Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight / w aɪ t / (Referred to informally as ‘IOW’ [4] or ‘The Island’) is a county and the Largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel , about 2 miles (3.2 km) off the coast of Hampshire , separated by the Solent . The island-have beens HAS resorts That holiday destinations since Victorian times , and is Known for icts mild climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines .

The island has-been home to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria , Who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne Houseat East Cowes . It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the manufacture of flying boats , the hovercraft , and Britain’s space rockets . The island hosts annual festival music including the Isle of Wight Festival , which in 1970 was the largest rock event ever held. [5] It is well-preserved and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.

The Isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 [6] and was earlier in his right . The island has played an important part in the defense of the ports of Southamptonand Portsmouth , and the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain . Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays to significant urban development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Historically part of Hampshire , the island became a separate administrative countyin 1890. It continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county . Apart from a shared policy strength, there is now no administrative link with Hampshire, ALTHOUGH has combined local authority with Portsmouth and Southampton Was regarded [7] , this is Now Unlikely to proceed [8] . Until 1995 the island had a governor . [n 1]

The quickest public transport link to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea ; three ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.


Main article: History of the Isle of Wight

Formation and early history

During the last Ice Age , sea levels were lower and lower than those of the Poole Harbor towards mid-Channel. As sea levels rose, the river valley became flooded, and the chalk ridge line west of the Needles breached to form the island. [9]

The first inhabitants are assumed to be hunter-gatherers migrating by land during the Paleolithic or Old Stone Age period, as the ice began to recede. From the Neolithic era onwards, there are indications that the island had wide trading links, with a port at Bouldnor , [10] [11] [12] evidence of Bronze Age tin trading, [13] and finds of Late Iron Age coins. [14]

Julius Caesar reported that the Belgae took the Isle of Wight in about 85 BC, and gave its name to Vectis. [15] The Roman historian Suetonius mentions that the island was captured by the Vespasian commander . The Romans built no towns or roads on the island, the goal remains of at least seven Roman villas -have-been found, indicating indication the prosperity of local farming. [16]

During the Dark Ages the island was settled by Jutes as the pagan kingdom of Wihtwara under King Arwald . In 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla , who tried to replace the inhabitants with his own followers. In 686 Arwald was defeated and the island of Christianity , [17] [18] [19] added to Wessex and then becoming part of England under King of the Great , included in the shire of Hampshire .

It Suffered Especially from Viking raids, [20] and Was Often used as a winter base by Viking raiders When They Were Unable to reach Normandy. [21] Later, both Earl Tostig and his brother Harold Godwinson (who became King Harold II) held manors on the island. [22] [23]

Middle Ages

The Norman Conquest of 1066 Lord William FitzOsbern, William the Conqueror to his kinsman William FitzOsbern . Carisbrooke Priory and the Fort of Carisbrooke Castle were then founded. Allegiance was sworn to FitzOsbern rather than the king; The Lordship was subsequently granted to the Redvers family by Henry I, after his succession in 1100.

For nearly 200 years the island was a semi-independent feudal fiefdom, with the Redvers family ruling from Carisbrooke. The final private owner Was the Countess Isabella fortibus , who, it is her deathbed in 1293, Was Persuaded to sell it to Edward I . Thereafter the island was under control of the English crown [24] and its Lordship a royal appointment.

The island continued to be attacked This from the continent raided in 1374 by the fleet of Castile , [25] and in 1377 by French raiders Who burned Several towns, Including Newtown, and laid siege to Carisbrooke Castle before They Were defeated.

Early modern period

Under Henry VIII , who developed the Royal Navy and its Portsmouth base, the island was fortified at Yarmouth , Cowes, East Cowes, and Sandown .

The French invasion on July 21, 1545 (famous for the sinking of Mary Rose on the 19th) was repulsed by local militia . [26]

During the English Civil War , King Charles fled to the Isle of Wight, believing he would receive sympathy from the governor Robert Hammond , but Hammond imprisoned the king in Carisbrooke Castle . [27]

During the Seven Years’ War , the island was used as a staging post for British troops departing on expeditions against the French coast, such as the Raid on Rochefort . During 1759, with a planned imminent invasion , a large force of soldiers was stationed there. The French called their invasion following the Battle of Quiberon Bay . [28]

Modern history

In the 1860s, what remains in real terms the most expensive evergreen spending for fortifications built on the island and in the Solent, as well as elsewhere along the south coast, including the Palmerston Forts , The Needles Battery and Fort Victoria , because of fears about possible French invasion. [29]

The future Queen Victoria spent childhood holidays on the island and est devenu bottom of it. When she was made Osborne House her winter home, and so the island became a fashionable holiday resort, including for Alfred, Lord Tennyson , Julia Margaret Cameron , and Charles Dickens (who wrote much of David Copperfield there), as well as French painter Berthe Morisot and members of European royalty. [30]Until then, the island had been rural, with most people working in farming, fishing or boat-building. The boom in tourism, spurred by growing wealth and leisure time, and by Victoria’s example, to significant development of the island’s coastal resorts.

The world’s first radio station was set up by Marconi in 1897, during her reign, at the Needles Battery , at the western tip of the island. [31] [32] In 1898 the first paid wireless telegram (called a “Marconigram”) was sent from this station, and the island is now home to the National Wireless Museum, near Ryde. [33]

Queen Victoria died at Osborne House on January 22, 1901, aged 81.

During the Second World War the island was frequently bombed. With its proximity to German-occupied France, the island hosted observation stations and transmitters, the RAF radar station at Ventnor . It was the starting point for one of the above Pluto pipelines to feed fuel to Europe after the Normandy landings . [34]

The Needles Battery was used to develop and test Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets, which were launched from Woomera , Australia. [35]

The Isle of Wight Festival was a very large rock festival that took place in Afton Down , West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable both by Jimi Hendrix and for the number of expected, reaching by some estimates 600,000. [36] The festival was revived in 2002 in a different format, and is now an annual event. [37]


The Isle of Wight is situated between the Solent and the English Channel , is roughly rhomboid in shape, and covers an area of ​​150 sq mi (380 km 2 ). Slightly more than half, mainly in the west, is designated as the Isle of Wight Area of ​​Outstanding Natural Beauty . The island has 100 sq mi (258 km 2 ) of farmland, 20 sq mi (52 km 2 ) of developed areas, and 57 miles (92 km) of coastline. Its landscapes are diverse, leading to its oft-quoted description as “England in miniature”.

West Wight is predominantly rural, with dramatic coastlines dominated by the chalk downland ridge, and ending in the Needles stacks. The southwestern quarter is usually referred to as the back of the wight , and has a unique character. The highest point on the island is St. Boniface Down in the south east, which is 791 feet (241 m) is a marilyn . [38] The most notable habitats are those that are likely to be used by wildlife, and are important for wildlife, and internationally protected.

The island has three main rivers. The River Medina flows into the Solent , the eastern Yar flows to northeast of Bembridge Harbor, and the Western Yar flows from Freshwater Bay to a relatively wide estuary at Yarmouth . Without human interference the sea might well-have split the island into three: at the west end WHERE a bank of pebbles Separates Freshwater Bayfrom the marshy backwaters of the Western Yar east of Freshwater, and at the east end WHERE a thin strip of land Separates Sandown Bay from the marshy Eastern Yar basin.

The Undercliff between St. Catherine’s Point and Bonchurch is the largest area of ​​landslip morphology in western Europe.

The north coast is unusual in having four high tides every day, with a double high tide every twelve and a half hours. This arises because the western Solent is narrower than the eastern; the first wave of water flowing from the west to the east of the world. [39]


Main article: Geology of the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is made up of a variety of rock dating from early Cretaceous (around 127 million years ago) to the middle of the Palaeogene (around 30 million years ago). The geological structure is Dominated by a wide monoclinic qui causes a marked change in age of strata from the northern younger Tertiary beds to the older Cretaceous beds of the south. This gives rise to a dip of almost 90 degrees in the chalk beds, seen best at the Needles.

The northern half of the island is Mainly Composed of clays , with the southern half of the FORMED chalk of the central east-west downs, as well as Upper and Lower Greensands and Wealden strata. [40] These strata continue west from the island of Solent into Dorset , forming the basin of Poole Harbor (Tertiary) and the Isle of Purbeck (Cretaceous) respectively. The chalky ridges of Wight and Purbeck were a single training before they were breached by the waters of the River Frome during the last ice age, forming the Solent and turning Wight into an island. The Needles , along with Old Harry Rocks on Purbeck, represent the edges of this breach.

All the rocks found on the island are sedimentary , such as limestones , mudstones and sandstones . They are rich in fossils; many can be seen on the beaches as the cliffs erode. Lignitic coal is present in small quantities within seams, and can be seen on the cliffs and shore at Whitecliff Bay . Fossilized molluscs have been found there, and also on the northern coast with fossilized crocodiles , turtles and mammal bones; the youngest date back to around 30 million years ago.

The island is one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils . The eroding cliffs often reveals the hidden remains, particularly along the back of the wight . [41] Dinosaur bones and fossilized footprints can be seen at Yaverland and Compton Bay . As a result, the island has been nicknamed “Dinosaur Island”.

The area affected by sea level Was exchange DURING THE repeated Quaternary glaciations. The island is about 125,000 years ago, during the interglacial Ipswichian . [42]


Like the rest of the UK, the island has an oceanic climate , but is somewhat milder and sunnier, which makes it a holiday destination. It also has a longer growing season . Lower Ventnor and the neighboring Undercliff have a particular microclimate, because of their sheltered position south of the downs. The island enjoys 1,800-2,100 hours of sunshine a year. [43] Some years have almost no snow in winter, and only a few days of hard frost. [44] The island is in Hardiness Zone 9. [45]

[ hide ]Climate data for Shanklin
month Jan Feb Mar Apr may Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec year
Average high ° C (° F) 8.1
Average low ° C (° F) 3.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 90.8
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0) 13.1 9.8 10.4 9.1 8.2 7.6 6.9 7.4 8.9 12.7 12.7 12.9 119.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 68.2 89.8 132.9 201.4 241.1 247.7 262.3 240.9 173.1 122.3 82.6 60.7 1,923
Source: Met Office Climate Averages, Shanklin, 1981-2010


The Isle of Wight is one of the few places in England where the red squirrel is still flourishing; no gray squirrels are to be found. [46] There are occasional sightings of wild deer, and there is a colony of wild on Ventnor’s downs. [47] [48] [49] [50] Protected species such as the dormouse and rare bats can be found. The Glanville fritillary butterfly’s distribution in the United Kingdom is largely restricted to the edges of the island’s crumbling cliffs. [51]

A competition in 2002 named the pyramidal orchid as the Isle of Wight’s county flower . [52]


The island has a single Member of Parliament and 138,300 permanent residents in 2011 , being one of the most populated constituencies in the United Kingdom (more than 50% above the average English). [53] HOWEVER, in 2011 the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act Was to-have changed this, as share of the Sixth Periodic Review of Westminster constituencies , [54] aim This Was deferred to no Earlier than October 2018 by the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 . Thus the single constituency remained for the 2015 general election. However, two separate East and West constituencies are proposed for the island under the 2018 review now underway.

The Isle of Wight is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county. Since the abolition of ict two borough councils and restructuring of the County Council as Isle of Wight Council in 1995, it has-been has unitary authority.

Elections in the constituency have traditionally been a battle between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats . The Member of Parliament since 2001, Andrew Turner , is a Conservative, while predecessor Dr. Peter Brand was a Liberal Democrat. Since 2009 Turner has been embroiled in controversy over his expenses, health, and relationships with colleagues, with local Conservatives having tried to succeed in the 2015 election. [55] He stood down prior to the General Election of 2017.

In the Isle of Wight Council election of 2013 the Conservatives lost the majority which they had held since 2005 to the Island Independents , with Island Independent Councillors holding 16 of the 40 seats, and a further five councillors sitting as independent members of the group. [56] The Conservatives regained control, winning 25 seats in the 2017 local election. [4]

There-have-been small Regionalist movements: the Vectis National Party and the Isle of Wight Party; but they have attracted little support in elections. [57]

Main towns

  • Newport is the centrally located county town, with a population of about 25,000 [58] and the island’s main shopping area. Located next to the Medina River , Newport Quay was a busy port until the mid-19th century.
  • Ryde , the largest town with a population of about 30,000, is in the northeast. It is Victorian with the oldest seaside pier in England and miles of sandy and pebble beaches.
  • Cowes hosts the annual Cowes Week and is an international sailing center.
  • East Cowes is famous for Osborne House , Norris Castle and the home from 1929 to 1964 of Saunders-Roe , the historic aircraft, flying boat, rocket and hovercraft company.
  • Sandown is a popular seaside resort. It is home to the Isle of Wight Zoo , the Dinosaur Isle geological museum and one of the 18-hole golf courses.
  • Shanklin , just south of Sandown, sunshine levels, sandy beaches, Shanklin China and the old village.
  • Ventnor , built on the steep slopes of St. Boniface Down on the south coast of the island, leads down to a picturesque bay that attracts many tourists. Ventnor Haven is a small harbor.


Main article: Culture of the Isle of Wight

Language and dialect

The local accent is similar to the traditional dialect of Hampshire, featuring the dropping of some consonants and an emphasis on longer vowels . It is similar to the West Country dialectsheard in South West England , but less pronounced. [59] [60]

The island has its own local and regional words. Some, such as nipper / nips (a young male person), are commonly used and common areas of the mainland. A few are unique to the island, for example overnuer and caulkhead (see below). Others are more obscure and used mainly for comic emphasis, such as mallishag (meaning ” caterpillar “), gurt meaning “large”, nammit(“mid-morning snack”) and gallybagger (“scarecrow”, and now the name of a local cheese). [61]


There remains occasional confusion between the Isle of Wight as a county and its position within Hampshire . [62] The island was considered as a part of Hampshire until 1890, when its distinct identity was recognized by the formation of the Isle of Wight County Council (see also Politics of the Isle of Wight ). However, it remained a part of Hampshire until the local government reforms of 1974 when it became a full ceremonial county with its own Lord Lieutenant . [63]

In January 2009, the first general flag for the country was accepted by the Flag Institute . [64]

Island residents are sometimes referred to as “Vectensians”, “Vectians” or, if born on the island, “caulkheads”. [65] One theory is that this last prevailing local industry of caulking or sealing wooden boats; the term became attached to the islanders because they were so employed, or a derisory term for perceived unintelligent laborers from elsewhere. The term “overnuer” is used for the purposes of the term “overlander”, which is an “outsider” still found in parts of Australia ). [66]

Residents refer to the island as “The Island”, did Jane Austen in Mansfield Park , and sometimes to the UK mainland as “North Island”. [67]

To promote the island’s identity and culture, the High Sheriff Robin Courage was founded in Isle of Wight Day; the first was held on Saturday, September 24, 2016.


The island is said to be the most haunted in the world, sometimes referred to as “Ghost Island”. Notable claimed hauntings include God’s Providence House in Newport, Appuldurcombe House , and the remains of Knighton Gorges . [33]



The island is well Known for icts cycling , and It was included Within Lonely Planet ‘s Best in Travel Guide (2010) top ten cycling holiday. The island of Isle of Wight and the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival each year.


There are rowing clubs at Newport, Ryde and Shanklin, all members of the Hants and Dorset rowing association.

There is a long tradition of rowing around the island dating back to the 1880s.

In May 1999 a group of local women made by the first ladies in a row, in ten hours and twenty minutes. Rowers from Ryde Rowing Club have been rowing around the island since 1880. The ovens record was set 16 August 1995 at 7 hours 54 minutes. [68]

Two rowers from Southampton ARC (Chris Bennett and Roger Slaymaker) set the two-man record in July 2003 at 8 hours 34 minutes, and in 2005 Gus McKechnie of Coalporters Rowing Club became the first adaptive rower to row around, completing a clockwise row. [69]

The road around the island is about 60 miles (97 km) and usually rowed anticlockwise. Even in good conditions, it includes a number of significant obstacles such as the Needles and the overfalls at St Catherine’s Point . The traditional start and finish were at Ryde Rowing Club; however other starts have been chosen in recent years to give a tidal advantage.


Cowes is a center for sailing, hosting several racing regattas . Cowes Week is the longest-running regular regatta in the world, with over 1,000 yachts and 8,500 competitors taking part in over 50 classes of racing. [70] In 1851 the first America’s Cup race was around the island. Other major sailing events hosted in Cowes include the Fastnet race , the Round the Island Race , [71] the Admiral’s Cup , and the Commodore’s Cup . [72]


There are two main trampoline clubs on the island, in Freshwater and Newport, competing at regional, national and international ranks. [73] [74]


The Isle of Wight Marathon is the United Kingdom’s oldest ever held marathon , having been run every year since 1957. [75] Since 2013 the race has started and finished in Cowes, heading out to the west of the island and passing through Gurnard, Rew Street, Porchfield, Shalfleet, Yarmouth, Afton, Willmingham, Thorley, Wellow, Shalfleet, Porchfield, and Northwood. It is an undulating race with a total climb of 1,043 feet (318 m).


The island is home to the Wightlink Warriors speedway team, who competes in the sport’s third division, the National League .

Field hockey

Following an amalgamation of local hockey clubs in 2011, the Isle of Wight’s Hockey Club now runs two men’s senior and two ladies’ senior teams. These competences are a range of levels in Hampshire open leagues. [76]


The now-disbanded Ryde Sports FC , founded in 1888, was one of the eight founding members of the Hampshire League in 1896. There are several non-league clubs such as Newport (IW) There is an Isle of Wight on Saturday Football League with two divisions and two reserve team leagues, and a rugby union club. [77] [78]


The Isle of Wight is the 39th official county in English cricket , and the Isle of Wight Cricket Board organized at league of local clubs. Ventnor Cricket Club competes in the Southern Premier League, and has won the Second Division several times. Newclose County Cricket Ground near Newport [79] [80] [81] ouvert officiellement in 2009 with purpose icts first game Held on 6 September 2008. [82] The island HAS Produced Some notable cricketers, Such As Danny Briggs , Who plays county cricket for Hampshire .

Island Games

The Isle of Wight competes in the biennial Island Games , which hosted in 1993 and again in 2011.

Motor scooter

The annual Isle of Wight International Rally Scooter has since 1980 put on the August Bank Holiday . This is one of the biggest scooter rallies in the world, attracting between four and seven thousand participants. [83]


The island is home to the Isle of Wight Festival and, up to 2016, Bestival . In 1970, the festival headlined by Jimi Hendrix attracted an audience of 600,000, some six times the local population at the time. [84] It is the home of the band The Bees , which performs at smaller local concerts. Trixie’s Big Red Motorbike [85] as well as three of the founding members of Level 42( Mark King , Boon Gould and Phil Gould ) cam from the island. It has also hosted a one-day festival called “Summer Madness”, which started in 2009 headlined by Madness; in 2010 Paul Weller headlined. In January 2011 it was reported that the promoter of Summer Madness was insolvent.


Socio-economic data

The table below shows the regional gross value (in millions of pounds ) added by the Isle of Wight economy, compiled by the Office for National Statistics . [86] [87]

Regional gross value in millions of pounds sterling
year Regional gross value added [88] Agriculture [89] Industry [90] Services [91]
1995 831 28 218 585
2000 1,369 27 375 800
2003 1,521 42 288 1,161
2008 2,023
2012 2,175

According to the 2011 census, [92] the island’s population of 138,625 lives in 61,085 households, giving an average household size of 2.27 people.

41% of households owns a homeowner’s homeowner.

Compared to South East England, the island has fewer children (19% aged 0-17 against 22% for South East) and more elderly (24% aged 65+ versus 16%), giving an average age of 44 years for an island resident compared to 40 in South East England.

Industry and agriculture

The largest industry is tourism, but the island also has a strong agricultural heritage, including sheep and dairy farming and arable crops . These commodities are more likely to be marketed, but they are more likely to be successful than others. One of the most successful agricultural sectors is growing under crops, particularly salad crops including tomatoes and cucumbers . The island has a warmer climate and longer growing than much of the United Kingdom. Garlic has been successfully grown inNewchurch for many years, and is even exported to France. This annual Garlic Festival at Newchurch, which is one of the largest events of the local calendar. A favorable climate supports two vineyards , including one of the oldest in the British Isles at Adgestone . [93] Lavender is grown for its oil. [94] The largest agricultural sector in the world has been reduced to almost 100% of the world’s milk products, but there are nearly 150 producers in the mid-1980s, but now just 24.

Maritime industries, especially the making of sailcloth and boat building , has long been associated with the island. GKN operates as a British Hovercraft Corporation , a subsidiary of (and known latterly as) Westland Aircraft , although they have reduced the size of the plant and workforce. Previously it HAD beens the independent company Saunders-Roe , one of the island’s notable historic MOST firms That Produced Many flying boats and the world’s first hovercraft . [95]

Another manufacturing activity is in composite materials , used by boat-builders and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas , which has a wind turbine blade factory and testing facilities in West Medina Mills and East Cowes . [96]

Bembridge Airfield is the home of Britten-Norman , manufacturers of the Islander and Trislander aircraft. Cirrus light aircraft is the site of the European assembly line . The Norman Airplane Company is a smaller aircraft manufacturing company operating in Sandown . There have been three other firms that built planes on the island. [97]

In 2005, Northern Petroleum Began exploratory drilling for oil at ict Sandhills-2 borehole at Porchfield , goal Ceased operations in October That year after-failing to find significant reserves. [98]


There are three breweries on the island. Goddards Brewery in Ryde opened in 1993. [99] David Yates, who was head brewer of the Brewery Island, started brewing as Yates Brewery at the Inn at St. Lawrence in 2000. [100]

Ventnor Brewery, which closed in 2009, was the last incarnation of Burt’s Brewery, brewing since the 1840s in Ventnor . [101] Until the 1960s most pubs were owned by Mews Brewery, located in Newport near the old railway station , but it closed and the pubs were taken over by Strong’s, and then by Whitbread . By some accounts Mews beer was rather cloudy and dark. In the 19th century they pioneered the use of screw cans for export to British India . [102]


Tourism and heritage

See also: List of tourist attractions in the Isle of Wight

Its heritage is a major asset that has many years of support for the island’s tourist economy. Holidays focused on natural heritage, including wildlife and geology, are becoming an alternative to the traditional British seasideholiday, which went into decline in the second half of the 20th century due to the increased affordability of foreign holidays. [103] The island is still an important destination for the United Kingdom.

Tourism is still the largest industry, and most camping sites. In 1999, it hosted 2.7 million visitors, with 1.5 million overnight stays, and 1.2 million visits day visits; only 150,000 of these were from abroad. Between 1993 and 2000, visits increased at an average rate of 3% per year. [104]

At the turn of the 19th century the island had a pleasure at Ryde and a “chain pier” at Seaview . The Victoria Pier in Cowes succeeded the Royal Pier earlier in the 1960s. The Piers at Ryde, Seaview, Sandown , Shanklin, and Ventnor were originally served by coastal steamers who operated from Southsea on the mainland. The piers at Seaview, Shanklin, Ventnor and Alum Bay were all destroyed by the 20th century; only the railway pier at Sandown and Ryde, Totland Bay (currently closed to the public) and Yarmouth survive.

Blackgang China is the oldest theme park in Britain, opened in 1843. [105] The skeleton of a dead whale that its founder Alexander Dabell found in 1844 is still on display. [33]

As well as its more traditional attractions, the island is often host to [106] or cycling holidays through the attractive scenery. An annual walking festival [107] has attracted considerable interest. The 70 miles Isle of Wight Coastal Path follows the coastline as far as possible, deviating onto roads where the road along the coast is impassable. [108]

A major contributor to the local economy is sailing and marine-related tourism. [109]

Summer Camp at Camp Beaumont is an attraction at the old Bembridge School site. [110]


The Isle of Wight has 489 miles (787 km) of roadway. It does not have a motorway, it is a short stretch of dual carriageway to the north of Newport Hospital and Prison.

A comprehensive bus network operated by Southern Vectis links most settlements, with Newport as its central hub. [111]

Journeys away from the island involve a ferry journey. Car ferry and passenger catamaran services are run by Wightlink and Red Funnel , and a hovercraft passenger service (the only such remaining in the world [112] ) by Hovertravel .

The island formerly had its own railway network of 55 miles (89 km), but only one line remains in regular use. The Island Line is part of the United Kingdom’s National Rail Network, running a little under 9 miles (14 km) from Shanklin to Ryde Pier Head , where there is a connecting ferry to Portsmouth Harbor Station on the mainland network. The line was opened by the Isle of Wight Railway in 1864, and from 1996 to 2007 was run by the smallest operating company operating on the network, Island Line Trains . It is notable for using old ex- London Underground rolling stock, due to the small size of its tunnels and unmodernised signaling. Branching off the Island Line at Smallbrook Junction is the heritage Isle of Wight Steam Railway , qui runs for 5 1 / 2  miles (8.9 km) to the outskirts of Wootton on the train line to Newport. [113]

There are two airfields for general aviation, Isle of Wight Airport at Sandown and Bembridge Airport .

The island has over 200 miles (322 km) of cycleways, many of which can be enjoyed off-road. The main trails are: [114]

  • The Sunshine Trail, which is a circular road linking Sandown, Shanklin, Godshill, and Wroxall of 12 miles (19 km);
  • The Troll Trail between Cowes and Sandown of 13 miles (21 km), 90% off-road;
  • The Round Island Cycle Road 62 miles (100 km).


The local newspaper is the Isle of Wight County Press , published most Fridays.

The island has one local commercial radio station: Isle of Wight Radio has broadcast in the medium-wave band since 1990 and on 107.0 MHz (with three smaller transmitters on 102.0 MHz) FM since 1998, as well as streaming on the Internet. [115] The island is also covered by a number of local stations on the mainland, including the BBC station BBC Radio Solent broadcast from Southampton .

Angel Radio opened in 2007. Angel Radio began broadcasting on 91.5 MHz from studios in Cowes and a transmitter near Newport. [116] [117]

Local online radio station Vectis Radio has broadcast since 2010, broadcasting from the Riverside Center in Newport. [118]

Online news sources for the Isle of Wight include On the Wight [119] and The Isle of Wight Chronicle . [120] The Chronicle was originally an island local paper during the 20th and early 20th century.

The island HAS year online 24/7 breaking news source Island Echo , [121] qui Was founded in May 2012.

TV12 and then Solent TV from 2002 until its closure on May 24, 2007. is a local internet video news channel.

The Isle of Wight is part of the BBC South region and the ITV Meridian region.

Important broadcasting infrastructure includes Chillerton Down transmitting station, which is the tallest structure on the island, and Rowridge transmitting station , which broadcasts the main television signal both locally and most of Hampshire and parts of Dorset and West Sussex . [122]


Its separation from the mainland yet being white near the densely populated south of England led to it hosting three prisons: Albany , Camp Hill and Parkhurst , all outside Newport Located near the main road to Cowes. Albany and Parkhurst were among the few prisons in the UK until they were downgraded in the 1990s. [123] The downgrading of Parkhurst was precipitated by a major escape: three prisoners (two murderers and a blackmailer) escaped from the prison on January 3, 1995 for four days, before being recaptured. [124] Parkhurst enjoyed notoriety as one of the toughest jails in the United Kingdom, and housed many notable inmates including the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, New Zealand drug Lord Terry Clark and the Kray twins .

Camp Hill is located adjacent to Albany and Parkhurst, on the very edge of Parkhurst Forest, having been converted into a prison ward . It was built on the site of an army camp (both Albany and Parkhurst were barracks); There is a small estate of tree-lined roads with the train officers’ quarters (now privately owned) to the south and east. Camp Hill closed as a prison in March 2013.

The management of all three prisons was merged into a single administration, under HMP Isle of Wight in April 2009.


There are sixty-nine Local Education Authority -maintained schools on the Isle of Wight, and two independent schools . [125] As a rural community, many of these are smaller and smaller than in urban areas. The Isle of Wight College is located on the outskirts of Newport.

From September 2010, there was a transition from the three-tier system of primary, middle and high schools to the two-tier system that is usual in England. [126] Some schools have now closed, such as CE Primary Chale. Others have become “federated”, such as Brading CE Primary and St Helen’s Primary. Christ the King College started as a “middle school” but has now been converted into a secondary school and sixth form.

Since September 2011, new high schools, with an age range of 11 to 18 years, have been replaced by high school schools (as a part of the previous three-tier system).

Notable residents

Main article: List of people from the Isle of Wight

Notable residents have included:

17th century and earlier

  • King Arwald , last pagan king in England
  • King Charles I of England , who was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle
  • Viking Earl Tostig Godwinson
  • actor, highwayman and conspirator Cardell “Scum” Goodman
  • soldier and regicide of Charles I Thomas Harrison , imprisoned at Carisbrooke with John Rogers & Christopher Feake
  • soldier Peter from Heyno
  • philosopher and polymath Robert Hooke
  • murderer Michal Morey

18th century

  • explore Anthony Henday
  • radical journalist John Wilkes

19th century

  • Queen Victoria and Albert Prince (monarch and consort), who built and lived at Osborne House
  • photographer Julia Margaret Cameron , who lived at Dimbola Lodge
  • Irish Republican Thomas Clarke
  • captain Jeremiah Coghlan CBG , who retired to Ryde
  • writer Charles Dickens
  • poet John Keats
  • inventor and radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi
  • poet and hymnwriter Albert Midlane
  • geologist and engineer John Milne
  • regency architect John Nash
  • novelist Miss Harriet Parr
  • early Hong Kong Government administrator William Pedder
  • New Zealand PM Henry Sewell
  • poet Algernon Charles Swinburne
  • poet Alfred Tennyson
  • philosopher Karl Marx , who stayed at 1, St. Boniface Gardens, Ventnor
  • James Mann Williamson, at the Royal National Hospital, Ventnor

20th century onwards

  • scriptwriter Raymond Allen
  • Indie rock group The Bees
  • E. Power Biggs organist concert
  • darts player Keegan Brown
  • singer Sarah Close
  • Sir Christopher Cockerell inventor of the hovercraft
  • present and actor Ray Cokes
  • Yachtsman Uffa Fox
  • actor Marius Goring
  • Chief Scout Bear Grylls
  • actress Sheila Hancock
  • folk-rock musician Robyn Hitchcock
  • actor Geoffrey Hughes
  • David Icke, author and conspiracy theorist
  • actor Jeremy Irons
  • comedian Phill Jupitus
  • actor Laura Michelle Kelly
  • to compose Albert Ketèlbey
  • Iranian poet Mimi Khalvati
  • musician Mark King
  • radio present Allan Lake
  • writer James Leavey
  • musician Jack Green
  • yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur
  • BBC ‘ Tonight ‘ present Cliff Michelmore
  • movie director Anthony Minghella
  • actor David Niven
  • cyclist Kieran Page
  • TV personality Anneka Rice
  • heptathlete Kelly Sotherton
  • gardener and presenter Alan Titchmarsh

Places of interest

Abbey / Priory / Cathedral
Accessible open space
Amusement / Theme Park
Country Park
English Heritage
Forestry Commission
Heritage railway
Historic House
Museum (free / not free )
National Trust
  • Alum Bay
  • Appuldurcombe House
  • Amazon World Zoo
  • Bembridge Lifeboat Station
  • Blackgang China
  • Brading Roman Villa
  • Carisbrooke Castle
  • Classic Boat Museum , East Cowes
  • Dimbola Lodge
  • Dinosaur Isle
  • Fort Victoria
  • Godshill village and model village
  • Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum
  • Isle of Wight Steam Railway
  • Isle of Wight Zoo , Yaverland
  • Medina Theater
  • The Needles
  • Newport Roman Villa.
  • Osborne House
  • Quarr Abbey
  • Robin Hill
  • Botanic Gardens, Ventnor
  • Yarmouth Castle

Overseas names

The Isle of Wight HAS given names to many parts of form colonies, Most notably Isle of Wight County in Virginia founded by settlers from the island in the 17th century. Its county seat is a town named Isle of Wight.

Other notable examples include:

  • Isle of Wight – an island off Maryland, United States
  • Dunnose Head, West Falkland
  • Ventnor, Cowes on Philip Island , Victoria, Australia
  • Carisbrook, Victoria , Australia
  • Carisbrook , a stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Ryde, New South Wales , Australia
  • Shanklin, Sandown, New Hampshire , United States
  • Ventnor City , New Jersey, United States
  • Gardiners Island , New York, United States shown as “Isle of Wight” on some of the older maps. [127]

Media references



  • The film Something to Hide (1972; US title Shattered ), starring Peter Finch, was filmed near Cowes, including a scene on the Red Funnel Ferry;
  • The British film That’ll Be the Day (1973), starring David Essex and Ringo Starr , included scenes shot in Ryde (notably Cross Street), Sandown (school), Shanklin (beach) and Wootton Bridge (fairground);
  • Mrs. Brown (1997), with Dame Judi Dench and Billy Connolly, was filmed at Osborne and Chale;
  • The Fragile film (2005), starring Calista Flockhart , is based on the Isle of Wight.
  • Victoria and Abdul (2017) starring Lady Judi Dench and Ali Fazal began shooting at Osborne House in September 2016.


  • John Worsley’s Commodore 64 game Spirit of the Stones was set on the Isle of Wight. [129]


The Isle of Wight was: [130]

  • the setting of Julian Barnes’s novel England, England ;
  • called The Island in some editions of Thomas Hardy’s novels in his fictional Wessex ;
  • selected for the development of a new base by the supercomputer “Colossus”, in DF Jones ‘ novel Colossus (1966);
  • the setting for DH Lawrence’s book The Trespasser , filmed for TV in 1981;
  • the setting of Graham Masterton ‘s book Prey ;
  • mentioned in JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, which refers to Uncle Vernon’s sister Marge on holiday on the island, who got sick after eating a whelk;
  • a major element in Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook series (2012) & its sequel Stiletto (2016). The antagonists try to invade in the 1600s, the effects of which continue to color perceptions of the Crown’s secret supernatural agency, the “Checquy Group”;
  • The refuge of the British monarchy & government in SM Stirling ‘s alternative history novel The Protector’ s War (2005), in which high energy technology ceased to function. After an ensuing holocaust, the island was the basis for the re-population of Europe, whose populations had mostly perished;
  • One of the destinations to which the British government evacuates in Frank Tayell’s post-apocalyptic novel Surviving the Evacuation Book One: London (2013), guided by the mistaken impression that it would be defensible against the zombie hordes; [131]
  • featured in John Wyndham’s novel The Day of the Triffids and Simon Clark’s sequel The Night of the Triffids .


  • The Beatles ‘ song ” When I’m Sixty-Four ” (1967), credited to Lennon-McCartney and sung by Paul McCartney , refers to renting a cottage on the island; [132]
  • Bob Dylan recorded ” Like a Rolling Stone ” (1965), “Minstrel Boy”, ” Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) ” (1967), and ” She Belongs to Me ” (1965) for the album Self Portrait (1970) live on the island;
  • ” Wight Is Wight ” (1969), a song by French artist Michel Delpech , aussi spawned an Italian cover by Dik Dik , titled ” L’Isola di Wight ” (IT) (1970).


  • There was a running joke in radio sitcom The Navy Lark involving Sub-Lieutenant Phillips’s inability to navigate and further tail the Isle of Wight ferry. [133]


  • ITV’s dramatization of Dennis Potter’s work Blade on the Feather (19 October 1980) was filmed on the island; [134]
  • A 2002 Top Gear feature showed an Aston Martin being driven around Cowes, East Cowes, and along the Military Road and Seawall at Freshwater Bay. [135]
  • The setting for free kidney is based on the Isle of Wight. [136]

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