Category Archives: Seasonal Events

Autumn comes to the Isle of Wight

 Autumn comes to the Isle of Wight

Visitors to The Isle of Wight this autumn will be able to enjoy a bumper crop of seasonal colours, courses and activities throughout the months of October and November.

One of the best ways of enjoying the Island’s famous autumn colours along both its coast and countryside is to sign-up to one of the 100-plus walks in the line-up of walks during the Autumn Walking Weekend, which is this year set to run from Friday, October 25th to Monday, October 28th.  Following in the footsteps of everything from alpacas to dinosaurs, the Autumn Walking Weekend is a spin-off from the ever-popular annual Isle of Wight Walking Festival, which has taken place on the Island for the last 15 years and is now widely recognised as the biggest Walking Festival in the UK.  For more details, visit 

Another option is to stay a night on The Isle of Fright to enjoy some seasonal japes between October 19th and November 3rd.  Coinciding with the school half-term holidays, when it will be possible for overnight visitors to pick-up some out-of-season accommodation deals, The Isle of Fright’s full schedule of events are on a special section of the Visit Isle of Wight website, and draws on a spooky seafaring history and dark Victoriana heritage.  And while “The Apocalypse is Coming” (to Puckpool Park, from October 30th to November 3rd) there’s now a complete listing and further details on how to get here, and where to stay, at

Bonfire Night will once again be celebrated in traditional style at Yarmouth’s historic harbour on Tuesday, November 5th.  A Torchlight Parade and Firework Display has been held here for many years now.  It all starts with a party in the Square, followed by a parade to the Common that provides a grandstand for the firework display offshore.  For more details, visit

Another seasonal occasion on the Island these days is Farmer Jack’s Pumpkin Day on Saturday, October 26th when visitors can take their decorated and carved pumpkins along to Farmer Jack’s farm shop for a bit of Halloween fun.  Opportunities to cook, or carve, a pumpkin from scratch, meanwhile, are also available between October 26th, and 31st.  For more details, visit

Other autumn activities scheduled for October and November on the Island this year include Stargazing Weekends at the Island Planetarium ( and a Fungus Foray at Newtown National Nature Reserve, October 19th at 10am ( 

For some guaranteed autumn colours, it’s best to head to the Electric Woods Autumn Aurora where, from October 18th to November 2nd, Robin Hill’s stunning ancient woodland will be brought to life by creative lighting, sound and special effects (

Last, but by no means least, the Isle of Wight Literary Festival takes centre stage from October 18th-20th this autumn, with tickets costing from just £4.00 per talk, to £13.50 per day; or £34 for a full weekend pass.  Speakers this year include Westminster wit Simon Hoggart, Tim Brooke-Taylor and Penelope Keith.  For a full schedule, visit

All tourist information relating to the Isle of Wight can be found at


For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672




 A Christmas Tree Festival in a 14th century village, Christmas carnivals winding their way through seaside towns, Christmas markets in historic settings and the opportunity to pick up unusual seasonal gifts, this year why not treat your loved ones to a cracker of a Christmas on the Isle of Wight?

Lots of Island towns and villages will be celebrating the festive season with delightful decorations, lights and markets.    The annual Brighstone Christmas Tree Festival (5 to 8 December) will create a magical atmosphere for visitors who can view the beautiful exhibits of over a hundred themed and decorated trees and take part in a brilliant range of festive events in and around the historic hamlets of Brighstone and Mottistone.   Take time to visit Brighstone’s National Trust shop and museum housed in a row of attractive thatched cottages – especially on Sunday the 8th when NT staff will be serving complimentary mulled wine and mince pies.


Or step into a Christmas wonderland at Osborne’s showpiece Victorian Christmas event also held over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of December.  There’ll be Victorian carols to sing along with, a magical merry-go-round, traditional sideshow games, hot roasted chestnuts and of course Queen Victoria will be there, all under a frosting of perfect white ‘snow’. 

A Victorian strong man show will wow the crowds and there’ll be special 30 minute performances of A Christmas Carol. For the first time, there’ll be Victorian festive falconry displays on the Durbar lawn and on Sunday, author Jeremy Archer will be reading from his book ‘A Royal Christmas’. After taking the kids to visit Father Christmas, you can pick up some charming and unique gifts that you won’t find on the high street and enjoy the house dressed in its Christmas finery,


Another seasonal option is Ryde’s Dickensian Christmas event (7/8 December) with strolling performers, singers, actors,  a street circus and a Christmas Grotto in the Royal Victoria Arcade Museum and Heritage Centre.   At 11am on Saturday 7th, Queen Victoria and her entourage will be getting in the Christmas spirit with a tour of this Victorian & Regency Town.

Warm up afterwards with a delicious mug of hot chocolate at the Chocolate Apothecary, a former Victorian chemist’s on Ryde seafront  (

Not only is the shop – which has been dubbed “A chocoholic’s heaven” by TripAdvisor  – filled with delicious hand-made chocolates, but the owner, Sue, also supplies Briddlesford Lodge Farm shop, Brading Roman Villa, Made On the Isle of Wight, IW Steam Railway and makes special garlic flavoured chocolate for the Garlic Farm and lavender flavoured truffles and fondants for Isle of Wight Lavender. If you want something individual for someone special, the Chocolate Apothecary can make you chocolate delicacies to order

More food heaven can be found at Cowes Christmas Festival on 14th and Sunday 15th December, which features a food theatre with demos from top local chefs and talks from IW producers.  There will also be stalls selling Island food and drink, arts & crafts, plus children’s face painting, live music and Santa’s Grotto.    Father Christmas will also be returning by horse and carriage to the Needles Park and to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’ Santa Specials where visitors will be able to meet Santa’s Alpcas and enjoy a bustling Christmas market.

The annual Ventnor Boxing Day swim (Thursday 26th December) when 100 brave swimmers/dippers including children is a sight to behold.  The dip is at midday prompt – fancy dress is optional – with seafront pubs providing food and hot toddies to swimmers and onlookers alike. 

For four days between 27th & 30th December you can also enjoy the majesty of Robin Hill in mid-winter.  To celebrate the launch of Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D Movie on 20th December, the park will be re-opening its popular “Jurassic” trail (  Or take part in one of Dinosaur Isle’s popular guided fossil walks which are running throughout December:

In Newport, perfect Christmas gifts and craftwork can be purchased at the Quay Arts Craft Shop. Every year their Christmas selection flies off the shelves with a choice of over 60 artist’s works for sale ranging from wooden sculptures, silver handcrafted jewellery to fun-packed handmade educational children’s items (

David Thornton, CEO Visit Isle of Wight said:  “There’s nowhere quite like the Isle of Wight for some good old-fashioned, Christmas cheer.

“Local communities come together to create a truly unique experience and this can be enjoyed by everyone who chooses to spend this special time of the year on the Island.”   

For those visitors who would like to attend midnight mass, there are plenty of village churches offering Christmas Eve services.   As an alternative, the monks of Quarr Abbey will be providing midnight mass to local people and visitors alike at the Island’s Benedictine monastery on 24 December, as well as a mass at 10am on Christmas Day.   Visit for further details.  

With regular ferry services from Southampton, Portsmouth, Lymington and Southsea and an abundance of special Christmas accommodation packages, the Isle of Wight presents the ideal opportunity for a wonderful Christmas break for the whole family.   

For a full schedule of festival events, visit


For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672      E-mail:

Notes to editors:

Ryde’s Dickensian Christmas event (7/8 December):

The highlight of the festivities is a Royal visit on Saturday the 7th at 11.30am giving shoppers, visitors, well- wishers and shop workers a chance to show off their

Christmas spirit whilst the Royal party takes a tour of our Victorian & Regency Town

For more information, please contact Ryde Business Assn:


Entertainment on the Isle of Wight this Spring Bank Holiday

Postman Pat, Queen Victoria, Henry VIII and his falcons

bring family entertainment to the Isle of Wight this Spring Bank Holiday


Postman Pat, Jess the Cat, and what is believed to be the oldest theme park in the UK, top the bill in the Isle of Wight’s line-up of special events, activities, festivals and family fun for this year’s Spring Bank Holiday.


Blackgang Chine is set to celebrate its 170th birthday in style between May 27th and 30th, at a special Birthday Bash where Postman Pat and his black-and-white cat will be the guests of honour.  Visitors will have a chance to meet them, as they join other Blackgang characters in a birthday celebration that will feature Pirates party games, competitions, live music and balloon modelling.  For full details, visit


The Island’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is also celebrating a big birthday this year.  Now in its 50th year, the AONB is hosting a full season of special events and activities to mark its golden year; and one of the best for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend is an Open Weekend on May 26th and 27th when National Trust members can go behind-the-scenes at the magnificent Mottistone Manor.  Further details at


English Heritage, meanwhile, will staging a Grand Victorian Day Out at world-famous Osborne on Saturday May 25th, 26th and 27th.  The event will involve spectacular equestrian displays, a magnificent parade of Redcoats, royal walkabouts, Victorian music, traditional stalls and side shows – all combining to bring alive the days of the British Empire.  For full details, visit


The Isle of Wight Steam Railway will also be turning the clocks back, when they host the Isle of Wight Festival of Transport at Havenstreet on Sunday, May 26th.  Visitors will have the chance to get up-close-and-personal with a couple of steam traction engines and a colourful array of old bangers and smartly polished classics on a day when there will also be a full two-train service of steam trains – reminiscent of Island transport in days gone-by.  To complete the weekend there will be live music with ‘The Five O’Clock Shadows’, as well as a bouncy castle in the Children’s Play Area.  For further details, visit


Elsewhere on the Island, look out for the return of Henry VIII and his falcons to Appuldurcombe in Wroxall, near Ventnor, between May 26th and 30th.  Last seen there in 1538, King Henry will be appearing in public daily from 10am-4pm:


And last but by no means least, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is due to be performed at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the evening of Thursday, May 30th by the Taking Flight Theatre Company – who tour with casts of physically disabled, sensory impaired and non disabled professional actors.  Advance booking is recommended for the open-air performance in the lovely setting of the New Zealand Garden; and further details can be found at


For all tourist information, visit

A Victorian Christmas

One of the most popular festive events on the Isle of Wight is the Victorian Christmas, staged by Osborne House. On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November the house will draw on all of its rich historical background of Christmas to produce a unique experience for families and guests of all ages to enjoy.

Osborne House Victorian Christmas

Throughout Queen Victoria’s life she loved celebrating Christmas and spending it with her nine children, describing it as a “most dear happy time”. Many of the Christmas traditions that we still preserve today, such as the decorating of trees, and the giving of presents and cards were made popular by the Queen and her family throughout her reign. After the death of her husband Prince Albert on 14th December 1861, the Queen decided to spend her first Christmas as a widow at Osborne House, and from then continued to spend the festive period on the Isle of Wight until the end of her reign.

Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012

(Above – Osborne Dining Room laid-out for Christmas in the time of Queen Victoria. Image kindly supplied by Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012.)

Visitors to this years Victorian Christmas at Osborne House will discover a wintry courtyard taking centre stage, with costumed characters as varied as Father Christmas, Jack Black the Rat Catcher and of course Queen Victoria herself on hand to entertain with Victorian Festivities. For families there will be a Christmas Carol Show, traditional Victorian fairground stall and even a 1903 steam powered carousel. There will be authentic entertainment from “What a Palaver”, with some daring feats including a fire show and Bed of Nails, and Aardvark Productions will also be on hand with a fast and interactive version of “A Christmas Carol”.

Victorian Christmas at Osborne - Queen Victoria

There will also be an opportunity to “Meet Victorian Toy Makers” with Thomas and Hester bringing traditional toys for you to play with, and even the chance to make your own balancing toy to take home with you. In the “Victorian Kitchen” there will be displays of forgotten kitchenalia with Mrs Posser and Mr Pourer, with displays of old fashioned chores like mixing up a traditional plum pudding.

Osborne Christmas Tree in Hall

Following on from the Victorian Christmas Osborne will be opening its doors for visitors to take part in their Festive Guided Tours, running Wednesday to Sunday from the 21st Novemberto the 6th January. This will give you a chance to experience the spectacular house in all of its decorated glory, with a detailed tour from one of Osborne’s expert guides. The decorations run throughout the principal royal ground floor rooms, just as they would have been in the days of Queen Victoria.

Santa's Grotto at Osborne House

Tickets for these events can be booked in advance, and should be purchased early to avoid disappointment. They can be ordered via the Ticket Sales Team on 0870 333 1183 (Mon-Fri 8.30am – Sat 9am-5pm) or online at For all price information please view the website.

What’s on for Halloween 2012

With the Isle of Wight having the reputation of being one of the spookiest places in the UK, it’s no wonder that there is always a great selection of ways to celebrate Halloween. From magical adventures for all ages at some of the biggest Isle of Wight attractions, to ghost walks through historical houses and even a live interactive horror experience, the place to be this Halloween in definitely the Isle of Wight!

The Haunted Haven at Owl & Monkey Haven

Owl and Monkey Haven Haunted Haven

This Halloween at the Owl and Monkey you will find apple bobbing, meet the owls, spooky spider hunt, trick or treat, ghost story telling, face painting and much more – with reduced entry and competitions for anyone in full fancy dress!

Spooktacular at Appuldurcombe House

Appuldurcombe Spooktacular

It was no surprise that Living TV’s “Most Haunted” show decided to film an episode in the grand ruin’s of Appuldurcombe House during their 6th series, and from 29th October 2012to Wednesday 31st October you will be able to take part in one of their “Spooktacular” ghost walks around the house and visit one of the Isle of Wight’s most spooky attractions!

Wizard Week at Isle of Wight Steam Railway

Wizard Week at Isle of Wight Steam Railway

If you are looking for a magical way to spend your Halloween then look no further than the Isle of Wight Steam Railway’s “Wizard Week”. Running from 29th October to 2nd Novemberthere is a huge range of activities on offer including “Wizardly Magic Shows” a “Spooky Maze” and fun for all the family!

Park of the Dead at Puckpool Park

Park of the Dead at Puckpool Park

This Halloween sees the old Victorian fortification battery and surrounding park at Puckpool tranformed into the live action horror experience that is “Park of the Dead”. Many of the tunnels and areas that have been closed off for years will be re-opened as visitors are led on a tour of the park and it’s mysterious inhabitants…

Time Travellers Go… Ghosts & Ghouls at Carisbrooke Castle

Time Travellers Go... Ghosts & Ghouls at Carisbrooke Castle

Set in the grounds of yet another of the great historical Isle of Wight attractions, “Time Travellers Go… Ghosts & Ghouls” has on offer a whole range of activities for your “little horrors” this Halloween. Creepy crafts, spooky activities and ghost hunting are just a few of the things on offer at Carisbrooke Castle from 27th October to 4th November.

Witches & Wizards Days Out at Blackgang Chine

Witches and Wizards Days Out at Blackgang Chine

Once again Blackgang Chine open up it’s world of fantasy and adventure to all wannabe witches and wizards. With a big range of Halloween games and competitions lined up including magic shows, face painting, ghost stories and loads of prizes and give-aways. Activities take place from 12pm on 23rd, 25th, 30th October and 1st November.

Isle of Wight Ghost Experience presents Halloween Spectacular

Isle of Wight Ghost Experience Presents Halloween Spectacular

The Isle of Wight Ghost Experience are the authority on knowledge of ghostly activity on the Island and their range of ghost walks throughout the year are massively popular. For their Halloween spectacular this year they have 4 different experiences to choose from in a variety of locations, sure to be not for the faint hearted!

10 Reasons to visit in October

The summer may be slowly drawing to a close, but with so much to do on the Isle of Wight this October you will barely notice those longer nights and cooler temperatures!

We’ve picked our top 10 highlights of what’s on in October, with a little bit of “something for everyone”:

1. Isle of Wight Literary Festival


Isle of Wight Literary Festival

The first ever Isle of Wight Literary Festival run from the 12th – 14th October, with a huge line-up of guest speakers and readers already lined up including some very well-known faces and Isle of Wight authors.


2. Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Weekend


Isle of Wight Autumn Walking Weekend

Continuing the Isle of Wight Walking Festival from earlier this year the “Autumn Walking Weekend” offers up a fresh programme of over 70 walks for all ages and abilities from 19th – 22nd October.


3. Robin Hill’s Electric Woods “The Autumn Aurora”


Robin Hill's Electric Woods present "Autumn Aurora"

From the 19th October – 3rd November Robin Hill’s latest series will bring a whole host of entertainment against the backdrop of their enchanting illuminated woodland.


4. Park of the Dead


Park of the Dead Interactive Horror Experience

There are some seriously spooky goings on at Puckpool Park this Halloween. The “Park of the Dead” live interative horror experience runs from 26th – 31st October and promises to scare your socks and shoes off!


5. Jhelisa Anderson & Robert Mitchell Live


Jhelisa Anderson Live at the Quay Arts

Jhelisa Anderson performs at the Quay Arts on 19th October performing her acclaimed tribute to the legendary Nina Simone. She will be collaborating with award winning Steinway Artist and Jazz composer/pianist, Robert Mitchell..


6. An Evening of Pink Floyd: Perfect Alibi


An Evening of Pink Floyd

On 27th October the Medina Theatre plays host to “An Evening of Pink Floyd” with Perfect Alibi recreating the authentic Floyd sound in a live performance not to be missed .


7. Witches & Wizards Days Out


Witches & Wizards Days Out at Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine invites all would be Witches and Wizards to join them this Autumn Half Term with a whole host of Halloween activities going on inside the park. Activities run on 23rd & 25th October and 30th October & 1st November.


8. Pirates of Penzance


Pirates of Penzance at Shanklin Theatre

Shanklin Theatre and the Island Savoyards proudly present the classic Gilbert & Sullivan production, which runs from 10th – 13th October. This is a “swash-buckling” adventure not to be missed!


9Ian Siegal Live


Ian Siegal Live at the Quay Arts

Award winning bluesman Ian Siegal returns to the Isle of Wight on the 5th October with a performance at Newport’s Quay Arts. Famed for his captivating performances Siegal is a must-see for any Blues enthusiast.


10. Time Travellers Go… Ghosts & Ghouls


Time Travellers Go... Ghosts & Ghouls at Carisbrooke Castle

Set in the atmospheric setting of Carisbrooke Castle, this Ghost and Ghouls event is guaranteed to keep your little horrors entertained this October Half Term. Activity days run from 27th October – 4th November.

Additional Events

For more information on What’s on for the Isle of Wight throughout October take a look at ourevents page

Staying on the Isle of Wight

Also if you are planning your stay on the Isle of Wight check out our accommodation page andspecial offers for some excellent short break ideas.

Park of the Dead


a2 park-of-dead-puckpool1


Something seriously spooky is going on over at Puckpool Park on the Isle of Wight this October with the live interactive horror experience that is “Park of the Dead”.

For the first time the public will be able to access parts of the Park that have been closed off for years, including the gun barracks, underground tunnels and the “Old Laboratory” – a building listed in history as “purpose unknown”. Until July 2012 no-one had seen inside this building in over 70 years, and your not going to believe what they found!

On arrival to the experience you will be greeted by an ex-military guide who will talk you through the World War 2 history of the park and surrounding area, and the secrets that lay behind previously closed doors. Throughout your tour you will be closely guarded by the Park Security Force (PSF) who will be on hand to ensure your safety and well-being. Everything else that you will see and hear is shrouded in secrecy, but one thing is for certain – this experience is sure to not be for the faint hearted!

a3 park-of-dead-puckpool2(1)


At time of writing the Park of the Dead horror experience tickets have only been on sale a matter of days but already all tickets for adult tours have SOLD OUT! There are however some “Child Friendly” tours which are available for bookings, and they will soon be adding some more strictly limited dates for Adult tours.

To book tickets or for any further information please visit

*UPDATED TICKET INFO* Due to overwhelming demand the additional tours added by the organisers were SOLD OUT in a matter of hours. There is however the possibility of some cancellations – to be first in the know head over to their website and follow their intel reports!