not a member? click here to sign up
12 Step Planet: Isle of Wight
A world of its own, and only minutes from the British mainland. The Isle of Wight is one of the UK’s warmest spots, and has – as Eva Hanken discovers – something for everyone!
Eva Hanken, 18 Oct 2012
It's generally best to visit in summer when 20 degree days are the norm. Another reason to visit in summer is the revived Isle of Wight Festival, which takes place in June and this year included Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band and Pearl Jam among its headliners. 2013 adult camping tickets are already available priced £185 from www.isleofwightfestival.com with much talk of the Stones paying a return trip.
What is the food like?
From award-winning restaurants to homemade food in beautiful country pubs to a light lunch in a seaside café, the Isle of Wight has something to offer all visitors. Fish Haven in Ventnor is reckoned by locals to dish up the best fish & chips with Wight's in Ryde a close second; Saltys in Yarmouth has more complex fishy fare including a tremendous seared tuna & swordfish (www.saltysrestaurant.co.uk) and for fine dining it's back to Ventnor where Robert Thompson @ The Hambrough is in possession of the island's only Michelin star. The £145 seven-course tasting menu with paired wines explains why (www.robert-thompson.com/restaurants/the-hambrough). Make sure to try the famous Isle of Wight Blue, a past Winner of Best English at the World Cheese Awards, Minghella gourmet ice cream and the crab pasties dished up during the summer season by The Crab Shed in Ventor.
What are the touristy things to do?
There are three must-sees. The Osborne House was Queen Victoria’s home away from home. The Carisbrooke Castle was famous as a royal prison to Charles I. There's also a third century Roman villa with beautiful mosaics!
On the westernmost point you can see The Needles, three brilliant white chalk stacks formed over 60 million years ago by a landslide. You will never forget that view!
What activities are possible?
The Isle of Wight is ideal for an outdoor activity holiday. You can paraglide, dive, golf or participate in water sports with www.wightwaters.com offering all manner of courses and excursions. iowsurfclub.com lets you know where to catch the best waves, and Wessex League output Newport FC play at the 4,000-capacity St. George's Park.