This October, enjoy the ambience of Robin Hill’s electric woods’ like never before  with the Festival of Light, a stunning spectacle of creatively themed light, colour, sound, and entertainment inspired by the Hindu Festival of Diwali where ‘light triumphs over darkness’.

From 4th October – 1st November, as darkness falls, visitors can experience the lush colours, flavours and magic of the Asian sub-continent set in Robin Hill’s glorious autumnal ancient woodland as the spectacular ‘electric woods’ captures the spirit of the most popular festival in the Indian calendar.

Wandering through the ‘electric woods’, visitors can enjoy the creative interpretation of the Indian poem, ‘The Ramayana’,  which tells the story of Prince Rama and Princess Sita and their battle to triumph over the evil demon God.   Delivered in two parts, the story is cleverly portrayed by a spectacular sound & light show which begins the tale in ancient India, and finishes with an enchanting shadow theatreperformance that celebrates the victory of good over evil.

Visitors will also be encouraged to embrace the spirit of Diwali by taking part in ‘Colour Quest’ battles!   Hidden in the dark glades of the ‘electric wood’, evil demons will lie in wait for unsuspecting visitors.   As you wander gingerly through the dark woods, experiencing the special lighting and effects, be ready to encounter the evil demons, and, armed with special coloured ‘Holi’ flour, defeat them with colour!   Don’t forget to wear a white t-shirt to capture the colourful aftermath of the battle!

These special interactive Colour Quest battles will take place every night with Saturday night ‘quests’ becoming more intense as the evening draws on.   All visitors will receive a free small pouch of brightly coloured flour to throw whilst on their quest.

Saturday nights will feature extended opening hours (6pm – 11pm), live theatrical performances and DJ sets, making this night in particular a special ‘Festival of Light’ celebration.

The Diwali theme will feature across all refreshments with an authentic Indian menu of curries, Asian sweets, and traditional teas, providing a true ‘taste of India’, served in the woodland ponds where magical reflections appear in the water and themed music will add to the ambience.

Robin Hill’s electric woods Festival of Light event starts on Saturday 4th October and is open every evening until Saturday 1st November, 6pm – 9.30pm Sunday to Friday and from 6pm – 11pm on Saturdays.   During half term, 24October – Sunday 2nd November Robin Hill will also be open from 10am.

For more information please visit : www.electricwoods.co.uk.


Please find attached image for your use.

Celebrated across the world, Diwali is the largest, brightest and most popular festival in the Indian calendar. The word Diwali means “row of lighted lamps”, with light symbolizing the triumph of good over evil, prosperity over poverty and knowledge over ignorance. It’s a time for lighting diyas (or lamps), laying out colourful rangolis (colours), enjoying fireworks, exchanging gifts of sweets and celebrating with dance, music and storytelling.

The ‘electric woods’ is a series of stunning evening events featuring a spectacle of themed light, colour and sound set in a five acre pocket of ancient woodland at Robin Hill Adventure Park & Gardens.   As dusk falls, a beautiful array of lighting brings a warm and magical glow to the trees, woodland glades, and paths enhanced by relaxing music, delicious food and stunning entertainment. Each of the season’s ‘electric woods’ events has a different twist, with themes from Oriental to Indian.

For further information, please contact Michelle Russell, Marketing & Communications Manager, Vectis Ventures on 01983 730330 / 07436 283630 / michelle@vectisventures.co.uk

Isle of Wight Day at the Palace of Westminster, 2nd September 2014 – A Taste of the Isle of Wight

Visit Isle of Wight and Taste of the Wight are working with Island MP, Andrew Turner, to hold a special event in the Houses of Parliament this September to celebrate the Island and raise its profile.

The event follows the huge success of the first Isle of Wight Day which was held in the Palace of Westminster last October.  The second Isle of Wight Day at Westminster, which will be held on 2nd September, will give a selection of Island businesses a chance to market and promote themselves to a wide audience of travel and food media, key food buyers, business investors and MPs.

Andrew Turner MP will welcome assembled guests and Lady Penny Cobham, Chairman of Visit England will declare the “Taste of the Isle of Wight” experience open.   Cllr Ian Stephens, Leader of the IW Council, will talk about the Council’s key role in tourism and the importance of working alongside the private sector to deliver destination services.

Visit Isle of Wight will create a pop-up garden to illustrate the Island’s Garden Isle appeal, while food and drink, inspired by the finest Isle of Wight ingredients, will be served throughout the day.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “Tourism is worth over £500M to the Island’s economy and represents almost 30% of the employment on Island.

“Wightminster” provides us with an annual opportunity to re-connect with partners and supporters and remind everyone of the importance tourism plays in the Island’s economy and its future prospects.”

Also at Westminster there will be a number of products from Solent’s Wight Marque members on display.

David Brooks, Sales Director at Solent said: “Taste of the Wight is becoming an important part of the Isle of Wight’s marketing programme and we’re delighted that there will be more than a hundred products on display from the Island to enjoy.

“From apricots and cherries to sweetcorn and garlic and award-winning favourites such as Minghella Ice Cream and IW Blue Cheese. There will be a special showcase for Isle of Wight drinks with some treats from our local brewers, as well as wines and ciders and one or two more surprising tipples to try.”

Andrew Turner added “I was really proud of what we achieved with our first Isle of Wight Day – and the plans for this year are on track to top that.  I had great feedback about the event and I know that many useful contacts were made leading to new business for Island companies.  It’s a lot of hard work for everybody involved but I’m very much looking forward to the event.”



For further information, please contact: 

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672. E-mail: sue@visitwight.org


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

Wight Marque is a sign of origin and identifies truly local food and places where it is sold. The Gold Standard can only be awarded to hospitality, wholesalers etc where ten or more Wight Marque products are used. http://wightmarque.tasteofthewight.co.uk/


DON’T WORRY at Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden is delighted to announce it is proud exhibitors of a new art installation made in collaboration with Quay Arts, Young Quay & The New Carnival Company, 2014.

The installation, a series of yellow lanterns spelling out DON’T WORRY, prominently features on the roof of The Tropical House at Ventnor Botanic Garden.

The lanterns have previously been displayed at the IW Festival, Quay Arts’ Learning Curve Gallery and will be returned to Quay Arts following their display at the Garden.

Visitors are encouraged to take their photo with the DON’T WORRY Lanterns and hashtag #QuayArts and #VentnorBotanicGarden.

Chris Kidd, Curator of Ventnor Botanic Garden commented; ‘It’s exciting for us to feature art created by young, local talent in the Garden so prominently. Not only does enhance the exterior of our Tropical House, it helps to give young artists a platform to show off their talent.’

The lanterns were inspired Quay Arts’ current ARTIST ROOMS exhibition by Turner Prize winning artist and musician, Martin Creed. His Work No. 890: DON’T WORRY 2008 Yellow Neon (seen in The West Gallery, Quay Arts) is a sign which returns us to a child-like sensibility. Is this a sign of comfort? Or is it an instruction – warning us to make us feel there could be actually something to worry about; setting us on edge for what is about to come.

Martin Creed (born 1968) uses everyday objects and simple gestures to make his work, along with rules and repetition. For example, he sequentially numbers his work as part or all of the title. At first glance you might think there is not much to it all – but if you spend some time looking, you might find it to be funny, unexpected and playful; about ideas and life. A lot of his work explores how art is made; and maybe asks that difficult question of what art is.

The DON’T WORRY installation will be on display at Ventnor Botanic Garden until early September. Standard Garden admission fees apply to all visitors. For more information call 01983 855397.


For photographs, interviews and all other enquiries, please contact Kirsten Morris at Ventnor Botanic Garden via marketing@botanic.co.uk.

About Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous Ventnor ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.

With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.

No longer under the management of the Isle of Wight County Council, John Curtis is leading the Community Interest Company that is saving the garden and transforming it into a venue for local residents and visitors to the Isle of Wight to enjoy all year round.


Martin Creed: ARTIST ROOMS On Tour

Continues till Saturday 20th September | The West Gallery | Quay Arts

This exhibition shows eight signature pieces by Creed, who won the Turner Prize in 2001 for his controversial Work No.227 The lights going on and off. The works on display are taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and The National Galleries of Scotland and established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund, and the Scottish and British Governments. ARTIST ROOMS On Tour is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the Art Fund, making available the ARTIST ROOMS collection to galleries throughout the UK. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its sixth year, is showing at 16 museums and galleries across the UK in 2014.

To find out more information about ARTIST ROOMS On Tour please visit

www.tate.org.uk/artistrooms and www.nationalgalleries.org/artistrooms




Event organisers are being targeted by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) in their latest bid to attract new visitors.

With its unique environment and reputation for hosting a range of cultural, outdoor and family events, the DMO (Destination Management Organisation) feels the Island is an attractive proposition to organisers of events, or those looking for inspirational scenery as a rich backdrop for meetings or conferences.

The new initiative was launched at the C&IT (Conference & Incentive Travel) Agency Forum this August.

Destinations from across the UK attended the C&IT Agency Forum and representatives from VIOW were hoping to gain substantial new business for the Island.   The forum, which took place at Warner Studios, The Grove Hotel and Wembley Stadium in London, provided significant access to senior UK Agency event buyers in a relaxed and intimate environment.

Katie Jones, Sales & Events Manager for VIOW, said: “The C&IT Conference is the UK’s annual gathering of the most influential agency buyers with a minimum of £500,000+ budget to spend on events.

“We had over twenty individual meetings with major events agencies offering a wide range of experiences from a one-day team building event through to corporate activity weekends and week-long conferences.  Delegates were looking for something different to offer their clients and we were able to demonstrate that the Island is the perfect place to create inspirational incentive programmes and events for their guests.”

A new publication designed to create interest in the Island as a prime event location has also been produced by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW).  Using the tagline, “Let’s get this party started”, the new guide targets the business events sector (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) which the DMO believes offers considerable opportunity to develop the Island as an area with an all year-round world-class calendar of events and festivals.

In the new guide, promoters of high-profile events including the Isle of Wight Festival and Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week talk about their reasons for being here from ease of access from anywhere in the south east to great infrastructure including hotels, restaurants and hospitality.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Local and regional events, including business events and conferences can increase visits and expenditure, reduce seasonality, encourage repeat visits and heighten regional awareness.

“The Isle of Wight has an incredible heritage hosting some world-famous events, but we want people to know about the depth and variety of venues on offer.  This new initiative will help us to achieve this as we move towards our overall target of an extra 300,000 visitors within 5 years.

“We are grateful to Wightlink who have funded half of the cost of Katie’s role here at the DMO this year.”

VIOW now plans to offer a range of professional services, including location and venue sourcing, familiarisation visits and logistical and marketing support.   Leads generated can then be shared with the tourism and business sector, with the aim to convert interest to actual business.


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

Notes to editors

Image of Katie Jones, Sales & Events Manager, holding the new Visit Isle of Wight publication is attached.

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

Conference & Incentive Travel (C&IT) is the UK’s leading brand for the MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) industry.   The C&IT Forum was held at Wembley Stadium, The Grove and Warner Studios in London from 6-8 August  http://www.citmagazine.com/about-conference-incentive-travel



Train Story Welcomes Its 25,000th Visitor

A family holidaying on the Isle of Wight from Romford in Essex received a special surprise yesterday (8th August) as they crossed the threshold of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s new Train Story Visitor Centre and, between them, took the total number of visitors to Train Story (which only opened in April) past the 25,000 mark!

Sian and Barrie Underwood and their two children Rhys, aged 7, and Phoebe, aged 4, were enjoying a day-long visit to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway when, after a trip on the steam train and a spot of lunch, they decided to visit Train Story. Upon entering they suddenly found themselves the centre of attention and being greeted by Train Story volunteer Guide Roger Fruen and Steam Railway General Manager Peter Vail. “We were monitoring the visitor count throughout the morning and knew the 25,000th visitor would be likely just after lunch”, said IW Steam Railway General Manager Peter Vail. “Sure enough, as the Underwood family from Romford stepped through the doors we passed through the 25,000 mark and we were able to make a special presentation to them!”

The occasion was marked by a presentation to the Underwood family with a bouquet, a bottle of bubbly and a whole package of goodies including IW Steam Railway Gift Vouchers.

As first time visitors to the Steam Railway, Sian Underwood said they had thoroughly enjoyed their day at the Railway and commented that they were ‘pleasantly surprised’ by the whole experience of the new Visitor Centre. “It wasn’t what we were expecting to find at this type of Heritage Railway,” she said. “But it’s been a fantastic way to find out some really interesting history and the children have really enjoyed it.”  Youngsters Rhys and Phoebe were particularly impressed by the model of the Railway’s flagship locomotive ‘Calbourne’, where Rhys dressed-up as an engine driver and enjoyed putting the ‘coal’ in the boiler!

“This is a significant milestone in the development of this major new attraction for our Railway, said Peter Vail. “We quietly opened Train Story just sixteen weeks ago in mid-April without too much fanfare, as some external work needed to be completed during the summer months. So to have already welcomed 25,000 visitors is really gratifying”.

Asked to sum up their visit Mr. and Mrs. Underwood said that the whole day had been a real treat and fantastic value, with the lovely bonus of the surprise presentation!

Background to the Train Story Project

The £1.2 million Train Story  project was built with the aid of a £970,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) together with funds raised from supporters of the Isle of Wight Steam Railway. The discovery centre has an interactive gallery and two exhibition halls of historic locomotives, carriages and wagons.

Train Story is a short stroll from the centre of Havenstreet Station and, on the way, visitors pass through the carriage and wagon workshop and loco yard, where the historic trains are restored and cared for. “Inside the discovery centre a timeline and interactive screens tell stories of the Island’s railways and how they have been restored”, said Chris Tagart, Interpretation Commissioner from the Steam Railway. “And along the walkway to Train Story is an unrestored carriage body which had a second life as a holiday chalet at Thorness after its working life on the railways came to an end in the 1930s”.

Work to locate the delicate carriage body needed to wait for the summer months. Pete Jardine, Design Coordinator, said “Now it is in position we are really pleased that the Le Maq family who owned the carriage whilst it was a chalet are restoring it to the 1950s style of their fondly remembered childhood holidays.”

Train Story is already a major addition to the attractions at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and entry is fully included in the Railway’s admission and travel ticket. To add to the visitor’s enjoyment, a guide or ‘interpreter’ is always on hand to answer any questions or to point out items of key interest. Linda Montgomery, Lead Interpreter, said, “The 150-year history of the Island’s once extensive railway system and the people who worked on it is really quite fascinating and often quite surprising. Train Story features interactive displays and film and audio from the heyday of the Island’s railways; and there’s very much something for everyone including opportunities to become a ‘locomotive driver’ in a half-scale model. Children from 2 to 102 can open the regulator, stoke the fire and even blow the whistle.”

Planning for the Train Story project started in 2008 as a means of protecting the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s historic collection of locomotives, carriages and wagons from the ravages of the weather, and displaying them to the 110,000 annual visitors to the Steam Railway.

Already proving very popular with visitors, Train Story opened in April this year and welcomes visitors daily until the beginning of November. Also visiting for the first time, Hazel White from Southampton summed-up the views of many, “The new Train Story building is great with lots of interactive things to do. The kids can dress up as a train guard, they can view some full sized restored trains and even go inside some of them.”

– ends-

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is located at Havenstreet Station (PO33 4DS) – 3 miles from Ryde and 3 miles from Newport – and operates a preserved 5-mile section of the former Ryde to Newport Railway. The Steam Railway runs trains on approximately 210 days each year, and stages around 25 Special Events each year.



Train Story is located within Havenstreet Station, and visits to Train Story are fully included in the railway’s general admission charge with no extra to pay.



Peter Vail, IW Steam Railway – 01983 882204 peter.vail@iwsteamrailway.co.uk

Steve Oates, IW Steam Railway – 01243 555959 or 07774 188930 steve@smo.me.uk


Mr. & Mrs. Sian and Barrie Underwood from Romford, Essex can be contacted via e-mail at bazzau73@gmail.com


The Railway Station, Havenstreet Station, Nr Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4DS

For further information on the IW Steam Railway please go to www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk


News release issued by Stephen Oates 07774 188930