promoted by the tourist board for free.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said:  “If you have an event in mind, it’s very important that you let us know what you’re planning as soon as possible.    This will enable us to plan how to market your event, prepare to feature it in the radio, press, printed guide and other activity the tourist board is planning to carry out to promote this year’s Festival of the Sea.

“The more “hands on deck” who work together to create events, the more attractive the festival programme will be, and the more chance we will have of encouraging people to come to the Isle of Wight this June”.

Jo Rogers of the Hambrough Hotel in Ventnor, said: “Last year’s Festival of the Sea worked really well for us. Our seafood cooking demo and special fish tasting menu proved extremely popular and we will definitely be repeating the exercise this year.”

The deadline to notify VIOW of any events (if you wish it to appear in the printed guide) is Easter Monday, 21st April.  Events which can last one day or longer should be sea-themed and take place between the 16th and 23rd June.

There is not a deadline for events to appear on the website and you can add your event here:

To see the full list of FOS events, go to


For further information, please contact:  Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer, Tel: 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors: 

Attached image shows LtoR:

Rachel Flynn, Dimbola Lodge

David Thornton, Visit Isle of Wight

Maddy James, Green Buoy Arts

Chris Cowley, Wightlink

Ann Hutchins, (front) Ventnor Business Association

Bob Ventress, Ventnor Business Association

Darren Beevers, Head Chef, Hambrough Hotel

Linda Chester (front), Ventnor Business Association

John Bentley and his shanty singers (4 in total)

Holly Kirby, Island musician

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

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 ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race

Held on the longest day this year, Saturday 21st June, the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organised by the Island Sailing Club, regularly attracts over 1,700 boats and around 16,000 sailors, making it the largest yacht race of its kind in the world and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK.

Competitors come from all over Great Britain, from other parts of Europe and from as far away as Australia and the USA to race the 50 nautical mile course around the Isle of Wight. Starting on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron ‘line’ in Cowes, the massive fleet, often flying brightly coloured spinnakers, races westabout to The Needles, around St Catherine’s Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes.

For those not competing, the Island and the South coast have many great vantage points to watch the Race unfold, such as the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, Hurst Castle, and The Needles.

(separate vantage point list/map )

Media enquiries: Peta Stuart-Hunt, ISC Race Press Officer | 07711 477707


The Isle of Wight Council has welcomed the results of the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) annual Good Beach Guide survey.

The survey reports on the standard of bathing water at UK beaches, with each beach given one of four ratings for water quality. The quality of bathing water is measured against standards set by the European Bathing Water Directive.

The MCS top rating is ‘recommended’ where water quality is described as excellent, followed by ‘guideline’ then ‘mandatory,’ which means the water meets the minimum quality required, with the lowest rating being ‘fail’ with water quality not meeting minimum standards.

On the Isle of Wight, 14 beaches, 11 of which are maintained by the council, were rated, with 12 achieving the top ‘recommended’ rating.

Shanklin received a ‘guideline’ rating, which is up from ‘mandatory’ in 2013, with Bembridge given a ‘mandatory’ rating, one below what it achieved last year. No beaches were given a fail.

Gurnard and St Helens improved their ratings from ‘guideline’, while Ryde beach was rated as ‘mandatory’ last year. All three are now rated as ‘recommended’.

Shirley Smart, the Isle of Wight Council Executive member responsible for tourism said: “The Isle of Wight is well known for its fantastic beaches and it is very pleasing that 12 beaches have been given the top rating by the Marine Conservation Society, 11 of which are maintained by the council.

“This news is very timely ahead of the main tourism season and is a welcome boost.”

Under the separate but prestigious Blue Flag and Seaside Awards scheme, the Isle of Wight currently has the highest amount of award winning beaches in the country. It has four Blue Flag beaches and 13 Seaside Awards, giving a total of 17 awards.

Notes for editors

The beaches and their ratings, according to the MCS, are below. Those listed as ‘not maintained by council’ are owned/maintained by other organisations.

Totland Bay – Recommended

Colwell Bay – Recommended

Gurnard – Recommended

Cowes – Recommended

Ryde – Recommended

Seagrove – Recommended

St Helens – Recommended

Bembridge (not maintained by council) – Mandatory Whitecliff Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended Yaverland – Recommended Sandown – Recommended Shanklin – Guideline Ventnor – Recommended Compton Bay (not maintained by council) – Recommended



The 100k Challenge Series announces The Isle of Wight Challenge

The 100k Challenge Series announces The Isle of Wight Challenge
Part of the Walk It, Jog It, Run It Series – For your chosen charity!
23/24 August 2014     

The Isle of Wight Challenge is one of a four-part challenge series, where thousands of inspiring fundraisers will be taking on a 106km coastal loop of the island as either an endurance walk or ultra marathon run. There’s also a 56km option for those wishing to take on the ‘half island’! Brand new for 2014, this route has a stunning backdrop to a simply breathtaking challenge, making it an August bank holiday not to forget. What better way to fundraise for a charity close to your heart than on this exceptional challenge, amid the stunning scenery with friends, family or fellow challengers.

This fully supported* Challenge event offers a range of individual and team entry options, along with distance choices, catering for both first timers and seasoned challengers alike. With experts recommending a six month training schedule, not only is this a great opportunity to get fit, participants will also take to the challenge in aid of a charity of their choice, at a pace that suits them – be it walking, jogging or running.

William Irwin, spokesman for event organisers, Action Challenge, says “The Isle of Wight Challenge has certainly caused a stir of excitement amongst charities and our past participants. Our 100k Challenge Series continue to be very popular amongst fundraisers, so it’s brilliant to see the launch of our Isle of Wight Challenge appealing to people in the same way. These events really do seem to bring out the best  in people – pushing themselves to the max for a cause that’s close to their heart. It’s fantastic to see how much money is raised for all UK charities, both big and small – and it’s an achievement we know lives with participants long after they’ve completed it. If you join us on the challenge in August, I can guarantee you won’t regret it!”

If the Isle of Wight Challenge looks like the type of thing you’d love to take on – then now’s the time to register. Get in early and take advantage of the training programmes we have to offer, as well as having the most time possible to fundraise for your chosen charity.

You can sign up the challenge by visiting the website below and clicking ‘Register’

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

To take part in any of the above challenges, please register at  or for further press information please contact William Irwin, at Action Challenge. Email:  Tel: 0207 609 6695

*Event support

Event organiser Action Challenge prides itself on offering a high quality experience for walkers and runners.  Each event is split into a four stage course with major rest stops at 30, 56 & 79km  and check points at every 12.5km where drink and energy snacks are provided.  In addition:

  • Optional pre-challenge camp in West Cowes.
  • Every route is fully signed – with maps and GPS downloads provided
  • There is a tented village at each start-line providing aerobic warm-up and refreshments
  • FREE hot food is supplied at the 56 & 80 km and the finish of your challenge.
  • FREE snacks and energy drinks at every rest stop.
  • Support walkers, masseurs, medics are provided along route.


To join the challenge, participants are asked to pay a registration fee of £85 (106km) or £60 (56km), and commit to a minimum fundraising total of £375 (106km) or £250 (56km) for their chosen charity.

The other Challenge Event Series include:

London 2 Brighton Challenge: 24/25 May 2014

The original 100 km challenge! For 2014 a new ’56’ km half-way option also. It’s a great route & a tough challenge, and more will take on the event as a walk, jog or as one of the UK’s top ultra-marathon challenges. For full information and to sign up, visit:

Grand Union Challenge: 28/29 June 2014

NEW for 2014 –  A fascinating 100 km along the historic Grand Union Canal – a hidden green corridor & why we’re calling it London’s Great Escape! A start near Regents Park, it winds towards the Chilterns with a finish near Bletchley; there’s also 50 & 25km options. A Challenge with a difference!

Thames Path Challenge: 13/14 September 2014

Re-launching for 2014 & back for its third year! The Thames Path is a fantastic route and the challenge stretches from Putney Bridge to Henley with some stunning scenery steeped in history You can take on the full 100 km  route, either 50 km section – or various 25 km options of the challenge.


It is now easier for cyclists to take their bicycles to areas across the Island using public transport instead of their cars.

The Isle of Wight Council is working with Southern Vectis to provide bike storage facilities on four buses. The buses, which are the existing ‘Coaster’ route vehicles, have been converted to each store up to six bicycles at a time using money from the council’s sustainable transport access to tourism project, which is funded by the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF).

Four journeys will leave per day from either Ryde or Yarmouth, with some extended to include East Cowes and Newport, providing a round-the-Island connection for cyclists. It will mean cyclists can now visit local attractions or areas they would normally drive to using public transport instead with their bicycles.

Luisa Hillard is the council’s Executive Member for sustainability and welcomes the new buses. She said: “This project is part of the council’s commitment to promoting greener, car-free tourism on the Island. It will support cyclists getting from the ferries, to and from their accommodation and to the tourist attractions in more remote locations and will be particularly useful for those who may not feel able to cycle long distances but enjoy cycling locally.

“This is just one of many other exciting projects which are benefiting from government funding to improve the cycling infrastructure for visitors and locals and will strengthen the reputation of the Isle of Wight as one of the best places for a cycling holidays in the world.”

General manager of Southern Vectis, Matt Kitchin added: “The Coaster route has proven to be tremendously popular as it is a great way to see the Island and visit attractions without the hassle of driving. The addition of space for bikes on board gives more opportunities for cyclists to get out and about, enjoying the scenery without relying on a car.”

The Island’s destination management organisation Visit Isle of Wight has recently launched its ‘Bicycle Island’ scheme which is aimed at bringing more cycle tourists to the Island. Tom Ransom from Visit Wight is responsible for promoting cycle tourism and said: “Having the bike buses is a really valuable addition to our cycle friendly reputation. It makes cycle touring more accesible to all by providing a service to those of us who perhaps do not have thighs like those of Chris Hoy. Combining a bus trip with a bike ride allows people to be bolder and go further, without needing to use a car for transport”.

The newly converted Coaster buses will begin service from 5 April and will run daily until 28 September. There is no charge to carry bicycles on the buses other than the normal passenger fare.

The mechanism used for storing the bicycles has been designed by two local engineering students

Notes for editors

Please credit Isle of Wight Council if you use any this photo which shows bicycles in use on one of the storage racks.   Other photos are available on request.

The Isle of Wight Council’s Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project is a £3.95 million project that is funded through the government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Funding was won in the summer of 2012 and the programme continues until March 2015.

The Sustainable Transport Access to Tourism project involves improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure, public transport services and the provision of improved passenger transport information. In addition, the project is funding extensive marketing of the Island as a destination for “green” travel holidays. This element is being delivered by Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s tourist board.

The overall aim of the project is to encourage more people to use sustainable travel as opposed the car while on holiday, as well as boosting the local economy by attracting increased numbers of visitors who come to the Island and travel sustainably.

Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer

Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254

Mob: 07976 347636




The 16th annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival is officially launched on Saturday 3 May at a special event in St Thomas’ Square in Newport where walkers will have the chance to meet the festival’s walk leaders and sponsors.

It’s the ideal opportunity to find out about the 200-plus walks taking place over the 16-day festival which takes place between 2 and 18 May.

The event’s title sponsor’s Garmin will be explaining how GPS handheld devices can help people to get the most out of their walks. In addition they will be running an introduction to geocaching walk on Sunday 11 May, starts 2pm at Appley Park near the old golf hut.

For people interested in finding out more about GPS technology, Garmin is running a special training event on Saturday 10 May at Quay Arts in Newport between 7pm and 9pm. Garmin’s team of experts will be on hand to show walkers and outdoor enthusiasts how to make the most of integrated products such as GPS wristwatches and action cameras and explain online software can be used to track and record your favourite walks. The event is free, but places are limited, to book email

This year’s festival includes a number of new walks, including the colourful carnival trail where walking meets art and carnival. Led by the New Carnival Company, the trail covers 100 miles over five days, linking all of the Island’s carnival towns and villages. There’s a chance for families to have fun outdoors in the ’50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾!’ walk – prepared to get dirty with activities ranging from bug hunting to geocaching in this hour-long walk with the National Trust near Shalfleet on Monday 5 May – start any time between 10am and 4pm.

Many old favourites return, including the famous speed dating walk which has resulted in many love matches including five weddings. The friendly, informal walk gives people the chance to meet like-minded people while enjoying the beautiful sea views along Shanklin Esplanade. More men are still needed to join the many ladies who have already registered for the walk – to sign up people should visit the walking festival website.

The gruelling 24-hour non-stop endurance walk around the Island returns on Saturday 17 May. For experienced walkers only, walk leader Martin Neville will guide hikers around the Island’s coastal path in what is probably the toughest walk in the festival’s programme.

For people looking to enjoy the Island’s beautiful scenery at a more leisurely pace, there are scores of gentle ambles to choose from, as well as many walks designed for children.

Try one of the many fossil walks, or the tiny tots and toddlers tea party in Niton, or the rock pool safari in Bembridge or duck feeding walk in Shanklin – full details can be found in the Isle of Wight Walking Festival’s extensive programme or online at

Visitors to this year’s festival can take advantage of discounted ferry fares as event sponsors Red Funnel and Wightlink are offering special discounts for walkers – visit and for details.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for economy and tourism, said: “There are walks for all ages and abilities at this year’s walking festival, I’m particularly looking forward to the carnival walks which are a vibrant addition to this year’s programme.”

For full details of all of this year’s walks, including the four-day autumn walking weekend in October, please visit

Issued by:

Anna Price, Media Team Leader

Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6253

Mob: 07976 347637


Red Funnel’s new look Red Falcon launches in time for Easter – three night packages from £70pp

All aboard!
Red Funnel’s new look Red Falcon ferry
launches in time for Easter

– Three night packages from £70pp –

(Hi res images available upon request)

(4 April, 2014) – Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries officially unveiled its new look Red Falcon passenger vehicle ferry today after a major £2.2 million investment to the ship’s passenger facilities which the company is confident will set a new standard for cross-Solent travel.

Red Funnel continues to grow its market share and in 2013 carried 3.2 million passengers and nearly 764,000 vehicles. Bookings for 2014 are already encouraging and the new look Red Falcon is expected to prove popular with customers who are advised to book their spring and summer breaks early. Red Funnel’s new payment plan allows holidaymakers to pay a deposit of just £25 to secure a ferry or holiday booking, with the balance payable 30 days before travel in the case of ferry only bookings.

In addition to Red Funnel’s unrivalled reputation on the Solent for customer service, Isle of Wight visitors who travel on Red Falcon will benefit from 55% more inside seats, two additional passenger lounges, a new sun deck and a wheelchair friendly promenade deck which offers amazing views across Southampton Water and the Isle of Wight. Air-conditioning has been installed throughout the ship and pet owners will have use of the new lift-accessible North Lounge.

For most visitors, their Isle of Wight holiday experience starts the moment they step onboard and Red Funnel has incorporated a lot more entertainment on Red Falcon aimed at both adults and children. A large interactive Isle of Wight map forms the centrepiece of the design in the main passenger lounge and two large 65” touch screens boast an extensive image gallery and games for kids.

A new information bureau, manned by staff who know the Isle of Wight inside out, will sell tickets, merchandise, gifts and souvenirs to ensure that holidaymakers have everything they need for a trip to remember.

Over 30 digital screens have been installed to inform and entertain guests during the crossing and cameras on top of the bridge will relay live pictures to the onboard screens and also to Red Funnel’s website.  Real-time travel connection information for trains, planes and buses will be shown on the screens together with the latest information from the Highways Agency for drivers.

For business travellers, power points for recharging phones, laptops and tablets have been installed throughout the passenger areas and the first phase of a much improved free Wi-Fi solution will be available at launch. A quiet zone is available for customers who just want to relax or have a snooze.

For food lovers, there is a new hot food menu with signature dishes such as Red Funnel’s famous full English breakfast and delights such as beer battered cod & chips, using Goddard’s beer from the Isle of Wight. There is a wider choice of grab-&-go toasted sandwiches, pizza slices and a new fresh-daily range including deep-filled baguettes, panini and salads. An increasing number of ingredients are locally sourced and items will be competitively priced. For the first time, there will be unlimited free refills of tea, coffee and selected soft-drinks from ReFuel, the café restaurant. The new design also incorporates three fully stocked Steam café bars serving a full range of beers, wines and spirits and bean-to-cup coffee.

Kevin George, CEO Red Funnel, comments: “We’re delighted to be bringing Red Falcon back into service in time for Easter, and know that our regular customers and new visitors to the Isle of Wight will be impressed by what she offers. The investment comes at an exciting time for the company and is part of our ‘first choice’ strategy which will drive our growth momentum. It is therefore great news for our customers and good news for the local economy.”

He continued, “On the basis that the new design and layout proves as popular with customers as we expect, then I am confident that we will make similar investments onboard Red Osprey and Red Eagle.”

There are plenty of great value Easter breaks to the Island still available to book, and Red Funnel has selected some highlights:

Three nights’ B&B at The Royson, from £112 pp

The Royson is situated in the pretty village of Shanklin, on the south east coast of the Isle of Wight. This family friendly guest house is set parallel to the famous cliff path walks, just 15 minutes from the centre of Shanklin, and 20 minutes from the pretty Old Village. Family breaks over the Easter weekend cost from just £112 per person. This price is based on two adults and one child sharing an en suite family room on a B&B basis, and includes return vehicle ferry crossings with Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries.*

Three nights’ B&B at The Harrow Lodge Hotel, from £105 pp

The Harrow Lodge Hotel is a warm and friendly family run hotel, overlooking the sea by Keats Green in Shanklin, and is within walking distance of safe sandy beaches, the town, and the Old Village. Spend three nights at The Harrow Lodge Hotel over the Easter weekend from just £105 per person. This price is based on two adults and two children sharing a family en suite room on a B&B basis and includes return vehicle ferry crossings with Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries.**

Three nights’ B&B at Chad Hill Hotel, from £70 pp

The Chad Hill Hotel is a beautiful Victorian house dating back to the 1850s. Set in a quiet area within walking distance of the town centre, the hotel offers guests a variety of dinner menus and a sun terrace with garden views. A three night break over the Easter weekend starts from £70 per person. This price is based on two adults and three children sharing an en suite family room on a B&B basis, and includes return vehicle ferry crossings with Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries.**

Getting to the Isle of Wight is easy with Red Funnel. Vehicle ferries run regularly around the clock from Southampton, which is within easy reach of the M3, A3 and M27. Return ferry travel for a car and up to seven passengers starts from as little as £39.50 for a day return crossing or £49.50 for a short-break return crossing. For those not taking a vehicle the Red Jet Hi-Speed foot passenger service whisks visitors to the Island in only 25 minutes and starts from just £8.90 per person return, terms and conditions apply

For further information and reservations please call Red Funnel on 0844 844 9988 or visit


Notes to editors:


* Based on a stay 18 – 21 April 2014, with two adults and one child sharing a room, and travelling in one vehicle.

** Based on a stay 18 – 21 April 2014, with two adults and two children sharing a room, and travelling in one vehicle.

*** Based on a stay 18 – 21 April 2014, with two adults and three children sharing a room, and travelling in one vehicle.

Red Funnel is the original Isle of Wight ferry company with roots tracing back to 1820. Based in the UK port of Southampton, Red Funnel carries 2.1m passengers and over 700,000 vehicles on its route between the UK port of Southampton and East Cowes and 1.1m passengers between Southampton and West Cowes on the Isle of Wight. In addition to ferry travel, Red Funnel is the only cross-Solent operator to offer ferry inclusive bonded holiday accommodation, attraction tickets, festival and event tickets and activity packages. Sub-brands include ‘Red Jet’, the Hi-Speed passenger only ferry service serving West Cowes and two food & beverage brands ‘Steam Coffee Company’ and ‘ReFuel’. The Company is also a founder member of Visit Isle of Wight Ltd, the Isle of Wight’s not for profit destination management organisation.

For further press information or images, please contact Four bgb:

Sam Hooper,
Emma Liasides,
Helen Coop,
Tel: 0203 697 4200


The Isle of Wight is considered one of the UK’s most captivating locations and with its rich cultural history it is a destination for music lovers. No visit to the Island is complete without delving into its rock‘n’roll past and present.  So, let’s take a look at what’s on offer:

Isle of Wight Festival, Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight

The first stop is a visit to the legendary Isle of Wight Festival, 12-15th June 2014, as the first major music event of the summer; the award winning Festival is steeped in history.

It all began with a series of Festivals between 1968 and 1970, widely acknowledged as Europe’s equivalent of Woodstock. In 1970 Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez and the Moody Blues among others, played to over 600,000 people. In 1969, Bob Dylan made his first appearance in 3 years, having become a recluse and Hendrix was the climax of a five-day music extravaganza in 1970. Attracting a vast and varied free-spirited audience, together with artists from all over the world. The event marked a turning point in UK music history and played a major part in shaping the music festivals we know today.

In 2002 after a 32-year hiatus the Isle of Wight Festival was reincarnated by John Giddings, who attended the event in 1970 at East Afton Farm. Since its rebirth 13 years ago, the Festival has its own history and has played host some of the biggest acts in the world, who have crossed the Solent to grace the Main Stage. Including the likes of; The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Pearl Jam, Kasabian, Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse, Kings of Leon, Jay-Z, The Strokes, The Who, David Bowie, Coldplay, Muse, The Sex Pistols, The Police, Blondie and many more.  Such is its draw, last year The Boomtown Rats reformed after 26 years apart to play the Festival.

John Giddings, Isle of Wight Festival promoter: “We would never have attempted to restart the Festival without having such a strong history, the Isle of Wight was the Woodstock of Europe. I saw Jimi Hendrix there and was proud to be offered the chance to contribute to the Island’s musical heritage. Years on we are now creating our own musical legacy”.

David Thornton, The Chief Executive of Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW): The Isle of Wight Festival now has a place in the hearts and minds of millions of people, and is one of the most important opportunities we have each year to welcome visitors to the Island.  And while we’re keen to highlight the way it’s very much business as usual at the time of the annual Festival – with opportunities for non-Festival goers to also enjoy our many and varied attractions – we do recognise the tremendous positive impact that the Isle of Wight Festival has had on the very fabric of the Island. Perhaps most importantly of all, we’ve now reached a point where we can celebrate its full history and heritage, and tell the tale of two Festivals – the one which grew out of the now famous 1970 event, and the current one which is THE definitive music festival in the UK.”

For a chance to see where the original and the modern Festival meet check out some of the top attractions the Island has to offer.

Dimbola Museum and Galleries, Terrace Lane Freshwater Bay, Isle of Wight, PO40 9QE

The original and the new Festival continue to play a huge part in the diverse cultural heritage of the Island and for music fans this presence is evident throughout. Music lovers who want to be transported back in time can visit hidden gem Dimbola Museum and Galleries, where there is permanent photographic and memorabilia exhibition from the 1970 Festival.

The exhibition features never seen before photographs from the original Festival, the colour slides were taken by local man Kenneth Box and were only discovered last year. This is a true time capsule depicting the atmospheric sights and surroundings – hippies camping in the woods, young people of the time dressed in outlandish costumes and face paint, all reveling in the late summer sun.

Taking visitors through the Isle of Wight Festival history right up to present day, this is a unique chance to see where it all started. Rare posters, programmes, press cuttings, tickets, and memorabilia of the original event are on show.  Julia Margaret Cameron, the famous Victorian portrait photographer, lived at Dimbola from 1860 until 1875, where she photographed the cream of Victorian Society. A charitable trust was set up in her name to ensure its preservation and today, it also features the music and crowds of the iconic Festival, giving a glimpse of Festival life in the 70s.

The Museum features images from the reincarnated Festival, which includes artists who have graced the Main Stage – Iggy Pop, Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters, Paul Weller and Coldplay, amongst others. 

Jimi Hendrix Memorial, Dimbola Museum and Galleries

Outside Dimbola there is a small memorial garden with a statue of Jimi Hendrix designed by sculptor John Swindells. This life-size bronze is a lasting memorial to the legendary performance from Hendrix in 1970 and commemorates his last UK show before his untimely death. The statue is set amidst a specially planted meditation area and dressed just as he was in 1970, when he brought his ‘message to love’ to the Island. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your picture taken next to Jimi and his guitar or breathe in the wonderful lavender ‘Purple Haze’ that grows in his garden. The statue was donated to Dimbola by Isle of Wight Festival Promoter John Giddings, in a nod to the history of the iconic Festival.

Dr Brian Hinton MBE, Chairman of the Julia Margaret Trust:Dimbola is so proud to place lovely art piece outside of the house of a 19th Century pioneer photographer, who would have so loved to photograph and celebrate Jimi.  Now the statue is itself a place of pilgrimage with people coming from all over the world to be photographed alongside it.”

Isle of Wight Festival organisers Solo, keep the spirit and tradition of its roots alive by conserving many of its attributes. Artist Dave Roe created the original artwork and the intricate, colourful and iconic designs are ever present today. Although the 60s are over, the modern Festival is renowned for bringing together artists of the past, present and future.

To be there tickets for this year’s Festival are available now from, with headline performances from Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers – their only UK show in 2014, Kings of Leon, plus closing Friday night Calvin Harris. 

Travel packages:

Red Funnel / 0844 844 2687 is offering weekend camping tickets to the Isle of Wight Festival plus return ferry travel, 12-15 June 2014, for just £220.30pp. This price includes an Isle of Wight Festival ticket with weekend camping at the Festival, valid for arrivals on Thursday 12 June and departures until Monday 16 June. This price also includes return flexible tickets for foot passenger travel on the Vehicle Ferry to East Cowes.

Red Funnel / 0844 844 2687 is offering four nights’ accommodation during the Isle of Wight Festival weekend, plus return ferry crossings from just £232 per person. This price is based on two adults sharing a double room at The Old Church House B&B – located in Newport and close to the festival’s site, just a 10 minute drive away – plus return vehicle ferry crossings. This price is valid for arrivals on Thursday 12 June and departures on Monday 16 June, 2014.

How to get there:

It couldn’t be easier to travel to the Isle of Wight, which is located just 2 and a half hours from London.

Trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour (journey approximately 1.5 hours), then WightLink ( catamaran from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde (the catamaran takes approximately 22 minutes).

Trains from London Waterloo to Portsmouth & Southsea station, bus to Hovercraft terminal at Southsea and then the Hovercraft ( from Southsea to Ryde (the Hovercraft takes approximately 10 minutes).

Trains from London Waterloo to Southampton, then take connecting bus outside the station to the port and the Red Jet ( to Cowes (Red Jet takes approx. 25 minutes).

Bring your car via Portsmouth/Southampton, and come across on the WightLink car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne (near Ryde), or Red Funnel ( Southampton to East Cowes car ferry.

Isle of Wight Festival – Various ticket and travel packages are available, head to for all the details 

About the Isle of Wight: 

For further information on the Isle of Wight     Festival 2014 please contact:
Jacquie, Amy or Ben at Amazing Media on 0207 033 3722 or email

Situated just off England’s South Coast and less than two and a half hours from London, the Isle of Wight is the UK’s “holiday island’ and a top short-break destination any time of year – with everything from great bicycle trails, to dinosaurs. For further information visit






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Nettlecombe Farm on the Isle of Wight has secured a place in the finals of the prestigious VisitEngland (VE) Awards for Excellence 2014, announced by VE on 1st April 2014.

After winning Gold earlier this year at the regional Tourism South East Beautiful South Awards, Nettlecombe’s Corner Cottage has been shortlisted by VE in the Self Catering Holiday Provider of the Year category at national level.

The Awards celebrate the very best England has to offer and the winners of this prestigious accolade will be announced at a glamorous, black tie Winners Award Ceremony at Cheltenham Race Course on Monday 12 May where they find out which award they have won: either Gold, Silver, Bronze or a Highly Commended Award.

Nettlecombe is a working farm situated half a mile from the quaint village of Whitwell, and offers luxurious self-catering accommodation, coarse fishing, yoga retreats and function barn hire. The farm has been in the Morris family for over 100 years, and serves as the perfect holiday base to explore the Island.

An important objective of the VisitEngland Awards scheme is to maximise the publicity and marketing benefits of being a winner.  As a winner, Nettlecombe will be entitled to display an awards logo on their literature and website.

Jose Morris of Nettlecombe commented: “We are absolutely thrilled to find out that we are in the finals of the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence; here at Nettlecombe we live by our motto of “continuous improvement”, which is obviously paying off.

“Seeing this award on our website means that potential visitors will immediately be aware of the nationally recognised high standards we maintain.   It is also a well-deserved pat on the back for our excellent team for all their hard work and efforts.”

Finalists for the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence are rigorously assessed by independent assessors and judged by a board of tourism industry experts. Carefully chosen by a judging panel, the finalists represent the finest in the industry and include a wealth of attractions, accommodation providers, tourism experiences, Tourist Information Centres and businesses that have shown complete dedication to developing the excellent standards of English tourism. Each finalist is guaranteed to receive a Gold, Silver, Bronze or Highly Commended in their category.

Peter Colling, Managing Director, Tourism South East, said ‘We are delighted that 8 of our Beautiful South Awards winners have made it through as finalists in the Visit England’s national Tourism Excellence Awards. It really shows that the South East has some of the very best tourism businesses in the country.

“It takes a fantastic amount of hard work and dedication to achieve the top five in their category in England. We are now looking forward to celebrating gold with our finalists at the Award ceremony on the 12th May.’

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “To be nominated in VisitEngland’s Awards for Excellence is a considerable achievement as the quality of applications is always extremely high and only the very best make it through to become a finalist.

“Nettlecombe provide an excellent visitor experience which is underpinned by exceptional customer service, and I offer my warm congratulations and wish them every success at the forthcoming Awards Ceremony next month.”

If you are an Isle of Wight accommodation provider and wish to be considered for next year’s Beautiful South Awards, please go to


For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail:

Notes to editors:

An image of Nettlecombe Farm is attached.

Tourism South East Beautiful South Awards

Now running for over twenty years the Beautiful South 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.

The winners of our local tourism awards programme are given the opportunity to submit an entry to the Visit England National Awards for Excellence.   This year’s winners of the national awards will be announced at a ceremony on Monday 12 May 2014 at Cheltenham Racecourse.

Award Categories:

Bed and Breakfast, Guest Accommodation Flavour of the South East   Small Visitor Attraction

Small Hotel/Townhouse  Tourism Pub  Large Visitor Attraction

Large Hotel/Townhouse  Best Tourism Experience  Access for All Tourism

Holiday Park/Holiday Village  Tourism Event  Sustainable Tourism

Self-Catering and Serviced Apartments  Business Tourism Visitor Information Provider

Outstanding Customer Service

For more information, go to

VisitEngland (VE) Awards for Excellence – the 2014 Awards Ceremony:

The climax of the whole VisitEngland Awards for Excellence competition is the Winners Award Ceremony. Taking place on 12th May 2014, this glittering evening is built entirely around the finalists. By making it to the Ceremony all finalists will have demonstrated that they are the very best of English Tourism. VisitEngland has chosen Cheltenham Racecourse to host the Award Ceremony, which celebrates success and excellence and is a showcase for England’s fabulous tourism products. Above all it provides finalists with a moment of well-deserved glory which can be used to market, promote and improve their businesses still further. The Awards Ceremony also acts as a beacon for all tourism businesses in England encouraging them to raise their game and become members of this quality elite.

2014 finalists:

Visit Isle of Wight Ltd

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 ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities: