Tag Archives: Dinosaur Island

Isle of Wight invites holidaymakers to “Return to Adventure Island”

The Isle of Wight is being promoted as one, big holiday island attraction in a summer-long campaign that’s being dubbed “Return to Adventure Island”.

Just launched, and based squarely on the fact that visitors and families have been coming on holiday to the Island for almost two centuries, the campaign is designed to help illustrate that fact that there are now more reasons than ever before to book a visit the Isle of Wight.

Visitors over the decades have discovered there are so many places to see and things to do on an Island the size of Inner London.  So many of them are natural, some are man-made, but all combine to offer a host of holiday memories that last a lifetime…and also keep generations of families coming back for more.

It’s a timeless, magical Island, that can only be reached from the mainland across a small strip of water – giving trippers, tourists and travellers that true holiday feeling.

And in 2017 The Island will welcome several new attractions and experiences, including the Tiny Homes Holidays concept; Modulogs at Tom’s Eco Lodge; a magical Underwater Kingdom at Blackgang Chine; Jurassic Golf on Shanklin Seafront; and even the appearance of the little Squirrel Monkey which has just been rescued by Monkey Haven.

The Island as a whole is perfect for families who want to enjoy themselves together at the likes of Needles Landmark Attraction, or follow in the footsteps of Dinosaurs along the beaches; and the Return to Adventure Island campaign captures the essence of it all – from the glorious beaches to thrilling adventures, and the great range of accommodation to fabulous festivals.

Stay in a treehouse.  Search for red squirrels.  And learn bushcraft on the beach.  Then, after lobster on chips, take an exhilarating ride to a Victorian fort.  Or, travel back in time with the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and visit a National Museum of Poo!  As visitors over the centuries have discovered, every day can be a fresh adventure.

Betters still, it’s all just two hours hours away from London, followed by a 10 minute Hovercraft ride to the Island – with car and passenger ferries connecting the Island from Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.

The ferry companies and Hovertravel run regular promotions, including day returns from £5, and it’s also possible to also book great value tickets that combine transport with entrance into the leading attractions

Full details can be found at https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/escape-to-adventure-island.

Visitors who book their holiday to Isle of Wight through Visit Isle of Wight, meanwhile, will be invited to download a free app for their iPhone or Android smartphone.  The Adventure Island App, which launches on April 1, is packed with insider’s tips and trails to help holidaymakers make the most of their stay.

It also gives all visitors the chance to take part in a virtual treasure hunt with lots of prizes on offer including, for one lucky family, the chance to win back the entire cost of their holiday.

The Return to Adventure Island website will also feature all of the latest special offers for deals on accommodation: when searching to find the perfect place to stay, just look out for the blue suitcase featured on selected accommodation for special deals with ferry inclusive prices.

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


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

Sue Emmerson, Tel: 07766 705672, Email: 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


A fossil from a dinosaur has been discovered on the Isle of Wight, more than a century since the last remains of the predator were found.

The neck vertebra of a dinosaur called ‘Calamosaurus’ was found on a recent fossil hunt by Dave Badman at Chilton Chine.  It is the first fossil of this dinosaur to have been found since the original discovery was made nearly 140 years ago on the Island by the Reverend of Brighstone parish, William Fox.

After his death in 1882, the collection of William Fox was acquired by the Natural History Museum.  While the collection was being catalogued, staff at the museum recognised two unusual vertebrae in the collection, which were later named as a new species ‘Calamosaurus Foxi’.  Since then, no other definite remains of this dinosaur have ever been found.

After finding the fossil, Mr Badman brought the specimen to Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown (www.dinosaurisle.com) for identification, where it is now on display.

He commented, “I have looked along the beaches for a long time, searching for fossil remains, and have had a fair amount of success.  However when I saw this fossil, I knew it was something different and that I had a great find.  I took it to Dinosaur Isle straight away to get it identified.  I am very pleased to donate my find to the museum so I know the specimen can help with the understanding of this elusive dinosaur.”

It all further enhances the Isle of Wight’s reputation as the “Dinosaur Capital of Britain” which all started in 2013 when the Natural History Museum in London awarded it that title, continued with a special Walking with Dinosaurs app which allows visitors to be photographed while walking with dinosaurs, the Isle of Wight is also linked with a major new film WALKING WITH DINOSAURS: THE 3D MOVIE, and reached its peak when Royal Mail unveiled ten commemorative dinosaur stamps – each featuring drawings by internationally famous Isle of Wight artist, John Sibbick.

Meanwhile, the Isle of Wight will launch a new event called ‘Dinosaurs by the Sea’ on July 4th/5th (during the Festival of the Sea) when – in additional to other events – there will be an attempt to build the UK’s biggest dinosaur on the beach at Ryde.

A new Dinosaur Safari Guide is also scheduled to be launched later this year.  For more details, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/dinosaur-island.


For further information, please contact:

Sue Emmerson, Visit Isle of Wight Press Officer

Tel: 07766 705672      E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk


Compton Bay on the Isle of Wight has been named as one of the world’s top beaches by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine.


Listed in the latest issue (April 2015) of this highly respected travel magazine, Compton Bay is included in the “top 50 best beaches in the world” alongside the likes of Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro, Waikiiki in Honolulu and Bondi in Sydney.


Located in West Wight, Compton offers a two mile stretch of contrasting golden and dark sands, with rolling seas, tumbling multi-coloured sandstone cliffs, and the white chalk cliffs of Freshwater in the distance.   Popular with surfers and fossil hunters, Compton is ideal for games and sandcastle making. 


In September last year, Compton Bay was named as one of the best beaches in the UK by travel experts, Rough Guides.  The leading publisher of travel guides and travel content, the Rough Guides editorial team chose Compton as the “much-loved haunt of the Isle of Wight’s surf (kite and board) dudes and the place “where the Tennyson Trail laces its way along the coastline”.  Compton was also recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for the quality of its waters in 2012.


Following these accolades, the writer of the Sunday Times feature, journalist Emma Broomfield, contacted Visit Isle of Wight’s press officer, Sue Emmerson, for more information. 


Sue said: “When Emma contacted me earlier this year, she wanted ‘insider tips’ that she could use in the piece to entice readers.


“I am therefore delighted that she has used the content I supplied – not only the activities that can be enjoyed at Compton like searching for dinosaur footprints and surfing, but also information about the 22km Tennyson Trail from Carisbrooke Castle to The Needles, and our free downloadable Dinosaur Island app which allows visitors to take pictures of family and friends walking alongside the dinosaurs that roamed the Isle of Wight 130 million years ago.”


For more information about the feature, go to: http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/travel_magazine/




For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, Tel: 01983 201048, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org


Notes to editors:


Image of Compton Bay attached, please credit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk


Attached is a pdf of the 50 best beaches in the world feature which is in the latest issue of the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. You can find Compton amongst them on the 7th spread.


Compton was recommended by the Marine Conservation Society for the quality of its waters in 2012 and was named as one of the UK’s top beaches by travel experts Rough Guides. In 2014. Read more:   http://www.roughguides.com/gallery/the-best-british-beaches/#/6


The Isle of Wight’s ‘dinosaur coast’ stretches from Yaverland in the East to Compton Bay and beyond in the West and since 2013 has been marked with a series of interactive meteorite exhibits.  Simply download an App for your smartphone or tablet and see dinosaurs in the present day environment with this brilliant augmented reality experience. http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/dinosaur-island/dinosaur-island-trail






A family from Ventnor got a surprise at Dinosaur Isle on Sunday 8 February when they became the museum’s millionth visitors.

Lee and Alison Starling and their daughters Tamlyn and Kaitlyn walked through the doors just before midday to take the total number of customers since the museum opened in 2001 past the magic number.

As part of the celebrations, Kaitlyn and Tamlyn each put a handprint on a special plinth which will remain outside the museum, recognising the milestone. The family were also given a yearly pass to the museum.

The museum has predicted it would reach the millionth customer figure on the day and was hosting a free fun day.

General manager Peter Pusey said: “We needed 474 people to come through the doors on Sunday, but ended up with nearly 1400 in total at the free fun day. The Starling family were the lucky ones to take the number past one million.

“I think they were a little shocked but were very happy and had a great time at the museum. It is certainly something they won’t forget for a while.”

Alison Starling added: “This was our first visit to Dinosaur Isle as we’d seen the event advertised and because there was plenty to do for the kids we decided to pay a visit.

“We were really surprised when the alarm sounded and to then be told by staff that we were the millionth visitors. It was so lovely for Tamlyn and Kaitlyn to have their hands cast in the cement outside, which will be lovely for them to always see as they get older.

“We feel honoured and would like to thank Dinosaur Isle for a lovely day and we are looking forward to spending more time there this summer with our free yearly pass we won.”

The museum first opened in August 2001 and has been going strong ever since. It holds tens of thousands of fossils, and regularly hosts popular fossil walks and school visits. Memorable discoveries down the years include a new species of pre-historic crocodile and a partial skeleton of a Brachiosaur.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism and economy, said: “I was very happy to be at the museum on Sunday when the Starling family became the millionth visitor.

“The museum is a major part of the Isle of Wight’s tourism industry and I would like to congratulate all the staff and volunteers, past and present, who have helped the attraction reach this incredible milestone.”

Photos from the fun day are available to view on Dinosaur Isle’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/dinosaurisle.


An Isle of Wight Council attraction is close to reaching a huge landmark in its history. Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown is expecting to welcome its one millionth visitor since it opened its doors for the first time back in August 2001.

Based on current visitor numbers, staff are predicting the millionth visitor will walk through the doors by the end of the year.

A surprise prize will be given to the lucky millionth customer, while all visitors to the museum can now enter a competition to win a break on the Isle of Wight. The winner will be drawn on the day the millionth visitor is revealed.

Since opening in 2001, Dinosaur Isle now holds over 30,000 fossils, covering the breadth of the Island’s geology. It regularly welcomes schools from the across the country on organised trips, and hosts hugely popular fossil walks. These walks have in the past turned up newly discovered species of dinosaur, such as a prehistoric crocodile and a spider.

Peter Pusey, general manager at the museum: said “Reaching one million visitors is a great tribute to those early fossil hunters who, in the 1820s, had the foresight to lay the foundations of the collection that is still being added to today.

“We wanted to have a bit of fun and share our excitement this summer, and get our one millionth visitor party started”.

Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism and economy, said: “It is incredible to think Dinosaur Isle is approaching the one millionth visitor mark.

“This is a fantastic achievement for the museum which continues to attract tens of thousands of visitors every year and I send my congratulations to the staff.”

David Thornton, Chief Executive Visit Isle of Wight Ltd said “Dinosaur Isle forms one of the cornerstones of the Isle of Wight’s heritage branding and is a key aspect of what makes the Island distinct and different.

“Over the past couple of years the museum has been phenomenally successful and we are delighted to be in involved with the celebrations to mark its millionth visitor”. The museum building was designed to look like a pterodactyl when constructed.


Notes to Editors:

Issued by: Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254 Mob: 07976 347636 Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk


A 100 million year old fossil recently found near Sandown Beach that weighs in at over 110 kilos has now gone on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum in the town.

A large ammonite, which is also a complete specimen, was discovered near a cliff face by staff member Alex Peaker during a fossil walk.

The ammonite, identified as Austiniceras austeni, belongs to a group of ammonites known as Parapuzosia which are acknowledged to be the largest ammonites in the world.

Alex recalls: “I was walking past some debris that had recently fallen from the cliff on a fossil hunting walk when I spotted the round characteristic shape of an ammonite. At first I didn’t want to get my hopes up as shapes can be misleading, however I took a closer look and saw the distinctive lines of an ammonite shell.

“Because it was below the cliff face, we sought permission to remove it from National Trust which is the landowner. It is lucky I spotted it when I did because it could have been washed away and lost to science.”

Collecting the ammonite was a difficult task, with the fossil part of a large block of rock weighing in at around two hundred kilos. Undeterred, it took three members of staff eight hours to remove enough of the surrounding rock to lift the ammonite. It was then transported using a beach buggy that has large inflatable tyres capable of carrying heavy weights over soft sand back to the museum.

Since March, the ammonite has been worked on in the lab at Dinosaur Isle by Martin New who has carefully removed the remaining rock from the shell and given it a clean, finally revealing the fossil in its full complete form.

Alex added: “It is very pleasing my find has been able to go on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum for all to enjoy.

“It just shows you never know when you may find something and it further reinforces the Isle of Wight’s reputation as one of the world’s best locations to find fossils.”

Dinosaur Isle is very grateful to the National Trust for the loan of this specimen and allowing it to go out on display at the museum.

Issued by:

Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636
Email: simon.butler@iow.gov.uk

Get social media updates from the Isle of Wight Council. Go to www.facebook.com/isleofwightcouncil, www.twitter.com/iwight and www.youtube.com/IWCouncil  




Notes to Editors:


An image of the ammomite is attached for your use. Please credit Isle of Wight Council/Dinosaur Isle if you use this photo.

Official Dinosaur Island!

The Isle of Wight has been officially declared the dinosaur capital of the UK! This is according to a new Dinosaur Map of Britain which has been compiled by Dr Paul Barrett, Merit Researcher from The Natural History Museum to mark the launch of Primeval: New World on Watch.

Dr Paul Barrett conducted a report of prehistoric activity identifying the key dinosaur hotspots around the UK. The Isle of Wight, has come out on top, beating the famous Jurassic Coast in Dorset, as the richest area for dinosaur fossil finds with skeletons over 125 million years old! The Isle is of Wight is also the site of the largest dinosaur find – a neck bone of a Sauropod which would have measured over 20 metres (nearly five times as long as a London double decker bus) and weighed roughly 54 tonnes, the same as 20 full grown elephants! It was also the Jurassic ‘Isle of Fright’ as it was home to the deadliest dinosaur: a Neovenator which measured around 7.5m in length and had serrated, saw-like teeth for tearing flesh.

With Primeval: New World – the popular US spin off of the hugely successful Primeval drama series – jam packed full of special effects and featuring 16 prehistoric land, sea, sky and sand creatures that threaten modern day earth having travelled through strange anomalies in time, it may feel like science fiction that dinosaurs used to roam the UK.

However, according to the research undertaken by Dr Barrett, over 100 species have been unearthed across the country from Sauropods as tall as Nelson’s Column to Echinodons which were about the size of a cat. Dr Barrett commented: “This map highlights some of the most recent dinosaur discoveries in the UK, as well as the large number of finds made historically. Dinosaur fossils are still found on a regular basis in the cliffs and quarries of the UK and many more surprises are likely to be waiting in the rocks”. Catch all of the dino-action in Primeval: New World, Tuesdays at 9pm, only on Watch.

Primeval Map