VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT SEEKS ACOUSTIC ISLE EVENTS

Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) is now promoting the 3rd annual Acoustic Isle music festival, taking place February 24th to March 6th 2016.

Venues who have planned live entertainment during the promotional period are now invited to let VIOW know so that the Tourist Board can publicise locations and artists.   There is no cost to be featured in the promotion.

The Acoustic Isle campaign was founded by Visit Isle of Wight to grow the early-season visitor economy.    The festival focuses on places to stay and eat, the unique peaceful atmosphere of the Island at that time and its thriving live music scene.

Since it started in 2014, Acoustic Isle has featured hundreds of performances given by Island musicians who come together under the Acoustic Isle banner with a series of intimate gigs in Island pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, hotels and attractions.

From folk to funk, blues to jazz, the Acoustic Isle line-up features a blend of emerging artists and current performers with a mix of free and ticketed shows all over the Island for a twelve day festival experience.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “There’s so much to see and do on the Island at this time of the year, from wonderful walks and cycle rides to great attractions and eating out at fabulous restaurants and pubs – and then in the evening enjoy fantastic live acoustic acts and artists who come together and perform in our Acoustic Isle season.”

The campaign to encourage visitors to travel to the Isle of Wight and enjoy a tranquil break in early spring will be promoted on VIOW’s award-winning website, in a social media campaign and in a gig guide listing all the venues and artists performing.

Submissions are accepted online http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/event-submission-form  from venues hosting ‘Acoustic Isle’ music events of all types.  VIOW are also by keen to know about any accommodation offers and special deals running at this time.   Please e-mail jill@visitisleofwight.org

An Acoustic Isle industry toolkit providing a range of resources to support the campaign is available www.visitwight.org

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For further information, please contact:   Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 521555 ext 29, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org Notes to Editors 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 Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT SELLS NATIONAL EXPRESS TICKETS

Visit Isle of Wight has joined forces with National Express to sell tickets at its Visitor Centre, based at The Guildhall in Newport.

Funded by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and the IW Council through a successful grant application from central government, the Isle of Wight Visitor Information Centre first opened to the public in June this year.

Since then, a team of friendly Travel Ambassadors – who work both in the Guildhall and across the Island to inspire visitors to truly explore the Island – have welcomed thousands of visitors and local residents through the doors.

Brimming with leaflets about local attractions, maps and books, the tourist information centre also stocks a choice of high-quality souvenirs and a range of local produce.   In the New Year, the centre will also be offering tickets and bookings for events as well as activities like bike hire.

Developed as part of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) project, the Travel Ambassadors play a vital role in encouraging visitors to use sustainable transport options during their stay on the Island.   The addition of coach ticket sales from the UK’s largest coach operator is seen as a natural extension to the broad range of ‘car-free” opportunities already offered by the Visitor Centre.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said:  “The Guildhall is a fixture of Newport and we are thrilled that people can now pop in and purchase their coach tickets from one of our professional travel ambassadors”.

Recently awarded Gold (first prize) in the Visitor Information Provider of the Year category at the Beautiful South Awards 2015, Visit Isle of Wight’s Newport Visitor Centre and Travel Ambassador Scheme are now entered into the VisitEngland Tourism Excellence Awards taking place during English Tourism Week in March 2016.

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29, 07766 705672, sue@visitwight.org

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Notes to Editors

The image attached shows the VIOW Travel Ambassadors at the Visitor Centre, based at the Guildhall in Newport.

The Visitor Information Centre in Newport is open six days a week from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 3.30pm (subject to change dependant on season and later on special event nights).

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

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

For more information about Tourism South East’s Beautiful South Awards: http://www.beautifulsouthawards.co.uk/

For more information about Visit England’s Tourism Excellence Awards: http://www.visitenglandawards.org/

 

17.12.15/SE

ELEPHANT BONE DISCOVERY ON DISPLAY AT ISLE OF WIGHT MUSEUM

A fossil from a now-extinct species of elephant has gone on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown following its discovery in the Isle of Wight.

The shoulder bone of the Palaeoloxodon antiquus – which had straight tusks – was found protruding from the sand on the west coast of the Island in March this year by local resident Paul Hollingshead.

He took it into the museum for identification and donated the fossil for visitors to enjoy. It is thought the bone is around 100,000 years old and dates from the Ipswhichian period.

Paul said: “I wasn’t actually looking for fossils at the time the find was made. I remember it was a big five metre tide so I knew the water would go out a long way, when I saw what looked like a bit of bone showing from the sand.

“I stopped and realised it was a bit bigger so I started clearing all of the sand and stones away from it. I was shocked how big it was and spent around two and a half hours digging it out.

“I was hoping it was a dinosaur bone so was quite shocked to find out it was from an elephant.”

Alex Peaker from Dinosaur Isle added: “You don’t really associate elephants with the Isle of Wight but this find shows they did roam the Island many years ago.

“Although the bone was found in March, it took us several months of conservation work to preserve it to ensure it can go on display, which it now is.

“We want to thank Paul again for his discovery and his generosity in donating the bone to the museum.”

More information about the discovery can be found at www.facebook.com/dinosaurisle.

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Notes to Editors:

An image of Paul with his son Shay and daughter Lily and the elephant bone Paul discovered is attached.   Please credit IW Council and Dinosaur  Isle if you use this image.

Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636
Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk

The Isle of Wight – great for group travel!

Marketing the Isle of Wight as an excellent, welcoming destination for group travel has paid off for Visit Isle of Wight.

 

The Isle of Wight was recently a finalist in the Best UK Destination category in the Group Leisure Travel Awards 2015. Voted for by the readers of Group Leisure Magazine, a publication targeted at group travel organisers, other destinations nominated were London (winners), Bournemouth, Brighton and Torquay.

 

David Thornton, CEO Visit Isle of Wight Ltd said “This award is a particularly satisfying result for Visit Isle of Wight and recognises the hard work we have put in to appeal to group travel promoters, both in the UK and internationally.”

 

In another piece of good news for the Isle of Wight, a recent report from Tourism South East highlights increased interest from German group travel organisers for itineraries that include the Isle of Wight.  Whilst security issues have meant a reduction in German travel to North Africa and Greece, the Island has become a popular, integral part of a tour of Hampshire or Dorset, particularly because of its royal and geological history and stunning countryside.

 

A few years ago the Island did not feature on itineraries but now is included by many different key operators. According to the report; “…the Island is now well known and popular with many different age groups”.

 

More information on group travel to the Isle of Wight can be found here: http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/travel/group-travel

 

For further information, please contact: Abigail Fox abi@visitiwight.org 01983 521555 ext 28

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Notes to Editors

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 

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

 

 

Cream of the crop Island Tourism Businesses crowned at The Beautiful South Awards 2015

Tourism businesses across the Island are celebrating after being crowned at The Beautiful South Awards 2015.

Hosted by Tourism South East, the tourism elite of South and South East England gathered at Brighton’s Grand Hotel last night (2nd December 2015) for the glittering, black tie awards ceremony, sponsored by Shepherd Neame.

This year there were 120 entries from businesses in the South East which were narrowed down into 62 finalists winning either Gold, Silver or Bronze at the prestigious Tourism awards celebration.

Established over 20 years ago, the Beautiful South Awards help drive ambition and raise standards throughout the region rewarding quality, innovation and customer service.

The Island’s winners were:

Holiday Park/Holiday Village of the Year

Bronze – Lower Hyde, Park Resorts, Isle of Wight

Bronze – Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park, Isle of Wight

Large Visitor Attraction of the Year

Silver – Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Isle of Wight

Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year

Gold – Tom’s Eco Lodge, Isle of Wight

Tourism Event of the Year

Bronze – Electric Woods – Robin Hill Country Park, Isle of Wight

Visitor Information Provider of the Year

Gold – Isle of Wight Visitor Information Centre/Travel Ambassadors, Isle of Wight

Commenting on the awards, Nigel Smith, CEO of Tourism South East said, “It was a fantastic evening at the Grand Hotel and a real privilege to be in the company of so many dedicated and passionate tourism businesses.  The excellent quality of facilities, service and approach makes our role of promoting the South East so much easier and is one of the main reasons why we are the most popular UK tourist region outside London.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, added: “Congratulations to those who have made it through to the finals – they should feel justifiably proud of their achievement.

“The Tourism South East Beautiful South Awards are a fantastic accolade for these tourism businesses and for the Island as it helps put us on the map as a destination of excellence.

The Island wins a terrific range of tourism awards and it is important that they are highlighted to let customers know they are booking with a winning company.   The new “award-winners” page on the VIOW consumer website, www.visitisleofwight.co.uk is due to go live in the New Year and if any tourism-related business has received an award in the last 12 months, please e-mail the details to holly@visitwight.org”.

Tom Turney of Tapnell Farm said: “It was great to be back to the Beautiful South Awards, and this year walk away with a Gold Award! It is a reflection of all the hard work we have put in at Tom’s Eco Lodge over the last year and winning the award on the night was an amazing feeling for all of our team. With so many exciting new things coming to Tapnell Farm next year, we hope to back competing for more awards in 2016!”

The winners are now invited to champion the South and South East England at VisitEngland’s Tourism Excellence Awards taking place during English Tourism Week in March 2016. 

Notes to editors:

Please find attached image of Gold award winners Tapnell Farm receiving their award.  

This year’s Beautiful South Awards Night was held on Wednesday 2nd December at the historic Grand Hotel in Brighton. The evening was hosted by Nicola Hume, the female voice of Heart Breakfast.

A list of all the winners can be found here: http://www.beautifulsouthawards.co.uk/

The Beautiful South Awards:  The Beautiful South Awards are a Tourism South East event. TSE specifies and oversees the category criteria but judging is undertaken by independent industry experts. Administration of the Awards is conducted for TSE by Services for Tourism. Services for Tourism has an excellent track-record of delivering this and other regional award programmes. Telephone 023 8062 5400 / www.tourismsoutheast.com

Title Sponsor:  Shepherd Neame is an innovative company, committed to quality and customer service. The Company utilises state-of-the-art equipment and modern techniques to produce award-winning ales and lagers – but, as Britain’s Oldest Brewer, is also immensely proud of its heritage.  The team of brewers in Faversham hand-craft famous Kentish Ales such as Spitfire and Bishops Finger along with flavoursome international lagers including Asahi and Samuel Adams. The Company also has around 360 pubs in Kent, Sussex, London, Essex and Surrey and is no stranger to awards: Shepherd Neame won the Best Managed Pub Company at The Publican Awards 2013, while the Visitor Centre was named Small Visitor Attraction of the Year in the enjoyEngland Awards for Excellence in 2011; picked up a Silver Award at the 2012-13 Beautiful South Awards; at the national VisitEngland Awards in 2014 they were Highly Commended and also took home the Flavour of the South East Award at the Beautiful South Awards 2014.

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29, 07766 705672, sue@visitwight.org

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Notes to Editors

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

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

 

WORLD’S LEADING ANNUAL SOLO YACHT RACE IS COMING – 22nd to 26th June

The world’s leading annual solo sailing race, the Solitaire du Figaro is coming to the Isle of Wight between the 22nd and 26th June, bringing an exciting five-day public event to Cowes as part of the Island’s colourful ‘Festival of the Sea’ celebrations.

A world-class sporting event with an international following, the 2016 Solitaire du Figaro spans 1425 miles between five European Host Venues – Deauville (France), Isle of Wight, Cowes (UK), Paimpol (France) and La Rochelle (France). Considered as the world championships of solo offshore racing, the Solitaire takes just over a month to complete and pushes competitors to the edge of human limitation – one man, one boat, 1500 miles, rough seas, harsh weather, no sleep…the list goes on.

An international event, the Solitaire du Figaro will bring not only a professional sailing race to the pontoons of Cowes Yacht Haven, but a bustling race village to Cowes Town. FREE and open from 22nd to 26th June, the Race Village will be fun for all the family – whether messing about on the water is your thing or not.

Mark McNeil, Deputy Mayor of Cowes and Chairman of ‘Destination Cowes’ –a key organisation behind the event – explained why hosting the Solitaire is important step forward for Cowes: “Portsmouth has had the America’s Cup, Southampton has had the Volvo Ocean Race – this is our chance to put Cowes back on the map as the UK and Europe’s sailing capital. A real spectacle of the sea and a showcase of top level sailing, the Solitaire will attract crowds from both the island and mainland to the Isle of Wight.”

The Solitaire du Figaro will offer five days of fun family entertainment in Cowes, including food markets, a drinks bar, live music in the Race Village and try sailing for all on the Solent – courtesy of the official event charity United Kingdom Sailing Academy (UKSA). Alongside the live entertainment, there will be a host of interactive stands and activities to entertain the public. For the local community there will be the opportunity to showcase in the Race Village, add to the entertainment schedule and for local children, a successful education program focused on coastal conservation and the environment.

Recognising this major event as an opportunity for increased tourism, international awareness and community involvement, Visit Isle of Wight are fully supportive of the Solitaire as Chief Executive David Thornton explained: “The forthcoming Solitaire du Figaro is a brand new and exciting event for the whole of the Isle of Wight and Cowes. We are delighted that the UK leg of the race coincides with the Island’s annual celebrations of our maritime lifestyle and heritage, ‘The Isle of Wight Festival of the Sea’, and we look forward to working with our partners in Cowes and our new friends in France to make this an exceptional celebration that everyone can enjoy and be a part of.”

Alongside the Island’s main tourism body, the businesses and organization forming the aforementioned ‘Destination Cowes’ are also key stakeholders in the event – Cowes Town Council, Cowes Business Association, Cowes Harbour Commission, Cowes Yacht Haven and Red Funnel. Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight, Major General Martin White will act as the Patron for the event, and looks forward to welcoming the weary Solitaire skippers to Cowes next June: “This event is not only a marvellous opportunity for Cowes, but also a chance for the whole Island to welcome international competitors and supporters to our shores.  As a seafaring Island, we have much to offer both visitors and sailors alike and I very much hope the sailors will enjoy their stay with us.”

Following the success of the last UK stopover in Torbay, the Isle of Wight would hope to see 20,000 visitors pass through the Solitaire du Figaro race village over five days. The Solitaire du Figaro had a hugely positive economic impact on Torbay in 2015, injecting roughly 1.8 million pounds into the seaside town.

The Isle of Wight is one of four venues playing host to this major sporting event in 2016. Starting from Deauville, a grand French town twinned with Cowes on the 19th June, the Solitaire competitors are expected to dock into in Cowes Yacht Haven around the 22nd June after sailing 510 miles.

The race will restart in the Solent on Sunday 26th June, a spectacle not to be missed from the water or the Parade. From Cowes, the Solitaire du Figaro fleet will race to Paimpol (France), and finish in La Rochelle (France) on the 7th of July.

For more information please contact Emma Harris – emma.harris@ocsport.com or tel: 01983 282797

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Notes to Editors

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

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

 

BRAND NEW VISITOR ATTRACTION OPENING ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT

The Isle of Wight will soon have a brand new all-weather attraction to entertain locals and visitors, with Tapnell Farm Park set to open to the public in Spring 2016.

Tapnell Farm Park, located near Yarmouth, will offer a range of new activities including animal encounters, an immersive “Moo-seum”, a fun-packed indoor soft play barn, outdoor play areas with pedal go karts and a “Jumping Pillow”, farm tours, a dedicated café and refreshment area, and a well-stocked gift shop.

Central to the new offering will be a host of interactive animal encounters allowing visitors to get up close and personal with a range of farm animals, as well as a friendly mob of wallabies. Many of these animals will arrive at Tapnell from recently closed Island attractions Seaview Wildlife Encounter and Colemans Farm, who are both working closely with Tapnell Farm to rehome non-exotic residents and provide new posts for members of their keeper team.

The farm park will give visitors of all ages the opportunity to learn about cows with an interactive “moo-seum”, set in the working farm’s former milking parlour. This will demonstrate the history of beef and dairy farming, exploring how cows have helped to shape our culture.  Farm tours will complete the educational experience giving a rarely seen look behind the scenes at modern livestock farming.

A newly installed large indoor soft play area and mini-tractor course will form part of Tapnell Farm Park’s new Play Barn, along with a dedicated café and refreshment area, with additional outdoor activities and areas, such as pedal go karts, joining the already popular “Jumping Pillow”.

Tom Honeyman Brown and Tom Turney, the brothers-in-law behind the venture have recently grown the offering at Tapnell Farm which includes the award winning Toms Eco Lodge and the popular Cow Co restaurant.  Also the home of Adventure Activities UK with more partnerships coming soon, the farm now caters for a wide range of interests and ages.

Tom Honeyman-Brown, Tapnell Farm, said: ‘After the success of the developments at Tapnell this year, we are all very excited about what 2016 holds.  Whether you’re young or old, visiting the island or local – Tapnell Farm Park will have something to offer for everyone – all set in the most stunning scenery imaginable.’

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Notes to Editors

For further information about Tapnell Farm please contact:

Oli Whitehurst, Marketing Manager

Tel: 01983 758722

oli@tapnellfarm.com

www.tapnellfarm.com

About Tapnell Farm

Located near Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and linked with nearby East Afton, Tapnell is a fully working, fully diversified farm.  Focusing on arable and livestock, the site was previously best known as the location of the 1970 IOW Festival.

Responding to the challenges farming faces, Tapnell is a model in modern diversification.  Over the last 5 years the farm has built a reputation for a quality self-catering holiday offering which includes the award winning Tom’s Eco Lodge.  More recently, the success of The Cow Co restaurant (a beef and dairy specialist), the activity barn and jumping pillow have all paved the way for the next stage of development at the farm.

WARM ISLE OF WIGHT WELCOME WINS GOLD AWARD

Celebrations are in order at Visit Isle of Wight after their Gold (first prize) win at the Beautiful South Awards 2015 hosted by Tourism South East. The number one spot was awarded to Visit Isle of Wight’s ‘Isle of Wight Visitor Centre and Travel Ambassador Scheme’ based at Newport’s Guildhall in the Visitor Information Provider of the Year category.

David Thornton, CEO of Visit Isle of Wight commented: “This is a truly remarkable result considering the Isle of Wight was without any visitor centres for a number of years. In 2013 VIOW started to create a private sector network of tourism points on the Island and the Visitor Centre was only opened 6 months ago. It’s a fantastic achievement”.

A key innovation of The Isle of Wight Visitor Centre are the Travel Ambassadors who work both in the centre and across the Isle of Wight to inspire visitors to truly explore the Island. Experts in car free travel, they promote using sustainable transport to really experience the Island.

Zoe Stroud, LSTF Visitor Project Manager, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Winning this award is positive proof that our travel ambassadors are doing a fantastic job. They are out and about greeting visitors with a warm welcome as well as supplying the information that visitors need to get the most out of their holiday on the Island”.

John Metcalfe, chief executive of the Isle of Wight Council, said: “I am very pleased to hear of Visit Isle of Wight’s success which is well deserved and builds on its strong track record of achievement. We are proud that through partnership working with the council, VIOW has been able to bring the Guildhall back into public use in such a positive and award-winning way. I’d like to extend my congratulations and thanks to the team at VIOW for all dedication and hard work that has been recognised by this award.”

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29, 07766 705672, sue@visitwight.org

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Image attached shows the Visit Isle of Wight Travel Ambassadors receiving their Gold award from Nigel Smith, Chief Executive, Tourism South East.

For more information about the Beautiful South Awards: http://www.beautifulsouthawards.co.uk/

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.visitwightpro.com

Our Wightpress site brings you all the latest news and views from the Isle of Wight: http://visitwightpress.com/

Get social media updates from Visit Isle of Wight.   Go to https://www.facebook.com/VisitIOW, https://twitter.com/VisitIOW, https://instagram.com/visitisleofwight/, https://www.youtube.com/user/VisitIsleofWight, https://plus.google.com/114584030216192729120/posts

 

 

A MERRY WIGHT CHRISTMAS FROM VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT!

Today (1st December), Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) launched its new digital Advent calendar with a sleigh-load of local Isle of Wight gifts and experiences on offer in the countdown to Christmas.

The whimsical calendar is made up of 24 winter wonderland beach huts with a virtual “door” for eager gift buyers to open each day. Hidden behind each one is a Christmas cracker of a gift to purchase from a different Island business. Some gifts are experiences only available on the Island, whereas others are items that can be posted out from local business in plenty of time to be wrapped and put under the tree.

The enchanting calendar kicked-off today with the opportunity to purchase an Isle of Wight Steam Railway ‘Footplate Experience’ and will continue with Island gifts galore to suit all needs and budgets every day until 24th December.

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight said: “We know that many of our visitors love to purchase local products when they’re on the Island. Our digital advent calendar is a fun, festive opportunity to encourage people to enjoy Isle of Wight experiences and gifts in 2016.

http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/merry-wight-giftmas

For more information, contact Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight, tel. 01983 521555, ext 29, sue@visitwight.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Have Yourself a Merry Island Christmas”

Sail away to a winter wonderland on the Isle of Wight with Wightlink Isle of Wight Ferries and relish in traditional Christmas festivities. Ho-ho-hopping on board Wightlink Ferries’ fast and convenient car and foot passenger ferry crossings,  travellers don’t have to go too far to enjoy Christmas celebrated just as it should be, and in style, at one of the country’s most loved holiday hotspots.

From visiting Santa’s grotto, to wondering through Christmas markets or enjoying winter wonderlands, there are many traditional festive activities on the Island that ensure all visitors have a very merry time.  Wightlink’s top Christmas picks for 2015 include:

Santa Claus will be residing at Needles Landmark Attraction’s Christmas Grotto on most weekends during December. Along with meeting Santa, visitors can enjoy free entry to children’s rides, Jurassic golf, sweet making demonstrations and even a visit to the elves in their workshop as they get gifts ready in time for Christmas.

Tapnell Farm’s Christmas Open Studioshave an exciting selection of creative and imaginative, locally made Christmas gifts in stock. From unusual stocking fillers, to statement art and special jewellery, a visit to the studios is the perfect option for those in search of special presents for loved ones. The studios are open from 5th – 6th December.

The Brighstone Christmas Tree Festivalis an exhibition of over 160 Christmas trees in seven different locations around the pretty village of Brighstone. Festival revellers also have the opportunity to stock up on locally made presents, listen to the carol service, watch the tree lighting ceremony and sustain appetities with a winter BBQ. The festival takes place from 10th – 13th December.

Step back in time with a Victorian Christmas at Osborne House. Visitors can participate in traditional games, take a ride on the carousel, roast chestnuts and watch jovial entertainers. Father Christmas and Queen Victoria may be spotted roaming the house, as visitors tour the festively dressed rooms. Tickets from £14.50 per adult and £8.80 per child (5-15 years old).

This year, the I love Wight Christmas marketwill be taking place at The Garlic Farm. There will be a Santa’s grotto, face painting, Christmas specials in the restaurant and festive music guaranteed to get people in the Christmas spirit. The market will be taking place on 6th, 7th, 13th and 14th December.

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s Havenstreet station will be transforming into a Winter Wonderland this Christmas. There will be live festive music, enetertainment and even Alpacas to meet whilst Rudolph takes a rest. After enjoying all the Christmas celebrations, visitors can hop on board the steam train. Tickets from £14 per adult, £10 per child and £8 per infant.

Wightlink’s convenient ferry services take passengers from Portsmouth and Lymington over to the Isle of Wight in just 40-45 minutes.. Alternatively, foot passengers catching the train into Portsmouth only have to walk a few steps to the ferry terminal, where they board the 22 minute Catamaran service that takes them into Ryde pier and back, the perfect route for bringing all your stocking fillers home.

For more information on the Christmas events taking place on the Isle of Wight, visit:

http://www.wightlink.co.uk/do/events/

ENDS

For more information about Wightlink Ferries, please contact:

Nadia Fidler                0207 680 7122           nadia.fidler@flagshipconsulting.co.uk

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

Belinda Hallworth       020 7680 7114           belinda.hallworth@flagshipconsulting.co.uk 

Wightlink – Part of Island Life

Wightlink is the leading cross-Solent ferry operator carrying almost five million holidaymakers and Islanders across the Solent to the Isle of Wight every year. Nine ferries on three routes provide Island-wide coverage and complete 48,000 sailings a year giving Islanders an easy and frequent service to the mainland, and tourists an accessible way to enjoy a taste of Island life.

You can step off the train from London, hop on a Wightlink catamaran and be on the Island in just 22 minutes, the car ferries take around 40 minutes from Portsmouth and Lymington. On board, passengers and drivers alike can relax in the lounges and enjoy some refreshments before arriving on the Island to enjoy the range of attractions, events and experiences that make the Isle of Wight a leading destination for tourists.

The opening of the Hindhead Tunnel in Surrey has cut journey times to Portsmouth from Greater London. By contrast, Wightlink’s port at Lymington is reached by an attractive drive through the scenic New Forest.

Prices:

Mainland

Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £43.75* Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.25**

*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 16:00 – 17:59. Price based on outward journey crossing 06/05/15 and returning 06/05/15.

** Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 16:00 – 17:59. Price based on outward journey crossing 06/05/15 returning between 08/05/15 and 10/05/15.

Island

Day Return: Car + 7 passengers from £43.75* Short Breaks (2-4 nights): Car + 7 passengers from £54.25**

*Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 16:00 – 17:59. Price based on outward journey crossing 06/05/15 and returning 06/05/15.

** Terms & Conditions apply, subject to availability, valid for sailings 08:00 – 09:59 and 16:00 – 17:59. Price based on outward journey crossing 06/05/15 returning between 08/05/15 and 10/05/15. 

Book Early, Be Flexible, Save Money

More information can be found at www.wightlink.co.uk