HAVE A CRACKER OF A CHRISTMAS ON THE ISLE OF WIGHT
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 (http://www.chocolateapothecary.co.uk/).
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 (http://www.robin-hill.com/). Or take part in one of Dinosaur Isle’s popular guided fossil walks which are running throughout December: http://www.dinosaurisle.com/newhomepage.aspx
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 (www.quayarts.org).
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 www.quarrabbey.co.uk 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 http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/christmas
For further information, please contact:
Sue Emmerson, Isle of Wight Press Officer
Tel: 07766 705672 E-mail: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org