Tag Archives: Ventnor Botanic Garden

Premier hotel on the Isle of Wight responding to what travellers want

The Royal Hotel laps it up with local award-winning producers and attractions to meet the demands of unique customer experiences.

“Travel is now increasingly viewed as a way of having experiences to enhances one’s life. As a hotel, we have to embrace the fact that we are responsible for creating a unique customer experience. One of the main reasons people travel is the thirst to discover more and by including an authentic local environment, food and cooking and wellness experiences, we hope to provide an unforgettable experience on the Island.” William Bailey, Managing Director at the Royal Hotel.

To start the year off, The Royal Hotel has paired up with the Island’s wine supplier and wine connoisseur, Tim Flint from Eurovines to create a Gourmet Wine Weekend in February. This is just one of the many events in collaboration with local producers planned for 2018.

“We at Eurovines have had the pleasure of supplying wines to The Royal Hotel for nearly 10 years now. Over this time, we have seen that we share many of the same values of quality, innovation and care for our clients. As one of the finest hotels on the Island, they provide a superb Wining, Dining and Hospitality experience.” Tim Flint, Managing Director at Eurovines Ltd.

The Royal Hotel has always been recognised as one of the best places to dine and stay for decades and in the last couple of years, the Island has seen a surge in local producers and attractions such as The Garlic Farm, Osborne, Ventnor Botanic Garden, Isle of Wight Tomato Stall, Isle of Wight Cheese Company and Wight Distillery sweeping up numerous National Awards, so what better way than to come together to showcase the strengths of the Island.

These collaborations allow The Royal to include tempting accommodation, dining and activity packages to ensure a stay at the hotel will remain an unforgettable experience.

  • During the 23th and 24th February, you can sample wines from the enchanting wine regions in Spain to some of Northern Italy’s finest wine regions. You’ll find plenty to choose from with food pairings, and tasting notes. For anyone interested in gourmet food and high-quality wine, this is not to be missed.
  • For the weekend of the 16th – 18th March try our Gastronomic Weekend tour, showing all the amazing local produce including Living larder, Wight Distillery, Isle of Wight Cheese Company, the Garlic Farm and Ventnor Botanic Garden.


If you would like more information on events, please visit http://royalhoteliow.co.uk/offers for full details. If you would like to explore possibilities of collaborating with The Royal Hotel or experience and feature events at The Royal Hotel, please feel free to contact Marketing and PR manager, Shennon Slade at 01983 852186.


Generally people don’t want to be sitting in fuzzy environments any more. The food we do is quite serious and complicated, but it’s executed in a way that’s not fussy and is accessible to anybody.”

While many travellers still appreciate the finer things in life, when it comes to luxury travel, they now expect that the experience be personally enriching as well as sensually indulgent. What does this mean for hotel managers? Guests still want fine wines and rich fabric, but they want greater personalized attention. A study from global hotel consultancy HVS London found that the upcoming generation of travellers believe luxury means having unique, enriching life experiences.

Lifestyle trends that today’s guests want include an authentic local environment, food and cooking, wellness, and health.

A new, luxury, exclusive venue opens for business on the Isle of Wight

Haven Hall is a new venue, offering an idyllic setting for weddings, exclusive-use ‘house party’ gatherings and corporate away days.

Its location, on top of the cliffs at Shanklin, with stunning views overlooking Sandown Bay, helps make it an ideal backdrop for all manner of events – or just a relaxing holiday.

The house and grounds have been extensively refurbished and landscaped giving Haven Hall a tranquil atmosphere in a relatively isolated location.  The cliff path that circles the Island is just a few steps away from the garden gate makes it easy for guests to enjoy a stroll and explore the area.

Haven Hall’s seven bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms are described as “a perfect blend of period style and modern facilities”.  The generous family style rooms feature luxurious interior design, beautiful views and all have super-king sized comfortable beds and chandeliers.  Each room is different and distinctive, with differently paneled headboards and special lighting effects.

Further accommodation is available in seven apartments, which include everyone’s favourite: The Penthouse.  This two bedroom suite features an ultra chic lounge with leather sofas, and a kitchen with marble countertops.  The quirky period décor extends onto a private Victorian balcony overlooking the entire garden with spectacular views of the whole of Sandown bay.  Both bedrooms have super-king size beds, high attic ceilings and period features, as well as three en-suite shower rooms.

All of the accommodation has been carefully designed for comfort so that guests can feel inspired and relaxed.  While no children under 18 are permitted to stay, the property also features a beach hut, swimming pool and tennis court.

Perfect for small, exclusive weddings, Haven Hall is now also taking bookings for corporate events, and houseparties where groups of friends and relatives can come together and enjoy their little bit of Haven on the Isle of Wight.

Sample prices for Haven Hall are: £247 per room per night, with a 30% discount for three nights or more.

Further details can be found at http://www.havenhall.uk.

Visit Isle of Wight, meanwhile, has a special page on its website forcusing on weddings venues across the Island, which also features the chance to win a two-night stay at The Hambrough in Ventnor, with free entry to Ventnor Botanic Garden, Osborne, and ferry travel for two.  For full details, visit https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/romantic-breaks/weddings-and-celebrations.


Green-fingered Islanders came together at a ‘red carpet’ style awards ceremony, held at The Botanic Gardens in Ventnor today (Wednesday, August 19th), to find out how their horticultural and floral displays had been judged in this year’s Wight in Bloom campaign.

Managed by Visit Isle of Wight (VIOW) and co-funded by the DMO (Destination Marketing Organisation), Red Funnel Ferriesand a range of sponsors, Wight in Bloom 2015 is being developed as a curtain-raiser to VIOW’s Garden Isle campaign, which will coincide with Visit England’s Year of the Garden 2016.

Wight in Bloom is open to all Island residents and organisations with the aim to make the Island a brighter, greener place to live and visit.

The awards were presented by the celebrity gardener and TV presenter Alan Titchmarsh, who was revealed as Patron of the newly introduced horticultural competition at a “floating garden” launch event held on board Red Funnel’s Red Eagle car ferry in May.

The results come after judges visited Island gardens earlier this summer. Entries were shortlisted for one of the nine awards on offer and judged by a team of volunteers that included Island horticultural businesses, as well as Peggy Jarman, Honorary President of Wight in Bloom.

Winners in each category received gardening vouchers and tools, sponsored by local garden centres and tourism businesses, in recognition for the skill and pride they displayed in their gardens and neighbourhoods.

Ventnor Botanic Gardens were the venue sponsor, while Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare provided gift bags containing beauty products for all of the main winners.  The live music performances were kindly supplied by Classic Isle.  There was also a prize for the overall winner who was presented with a glass trophy, courtesy of The Needles Landmark Attraction.

With more than 100 entrants this year, including small and large front gardens, schools, community groups, towns and villages, the results announced at the prestigious awards ceremony were “blooming” marvellous in each of the nine categories.


Category 1 – Best Small Front Garden

Sponsored by Care in the Garden, Wootton

1st                                 David Mansfield, Binstead

2nd                                Carol Pryke, Binstead

Highly Commended     Pamela Toms, Northwood


Category 2 – Best Large Front Garden

Sponsored by Thompson Plant & Garden Centre

1st                                Hilary Wellsted, Bembridge

2nd                               Mr & Mrs Denness, Sandown

Highly Commended    Mrs J Hinton, Niton


Category 3 – Best Public House Garden

Sponsored by Medina Garden Centre

1st                                The Buddle Inn, Niton

2nd                               The Dairyman’s Daughter, Arreton

Highly Commended    Vernon Cottage Tearoom, Tavern and Restaurant


Category 4 – Best Accommodation Garden

Sponsored by Busy Bee Garden Centre

1st                                The Havelock

2nd                                Bembridge Coast Hotel

Highly Commended     Heatherleigh Guest House


Category 5 – Best Senior Citizen Complex, Nursing Home, Care Home

Sponsored by Jubilee Garden Centre

1st                                 Chemotherapy Garden, NHS Trust, St Marys Hospital

2nd                                 Knights Court, Ventnor

Highly Commended      The Briars, Sandown


Category 6 – Best Young People Initiative

Sponsored by Honnor & Jeffrey Garden Centre

1st                                  Bembridge C of E Primary

2nd                                 The Children’s House Montessori

Highly Commended      Northwood Primary School


Category 7 – Best Community Floral Project

Sponsored by Ager Farm Nursery

1st                                   Aspire, Trinity Building, Ryde

2nd                                   East Cowes Floating Bridge and Carosal

– Care in the Garden, Wootton

Highly Commended        War Memorial Gardens Bembridge

–      Bembridge Weeders


Category 8 – Best Tourist Attraction Garden – Large  

Sponsored by Forest View Nursery                                

1st                                   Mottistone Gardens – National Trust

2nd       Joint                    Osborne House – English Heritage

2nd       Joint                    Ventnor Botanic Gardens


Best Tourist Attraction Garden – Small 

Sponsored by Forest View Nursery

 1st                                     Rylstone Crazy Golf & Tea Gardens 

 2nd                                     The Old Smithy, Godshill

Highly Commended          Model Village, Godshill


Overall Winner             

Sponsored by The Needles Landmark Attraction

Aspire, Trinity Building, Ryde


Alan Titchmarsh MBE, VMH (Victoria Medal of Honour RHS), said:  “Today it is my pleasure and privilege to present these awards to such worthy winners. You have produced such stunning plant and floral displays which delight so many people on a daily basis.

“All our winners would, I am sure, have put their skills to good use without this competition but, thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to publicly reward our green- fingered Islanders and say thank you.”

David Thornton, CEO, Visit Isle of Wight, said: “Alan’s involvement played a huge part in the promotion and success of the campaign and has meant that entries increased by more than 30% this year.  This is a stunning result and I would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who made a special effort to make the Island look its best.”

Simon Dabell, Chairman of Visit Isle of Wight, who welcomed guests to the awards ceremony, said: “Each individual garden plays its part in making the Island an even lovelier place, both for people who live here and for visitors.

“This year’s competition is particularly special as Visit Isle of Wight will be continuing to put the Garden Isle landscape at the heart of its marketing message in 2016”.

Kevin George, Chief Executive of Red Funnel, said: “Red Funnel is delighted to be sponsoring Wight in Bloom for a second year. The competition has brought vibrancy and colour to the visitor experience and we would like to congratulate the winners and runners-up as well as thank all those who entered”.


Notes to Editors

Images attached:

L to R – Kevin George, Chief Executive of Red Funnel Ferries, with the team from Aspire, receiving their award from Alan Titchmarsh.

For further information, please contact: Sue Emmerson, Press Officer, tel: 01983 521555 extension 29, 07766 705672, E-mail: sue@visitwight.org

Judging criteria for the competition is based on a points system and marked on:

Overall impression

  • General design and layout
  • Range and use of plants displayed
  • Use of flower and foliage; colour in design
  • Presentation and maintenance
  • Innovation, creativity in design, colours etc


The Overall Winner was selected from the 9 winners of each category, and was the garden with the highest points scored.

The Festival of Flower Fireworks

A celebrating of one of the most stunning plants to be grown in the sub-tropical undercliff of Ventnor Botanic Garden will begin this weekend. Part of the 2015 Garden Isle celebrations focuses on the Botanic garden’s amazing Echium plants. With their huge flower spikes growing over 3m tall. The Garden’s Mediterranean walk contains hundreds of plants, each with a flower spike containing thousands of flowers with every shade of colour from sapphire blue to dusky pink. The result is a stunning floral explosion likened to a natural firework display that all botanic fanatics visiting the Island will simply adore.

Echiums have been grown at Ventnor Botanic Garden for over 30 years, with plants originally imported from the Canary Island of La Palma. Here the plants grow to gigantic sizes in the wild, especially in the dry mountainous upper reaches of the Island, enjoying the warm climate arid terrain. At Ventnor, the original Echium plants have self seeded in the sheltered sub-tropical micro-climate giving rise to a large collection hybridised plants that flower from the end of May to late June.

Chris Kidd, Curator at Ventnor Botanic garden said, “Our display of Echiums in our Mediterranean Garden is simply stunning. Visitors are unlikely to see anything quite like it anywhere else in the UK. We don’t practice traditional formal gardening methods here at VBG, choosing to let Mother Nature take charge and create the plant communities that thrive together in our sheltered warm climate.We call it the Ventnor Method and it puts the garden at the leading edge of modern botanical science. The Echiums choose where they want to grow, we just let them get on with it and see what happens each year. The results speak for themselves and visitors usually clamour to take seeds and plants home with them at the end of their visit to try and grow them elsewhere in the UK, often with great success as they aren’t that difficult to propagate. Give them a well drained sunny spot in the garden and they pretty much look after themselves. It’s in their second year of growth that the fireworks really do begin, with a stunning flower display in early summer.”

The Echium displays are exploding into the spotlight from Whitsun onwards, with the Garden open 7 days a week from 10am for visitors to enjoy the magic of these flower fireworks. Please send your echium pictures to the gardens Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ventnorbotanicCIC

Website www.botanic.co.uk


For images and all other press enquiries, please contact Lisa Wallis via marketing@botanic.co.uk or call 01983 858041

More about Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.

With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.






New Garden – New You: Liz Earle to create Horticultural Oasis on Isle of Wight

Skincare guru Liz Earle is set to create a tranquil, relaxing garden on her native Isle of Wight in 2015 – highlighting, once again, a growing “island vibe” which makes this one of the best places in the UK kick all of those New Year resolutions into gear.

“New Year, New You” is the current catchphrase these days for anyone resolving to kick-back, relax, and put themselves into a better frame of mind to cope with all of the stresses and strains of the modern world.

And The Isle of Wight – these days, offering everything from residential yoga retreats to a host of holistic spa treatments – is the near prefect destination for anyone who has resolved to make a fresh start, or simply try something different, in the New Year.

Liz Earle will be setting the example in 2015, by creating a “horticultural oasis” in tandem with her ethnobotanist – the BBC television presenter, author, and RHS ambassador James Wong.

The pair have teamed-up with Ventnor Botanic Garden to transform more than three acres of space into a tranquil haven featuring rare and exotic plants. Wong will be working with gardening experts to create the Liz Earle Garden, which will open early in the New Year, and is aimed at encouraging an entirely new generation of green fingered visitors to enjoy the contemplative space.

Accommodation is offered at “Signal Point” the self-catering cottage opened during 2014 this year. Offering views of the gardens, and the sea, Signal Point has room for six people – and prices range from £425 to £975 per week.

The nearby Crows Nest at the Cabin, meanwhile, continues Ventnor’s tradition as a spa resort by offering spa and holistic treatments to promote well-being and good health for both men and women. The Cabin has the perfect location, next to the sea on the Western end of Ventnor Esplanade. It offers two luxurious treatment rooms, one at beach level and another – The Crow’s Nest – which is an exclusive cedar wood cabin with stunning sea views. A full price list of treatments can be found at http://www.thecabin-ventnor.co.uk/pages/treatment-pricing.

Elsewhere, a Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Weekend Retreat is being offered by local yoga expert Carol Macartney (http://www.carolmacartneyyoga.co.uk/). The “Retreat from the Mind” is open to anyone looking to experience peace of mind for a few days of self-care, including learning how to breathe properly, look after the body and enjoy the beauty of nature. Based at the award-winning Nettlecombe Farm in Whitwell, the Retreat takes place on the weekends of March 6th-8th, and 13th-15th. The price of £295 includes accommodation in farm cottages, all food (home cooked and vegetarian) and all tuition.

The Island as a whole will also be hitting the right note during the 2015 Acoustic Isle music festival which is this year scheduled to take place between Feb 26th and March 8th. Building on the Island’s strong musical heritage and festival scene, this “unplugged” music event features hundreds of musicians coming together to perform a series of relaxed gigs in Isle of Wight pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants. For full details, visit http://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/events/acoustic-isle.


For further information, please contact:
Sue Emmerson
Tel: 07766 705672
E-mail: sue@visitwight.co.uk

Heritage Centre Now Open

Ventnor Botanic Garden is delighted to announce the opening of The Heritage Centre, a newly developed all-weather attraction.

With displays, videos, and historical artefacts, the Heritage Centre explores the history of the Royal National Hospital for Diseases of the Chest that once occupied the site.

Friends of the Garden and local historians have helped to create The Heritage Centre. Jonyth Hill and Professor Robin McInnes, a descendent of E.F. Laidlaw who wrote the book “The Story of the Royal National Hospital Ventnor,” have contributed photographs and diary accounts from staff and patients.

New information boards have been created to help bring the history of the Hospital to life and visitors can learn about the day to day life of patients as well as the Hospital’s development and legacy.

John Curtis, Director of VBG commented, “ We have a small but rich display that is growing as the presence of the Heritage Centre encourages people to share stories, photographs, and personal archives. We also unearthed signs, tribute plaques, crockery, and other artefacts all over the site originally from the Hospital and its Chapel. This opening is important because it connects with the history of healing at VBG – one we hope to rejuvenate as the Garden develops events like the Healing Festival.”

The Heritage Centre is located inside the grounds of Ventnor Botanic Garden where Admission fees apply. There is no additional charge to visit the Heritage Centre. Ventnor Botanic Garden is open daily from 10am.


Notes to the editors

For images and all other press enquiries, please contact Kirsten Morris via 01983 855397 or marketing@botanic.co.uk.

About Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous Ventnor ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.
With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.
No longer under the management of the Isle of Wight County Council, John Curtis is leading the Community Interest Company that is saving the garden and transforming it into a venue for local residents and visitors to the Isle of Wight to enjoy all year round. http://www.botanic.co.uk

Head on down to Hops Festival!

Celebrating another successful hops harvest, Ventnor Botanic Garden is delighted to announce Hops Festival will be taking place on Sunday 21st September.

This year, Hops Festival will be featuring a range of beers and real ales brewed on the Isle of Wight from local breweries Yates’, Goddards and Island Ales. Botanic Ale and Wight Squirrel, both made using the hops grown at Ventnor Botanic Garden shall be on offer amongst many others.

The family friendly Hops Festival also features live music throughout the day, local food and craft stalls, displays from White Falconry, a tug-of-war competition and much more. Local sporting teams, businesses and anyone else feeling strong enough are encouraged to enter a team into the tug-of-war competition, vying for a special trophy and celebratory pint as their reward. Teams of up to six people can be entered for free by contacting VBG via 855397.

Chris Kidd, Curator at Ventnor Botanic Garden commented, ‘Hops Festival has been an important, annual celebration for the Garden since we started growing hops here. We hope the sun will be shining this year and that many people will join us to celebrate our special harvest, as well as sample our very own Botanic Ale’.

Entry to the Hops Festival is free with a very special offer of six beer samples (25ml each) and a pint of choice available for just £5.

Hops Festival runs from 11am until 6pm on Sunday 21st September. All are welcome and onsite car parking is also free. For more information about Hops Festival please visit www.botanic.co.uk or contact Ventnor Botanic Garden via 01983 855397 or info@botanic.co.uk


For images and other marketing enquiries, please contact Kirsten Morris via marketing@botanic.co.uk or 01983 855397.

Notes to the editors:

– Entry to Hops Festival is free for all. Standard Admission fees apply to other areas of Ventnor Botanic Garden (wristbands required).

– Hops Festival is predominantly outdoor event. It shall go ahead unless extreme weather conditions make it unsafe.

– Full line up of live music available on the day.

– Tug-of-war competition open to people of all ages with a maximum of six people per team. Teams must be entered in advance, there is no entry charge.

– Beer sample and pint offer only available to those aged 18 and above (proof required). Payment will be taken and tokens issued. Tokens must be surrendered and exchanged for samples and pint/bottle of beer or real ale.

Hop Growing at VBG

In 2009 Ventnor Botanic Garden resurrected the hop growing tradition and now have the only fully established productive hop yard on the Isle of Wight. The hops are carefully maintained, basking in the unique microclimate of the Ventnor Undercliff, perched on the cliff top to the south of the Garden.  Every year the hops are picked by hand then dried and packaged. Botanic Ale and more recently Wight Squirrel are locally brewed ales made using the hops grown at VBG.

About Ventnor Botanic Garden

Ventnor Botanic Garden lies in the remarkable microclimate at the heart of the famous Ventnor ‘Undercliff.’ This unique garden is protected from the cold northerly winds by chalk downs. Indeed, it holds the warmth from its southerly aspect so well that, combined with the moderating influence of the sea, frost is rarely known.

With an average rainfall of 28 inches its climate is more akin to the Mediterranean. This enables a wide variety of plants considered too tender for much of mainland Britain to be grown outdoors unprotected from the elements.

No longer under the management of the Isle of Wight County Council, John Curtis is leading the Community Interest Company that is saving the garden and transforming it into a venue for local residents and visitors to the Isle of Wight to enjoy all year round.