Category Archives: Other Themed Events

Seven reasons for visiting the Isle of Wight in 2018

Bed and breakfast – in a tree

Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in April/May, 2018.  Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight.  Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island.  Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”.  Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor.  The cost is £350 per person; £450 for two people; and £550 for three.  There will be a maximum of ten overnight camps a year. https://www.goodleaf.co.uk

Celebrating 175 years of magic

Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, the oldest theme park in the UK and one of the most iconic tourist destinations, will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2018. Numerous events will be taking place throughout the year that befits this magical, wacky, wonderful theme park. Blackgang Chine was founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843 when all that stood here was the Chine itself – a spectacular gorge that cut some 500-feet, deep into the cliff face. The Victorians travelled from far and wide to experience its breathtaking views; and the very first ‘attraction’ was the skeleton of a whale which had been washed up onto the beach – and is still on display at Blackgang Chine today. (Blackgang Chine received the royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria visited in August 1853 to see the whale skeleton). The park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell, (the current owner’s great, great, grand-father) and the magic has only grown over the years.  Blackgang Chine is now filled with an eclectic mix of attractions, theme worlds and rides – offering something for all the family and the generations of families who continue to visit year after year. https://blackgangchine.com

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

Julia Margaret Cameron – one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, and a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati on the Isle of Wight – was the subject of an exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2014, and featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2015. She will be in the headlines again in 2018 when Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography (is staged at the National Portrait Gallery in London, from March 1 to May 20.  This major new exhibition brings together the works of four giants of Victorian photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. It is now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe. Dimbola Lodge has also been called the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight. http://www.dimbola.co.uk

50 years of a Music Festival on the Isle of Wight

2018 will mark 50 years of an Isle of Wight Festival on the Island.  It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Music Festival on the Isle of Wight. “The Great South Coast Bankholiday Pop Festivity” took place overnight on August 31 and September 1 at Hell Field, Ford Farm, near Godshill in 1968 attended by approximately 10,000 people;  and was followed in 1969 by the Wootton Festival with Bob Dylan, and in 1970 at the Afton Festival (at East Afton Farm and not far from what is now site of Dimbola Museum & Galleries) with Jimi Hendrix and The Doors amongst many others, attracting an incredible estimated 600,000 souls. http://isleofwightfestival.com

There are also plans being drawn up for a commemorative event in 2020 to celebrate this colossal and world-famous music event on the same site at East Afton.

Tiny Homes Holidays

Opened towards the end of 2017, Tiny Homes Holidays is a new, ethical way to holiday on the Isle of Wight. Tiny Homes are all about downsizing your space and upsizing your free time – and living simply in a smallholding environment adjacent to Parkhurst Forest with its walking trails, cycle routes and wildlife galore (including the Isle of Wight’s famous red squirrels).  Another new trend being introduced here, thanks to the construction of a small studio is #studycations. http://www.tinyhomesholidays.com/

Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail

Following hard on the heels of the launch of its Victoria’s Island Trail to celebrate the appearance of the Victoria & Abdul movie in cinemas worldwide, Visit Isle of Wight has published a new Literary Heroes Trail which visitors to the Island can follow all-year-round. One of the highlights of the Literary Heroes Trail is the newly re-opened Farringford in Freshwater, where the renowned poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson once lived (https://farringford.co.uk).  The dramatic Gothic house has been the subject of a meticulous five-year restoration project, and is decorated in a late 19th Century style that reflects Tennyson’s tastes and interests. The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with a walled kitchen garden. Other key locations on the Trail include the sailing village of Seaview, where author Enid Blyton was a regular visitor; and the traditional seaside resort of Ventnor, where Charles Dickens rented Winterbourne in Bonchurch – describing it to his wife as, “The prettiest place I ever saw in my life.” Author Lynne Truss – herself, a regular visitor to the Island – edited the new Literary Heroes Trail leaflet. “I’m not the first writer to be inspired by this jewel of an island,” she says. “Writers have breathed the air here, walked the cliffs and gazed at the glittering sea – and then dashed home to put pen to paper.” The trail also reveals some of its own, home-grown talent, including Oscar winning screenwriter Anthony Minghella who wrote The English Patient. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/literary-heroes-trail

Isle of Wight to host UK Pride in 2018

It has recently been announced that the Isle of Wight will host the next UK Pride, just one year after the Island’s first ever Pride event. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/isle-of-wight-pride-p1427001

For all tourist information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

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For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson                  Tel: 07766 705672           Email: 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.

The nations oldest white tiger, ‘Zena’, celebrates her 21st birthday at the Isle of Wight Zoo

The Isle of Wight Zoo will be hosting a weekend of celebrations in an exciting two day event over the weekend of Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st May, to help celebrate the 21st birthday of one of its much loved big cats, ‘Zena’, the white tiger. Zena is the oldest white tiger in the UK and believed to be one of the oldest in Europe.

Having been rejected at birth by her mother at Longleat Safari Park, Zena arrived at the zoo at the tender age of 3 weeks in early summer 1996. The founder’s daughter and now CEO, Charlotte Corney, soon became surrogate mum to the orphaned cub which she lovingly hand-raised and would go swimming within the sea around Sandown Bay.

During her adolescence Zena quickly found her way into the hearts and minds of the zoo team and its extended family of Island residents and mainland visitors. In 2007-8 Zena was transported into living rooms all over the world thanks to her starring role in ITV’s award-winning series ‘Tiger Island’ which was based at the Isle of Wight Zoo.

Reflecting on the past 21yrs Charlotte fondly recall’s “It seems like a mere moment ago that Zena was a small, white bouncing bundle of a tiger. She is the chalk to her older sisters’ cheese, she’s the ‘tom boy’ always delighting in an opportunity to get dirty or show her mischievous side. It’s been the greatest gift to have been her human mum and watch her grow up into a fine, if not ‘refined’, lady! She has been, and continues to be, a central character even in her mature years and I have no doubt that she has sparked many a persons’ desire to value more the wonderfully diverse wildlife which we share our world with. I am proud of her for that and, well, for just being utterly, uniquely, ‘Zena’. ”

Zena is a resilient individual having overcome the removal of her right eye after battling the effects of glaucoma followed by cataract surgery in her remaining eye – but even these challenges have failed to diminish her zest for life and Zena readily adapted to her reduced vision. She also has a form of  inflammatory bowel disease which requires specialist management by her carers, every day she devours freshly minced chicken laced with probiotics to keep her healthy.

White tigers are not albinos but rather naturally occurring ‘leusictic’ forms of the ordinary orange colour form. The last known wild white tiger was shot in 1958 in Central India.

In the wild a tiger’s maximum life span would rarely span past 10-15 yrs so approaching her 21st birthday, Zena is certainly a grand old lady, yet she still retains her looks, charm and charisma.

Visitors planning to enjoy the weekend’s events will be able to take advantage of a special celebratory 2 for 1 entry voucher available to download from the zoo’s website from today 17th May. http://www.isleofwightzoo.com

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Media enquiries: Karen-Jane Dudley, Marketing & Events Officer, Isle of Wight Zoo
marketing@isleofwightzoo.com  01983 403883 http://www.isleofwightzoo.com
Notes to editors:

The Isle of Wight Zoo is a charity (‘The Wildheart Trust’) which aims to promote the survival of endangered species through first class educational and recreational experiences, exemplary animal management, conservation and research. The Zoo is best known for providing a lifelong home for rescued big cats which come to the Zoo at different stages of their lives and from a variety of backgrounds. The Isle of Wight Zoo is currently home to 4 tigers, 3 lions and 1 jaguar.

 

 

Magicians and musicians bring family fun to The Needles this half term

Family fun comes to The Needles this half-term with visits from magicians, musicians, stilt walkers and even more.

The Isle of Wight’s landmark attraction is hosting eight days of entertainment to keep the kids happy across the bank holiday weekend and beyond.

There will be free entertainment for visitors this month as street dance and Bollywood-style dance shows mix with balloon modellers and surprise ‘meet and greet’ character.

There’s also music from local reggae legend Derek Sandy and performances by top magicians David Randini, Andy The Illusionist and Foxy the Funky Magic Genie.

Marino Zanti, general manager at The Needles Landmark Attraction, said:

“We’re planning half-term so that it’s genuine fun for all the family.

“Our attractions will be open all week, including the chairlift taking visitors from the Alum Bay cliff-tops to the beach below.

“We’re also pleased to be welcoming Wight Crystal Water and people from Taste of the Wight who will be offering free tastings of locally-sourced produce on Tuesday, May 30.”

Half-term family fun at The Needles takes place from Saturday, May 27 to Saturday, June 3.

Supersaver tickets are available online at The Needles’ website giving a 25% discount on all rides and attractions.

For more information about The Needles Landmark Attraction visit the website: www.theneedles.co.uk, follow on Twitter @VisitTheNeedles or at facebook.com/visittheneedles

For more half-term events and activities on the Isle of Wight this May, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/what-on/events

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For further information, please contact Paul Baker on 0151 304 7017.

About The Needles Landmark Attraction

The Needles Landmark Attraction gives visitors access to wonderful views of The Needles, the Isle of Wight’s world famous chalk stacks.

Take an unforgettable chairlift ride from the cliff-tops to the multi-coloured sands of Alum Bay, where you can take a pleasure boat out to The Needles.

The Needles offers a range of attractions including a Sand Shop where visitors can make their own souvenir using the multi-coloured sands from Alum Bay, glassmaking at Alum Bay Glass, the Sweet Manufactory, 4D Cinema, Jurassic Golf, plus a range of children’s rides and amusements.

Refreshments are available at the 250-seat self-service Marconi’s Restaurant and fully-licenced Marconi’s Tea Rooms. These newly-refurbished eateries are named after the pioneering inventor who sent the very first wireless transmission from his base at Alum Bay.

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.

 

Father’s Day delights on the Isle of Wight

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, June 19th so why not treat Dad to an overnight stay on the Isle of Wight where he can enjoy some great gift experiences?

He could learn about the restoration and maintenance of steam trains, relax and indulge in the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, pick up some tips on how to create the perfect coastal garden – and even become a pirate for the day at the Island’s annual Shipwreck Isle celebrations!

Shipwreck Isle

Shiver me timbers and man the riggings m’hearties for Shipwreck Isle 2016! The pirate extravaganza is returning to Appley Beach as part of the Festival of the Sea and will be even bigger and better than last year as Ryde seafront is transformed into ‘Shipwreck Isle’. Expect cannon demonstrations, sword fighting and lots more swashbuckling adventures as the Island celebrates its nautical past with a fun-filled weekend for Dads of all ages.

Where: Appley Beach, Ryde, Isle of Wight.
When: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June.
Cost: Free
More info: http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/

Stay: The Royal Esplanade Hotel, pleasantly situated facing the Solent in the attractive seaside town of Ryde. Tel. 01983 562549, info@royalesplanadehotel.co.uk, www.royalesplanadehotel.co.uk

Father’s Day Workshop at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Steam trains… how do they keep going and how do we know how to repair them? Bring Dad along as the Island’s steam railway throws open its workshop doors and invites you to come and wander around and meet both the old hands and new apprentices who are being trained to do the work of a bygone era. Plus the chance to be transported by steam train through some of the Island’s countryside – and visit the Train Story Discovery Centre to see the impressive historic collection of locomotives, Victorian and Edwardian carriages and other rare rolling stock.

When: Sunday 19th June
Where: Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, near Ryde, Isle of Wight PO33 4DS.
Cost: On the gate prices: adult £13.00, child (5-15) £6.50, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £32.50 (2 Adults and 2 Children). If booked online: adult £11.50, child (5-15) £6.00, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £29.00. The prices include train rides. Please note, there is an extra charge for admission to the railway’s new Birds of Prey Centre.
More info: http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/events/workshop-open-day.aspx

Stay: Hotel Ryde Castle, the Esplanade, Ryde. Tel. 0845 6086040, rydecastle@oldenglishinns.co.uk   www.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/hotels-in-isle-of-wight-ryde-castle

Father’s Day Weekend at Chessell Pottery Barns

Bring out Dad’s inner artist with a fun morning or afternoon spent painting pottery at this small, family-friendly pottery on the Isle of Wight. Over Father’s Day Weekend if your Dad is spotted sporting one of the studio’s aprons, he can have his studio fee (worth £5.99) on them. Put the money towards a delicious Ploughman’s lunch and a glass of local ale in the pottery’s Courtyard Café.

Where: Chessell Pottery Barns, Brook Road, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight PO41 0UE.

When: 18/19 June

Cost: Studio fee (including all materials) £5.99 per person, plus cost of pottery (from £7.50). Ploughman’s lunch (optional) £10. Pottery is ready a few days later to collect, or it can be posted to your home address.
More info: Please book by telephoning 01983 531248, admin@pottery-cafe.com, http://www.chessellpotterybarns.co.uk/

Stay: Brook House, which offers luxury self-catering accommodation in the beautiful and unspoilt village of Brook in rural West Wight.  http://brookhouseiow.co.uk/

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea

A great gift for gourmet Dads, this robust afternoon tea with a masculine slant includes Fish Finger Sandwich, Tartare Sauce, Quail Scotch Eggs, Roast Beef, Yorkie & Gravy, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel, Pancetta & Potato Scone and Chicken Butter, followed by Boozy Trifle, plus a pint of George’s Brew or two halves of your choice.

When: Book the experience by calling the hotel for availability and they will reserve a date that suits you – note, 24 hours’ notice is required. The ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’ is served daily from 3pm to 5pm.
Where: The George Hotel, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, PO41 0PE.
Cost: £26 per person, plus postage (free to e-mail voucher).
More Info: Email info@thegeorge.co.uk, tel. 01983 760331, http://thegeorgehotel.giftpro.co.uk/products/view/1614/

Stay: The George Hotel, a 17th Century townhouse enjoying a wonderful location nestling on the water’s edge between the castle and pier in the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth. https://www.thegeorge.co.uk/

Design and inspiration with the Isle of Wight Coastal Gardener

Find out about which plants thrive in coastal conditions and learn how to create the best possible environment for your plants to flourish as the Coastal Gardener shares his ideas on designing and planting and offers advice about your own garden (please do bring along plans and or photographs of your garden). You will also visit his own coastal garden in Bembridge and take a short walk along the coast to see what’s thriving on the cliff edge and beach.

Where: This course will be run at the Nursery at Fakenham Farm, Eddington Road, St Helens, Isle of Wight PO33 1XS.
When: Saturday 18th June 2016.10.30am to 3.30pm
Cost: £45.00 which includes all materials, equipment and seeds – please bring your own gloves if you like to wear them.
More info: To reserve your place please call/text 07977 550050 or email thecoastalgardener@icloud.com

Stay: The Spinnaker, a beautifully restored Edwardian hotel, set in the heart of the chic village of Bembridge. Tel. 01983 873572, www.thespinnakeriow.co.uk

For full details about visiting the Isle of Wight, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

-ENDS-
For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight
07766 705672, sue@visitwight.co.uk

 

 

Father’s Day delights on the Isle of Wight

It’s Father’s Day on June 19th so why not treat Dad to an overnight stay on the Isle of Wight where he can enjoy some great gift experiences?

He could learn about the restoration and maintenance of steam trains, relax and indulge in the Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea, pick up some tips on how to create the perfect coastal garden – and even dress-up as a scurvy sea-dog at the Island’s annual Shipwreck Isle celebrations!

Shipwreck Isle

Shiver me timbers and man the riggings m’hearties for Shipwreck Isle 2016! The pirate extravaga is returning to Appley Beach as part of the Festival of the Sea and will be even bigger and better than last year as Ryde seafront is transformed into ‘Shipwreck Isle’. Expect cannon demonstrations sword fighting and lots more swashbuckling adventures as the Island celebrates its nautical past with a fun-filled weekend for Dads of all ages.

Where: Appley Beach, Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June.

Cost: Free

More info: http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/

Stay: The Royal Esplanade Hotel, pleasantly situated facing the Solent in the attractive seaside town of Ryde. Tel. 01983 562549, info@royalesplanadehotel.co.uk, www.royalesplanadehotel.co.uk

Father’s Day Workshop at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Steam trains… how do they keep going and how do we know how to repair them? Bring Dad along as the Island’s steam railway throws open its workshop doors and invites you to come and wander around and meet both the old hands and new apprentices who are being trained to do the work of a bygone era. Plus the chance to be transported by steam train through some of the Island’s countryside – and visit the Train Story Discovery Centre to see the impressive historic collection of  locomotives, Victorian and Edwardian carriages and other rare rolling stock.

Where: Isle of Wight Steam Railway, Havenstreet, near Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Sunday 19th June

Cost: On the gate prices: adult £13.00, child (5-15) £6.50, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £32.50 (2 Adults and 2 Children). If booked online: adult £11.50, child (5-15) £6.00, infant (0-4) free, family ticket £29.00. The prices include train rides. Please note, there is an extra charge for admission to the railway’s new Birds of Prey Centre.   More info: http://www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/events/workshop-open-day.aspx

Stay: Hotel Ryde Castle, the Esplanade, Ryde. Tel. 0845 6086040, rydecastle@oldenglishinns.co.ukwww.oldenglishinns.co.uk/our-locations/hotels-in-isle-of-wight-ryde-castle

Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea

A great gift for gourmet Dads, this robust afternoon tea with a masculine slant includes Fish Finger Sandwich, Tartare Sauce, Quail Scotch Eggs, Roast Beef, Yorkie & Gravy, Pork & Apple Sausage Roll, Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Bagel, Pancetta & Potato Scone and Chicken Butter, followed by Boozy Trifle, plus a pint of George’s Brew or two halves of your choice.

Where: The George Hotel, Yarmouth, Isle of Wight.

When: Book the experience by calling the hotel for availability and they will reserve a date that suits you – note, 24 hours’ notice is required. The ‘Gentleman’s Afternoon Tea’ is served daily from 3pm to 5pm.

Cost: £26 per person, plus postage (or free e-mail voucher).

More Info: Email info@thegeorge.co.uk, tel. 01983 760331, http://thegeorgehotel.giftpro.co.uk/products/view/1614/

Stay: The George Hotel, a 17th Century townhouse enjoying a wonderful location nestling on the water’s edge between the castle and pier in the bustling harbour town of Yarmouth. https://www.thegeorge.co.uk/

Design and inspiration with the Isle of Wight Coastal Gardener

Find out about which plants thrive in coastal conditions and learn how to create the best possible environment for your plants to flourish as the Coastal Gardener shares his ideas on designing and planting and offers advice about your own garden (please do bring along plans and or photographs of your garden). You will also visit his own coastal garden in Bembridge and take a short walk along the coast to see what’s thriving on the cliff edge and beach.

Where: This course will be run at the Nursery at Fakenham Farm, Eddington Road, St Helens, near Ryde, Isle of Wight.

When: Saturday 18th June 2016.10.30am to 3.30pm

Cost: £45.00 which includes all materials, equipment and seeds – please bring your own gloves if you like to wear them.
More info: To reserve your place please call/text 07977 550050 or email thecoastalgardener@icloud.com

Stay: The Spinnaker, a beautifully restored Edwardian hotel, set in the heart of the chic village of Bembridge. Tel. 01983 873572, www.thespinnakeriow.co.uk

For full details about visiting the Isle of Wight, go to www.visitisleofwight.co.uk

-ENDS-

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight
07766 705672, sue@visitwight.co.uk

 

Top 10 reasons for visiting The Isle of Wight in 2016

1. Listen with Mother

This year’s Acoustic Isle takes place from February 24 to March 6 – which also happens to coincide with Mothering Sunday.  The Isle of Wight’s Acoustic Isle music festival now takes place each year and builds on the Island’s strong musical heritage and festival scene.  This “unplugged” music event features hundreds of musicians coming together to perform a series of relaxed gigs in Isle of Wight pubs, bars, cafes, restaurants…and even on board selected ferries.

2. Anchors aweigh

The Isle of Wight’s Festival of the Sea will once again be staged in 2016, from June 18th to July 3rd.  The Festival will coincide with the Round Island Yacht Race on July 2nd – an even bigger race than those held in Cowes Week which will be held from August 6th to 13th.  2016, meanwhile also marks the arrival of another major sailing spectacle on the Isle of Wight in late June – La Solitaire du Figaro .

3. Winston’s walk

An Isle of Wight “Churchill Trail” is scheduled to be launched this Easter.  Winston’s parents, Randolf and Jenny Jerome, met at a party on a yacht moored off of Cowes.  Randolf proposed to her two days later in the garden of an Island cottage on the seafront.  Local author Anthony Churchill has written an impressive coffee table book on the connections between the Churchill family and the Isle of Wight.  Based on that, the new trail visits the locations that have a connection to the family across the Island.

4. Squirrel away an E-bike

The Isle of Wight will launch an entirely new electric bike scheme from this Spring.  Red Squirrel Electric Bikes will feature 25 former French postal service bicycles, which can be hired online, or in person, and then picked-up on arrival at the Island from Visit Isle of Wight’s Visitor Centre at The Guildhall in Newport.  Hire cost is £35 per day (over 14s only), and will includes a map listing charge points at island pubs and cafes, plus cycle helmet and high-vis jacket.  The scheme will be rolled out to include other parts of the island in the near future.  For more information go to visitisleofwight.co.uk, or follow on Twitter @RedSquirrelBike.

5. A new moo-seum for the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is set to welcome a new all-weather family attraction, in Spring 2016.  Tapnell Farm Park (the full website will go live in March), 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, café and refreshment area, and 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.  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. The attraction will stand alongside the award winning Tom’s Eco Lodge and the popular Cow Co restaurant.

6. Oriental spirits set to rise in electric woods

A stunning spectacle of Oriental themed light, sound and entertainment will mark the Chinese New Year at Robin Hill’s award-winning electric woods during February half term.  From Saturday 13 to 21, visitors can experience the park’s mystical woodland illuminated with a Far Eastern twist to capture the spirit of one of the world’s most popular celebrations.  As dusk falls, the oriental theme will truly take effect as a dazzling array of coloured lanterns, flags and features bring the ancient woodland to life.  Visitors can enjoy a series of new sound and light displays dispersed around the woodland – each display taking on a different elemental theme of ‘earth’, ‘wind’ and ‘water’ with ‘fire’.  There will also be new lighting effects never seen before in the electric woods.  Chinese themed entertainment, refreshments based around an authentic oriental menu, and a traditional tea ceremony will complete the experience.  Open every evening from 5pm to 9pm during, tickets will cost £10.95 per person (aged 4+) and are available to purchase in advance from the website.

7. Isle of Wight hits the right note in 2016

The Island boasts two of the biggest events on the summer calendar in The Isle of Wight Festival which takes place from June 9th-12th in 2016, and Bestival scheduled for September 8th-11th in 2016.  Other music events scheduled for the Isle of Wight in 2016 include Newport Jazz Weekend and V-Dub Island.

8. The Year of the English Garden

Taking the tercentenary of Capability Brown as a starting point, VisitEngland has named 2016 The Year of the English Garden.  So what better time than now to promote The Isle of Wight as ‘The Garden Isle’?  Highlights of our horticultural year will once again spring up across the Island throughout the year.

9. Time for bed

North House – a country town house – set in the heart of Cowes old town is set to offer an ultimate getaway on the Isle of Wight.  In addition to 16 bedrooms North House will have a restaurant, bar, library, country garden and swimming pool.  Rooms will boast king-sized beds, well stocked in-room pantries, coffee machines, spacious bathrooms with roll top baths and walk in showers, fluffy bathrobes and slippers!  North House is scheduled to open late April 2016.  Another newcomer for 2016 is VIP Cottages.

10. Be arty on the Isle

The Ventnor Fringe is a celebration of the arts, showcasing emerging and established talent across every creative discipline on the Isle of Wight.  The Fringe will take place from August 9 to 14 in 2016.  Other arts events on the Island this year include Isle of Wight Arts Open Studios throughout July; The Isle of Wight Literary Festival from October 14 to 18; and Quay Arts throughout the year.

For all tourist information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

-ENDS-

For further information about The Isle of Wight, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Visit Isle of Wight

07766 705672

sue@visitwight.co.uk

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

-ENDS-

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

 

“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

 

VISIT ISLE OF WIGHT LAUNCHES CLASSIC BUSES, BEER AND WALKS WEEKEND

Beer and bus lovers are invited to join the perfect “pub crawl” as the Isle of Wight branch of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) and the IW Bus Museum join forces again to host the Classic Buses, Beer and Walks Weekend.

The Isle of Wight Classic Buses, Beer and Walks Weekend takes place on 17th and 18th October and offers visitors and local people the opportunity to ride on vintage buses, combined with a good walk through the Island’s autumn landscape – and a pint or two of real cask ale at the end of it.

Vintage buses visiting the Island and from the IW Bus Museum collection will operate a regular hop-on, hop-off service to transport visitors to and from pubs located right across the Island.  All bus journeys will operate free of charge, but people are encouraged to support the event by purchasing a weekend programme, which costs just £6 and includes special offers, timetables and details of all bus routes.

The newly expanded event is supported by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) as part of their “Drive Less” and “See More” initiative.   As the organisation tasked with increasing visitor numbers to the Island, VIOW is keen to encourage people to leave their car at the hotel and explore the Island’s spectacular scenery from the seat of a bus.

Zoe Stroud, LSTF Project Manager, said “We are delighted to be able to work with the organisers on the Island’s Classic Bus, Beer and Walks Weekend.

“Classic buses are a real incentive for people to get to and from the pubs easily and we hope that the facility encourages people to consider public transport as a viable option for other journeys”

Ben Bartram, Event Co-ordinator said:  “Last year’s event was a great success, and with the increase in routes from 5 to 8, and the increase in the number of pubs involved and vehicles operating, we hope to build on the success of last year’s event and help to maintain the Isle of Wight’s position on the map as a great destination for a weekend break at any time of year”

“The IW Bus Museum have moved from Newport to Ryde this year, but we are operating the event at both sites to give greater coverage of the Island and give people even more choice when planning their weekend”.

For more information about the Isle of Wight Classic Bus, Beer and Walks Weekend, please go to www.iwbeerandbuses.co.uk.    The programme costs £6 and is available to purchase from The Guildhall or order direct from the event website.

-ENDS-

 Notes to Editors:

The “drive less” and “see more” initiative was launched by Visit Isle of Wight in July 2015. Developed as part of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) project, a newly-trained team of Travel Ambassadors has been appointed to welcome visitors and encourage them to consider using sustainable transport options during their stay on the Island.

Based at the new Guildhall Visitor Centre in Newport – which forms part of VIOW’s new headquarters since it relocated to the heart of the Island last month – the four travel ambassadors are also be available at locations across the Island to help anyone who needs travel advice.   These include the ferry ports, attractions, key transport hubs and events both on and off the Island.

The Isle of Wight Bus Museum moved in early 2015 from Newport Quay to the old bus garage in Park Road, Ryde and has enjoyed good visitor numbers and positive feedback in their first season of operations there.

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