Tag Archives: Monkey Haven


The Isle of Wight’s Monkey Haven has been named as the best Small Visitor Attraction in the country by tourism chiefs at VisitEngland.

On Monday 24th April, the primate rescue centre was given the top spot in the 2017 Awards for Excellence at a ceremony hosted by comedian Sue Perkins at London’s Hilton Waldorf.

A spokesperson for VisitEngland, the country’s official Tourist Board, commented: “Congratulations – winning the award allows you to claim justifiably to be the best in your category in England.”

The animal sanctuary just outside Newport is home to rescued monkeys, owls, meerkats and other exotic creatures. The judges praised the Keeper talks, website, new signage and high standards of maintenance.

It’s been a hugely successful year for the team, as in February, they were awarded a prestigious gold accolade from VisitEngland and they’ve maintained their top slot on TripAdvisor as the most popular attraction on the Isle of Wight.

Founder Don Walser, who attended the ceremony with his daughter Kelly Wickes commented: “We are amazed and delighted! This award means so much to us. Six years ago, when we set up a primate rescue centre on the Isle of Wight, everyone thought we were crackers. Now we’re the best small attraction in the country.”

“We’re a small charity but thanks to the support that we’ve had, we’ve been able to continually expand and evolve and care for growing numbers of creatures in crisis, from monkeys who’ve been smuggled through customs to meerkats who’ve been victims of the cruel pet trade.”

Don, who attended the ceremony wearing his lucky monkey tie, added: “Thank you to everyone who has made this possible – our dedicated team of staff and volunteers, and every single person who’s visited us or supported us in any other way. This award is for you all.”

  • Monkey Haven is open every day from 10am. The new free App is out now! Please visit Monkeyhaven.org for more info.

For further information, pictures or quotes, please contact Kelly Wickes on 07740 106279 or email kelly@monkeyhaven.org


Fun and frolics on the Isle of Wight this February half-term

The February half-term presents the ideal opportunity for taking the family away and a break on the Isle of Wight with its traditional seaside resorts and activities to suit toddlers through to teens, will give the whole family a holiday to remember.

Experience the great outdoors as you go in search of dinosaur remains, cycle the traffic-free Troll Trail, or build a snowman out of sand.

This half-term, you could also be one of the first to see rescued tiger Simi in her new Isle of Wight home, or swing by the award-winning Monkey Haven – a sanctuary for monkeys and other animals in need.  And if it should rain on the ‘sunshine isle’ you can always jump for joy at the Island’s new all-weather trampoline park with its 40 interconnecting trampolines, or set a new record at the Island’s all-weather karting track.

These and more great adventures can be enjoyed on the Island this February half-term:

Sandman Snowman Spectacular

Come to Small Hope Beach in Shanklin and build a sandman/snowman.    Past years have seen the beach populated by mermaids, dolphins, dogs, sandmen, sand ladies and a whole array of other characters.  There’ll be hot chocolate on hand to warm chilly fingers and the nice people from Gift to Nature will also provide the coal and carrots for your creations – you just need to bring a spade, the creative ideas and bags of enthusiasm.

Date:               21st February, 2-4pm.

Where:            Small Hope Beach, Shanklin, PO37 6EA.

Cost:                £2 per person – suitable for adults and children.

More:               Call 01983 201565 for more details.


Electric Woods: Spirit of the Orient

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.  Visitors can enjoy a series of new sound ‘and light displays dispersed around the woodland and  children can join in the celebration by taking part in a fun and interactive dragon procession with a 12m long dragon costume.  There will also be an amazing falconry show in the amphitheatre, which includes the falcon, Baldric, showing off his new ‘head cam projection’ where visitors literally get a ‘bird’s eye view’ of the show.

Date:               February 13- 21, from 5pm to 9pm.

Where:            Robin Hill Adventure Park & Gardens, Downend, Near Arreton, Newport PO30 2NU.

Cost:                Tickets cost £10.95 per person (aged 4+) and are available to purchase in advance from the website: www.electricwoods.co.uk

More:                   http://robin-hill.com/events/february-2016-

Victorian Fun and Games at Osborne

Experience a range of fun games and pastimes played by children in Victorian England and learn how the royal children would have lived and played at Osborne.

Date:               15th to 19th February

Where:            Osborne, York Avenue, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, PO32 6JX.

Cost:                £10.50 (adult), £6.30 (age 5 to 15), £9.59 (concession) £27.50 (family).   Free for English Heritage members.

More:               http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/whats-on/victorian-fun-and-games-Osb-15-02-2016/

Woodland event at Borthwood Copse, near Sandown.

Have fun exploring the ancient woodland at Borthwood Copse at this National Trust family event.  Find out more about the life of the Island’s native red squirrels, woodland trails, wild art and balancing poles. Have a go at creating your own squirrel dray and make a squirrel mask.  Bring a picnic lunch and wear trainers, or walking boots, with good grip for balancing on wooden poles.

Date:               February 17, 11am to 3pm

Where:            Meet at Borthwood Copse (SZ 566 844). Parking limited, Bus route No. 8

Cost:                Free – donations to cover cost of materials welcome.

More:               http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/events/50d545e4-0dfe-4161-80b0-0c3f3cd197d2/pages/details

Activity Days at Newport Roman Villa

The well-preserved remains at Newport Roman Villa provide a fascinating insight into country life in third century Britain. The villa has a superb bath suite with under floor heating and remnants of mosaic floors.  This February half-term families can get hands on at two fun activity days:  ‘Clay Day’ on February 15 and ‘Crafty Day’ on February 17.   Visitors can also find out more about the Roman occupation of the Isle of Wight by exploring the exhibition area, which displays artefacts found throughout the Island.

Date:               February 15 (Clay Day) and February 17 (Crafty Day), 11am to 3pm

Where:            Newport Roman Villa, Cypress Road, PO30 1HA

Cost:               £1 per person to include entry to site and all activities – no booking required.

More:              For more information call 01983 823433 or e-mail museums@iow.gov.uk

Wildlife Activity Day at Freshwater Fruit Farm

Amphibians and reptiles are hibernating at this time of the year but there are red squirrels in the garden and a wide variety of birds.   So get out of doors and join members of the Wight Squirrel Project for a range of activities that include searching for wildlife around the farm, storytelling, plus homemade hotdogs for lunch.

Date:               February 16th, starting at 11am

Where:            Freshwater Fruit Farm, Wilmingham Lane, Freshwater, PO40 9UG.  Parking is available on site.

Cost:                £3 including lunch for children and £1.50 for refreshments (tea/coffee/biscuits) for adults.

More:               Please call 01983 753413 to book your place and for any queries.

Half-term fun at the Garlic Farm

There are lots of fun activities taking place throughout this February half term at the Island’s Garlic Farm.   So come along to the farm and learn all about garlic with regular talks and demonstrations.

Date:               13th to 21st February, 11am to 3pm

Where:            The Garlic Farm, Mersley Lane, Newchurch, PO36 0NR

Cost:                Entry to the farm is free and activities are individually priced – see website for more details.

More:               http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/whats-on/halft-term-fun-at-the-garlic-farm-p1247201


For more fun and frolics this February half-term, go to http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/february-half-term

Monkey Haven wins a Highly Commended Award at the 2015 VisitEngland Awards for Excellence

Monkey Haven has won a Highly Commended Award in the Small Attraction category at the prestigious VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015 Ceremony.

A Highly Commended Award is a considerable achievement and recognises Excellence in Tourism in England. Monkey Haven was presented with their Highly Commended Award at a glittering Awards Ceremony which was held on 11 May 2015 at The Sage, Gateshead.

Commenting on the Award James Berresford, VisitEngland’s Chief Executive said “It is a great achievement to win a Highly Commended Award in a field of very high quality applications. The Award places Monkey Haven in the top five businesses for excellence in their category in England. I warmly congratulate them on this achievement.”

Monkey Haven received their award from Penelope Viscountess Cobham, Chair of VisitEngland and James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland

Speaking on behalf of Monkey Haven, Don Walser said “We are absolutely delighted to win a Highly Commended Award by VisitEngland. To be recognised nationally as one of the top five small attractions in England is testament to our wonderful team, who are dedicated in providing a fantastic environment for our animals and a memorable experience to our visitors. This is our fifth year of opening and our achievements to date have been remarkable; Three Gold Awards, a VisitEngland Gold Accolade and now a Highly Commended Award for Excellence in Tourism. A massive thank you to all involved for making our Island sanctuary a National Award-Winning attraction.”

– Ends –

Notes to Editors

Monkey Haven is an award-winning animal sanctuary based on the Isle Of Wight.  Specialising in the care and rehabilitation of rescued primates, birds of prey, and other exotic animals, Monkey Haven also prides itself on providing a first class visitor experience for all. www.monkeyhaven.org

Contact: Kelly Wickes, Marketing manager.  Email: Kelly@monkeyhaven.org  Tel: 07740 106279

For more information about VisitEngland or the Awards contact:

For more information please contact Angelah Sparg, Acting Head of Corporate Communications Tel: 02075781482, Mob: 07917 183 668, Email:

Angelah.sparg@visitengland.org or Sarah Rabbitts, Interim Corporate Communications Manager Tel: 020 7578 1452, Email:sarah.rabbitts@visitengland.org   Website: www.visitengland.org

About VisitEngland

VisitEngland is the country’s national tourist board. We work in partnership with the industry to develop the visitor experience across England, plan national tourism strategy, grow the value of tourism in England and provide advocacy for the industry and our visitors. Our work is underpinned by robust research and customer insights. You can access the latest in-depth market intelligence and statistics on www.visitengland.org/insight-statistics.

England is a unique destination and a real powerhouse in global tourism. It represents 84 per cent of the total UK visitor economy, is worth £106 billion, and supports 2.6 million jobs.

For corporate information see www.visitengland.org and for consumer information see www.visitengland.com.

About the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015

The VisitEngland Awards for Excellence 2015 celebrate the best of English tourism.

They promote healthy industry competition and high standards, helping to ensure England’s place as a world-class destination. www.visitenglandawards.org.

The 2015 Awards attracted 345 applications.

The 17 categories for the 2015 awards include: Access for All Tourism Award, Bed & Breakfast / Guest Accommodation of the Year, Business Tourism Award, Holiday

Park / Holiday Village of the Year, Large Hotel of the Year, Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, Self-Catering Holiday Provider of the Year, Small Hotel of the Year, Small Visitor Attraction of the Year, Sustainable Tourism Award, Taste of England Award, Tourism Event of the Year, Tourism Experience of the Year, Tourism Pub of the Year, Visitor Information Provider of the Year.

Included in the 17 categories are the additional Awards of Tourism Superstar and Outstanding Contribution to Tourism. The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism

Award was awarded on the night to the Chefs of England. Previous winners of this award have included The Great English Pub, Michael Eavis CBE, HM The Queen, the Harry Potter films, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, Sir Paul McCartney, Liverpool, The National Trust, the English Garden, 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games Makers and last year The Travel Agent.