Wightlink Goes #wightlive for Summer 2014

Isle of Wight ferry company celebrates Festival Island with summer long campaign

27th May 2014.  Wightlink Ferries, a leading ferry company between the mainland and the Isle of Wight, is today launching its first ever campaign targeted at promoting the huge array of festivals which take part on the Island over the summer (and beyond).  The campaign, which will focus on social and traditional media, is working under the banner #wightlive.  It is launching just ahead of the Island’s first major music festival of the summer, The Isle of Wight Festival, which runs 12-15 June 2014.

Wightlink Ferries will be promoting the #wightlive campaign throughout the summer, encouraging Facebook and Twitter fans visiting the Island, and any cultural or sporting event, to share their experiences using the hashtag.  Wightlink is also asking the Destination Management Organisation, Visit Isle of Wight, and the festival organisers themselves to spread the #wightlive word.  There will be a dedicated #wightlive page on the website with festival and tourism information, and the branding will also be on board the ferries and in the terminals.

Although promoting all cultural activities on the Island, #wightlive will focus on six key festivals in particular:

Isle of Wight Festival – 12-15 June

Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea – 16-23 June

V-Dub Island – 14-18 August

The Garlic Festival – 16-17 August

Bestival – 4-7 September

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival – 13-28 September

Wightlink is a key sponsor of all these festivals, but the #wightlive campaign this year will enable Wightlink to take its sponsorship to another level.

Alongside the promotion of the hashtag, Wightlink will be running a summer long photo-sharing competition which will invite travellers and festival goers to “take centre stage” on the Isle of Wight this summer.  Wightlink is producing a Polaroid-style frame, featuring a festival crowd in silhouette form, which will enable users to frame their pictures and themselves (as modelled by Jools and Mel C).  The frame will be available as a downloadable app from a dedicated #wightlive landing page on Wighlink Ferries website – www.wightlive.co.uk.

Wightlink will encourage users to upload their pictures to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and to share them using #wightlive.  Pictures will also be featured on Wightlink’s own website.  Everyone who posts a picture to Wightlink’s Facebook page, or tags them on Twitter or Instagram AND uses the #wightlive hashtag will automatically be entered into a competition.

There will be six “Festival #wightlive Winners” each of whom will win trips to the Isle of Wight courtesy of Wightlink.

There will also be one “Grand Festival #wightlive Winner” who will win an “Access Festivals Pass” – including travel – to the six spotlight Festivals on the Island for Summer 2015.  The winner will be announced after the Cycling Festival, in early October 2014.

Wightlink will also be providing key bloggers and press with the Polaroid-frames, asking them to use them at the Festivals, and share amongst their own networks.

“This is the most comprehensive campaign we have ever run to promote the Festival Season,” comments Mark Persad, Head of Marketing for Wightlink Ferries.  “It is the first time we have really joined up social media, traditional media and what is happening on the Island in this way, and we are already overwhelmed by the excitement and support we are receiving from the Island and Festival organisers.  Wightlink is committed to supporting the cultural activities of the Island, we are already a key part of Island life, as we proudly state, and our #wightlive campaign is a continuation of this.”

“Bestival’s home is the Isle of Wight,” continues Rob da Bank, founder and face of Bestival. “The Island is such a unique place to live and work and has a huge festival heritage.  Throw in the 360 degree beach action, some rising stars in the restaurant scene and a sunshine micro climate – where better to go than here?  We always make sure that we put as much back into the Island as we can, so we’re chuffed to be part of #wightlive: helping make the Isle of Wight one of the best places to visit and live.”

“The Isle of Wight provides visitors with a superb range of over 50 festivals, each with a unique character that reflects Island life. These include the large music festivals, The Garlic Festival, Yarmouth Old Gaffers and recently established festivals like the Festival of the Sea in June and Isle of Fright in October,” ends David Thornton, CEO Visit Isle of Wight.

“The Island also plays host to a star-studded cast of literary and artistic talent and this is reflected in an eclectic programme of cultural festivals and year-round carnivals.  We feel we have really come to earn our title of “Festival Island”.  #wightlive is the perfect mechanism to share all the incredible things happening here this summer (and beyond), and we hope to see as many visitors as possible getting involved on their social networks and sharing their “centre stage” images with Wightlink.”


For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:

Sophy Norris                 01392 248 934   sophy.norris@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

Belinda Hallworth           0207 886 8456   belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

Zoe Blah                       0207 886 8451   zoe.blah@flagshipconsulting.co.uk


Seaside Rock

The Isle of Wight Festival – the first major festival of the summer – takes place from Thursday June 12th to 15th with one of the biggest and best line-ups of recent years.

First staged in 1968, the 1969 edition featured Bob Dylan.  But it was the 1970 event which established it as one of the leading music festivals in the world, when the line-up included Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Joan Baez and the Moody Blues among others.

An estimated turn-out of 600,000 was one of the largest human gatherings in the same place at the same time – promoting Parliament to pass the Isle of Wight Act in 1971 to prevent gatherings of more than 5,000 people on the Island without a special licence!

Revived in 2002, the current 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, Amy Winehouse, Kings of Leon, Jay-Z, David Bowie, Coldplay, Muse, The Sex Pistols, The Police, and Blondie

“We would never have attempted to restart the Festival without having such a strong history, the Isle of Wight was the Woodstock of Europe,” explains John Giddings, Isle of Wight Festival Promoter.  “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”.

The 2014 Isle of Wight Festival Seaclose Park, Newport, Isle of Wight from Thursday, June 12th to Sunday, June 15th with headline performances from headliners the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kings of Leon, Biffy Clyro and Calvin Harris.

Day tickets to the Festival are £75; weekend camping tickets are £190.  For full prices, and further information, visit www.isleofwightfestival.com.

Visitor information about the Isle of Wight is at www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.


For further information, please contact:

Jacquie, Amy or Ben at Amazing Media

Tel: 0207 033 3722     Email: Jacquie@amazingmedia.co.uk

Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight Press Officer

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

Fantastic Father’s Day on the Isle of Wight – Sunday 15th June

Treat your father to a day out to remember on the wonderful Isle of Wight this year and create marvellous memories for you all to cherish.  Whether he’s a nature lover, a rock and music fan, a foodie aficionado or he’d like to learn something such as photography, blacksmithing or sailing, the Island has something for every dad to enjoy. Tempt him with:

Fabulous Food

Father’s Day Sunday lunch at The Seaview Hotel will be a tasty feast in comfortable surroundings http://www.seaviewhotel.co.uk/.  After eating you could wander down to the shore, or visit nearby Seaview Wildlife Encounter where dad could become a Keeper for a Day.  http://www.seaviewwildlife.com/wildlife_encounters/Keeper_for_a_day/

The Taverners at Godshill is a real country pub that has locally sourced food, good portions and great reviews. A list of Island eateries can be found at www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

Got a green fingered and food loving father? There’s a special Father’s Day picnic on June 15th with yummy packed lunch provided by the stylish Edulis restaurant. http://www.botanic.co.uk/

Festival Fun

Does your dad love to rock? If he has an Isle of Wight Festival weekend ticket you could upgrade him for Father’s Day to a VIP ticket and he could hang out with the stars in the backstage bar. https://www.isleofwightfestival.com/vipupgrade/

The Festival of the Sea follows the IW Festival for ten days with dozens of sea themed things to do. Maybe he’d like the nautically themed Real Ale Festival at Cowes Ale House, a Sunset Cruise to the Needles or for a real treat the Tasting Menu at The Hambrough hotel in Ventnor. See http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/festival-of-the-sea/

Shakespeare al fresco

Is your father a theatre buff? For the first time ever on the Isle of Wight Shakespeare’s Globe are bringing the accessible comedy Much Ado About Nothing to the lawns of Osborne House from Wednesday 18th – Saturday 21st June. http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/shakespearess-much-ado-about-nothing-at-osborne-house-p1061321

Finding Out Something New

The Really Wild Photography workshop at IW Zoo photographs big cats with professional wildlife photographer Karen-Jane Dudley k1photography.com, and is a must for photography and/or wildlife loving dads. http://www.isleofwightzoo.com/products/really-wild-photography.aspx

Does he have an interest in ironworking, horses or both? Then buy him a Blacksmith Experience at J R Phillpott and Dad Traditional Blacksmith and he will be able to create his own poker or similar piece of work. Booking is via their facebook page, www.facebook.com/jrpblacksmith2007, or call 01983 812297/ 07572 383137 or email JRPhilpottblacksmith@hotmail.com.

Getting at one with nature

A must for a birding dad is a twilight stroll through the Mottistone Estate listening for the churring nightjars and looking for them displaying in the trees as the sun goes down on June 11th at 8.30pm. Mottistone Common Nightjar Walk, tel 01983 741020 www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Or he might like to climb an enormous oak tree with award winning Goodleaf Tree Climbing.  Learning to use the latest climbing gear with a qualified and experienced instructor he’ll ascend into the canopy to enjoy beautiful sea views from a tree hammock at the top. http://www.goodleaf.co.uk/

Having a Vintage Day Out

Steam Trains are just made for Dads and your dad, whatever his age, will enjoy a day out at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. All dads travelling on the train will get a free gift. www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk  Tel 01983 882204.

Carisbrooke Castle museum has a WWI exhibition focussing on the lives of three Island men who went to war in 1914: Reginald Denham, Yeoman J. Attrill and Jack Seely, including the story of his horse Warrior the War Horse. http://www.wightatwar.org.uk/

Sailing Away

Round the Island Race

For the sailor at the head of your family the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race – the headline act at this year’s Festival of the Sea – is on Saturday June 21st and boats can be signed up until June 18th. www.roundtheisland.org.uk.

If he’s more of an armchair sailor then make for the Needles Old Battery where he can have a hearty Round the Island Breakfast whilst watching the yachts sail around the Needles. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/visit/local-to-you/london-and-south-east/things-to-see-and-do/isle-of-wight/event-search/

Anyone wanting further information about where to stay and how to reach the Island should visit http://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


Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill, the Island’s leading tourist attractions, have each been awarded the prestigious ‘Certificate of Excellence 2014’ by TripAdvisor for the second year running for consistently achieving outstanding traveller reviews on the TripAdvisor website.

Alexander Dabell, Managing Director of Vectis Ventures which owns Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill, said, “I am very proud that both parks have been awarded this prestigious accolade for the second year running, especially as the awards are based directly on feedback from our visitors on their experiences at the parks. There is no greater seal of approval than being recognised by one’s customers.   Vectis Ventures has been investing not just in the infrastructure at Blackgang and Robin Hill but also in the development of our staff.  If a visitor has had a good day, it will be because our staff have made it so. They are the ambassadors for Vectis Ventures and the Island and must be congratulated for the great effort they put in to ensure that the visitor experience is as memorable as can be.   This Certificate of Excellence gives recognition to their hard work.”

To qualify for a Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall TripAdvisor rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travellers. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months and the popularity on the site.

Marc Charron, President of TripAdvisor for Business said, “TripAdvisor is pleased to honour exceptional hospitality businesses for consistent excellence.   The Certificate of Excellence award gives top performing establishments around the world the recognition they deserve, based on feedback from those who matter most – their customers. From Australia to Zimbabwe, we want to applaud exceptional hospitality businesses for offering TripAdvisor travellers a great customer experience.”

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest travel site.  TripAdvisor branded sites make up the largest travel community in the world, reaching nearly 260 million unique monthly visitors, and more than 150 million reviews and opinions covering more than 4 million accommodations, restaurants and attractions.


For further information please contact Michelle Russell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Vectis Ventures Limited : 01983 732123 / 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk




Visitors to Blackgang Chine are in for an exciting new treat this May half term when ‘Shadow’ and ‘Sheila’, the park’s resident baby Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs, introduce their latest dino friends and hatchlings in an amazing new family show, ‘Dino Encounters’.

From Saturday 24th May – Sunday 1 June, come and experience ‘Dino Encounters’ which combines theatre and excitement in this fun and interactive ‘live’ show which brings dinosaurs to life!   Visitors will be introduced to a range of species including our walking Procomsognathus dinosaurs, a baby Brachiosaurus and the mischievous ‘Caulkie’ the Caulkicephalus – all with personalities of their own!   Plus you can meet their handlers, learn some facts about these fascinating new dinosaurs – and for those brave enough to get up close and personal, there will be the chance to ‘pet’ and feed the new dinos too!

As well as enjoying this new show, there will be opportunities during the day for smaller children to ride our new walking dinosaurs – and for visitors new to the park this year, there’s the added excitement of ‘Restricted Area 5’, a brand new attraction which takes experiences with dinosaurs to another level.

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 the biggest animatronic T-Rex in the country!

Blackgang Chine is open from 10am – 6pm during May half term, and all tickets include ‘unlimited FREE returns for 7 days!

To find out more about the events taking place at Blackgang Chine this May half term and to download  a programme, please visit : www.blackgangchine.com or Blackgang Chine’s Facebook page.

Please note the new show, Dino Encounters, will take place, weather permitting.


For further information please contact Michelle Russell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Vectis Ventures Limited : 01983 732123 / 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk




The Isle of Wight is so beautiful at the moment – dressed to impress for May Bank Holiday and just waiting to welcome you. So many lush shades of green adorn the fields and hedges, with the flash of bluebells and the pretty white flowers of pungent wild garlic.

Visit one of the Island’s most beautiful gardens at Mottistone Manor and on Sunday 25th and Monday 26th you can have a rare glimpse inside the manor house – the only days it is open this year. http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/mottistone-manor-house-open-day-p1033981

Ventnor Botanic Garden, a paradise for plant lovers, has a National Collection of Puya and some have recently put up flower spikes, which are just about to bloom. The Ventnor Botanic Artists Summer Exhibition runs from May 24th to June 1st in the Garden Gallery and over the weekend of May 24th to 26th the garden has a Spring Plant Fayre with entry and parking free on these days. http://www.botanic.co.uk/whats_upcoming

Holy Trinity Church in Bembridge has a Flower Festival running from Saturday 24th to Monday 26th plus there’s a street festival in the High Street from 2pm on the Monday.

See the countryside in style from the carriage window of one of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s ‘Dinosaurs of Island Steam’ at their Spring Gala from May 24th to 26th. Take guided workshop tour, explore the Train Story Discovery Centre and tuck into Island produce, and Island beers at the real ale bar. http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/events/spring-gala-dinosaurs-of-island-steam.aspx

Visit Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens ‘Days of Adventure’ from Monday 26th to Friday 30th and you can test your aim at archery and get hands on with fire fighting and survival skills as part of their Bushcraft activities programme. You could even try mountain boarding. http://www.robin-hill.com/events

You are invited to a fabulous fete to celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday at Osborne House over the May Bank Holiday weekend with traditional Victorian music, entertainers and sideshow games. See Punch and Judy at the private beach and play on seaside swingboats and for kids there’s kite making and dressing up as princes and princesses at the Swiss Cottage. Have your portrait taken at the Victorian Photobooth for a souvenir of an unforgettable family day. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/victorias-fabulous-fete-Osb-24-05-2014/

Get ready for Father’s Day (June 16th) by visiting Chessell Pottery to create a funny face mug for dad using their super new range of funny-face sponges, such as mad moustaches, enormous ears and brilliant bow ties. During the half term week (May 26th to 30th) there is a special 20% off the price of 1 pint mugs, perfect for a Dad-sized cup of tea. www.chessellpotterybarns.co.uk

Camp Bestival are bringing the circus to Quay Arts with a family day of Camp Bestival DJs, special guest DJs and circus-themed activities, competitions, face painting and arts and crafts on May 28th. http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/camp-bestival-brings-the-circus-to-town-56252.aspx

Go Wild in Newchurch’ at a free family event looking at the Island’s wildlife during the day and at night. Starting on the evening of Monday 26th May at 8.30pm with Star Gazing, Bat Detecting and Moth Hunting; the ‘Bioblitz’ main event is on Tuesday 27th May around Martin’s Wood, Newchurch from 10 am to 4 pm where squirrels, birds and 70 different varieties of bee can be found. www.wightaonb.org.uk

If you’ve never heard a nightjar then join the National Trust to search for them in Bouldnor Forest on May 31st. See http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/events/2014/05/31/night-walk-search-nightjars for more details.

As the sun goes down join Goodleaf at  Appley Park for some Twilight Tree Time and experience the magic of an English midsummer’s evening from the canopy of a majestic oak tree in this peaceful location overlooking the golden Appley Sands. Twilight Tree Time takes place on selected Friday evenings in May, June and July from 6.30pm – 8.30pm and booking is essential.  Contact 0333 800 1188 or see info@goodleaf.co.uk

Push the boat out and try sailing for free at Shanklin Sailing Club on Saturday May 24th. Founded in 1931, it is a small, happy, family club, with all the usual facilities: showers, changing rooms, club house and a gear store. They have around 30 Sprint 15 catamarans and a small fleet of Picos. http://www.shanklinsailingclub.com/

Get up close and personal with the two baby Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs ‘Shadow’ and ‘Sheila’ at Blackgang Chine – Land of Imagination. Live performances from these two mischievous dinos will be held on May 25th, 26th, 28th and 31st at this fun-filled theme park, which also boasts a brand new Restricted Area 5 – full of much bigger dinosaurs. http://www.blackgangchine.com/events/shadow-and-sheila-live-performances

Don’t leave the Island before booking to take a Dinosaur hunting walk from Dinosaur Isle, where you will be shown how to look for dinosaur fossils, how to find dino footprints and you may even find their enormous foot casts on the beach. Dinosaur walks:  May 24th – Brook, May 25th and 26th – Yaverland. http://www.dinosaurisle.com/events.aspx#may14

For all tourist information, 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

Last Minute Deals

The Orchards caravan park at Newbridge is offering a last minute May Half-Term Deal saving up to £160 off of their tariff price.


Weekly bookings: arrival dates 23rd, 24th & 25th. Prices: Gold Offer – £525 per caravan, Silver Offer £440 per caravan and Bronze Offer £325 per caravan.

Shortbreaks: 3 nights from 23rd, 24th & 25th or 4 nights from 26th, 27th & 28th. Prices : Gold Offer -£385.00 per caravan, Silver Offer – £340.00 per caravan, Bronze Offer – £240.00 per caravan.

Orchards can also book the return ferry for you via Southampton for £66.00 for weekly bookings or  £49.00 for short breaks (+£15.00 supplement on 23rd & 24th May from Southampton &  26th & 31st May from Cowes if travel is between 0900-1630)

For this and more great value deals on a whole range of family holidays, adventure holidays, short breaks and weekend stays, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/isle-of-wight-holidays/adventure-isle



The Isle of Wight is once again top in the country for the amount of award winning Blue Flag and Seaside Award beaches.

The Island has retained the same four Blue Flags and 13 Seaside Awards it received in 2013, giving a total of 17 awards.

The prestigious Blue Flag scheme and Seaside Awards – which were previously known as Quality Coast Awards – are run by the Keep Britain Tidy Group. On the Blue Flag website, it describes itself as a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world.

Sandown, Ventnor, Yaverland and Colwell beaches have all retained their Blue Flags as well as being given Seaside Awards. Other beaches to be given Seaside Awards are Cowes, East Cowes, Springvale, Seagrove, Gurnard, Ryde East, St Helens, Totland and Shanklin.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism said; “Yet again the Isle of Wight comes out top in the prestigious Blue Flags and Seaside Awards scheme which is excellent news.

“With the increase in tourists we have seen over the last year, this can only further enhance the Island’s reputation as a top holiday destination.

David Thornton, the chief executive officer of Visit Isle of Wight said: “It is great to see that the Island’s beaches have once again achieved these seaside awards.

“Tourists pay special attention to Blue Flag beaches and Seaside Awards and this sends out a clear message that we’ve got some of the UK’s best beaches and is a great start to the summer season.”

Notes for editors

Members of the media are invited to Ventnor Esplanade at 11am on Tuesday 20 May for photo and interview opportunities.

The list of winning beaches is below:











East Cowes




Ryde East

St Helens




Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer

Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254

Mob: 07976 347636

Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk


Get social media updates from the Isle of Wight Council. Go to www.facebook.com/isleofwightcouncil, www.twitter.com/iwight and www.youtube.com/IWCouncil



A new arts guide designed to encourage creative types to visit the Island and promote repeat holiday bookings has been produced by Visit Isle of Wight, the Island’s tourist board.

Showcasing the very best of Island arts and culture, the Wight Guide to Island Arts celebrates the Island’s rich artistic heritage and cultural attractions, from historic houses and visual arts to music festivals and major exhibitions.

The guide also uncovers locally-produced arts and crafts at galleries and studios and offers a range of inspirational holidays and workshops including vintage yoga weekends and wildlife photography classes.

Some of the year’s highlights in the 8-page, newspaper-style publication include the new World War 1 exhibition at Carisbrooke Castle Museum  (from 12th May), Quay Arts outdoor production of The Globe Theatre’s “Much Ado About Nothing” (18 to 21 June), V-Dub Festival (14 to 18 August), Ventnor Fringe (12-17 August) and the IW Literary Festival (16-19 October).

New this year, Robin Hill’s Festival of Light (from 4th October) inspired by the Hindu Festival of Diwali is also featured in the publication along with Celia Imrie’s time-travelling Literatours where literary and music giants are brought to life on a top flight coach tour around some of the most stunning parts of the Island.

Visit Isle of Wight hopes the new guide will inspire those passionate about the arts to book a holiday and visit the locations that once attracted poets, painters, writers and photographers – and catch fantastic performances at one of the Island’s superb venues.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “Cultural attractions and events are particularly strong magnets for tourism and a thriving arts scene can be a big selling point for people looking for a holiday.  Tourists not only purchase local art as souvenirs and tickets to events, but they also spend money on hotels and restaurants and make use of local attractions.

“We believe our new Wight Guide to Island Arts promotes repeat holiday bookings leaving  people wanting to see more”.

The new Wight Guide to Island Arts will be available at Island arts venues, attractions and tourist information points and from the Visit Isle of Wight website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

The new publication will also be stocked at selected arts venues in Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth, Chichester, Brighton, Winchester and Salisbury.


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


Splice the mainbrace: for the Isle of Wight’s “Festival of the Sea”

The Isle of Wight is once again ready to “splice the mainbrace” – as the Island prepares to celebrates its maritime history, heritage and holiday appeal at the second annual Festival of the Sea in June.

The inaugural event was staged last year as an end-of-term extravaganza for visitors who were able to visit the Island outside of the busy summer season.  But it will drop anchor this year on June 16th – as the last of the Isle of Wight Festival revellers return to the mainland, and as the Island attempts to keep the party spirit alive for another full week.

Now scheduled to run from Monday June 16th to Monday 23rd, the Festival of the Sea has also announced its very own headline act – The J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race organised by the Island Sailing Club and which takes place on Saturday, June 21st.

That race regularly attracts over 1,700 boats, and around 16,000 sailors, making it one of the largest yacht races in the world, and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the UK after the London Marathon and the Great North and South Runs.

Thousands of people will once again be flocking to the Island this June, to watch or take part in one of the largest yacht races in the world which will feature some of the country’s top sailors, including America’s Cup Winner and four-time Olympic gold medalist, Sir Ben Ainslie.

The Festival of the Sea will be anchored by headline events – such as the Round the Island Race, and the Red Funnel Cowes Food Festival and Cookery Theatre in Cowes Yacht Haven over the weekend of June 21st and 22nd – and will also include sea shanties, sunset cruises, beach art displays, fishing, food-tastings and sailing lessons.

A host of other events and activities around the Island have been brought under the Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea’s mainsail, and appear on the Visit Isle of Wight website www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

The Festival will embrace the fact that the Isle of Wight currently has the highest amount of award winning beaches in the country, with four Blue Flag beaches and 13 Seaside Awards, giving a total of 17 awards.  But a major part of this year’s Festival will also be to encourage visitors to book holidays or short-breaks which coincide with some of the events, and to enjoy the ever-changing coastal views from a vast range of hotels, B&Bs and campsites all around the Island.

Places such as the amazing Beach House, on Seagrove Bay in Seaview, for example, with direct access to the beach: http://www.wightlocations.co.uk/cottage-details/seaview-the-beach-house at £3,500 for the week.  Or, The Glass House, in Cowes, http://www.islandcottageholidays.com/isleofwight/cottages/glasshouse/ with its unrivaled sea views (£1,750 for the week).

Similar ‘top tips’ include Old Mill Park http://www.oldmill.co.uk/ (£485 from Saturday 14th to 21st); The Seaview Hotel (http://www.seaviewhotel.co.uk/) (from £145 per night for two people B&B); and The Hambrough Hotel (http://www.thehambrough.com/the-hambrough/hambrough) (from £150 per night for two people, B&B).

Tom’s Eco Lodge (http://tomsecolodge.com), meanwhile, has a 15%discount for a 4-night glamping stay between June 16th and 20th, at £400.

And with three cross-Solent ferry operators – Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel – getting across to the Island for the Festival of the Sea couldn’t be easier.

Anyone who books travel with Hovertravel from Southsea to Portsmouth before June 8th for travel between June 16th and 23rd, for example, can gain a 50% discount on a Day return or Period return, booking online with the promotional code HTFOS14 http://www.hovertravel.co.uk/.

Visitors can also take advantage of Wightlink’s Spring Special Offer and save 20% on all economy fares when travelling from Lymington to Yarmouth.  To book a Festival of the Sea adventure, quote discount code MP14WRS (online) or call 0871 376 1000.   Terms and conditions apply, see website for full details http://www.wightlink.co.uk/offers/spring-day-trips.

Red Funnel, meanwhile, will be offering a two for £12 Red Jet offer to anyone who visits over the weekend of 21/22 June – giving visitors the chance to see the festivities taking place in-and-around Cowes during the Festival of the Sea at value-for-money prices http://www.redfunnel.co.uk/.

For further details of these and all other accommodation on the Isle of Wight at the time of the Festival of the Sea, 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

Notes to editors:

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 (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

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 http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk/web/code/php/main_c.php?map=rir14&ui=rir4&style=std&override=&section=race&page=course )   http://www.roundtheisland.org.uk



An Isle of Wight Council attraction has recorded its best ever visitor numbers for the month of April, with Hollywood playing its part.

Nearly 10,000 people visited Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown last month, which is almost 2000 people higher than the previous record.

It is thought significant publicity towards the end of 2013 involving the Isle of Wight branding itself ‘Dinosaur Island’ and the Hollywood film ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ played a big part in the jump in numbers.

Shirley Smart is the Executive councillor responsible for tourism and said: “The council worked very closely with Visit Wight who led on the dinosaur island marketing campaign and it certainly appears to have had a significant impact.

“The museum also saw an overall increase in visitor numbers for 2013 which allowed it to invest in new heating equipment and improve the displays. The council will continue to work closely with Visit Wight to further promote the Island as a fantastic holiday destination.”

Chief executive of Visit Wight is David Thornton who added: “Visitor numbers to the Island are up overall and we are now starting to see the results of a sustained investment in the Island’s holiday profile as a result of pro-active collective marketing and promotion led by the DMO, Isle of Wight Council and partners.

“Activities like our dinosaur island and Shades of Wight campaigns are securing good exposure in national newspapers, magazines and online and a poster and hoarding campaign in London last month was especially effective in delivering a huge increase to website traffic and last minute bookings for the Easter period. There is much more still to do, with the challenge of promoting the Island for all seasons.”

Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown first opened in 2001 and houses thousands of fossils, including those of dinosaurs that are unique to the Island.

Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer

Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254

Mob: 07976 347636

Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk