Inspiration to pitch-up on the Isle of Wight

Responding to an increase in demand for camping & caravanning holidays on the Island, Visit Isle of Wight has just launched a dedicated microsite and new brochure in a bid to help promote itself as the Camping Capital of the UK.

The new site ( highlights the many and varied options that are currently available to anyone visiting the Island – from luxury yurts and shepherd’s huts, through to American Airstream caravans, VW Campervans and camping pods.

And if further inspiration is needed, it even flags-up the fact that last year the Isle of Wight recorded more hours of sunshine than the rest of the UK, making it officially the sunniest destination in the country – and a perfect place to pitch-up a tent!

Recent developments across the Island this year already include a new glamping opportunities at Tom’s Eco Lodge (, where prices start from £85 a night.

Elsewhere, a range of new holiday lodges has also just been launched at the 5-star Woodside Coastal Retreat which lies to the north of the Isle of Wight, between Cowes and Ryde ( Prices here start from £225 (based on a 3 night stay).

Looking further ahead, Robin Hill is planning a development of quality tree houses for 2018

For now, however, it’s all about the range of options, and perfect backdrop provided by an Island with so many sites located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to so many outdoor pursuits and unusual modes of transport – including electric bikes and Renault Twizys.

It is also an Island synonymous with festivals

V-Dub Festival from August 18-22 ( for example, is a family friendly camping and Volkswagen Festival for music lovers. While world famous Bestival, from September 8 to 11, will have its very own Boutique Campsite this year ( with tipis, yurts, squrts (baby yurts, cloudhouses, bell tents, safari tents, airstreams and a wide range of other options from the people who bought us PodPads,

Other favourites on the Island include woodland camping in tree houses ( where red squirrels are said to come and tap at the windows and prices start from £150 per night (for up to 6 people); and Compton Farm (, on the coastal Military Road, where the twelve static caravans have been named Best National Trust site for Camping (high season prices for adults £9pppn, children £4.50pppn.

The Isle of Wight’s new camping and caravanning microsite also features a competition to win a seven night camping holiday on the Island for the next three years (

Gardens galore in Wight in Bloom competition

Wight in Bloom – the annual gardening competition that showcases homegrown grown talent and helps provide a stunning floral welcome for visitors – has attracted another bumper crop of entries this year.

Over 100 gardens from across the Island are currently being judged to become winners and runners-up in each of the following categories:

1. Best Small Front Garden
2. Best Large Front Garden
3. Best Commercial Garden
4. Best Senior Citizen Complex
5. Best Young People Initiative
6. Best Community Floral Project
7. Best Small Tourist Attraction Garden
8. Best Large Tourist Attraction Garden
9. Best Creative Use of a Small Space
10. Best Coastal Garden
11. Best Edible Garden

Managed by Visit Isle of Wight and sponsored by Red Funnel Ferries, Wight in Bloom has once again proved to be very popular. This year 14 school gardens have been entered into the competition.

David Thornton CEO VIOW said:

“We’re especially pleased that this year so many school children have got involved in the competition. Developing those green fingers at an early age is good news for the Island, we hope many go on to develop stunning new garden displays to wow visitors and locals alike. I know Alan is passionate about encouraging young people to take up gardening, and, with the help of some committed school teachers, I feel we’ve really made some great progress in that area this year”.

Judges are in the process of selecting the best of each of the categories and shortlisted garden owners will be notified by the beginning of August, when they will be invited to attend the Awards ceremony at Northwood House in early September. Alan Titchmarsh MBE VMH DL Wight in Bloom patron will be presenting prizes to the winners and runners up.

Kevin George CEO, Red Funnel said “We are delighted to sponsor Wight in Bloom again for the 4th year. The competition remains as popular as ever and it is great to see more entries from schools. Wight in Bloom helps to ensure the ‘Garden Island’ looks its best for summer visitors and on behalf of Red Funnel I would like to thank everybody who has entered”.

Other sponsors include Fiskars who will be giving gardening equipment to each of the category winners, James Karanicolas UK National Account Manager, Fiskars said” We are delighted to support Wight in Bloom. Our premium product Quantum™ Pruners are Scandinavian designed for performance, comfort and lasting quality and will be a beneficial garden tool for the winners.”
Other sponsors will be announced during August.


WIGHT BID ballot result press statement – Issued by Visit Isle of Wight

We are very pleased to announce that the required statutory mechanism to bring a business improvement district into operation on the Isle of Wight this September has been triggered by a YES vote.

The formation of the UK’s first County-wide BID gives the Isle of Wight a unified stronger voice in tourism at a local, regional and national level.   The WIGHT BID plan to attract new visitors and improve the destination through working together will be implemented from this September.

The YES vote was carried by a 63% vote by hereditament and 75% by rateable value of all those who voted. Therefore, all business categories listed in the WIGHT BID proposal will now be required to pay the equivalent of 1.75% of their rateable value, which will contribute to the funding of the BID programme for a period of five years.

Over the next three months we will begin the process of developing a BID governance board and working parties elected from levy payers large and small, representing different visitor economy business sectors. David Thornton and his team look forward to delivering the actions and aims laid out in the WIGHT BID proposals ready for the 2017 season.

Meanwhile Visit Isle of Wight’s summer and autumn current marketing and press activity continues as planned. Work will also commence on securing extra commercial benefits for levy-payers with suppliers and regional, national and international media channels. A voluntary scheme to encourage retailers and other mainland and Island suppliers to support the BID investment plan will also be launched by September.

Visit Isle of Wight would like to thank all those who supported the WIGHT BID, and reinforce its determination to do it’s very best for the whole of the Island’s visitor economy, benefiting all who live and work on the Isle of Wight.


Isle of Wight Council Ballot Officer statement >

The Wight BID proposal and supporting documentation can be accessed here >

For further information please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29)/07766 705672,


A couple from Northamptonshire have just spent their honeymoon on the Island after winning a holiday, organised by Visit Isle of Wight in conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Helen Spencer from Wollaston was awarded the prize package after being chosen at random from the thousands who had entered the competition timed to celebrate the Julia Margaret Cameron exhibition at the V&A, which ran from November 28 to February 21 2016.

Helen and David booked their stay at the West Bay Country Club in Yarmouth for the 12th to 15th June after getting married in Northampton on the 11th – and the newlyweds used the prize as their honeymoon.

Last year, Visit Isle of Wight worked with the V&A to promote the bicentenary year of Julia Margaret Cameron, and as a result Dimbola Museum & Galleries – and the wider Island – enjoyed some outstanding press coverage in the Telegraph, the Independent and the Mail on Sunday.

The competition which was hosted on the V&A website under the theme “Follow in the footsteps of Julia Margaret Cameron” was seen by Visit Isle of Wight as an opportunity to further promote the Island.  The V&A website gets around 14 million page views annually.

The Beddalls (Helen’s new married name) won a 3-night break for two at The West Bay Country Club in Yarmouth, dinner at The George Hotel in Yarmouth, tea and cake at The Piano Bar in Freshwater Bay, ferry crossings courtesy of Red Funnel IOW Ferries and entrance tickets to Osborne, Shanklin Chine and Dimbola, the home and workplace of the celebrated Victorian photographer.  A copy of the exhibition book Julia Margaret Cameron was also part of the prize package.

Helen Beddall said: “The holiday was fantastic.  We loved it!  The accommodation was lovely, the meal at The George Hotel was delicious – and a real treat.  Dimbola was really interesting and John Evans, our tour guide, was very knowledgeable.

“We are very thankful to Visit Isle of Wight for organising everything and the Victoria and Albert Museum for putting on the competition. It really made our honeymoon wonderful and we can’t wait to come back – maybe to celebrate our first anniversary”.


For further information please contact Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd 01983 521555 (ext 29),

Notes to editors:

2 x “Selfies” of Helen and David at Dimbola Museum & Galleries and Osborne attached.

Follow in the footsteps of Julia Margaret Cameron 

Holiday prizes supplied by:

  • The West Bay Country Club (3 nights’ accommodation, plus use of their Island Wellness Spa, including a 60-minute spa treatment per person)
  • Red Funnel IOW Ferries (car ferry crossings
  • The Piano Bar, Freshwater Bay (lunch for 2)
  • Dimbola Museum & Galleries (entrance tickets)
  • English Heritage/Osborne (entrance tickets)
  • Shanklin Chine (entrance tickets)
  • The George Hotel in Yarmouth (dinner for 2)
  • The V&A (Julia Margaret Cameron book)

Visit Isle of Wight

Working in partnership with Visit England, Visit Isle of Wight Ltd (VIOW) is responsible for developing tourism and attracting more visitors to the Isle of Wight.   As well as the consumer website ( the DMO also operates a small industry website containing recent research and tourism news along with links to Visit England reports and opportunities:

Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A exhibition ‘Julia Margaret Cameron’ has toured internationally, including Ghent Museum of Fine Arts and the Sydney Art Gallery of New South Wales.   After returning to the V&A Museum in London from November 2015, to February 2016, it then went on show at the Madrid Fundacion Mapfre from March 8th to May 8th. The exhibition will open at the Tokyo Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum from June 29th to July 2nd, running until September 25th 2016.

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.