The Isle of Wight - Local Information
The Isle of Wight is known as The Garden Isle and it is noted for its micro climate, stunning scenery and friendly welcome. The Isle of Wight became popular in the Victorian Era, when Queen Victoria made Osborne House her home. Over half the Island is designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and it has a network of footpaths that stretches over 500 miles so it is easy to get close to nature. Walking, cycling and riding are all attractions of the island. Alternatively, if you are looking for somewhere to be spoiled then indulge yourself in the Isle of Wight's tea rooms, fine restaurants, art galleries and historic houses.
Enjoy the unique tranquility of Shanklin Chine, the Isle of Wight’s oldest tourist attraction, which first opened in 1817. This famous leafy gorge is much loved by poets, artists and writers. The winding woodland, with its steep sides is a magical place for rare plants, wildlife and enchanting waterfalls. The Heritage Centre presents Turner's Isle of Wight Landscapes and the Discovery of Shanklin Chine from his sketchbook of 1795. There is also a tea room for light lunches and snacks.
Shanklin Beach is lovely and safe, and if you fancy a stroll, why not take the promenade walk to Sandown, or try the cliff path walk, either way it takes approx. 30-45 minutes and is very refreshing with breathtaking views. However as we are surrounded by the sea, make sure you make the most of everything else the Isle of Wight has to offer.
Visitors to Shanklin today have many good pubs to choose from as well as some fine restaurants, hotels and shops. There is a Theatre at the top of the town where many performers have started their careers and often return during the summer season.
There are tea rooms galore, in every town and village, so take a moment to stop and indulge. Try the tea rooms in Rylstone Gardens, just past the entrance to the top of Shanklin Chine, up the steps and follow the path ahead of you. The Garden is set around an old fashioned Crazy Golf course, and the flower displays are well worth a look, not to mention the cakes…
Newport is the main town in the centre of the Island, and has a mix of high street shops, including Boots, WH Smiths, Marks & Spencers and many others. There is a small market on a Tuesday in the middle of the town. The Island's Museum is housed in the Guildhall.
PipeLine Under The Ocean was conceived in 1942 as part of the Operation Overlord support programme to ensure an adequate supply of fuel to the troops as the allies fought back against the Axis powers in Europe. The first part of the operation consisted of underwater pipelines from Shanklin and Sandown to the Cherbourg landing grounds.
The point the pipeline left the Isle of Wight is marked with a brass plaque commemorating the event near to the former Shanklin Pier. The line shown is the approximate route of the pipe. It is known to cross from Stoney Point to Thorness Bay and then across the island to Shanklin Chine and down along the sea front to where the pier, which was destroyed in The Big Storm of 1987, used to be. The precise route is not currently available.
The pipe extended across the mainland from near Stone Point on to Fawley Refinery. There was another 1000 miles of pipe across the UK connecting to additional supply points where the fuel entered the system
Arreton Old Village
The ancient village of Arreton, settled over 1000 years ago, is set in the traditional and geographical heart of the Island, and offers the visitor a glimpse into the past. In keeping with our history, Arreton Old Village is traffic free, safe for children and families alike. The Old Village showcases local craftsmen, locally produced crafts, wholesome local farm food and agricultural artefacts, along with the Island's very own Shipwreck Centre. The Dairyman's Daughter is open all day serving a variety of food and drink; they often have live music in the evenings.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert bought and rebuilt the original Osborne House in 1845 as a “modest country home”. With this in mind you will be surprised by its scale and magnificent.
Follow the history of the rain forest as you pass through an indoor canopy where rare and exotic birds fly free. The collection of animals encompasses a large variety of South American animals including sloths and penguins. Winner of the IoW Tourism Top Attraction award, there is a new soft play facility for children.
The Island boasts two Roman Villas - one at Brading and one in Newport. Brading is one of the finest Roman archaeological sites in the UK (possibly in Europe) with a unique insight into Roman life in Britain, from beautifully preserved mosaic floors to coins, pottery and tools.
Newport Roman Villa can be found hiding away underneath an ordinary house in a back street in Newport.
A medieval royal castle,owned by English Heritage, where King Charles I was held prisoner before removal to Whitehall and subsequent execution. Contains the Isle of Wight museum and its many artefacts on Charles I. The Carisbrooke donkeys demonstrate how water was raised from the well in medieval times.
Also on the site is a small museum founded by HRH Princess Beatrice as a memorial to her husband, Prince Henry of Battenburg.
Blackgang Chine is an eccentric mix of rides, goblins and fairies, dinosaurs, nursery rhyme characters, cowboys and Indians all set within rambling Victorian gardens and designed to appeal to the child in us all. Return visits can be made free within 7 seven days.
Families with children of all ages will love the huge variety of play areas and four main ride experiences. Adults who visit without children in tow will be able to enjoy and relax in the woodland gardens, learn about red squirrels and nature or find out about the rich Roman history. Everyone will enjoy the breath-taking falconry displays, no matter how old or young...and come back again and again over 7 days at no extra cost to enjoy the park once again!
Overlooking the Needles rocks and lighthouse, there's breathtaking scenery, a chairlift past the famous coloured sand cliffs, rides for the children, shops to browse through and places to eat - also boat trips around the island's famous landmark.
Isle of Wight Zoo
The zoo, in Sandown, focuses on big cats, with the main draw the collection of tigers - a mix of Bengal, Siberian and Chinese blooded tigers. The zoos main focus is on rescuing big cats and educating the public about endangered wildlife. Lemurland houses around 15 lemurs in a re-creation of their natural habitat of Madagascar. You'll also find a number of monkeys, insects and snakes.