Top Isle of Wight Attractions

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A quaint old train for a quaint old place - come for relaxation, come for the music!We're down at the bottom, in case you missed us!
A quaint old train for a quaint old place - come for relaxation, come for the music!
A quaint old train for a quaint old place - come for relaxation, come for the music! | Source
We're down at the bottom, in case you missed us!
We're down at the bottom, in case you missed us! | Source

The Best Isle of Wight Tourist Attractions (and a little about them)

Although surrounded by water, the Isle of Wight still manages to offer endless activities for tourists - so much so that the population doubles in the summer! From the average 140,000 to over 300,000, the beaches, beauty and uniqueness of 'the Island' (its local name) manages to keep tourists entertained and coming back for more!

Apart from the obvious natural beauty found in its forests and beaches, there are many events and companies devoted to offering high quality tourist attractions to make each Island visit relaxing and enjoyable.

The Isle of Wight Flag!
The Isle of Wight Flag! | Source
(you'll be needing one of these)
(you'll be needing one of these) | Source

This article sets out the top attractions using the following broad categories in order to match your interests to appropriate activities:

  1. Music
    -The Isle of Wight Festival
    -Bestival
  2. Animals
    - Seaview Wildlife Encounter
    - Amazon World
    - The Isle of Wight Zoo
  3. Nature
    -
    Tennyson Down
    -The Needles
    -Ventnor Botanic Gardens
  4. History
    -
    Osborne House
    -Carisbrooke Castle
  5. Entertainment Parks/Museums
    -BlackGang Chine
    -Dinosaur Isle

Part of the route for the charitable event 'Walk the Wight' which attracts over ten thousand people each May and involves walking 26.5 miles through the natural areas of the Isle of Wight!
Part of the route for the charitable event 'Walk the Wight' which attracts over ten thousand people each May and involves walking 26.5 miles through the natural areas of the Isle of Wight!

Isle of Wight Festival Information

Once pulling ~600,000 people in its 1970 event, the Isle of Wight Festival consistently attracts ~60,000 people to the Isle of Wight each year in early-mid June in its four day event. Visitors enjoy a warm atmosphere and a variety of big names like the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Bon Jovi, Biffy Clyro, The Prodigy and Jay-Z.

The unique selling point of the Isle of Wight concerning Festivals is that its population is only ~140,000 (2010). This means that there is little to detract from the festival vibe as almost everyone around you is there for the same reason! The (mandatory) ferry ride will be packed with excited festival goers and is the perfect symbol of what's to come. The expression 'we're all in the same boat' has never been so literal.

For the current line-up check: https://www.isleofwightfestival.com/line-up.aspx

At a Glance: The Isle of Wight Festival

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Isle of Wight Festival 1969!2010 with Jay-ZA great time to explore local Island cuisine!Fancy dress optional.Overall just a fantastic festival.
Isle of Wight Festival 1969!
Isle of Wight Festival 1969!
2010 with Jay-Z
2010 with Jay-Z
A great time to explore local Island cuisine!
A great time to explore local Island cuisine!
Fancy dress optional.
Fancy dress optional.
Overall just a fantastic festival.
Overall just a fantastic festival.

Bestival - Information

Held each year over four days in early September, the Bestival also attracts ~60,000 people consistently and is known for its unique vibe and friendly atmosphere.

Notably, it was voted the best major UK festival in 2010 and 2012, and the Fans Favourite Festival (2011) in the UK festival awards - heralded as 'the festival world's Oscars'.

Whilst it is the Isle of Wight Festival places which places more focus on big acts, no festival would be successful without popular acts and recognising this the Bestival also brings in famous names from varying genres like Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg, Florence and the Machine, Emili Sandé, The Prodigy, Pendulum and Dizzee Rascal.

For the next line-up check: http://2014.bestival.net/line-up

Note: it should be stressed that the general vibe of the two festivals is different. In simple words, the Isle of Wight Festival is more mainstream whilst the Bestival more hipster. That said, both are guaranteed great experiences and if you can swallow the weekend camping ticket prices of ~£200 (camping) for each, you need not face the trouble of choosing!

Flick Through to get a Glimpse of the Bestival!

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Bestival!Weird thing guaranteed.Large crowds also guaranteed!Long legs guaranteed?Besti from afar.
Bestival!
Bestival!
Weird thing guaranteed.
Weird thing guaranteed.
Large crowds also guaranteed!
Large crowds also guaranteed!
Long legs guaranteed?
Long legs guaranteed?
Besti from afar.
Besti from afar.
What's not to love?
What's not to love?

Seaview Wildlife Encounter Information

Previously known as Flamingo Park, animal lovers have long fled to Seaview Wildlife Encounter to interact with the penguins, meerkats, owls, wallabies, alpacas and many more for a family friendly day with friendly and exotic animals!

Website: http://www.seaviewwildlife.com/

A few favourites from Amazon World.

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Keep up, Lorris!A Lemur with a question?
Keep up, Lorris!
Keep up, Lorris!
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Source
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A Lemur with a question?
A Lemur with a question?

Amazon World Information

A zoo with a rainforest theme holding endangered and rare species - some of which not available to view anywhere else in the UK or Europe!

Boasting an immense (hundreds) variety of animal species, the zoo contains family favourites such as lemurs, howler monkeys, ocelots, armadillos and slow lorises, as well as dozens of birds and insects indigenous to the Amazon rainforest!

For the full list of animals click here: http://www.amazonworld.co.uk/about_our_animals.htm

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Come and play! Jaguars!Cheetas!White tigers included!
Come and play! Jaguars!
Come and play! Jaguars!
Cheetas!
Cheetas!
White tigers included!
White tigers included!

The Isle of Wight Zoo

With the goals of 'care, conservation and education' the Isle of Wight Zoo is the Island's 'zoo on the beach' and features big cats like tigers, lions, cheetahs and jaguars.

Animal enthusiasts will remember that the TV show 'Tiger Island' was filmed exclusively on the Isle of Wight and focussed on the lives and care of the Zoo's now semi-famous tigers!

Site link: http://www.isleofwightzoo.com/

Tennyson Down

For those that love refreshing walks by the seaside, a trip to Tennyson Down will provide a breezy, high altitude alternative!

Its namesake of course owed to Lord Tennyson, the famous poet would walk on the Down nearly every day during his 40 years residence on the Isle of Wight in Farringford House. He famously exclaimed that the air there was worth 'six pence a pint' and many take trips solely to see the monument erected in his commemoration atop the Down.

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A view of the Down from afar - you can just see the monument!Tennyson monument up close.A smashing view of the sea and the town of Freshwater from the Down.
A view of the Down from afar - you can just see the monument!
A view of the Down from afar - you can just see the monument!
Tennyson monument up close.
Tennyson monument up close.
A smashing view of the sea and the town of Freshwater from the Down.
A smashing view of the sea and the town of Freshwater from the Down.

The Needles

The Needles comprises of three huge chalk stacks that protrude from the sea and has long been an extremely popular site due to the uniqueness of its sea views. A chairlift is readily available to take you from the top of the cliff in Needle's Park down to Alum Bay, making great photos an easy feat.

The park also offers other various and unusual activities such as glass blowing, 4D cinema, 'jurassic golf' and boat trips around the Needles themselves.

Pictured below is also the Needles Battery. Once used as a military base for artillery related conduct, it now showcases the old rocket testing facilities that were once in use there!

For more information on Needles Park and the activities it offers, see: http://www.theneedles.co.uk/

The Needles

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The Needles including the old Needles BatteryThe original Needles had a fourth needle-resembling chalk stack but this collapsed in 1764!
Source
The Needles including the old Needles Battery
The Needles including the old Needles Battery | Source
Source
The original Needles had a fourth needle-resembling chalk stack but this collapsed in 1764!
The original Needles had a fourth needle-resembling chalk stack but this collapsed in 1764!

Ventnor Botanic Gardens

This wondrous garden boasts an array of plants rarely seen in the UK due to its specific placement. Capitalising on the protection it receives from the chalk downs, many warmth-necessitating plants are able to flourish without the cold northernly winds other UK areas receive. Mixed in with its relatively high mediterranean rainfall (28 inches yearly), sub tropical plants are not a rarity out in the open at this unique garden.

With its vast grounds open to all, long relaxing walks and picnics are abound!

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Of course, as you will find with everything on the Island, the beach is never far!
Of course, as you will find with everything on the Island, the beach is never far!
Of course, as you will find with everything on the Island, the beach is never far!

Explore the Garden!

Osborne House

The magnificently opulent Osborne House was built in 1845 and then used as a summer house by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It is now no longer royal property - instead, it is open for the public to gaze at the vast collections of precious artifacts and paintings still held within the house.

Visitors are advised to bring picnics and relax in Osborne House's open grounds: near the gardens or fountains, or even on what was Osborne's House private beach - you can even have a swim!

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The keep of Carisbrooke Castle.Expect medieval events!
The keep of Carisbrooke Castle.
The keep of Carisbrooke Castle. | Source
Expect medieval events!
Expect medieval events! | Source
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Carisbrooke Castle

A castle that was in use for 800 years, fought off the Spanish Armada and an invasion from the French, Carisbrooke Castle is a well known place amongst many history-enthusiasts. Famous for its imprisonment of King Charles I, the castle's websites boasts that guests can play bowls on the same lawn that the king himself used to play on!

Featuring a beautiful Edwardian garden and the chance to dress up in medieval wear, Carisbrooke will always remain an excellent family-day out or history trip!

Dinosaur Isle

A commemoration of the strong link between the Island and dinosaur fossils, this museum offers animatronics and sculptures of dinosaurs, as well as time with experts in the field of paleontology to those that visit.

The museum claims to be the first of its kind in Europe, designed specifically for the purpose of educating the public about dinosaurs through interaction.

See the video below for more!

More about Dinosaur Isle

Blackgang Chine

Opened in 1843, the experience of Blackgang Chine is entertainingly and thoroughly showcased in the video below!

Footage of the Park @3:45

End Note

The Isle of Wight has of course much more to offer than the above exhaustive list and so it would be unfair to ignore a mention of the other candidates for the title of 'top' Isle of Wight attraction!

Below is a series of links to attractions that didn't quite make the list along with links to their respective websites.

We hope to see you soon!
We hope to see you soon! | Source

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Comments 3 comments

jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 2 years ago from Tasmania

Amazing memories come back to me reading your hub here.... thank you so much.

One vivid memory is of the little steam train that used to travel between Brading and Bembridge. This was in (I think) 1949, or maybe 1950. We (Mum, Dad, sister and myself) were staying at the caravan park above Bembridge and each morning, as we were having breakfast, we would see the steam from the funnel streaming back behind the train as it headed out from Bembridge Station, back towards Brading: a distance I think of about 3 miles.

One morning, we went down to the station for a ride to Brading. My sister and I were wearing bright pink blazers. I ran along the platform to peer wondrously at the little engine and it's driver standing up on the footplate. To my surprise, and my parents' concern, the driver asked if I would like to ride up there with him as far as Brading (which was as far as it went, anyway). Mum did forgive the smudges of soot on my blazer, because I had such a wonderful experience.

You could never do that today, for fear of litigation and breaking the rules. But it's something I will never forget. The line is long since dismantled, but you can see the remnants of the embankment stretching away from Brading Station even now.


stereomike83 profile image

stereomike83 16 months ago from UK

We're looking to visit the island later this year on holiday with the kids. I haven't been since I was a kid myself so reading this has got me in the mood.


jonnycomelately profile image

jonnycomelately 16 months ago from Tasmania

Wishing you a wonderful time, stereomike83. (Forgot I wrote the post above, some while back now. I will be visiting UK in September, might even get over to the island again.

One other memory comes to mind from 65 years ago: Our trip to Ventnor.

I believe the old railway tunnel is still there, approaching the station. When we stood on the platform ( I was all of about 7 or 8 years old) waiting for the train to arrive, suddenly out of that black tunnel came a steam train!!!! I was soooo excited! It was puffing steam and smoke, making not much noise as it was slowing down, but such a wonderful monster of a machine, especially in a little boy that was acquiring some of his Dad's mechanical skills and interests.

I wonder what the tunnel is used for these days.

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