Family walking coastal path during the Walk the Wight walking festival Freshwater Bay Isle of Wight England

May Bank Holiday Weekend on the Isle of Wight: there’s never been more choice!

Famous names, famous faces.  Walking, cycling, sailing, and plenty of interesting places.  There may never be more choice for visitors to the Isle of Wight, than the first Bank Holiday Weekend of the year…

The Isle of Arts festival in Ventor has now established itself as a major four-day celebration of music, comedy, drama, film, literature and the visual arts – and this year’s headline guests, appearing between May 2nd and 5th will include BBC presenter and gardener Monty Don; Clint’s son Kyle Eastwood (with his band); writer and agony aunt Virginia Ironside; poet Roger McGough; the Tenors UnLimited; the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain; and US comedian Rich Hall.  As well as the Edinburgh Fringe sensation Luke Kempner in “The Only Way Is Downton”.

Tickets can be booked in advance, and further details can be found at www.artsisle.org.

Famous for its Speed Dating Walk, which has so far resulted in five weddings and a baby, the Isle of Wight Walking Festival (www.isleofwightwalkingfestival.co.uk) is this year scheduled to run from May 3rd to 18th.  Now in its 16th year, the biggest Walking Festival in the UK boasts 16 days of unbeatable, informative and healthy walks for all abilities.  Its organisers have also teamed-up with Red Funnel this year to create a special offer for anyone talking part in any of the walks – with 20% off the cost of a car and up to 7 people, and for foot-passengers, travelling on the Vehicle Ferry service.  Valid between May 1st and 22nd, full terms and conditions can be found at www.redfunnel.co.uk/island-guide/isle-of-wight-events/events-april-to-june/isle-of-wight-walking-festival/.

Cyclists, meanwhile, are being encouraged to consider joining a unique tour around the whole of the Isle of Wight on Sunday, May 4th.  The Wayfarer Cycle Touring Club, established the Isle of Wight Randonnee in 1985, which takes-in minor roads and lanes where possible – enabling the rider to see and enjoy the best of the Island’s scenery.  The event now attracts around 2,000 participants every year, and full details can be found at www.cycleisland.co.uk.

The event links-in nicely with the Isle of Wight’s brand new campaign to turn the Island into the UK’s No.1 cycling holiday destination.  “Bicycle Island” was launched at the end of March, and now offers cyclists a host of ways to “drive less and see more”: www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/bicycle-island.

May is also officially “National Watersports Month” – a fact which the Cowes-based UK Sailing Academy (UKSA) will be marking by offering some special deals on taster sessions at the weekends, Bank Holiday Mondays, and throughout the half-term holidays.  There will be opportunities to have-a-go at kayaking, or sailing a keelboat or dinghy during half-day sessions lasting three hours each, and priced at £20 per person.  One-hour sessions for paddle-boarding and windsurfing, meanwhile, are also available and are priced at just £10 per person.  Suitable for anyone aged 8 and over, all sessions must be booked in advance.  For full details, visit www.uksa.org/leisure-courses/national-watersports-month/national-watersports-month-taster-sessions.

The Isle of Wight is also joining-in with the National Trust’s “50 things to do before you’re 11¾” campaign on Monday, May 5th, by giving families the chance to have some fun outdoors by trying a whole host of outdoor activities, from bug-hunting to geocaching, in different parts of Newtown’s National Nature Reserve.  Full details can be found at www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/50-things-to-do-before-youre-11-3-4-p1034171.

And green fingered visitors will be given a rare opportunity to delve inside Sunny Patch, in Freshwater this Bank Holiday Weekend – as it opens its doors to the public on May 2nd and 3rd, under the National Gardens Scheme.  Created by an eccentric plantaholic and ornament collector, this light-hearted garden of ‘rooms’ includes acers, magnolias and many herbaceous plants and shrubs, two ponds, a fairy wood, and a folly.  Light refreshments of tea and cakes will be available.  The entrance fee is £3 for adults.

Visitors to the Island may also like to take advantage of the Spring Special available at Wightlink Ferries this May Bank Holiday: http://wightlink.co.uk/offers/spring-day-trips#.  The offer includes car, driver and up to six passengers when travelling from now up to July 23rd (excluding June 12th to 16th, when the Isle of Wight Festival takes place); and is eligible for all travel on the Lymington to Yarmouth route on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

For further details of these, and many other events on the Isle of Wight this May Bank Holiday Weekend, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

 -ENDS-

For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672

E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk