Isle of Wight
Overview
The Isle of Wight is a county
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

 and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, on average about 2–4 miles (3–6 km) off the south coast of the county of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent
Solent
The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.The Solent is a major shipping route for passengers, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually...

. The Island has many resorts which have been holiday destinations since Victorian times
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

.

The Island has a rich history, including a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The Isle of Wight is a county
Counties of England
Counties of England are areas used for the purposes of administrative, geographical and political demarcation. For administrative purposes, England outside Greater London and the Isles of Scilly is divided into 83 counties. The counties may consist of a single district or be divided into several...

 and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, on average about 2–4 miles (3–6 km) off the south coast of the county of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent
Solent
The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.The Solent is a major shipping route for passengers, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually...

. The Island has many resorts which have been holiday destinations since Victorian times
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

.

The Island has a rich history, including a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century. Until 1995, like Jersey and Guernsey, the Island had its own Governor—most notably Lord Mountbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 from 1969–1974, after which he became Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant
The title Lord Lieutenant is given to the British monarch's personal representatives in the United Kingdom, usually in a county or similar circumscription, with varying tasks throughout history. Usually a retired local notable, senior military officer, peer or business person is given the post...

 until his assassination in 1979.

It was home to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer residence and final home Osborne House
Osborne House
Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat....

 at East Cowes
East Cowes
East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes....

. The Island's maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making, the manufacture of flying boat
Flying boat
A flying boat is a fixed-winged seaplane with a hull, allowing it to land on water. It differs from a float plane as it uses a purpose-designed fuselage which can float, granting the aircraft buoyancy. Flying boats may be stabilized by under-wing floats or by wing-like projections from the fuselage...

s, the world's first hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

 and the testing and development of Britain's space rockets. It is home to the Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival
Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival
The Isle of Wight Jazz Festival ran from 2005-2008, in the small seaside town of Ventnor. Since the start of the festival it hosted a range of artists including Terry Callier, Cleo Laine, Maceo Parker, John Dankworth, Dennis Rollins...

, Bestival
Bestival
Bestival is a four-day music festival held at the Robin Hill country park on the Isle of Wight, England. It has been held annually in late summer since 2004. The event is organized by DJ and record producer Rob da Bank and is an off-shoot of his Sunday Best record label and club nights. The initial...

 and the recently revived Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival which takes place every year on the Isle of Wight in England. It was originally held from 1968 to 1970. These original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited...

, which, in 1970, was the largest rock music event ever held. The Island has some exceptional wildlife and is one of the richest locations of dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

 fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

s in Europe.

The Isle of Wight was formerly part of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

. In 1890, it became an independent administrative county
Administrative counties of England
Administrative counties were a level of subnational division of England used for the purposes of local government from 1889 to 1974. They were created by the Local Government Act 1888 as the areas for which county councils were elected. Some large counties were divided into several administrative...

, though it continued to share the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire
This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire. Since 1688, all the Lords Lieutenant have also been Custos Rotulorum of Hampshire.*William Paulet, 1st Marquess of Winchester 1551–?*William Paulet, 3rd Marquess of Winchester bef...

. In 1974, it was reconstituted as a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county
Ceremonial counties of England
The ceremonial counties are areas of England to which are appointed a Lord Lieutenant, and are defined by the government as counties and areas for the purposes of the Lieutenancies Act 1997 with reference to the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England and Lieutenancies Act 1997...

, with its own Lord Lieutenant
Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight
This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight:*1 April 1974 – 1979: Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma *1980–1985: Sir John Nicholson, 2nd Baronet...

, and recognised as a postal county
Postal counties of the United Kingdom
The postal counties of the United Kingdom, now known officially as the former postal counties, were postal subdivisions in routine use by the Royal Mail until 1996. The raison d'être of the postal county – as opposed to any other kind of county – was to aid the sorting of mail by...

. With a single Member of Parliament and 132,731 permanent residents in 2001
United Kingdom Census 2001
A nationwide census, known as Census 2001, was conducted in the United Kingdom on Sunday, 29 April 2001. This was the 20th UK Census and recorded a resident population of 58,789,194....

, it is also the most populous parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom. In 1832 the act popularly referred to as the Great Reform Act or Reform Act of 1832 established the principle of having a single MP for the Isle of Wight. Beginning in 2010, there is ongoing parliamentary debate to consider altering this.

It is easily accessible from Southsea
Southsea
Southsea is a seaside resort located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire in England. Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre....

 by hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

. Several ferry services operate across the Solent: the route from Southampton to Cowes is 10 miles (16 km), Portsmouth to Ryde
Ryde
Ryde is a British seaside town, civil parish and the most populous town and urban area on the Isle of Wight, with a population of approximately 30,000. It is situated on the north-east coast. The town grew in size as a seaside resort following the joining of the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower...

 5 miles (8 km), Portsmouth to Fishbourne 7 miles (11 km), and Lymington to Yarmouth 4 miles (6 km).

Early history

The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography
Geographia (Ptolemy)
The Geography is Ptolemy's main work besides the Almagest...

by Claudius Ptolemaeus.

The Roman historian Suetonius
Suetonius
Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, commonly known as Suetonius , was a Roman historian belonging to the equestrian order in the early Imperial era....

 mentions that the entire island was captured by the commander Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

, who later became emperor.

At the end of the Roman Empire, the island of Vectis became a Jutish
Jutes
The Jutes, Iuti, or Iutæ were a Germanic people who, according to Bede, were one of the three most powerful Germanic peoples of their time, the other two being the Saxons and the Angles...

 kingdom ruled by King Stuf and his successors until AD 661 when it was invaded by Wulfhere
Wulfhere of Mercia
Wulfhere was King of Mercia from the end of the 650s until 675. He was the first Christian king of all of Mercia, though it is not known when or how he converted from Anglo-Saxon paganism. His accession marked the end of Oswiu of Northumbria's overlordship of southern England, and Wulfhere...

 of Mercia
Mercia
Mercia was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. It was centred on the valley of the River Trent and its tributaries in the region now known as the English Midlands...

 and forcibly converted to Christianity at sword point. When he left for Mercia the islanders reverted to paganism.

In AD 685 it was invaded by Caedwalla
Caedwalla of Wessex
Cædwalla was the King of Wessex from approximately 685 until he abdicated in 688. His name is derived from the British Cadwallon. He was exiled as a youth, and during this time attacked the South Saxons and killed their king, Æthelwealh, in what is now Sussex. Cædwalla was unable to hold the...

 of Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

 and can be considered to have become part of Wessex. Following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all England, it then became part of England. The island became part of the shire
Shire
A shire is a traditional term for a division of land, found in the United Kingdom and in Australia. In parts of Australia, a shire is an administrative unit, but it is not synonymous with "county" there, which is a land registration unit. Individually, or as a suffix in Scotland and in the far...

 of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

 and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

In 686, it became the last part of England to convert to Christianity.

The island suffered especially from Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

 predations. Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great was King of Wessex from 871 to 899.Alfred is noted for his defence of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of southern England against the Vikings, becoming the only English monarch still to be accorded the epithet "the Great". Alfred was the first King of the West Saxons to style himself...

's navy defeated the Danes in 871 after they had "ravaged Devon and the Isle of Wight".

Middle ages

The Norman Conquest created the position of Lord of the Isle of Wight
Lord of the Isle of Wight
The Lord of the Isle of Wight is a title that began when William the Conqueror granted the Isle of Wight to William Fitz Osbern. This was a hereditary title....

. Carisbrooke Priory
Carisbrooke Priory
Carisbrooke Priory is an alien priory situated on rising ground on the outskirts of Carisbrooke close to Newport on the Isle of Wight.In April 1993, the recently formed Carisbrooke Priory Trust purchased the freehold of St Dominic's Priory, Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight, the home of a Catholic...

 and the fort of Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle
Carisbrooke Castle is a historic motte-and-bailey castle located in the village of Carisbrooke, near Newport, Isle of Wight, England. Charles I was imprisoned at the castle in the months prior to his trial.-Early history:...

 were founded. The island did not come under full control of the Crown until it was sold by the dying last Norman Lord, Lady Isabella de Fortibus
Isabella de Fortibus
Isabella de Fortibus was the eldest daughter of Baldwin de Redvers, 6th Earl of Devon. At the age of 11 or 12 she became the second wife of William de Fortibus who owned land in Yorkshire and Cumberland and was the count of Aumale in Normandy. When he died in 1260 part of his estates were...

, to Edward I
Edward I of England
Edward I , also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England from 1272 to 1307. The first son of Henry III, Edward was involved early in the political intrigues of his father's reign, which included an outright rebellion by the English barons...

 in 1293.

The Lordship thereafter became a royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick
Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick
Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was an English nobleman.He was the son of Richard de Beauchamp, 13th Earl of Warwick and Isabel le Despenser...

 was in 1444 crowned King of the Isle of Wight, with King Henry VI
Henry VI of England
Henry VI was King of England from 1422 to 1461 and again from 1470 to 1471, and disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453. Until 1437, his realm was governed by regents. Contemporaneous accounts described him as peaceful and pious, not suited for the violent dynastic civil wars, known as the Wars...

 assisting in person at the ceremony, placing the crown on his head. With no male heir, the regal title expired on the death of Henry de Beauchamp in 1446.

Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

, who developed the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and its permanent base at Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

, fortified the island at Yarmouth
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Yarmouth is a port and civil parish in the western part of the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of mainland England. The town is named for its location at the mouth of the small Western Yar river...

, Cowes, East Cowes, and Sandown
Sandown
Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

. Much later, after the Spanish Armada
Spanish Armada
This article refers to the Battle of Gravelines, for the modern navy of Spain, see Spanish NavyThe Spanish Armada was the Spanish fleet that sailed against England under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1588, with the intention of overthrowing Elizabeth I of England to stop English...

 in 1588, the threat of Spanish attacks remained and the outer fortifications of Carisbrooke Castle were built between 1597 and 1602.

Civil war

During the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 King Charles
Charles I of England
Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

 fled to the Isle of Wight, believing he would receive sympathy from the governor, Robert Hammond. Hammond was appalled, and imprisoned the king in Carisbrooke Castle. Charles had originally intended to flee to Jersey but had got lost in the New Forest and missed the boat.

Seven Years War

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
Raid on Rochefort
The Raid on Rochefort was a British amphibious attempt to capture the French Atlantic port of Rochefort in September 1757 during the Seven Years War...

. During 1759 with a planned French invasion imminent
Planned French Invasion of Britain (1759)
A French invasion of Great Britain was planned to take place in 1759 during the Seven Years' War, but due to various factors including naval defeats at the Battle of Lagos and the Battle of Quiberon Bay was never launched. The French planned to land 100,000 French soldiers in Britain to end British...

, a large force of soldiers were kept there so they could be moved at speed to any destination on the Southern English Coast. The French called off their invasion following the Battle of Quiberon Bay
Battle of Quiberon Bay
The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on 20 November 1759 during the Seven Years' War in Quiberon Bay, off the coast of France near St. Nazaire...

. A later French invasion plan involved a landing on the Isle of Wight.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria made Osborne House
Osborne House
Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat....

 on the Isle of Wight her summer home for many years and, as a result, it became a major holiday resort for fashionable Victorians including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron
Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes....

, Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens
Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

 (who wrote much of David Copperfield
David Copperfield (novel)
The Personal History, Adventures, Experience and Observation of David Copperfield the Younger of Blunderstone Rookery , commonly referred to as David Copperfield, is the eighth novel by Charles Dickens, first published as a novel in 1850. Like most of his works, it originally appeared in serial...

 there) and members of European royalty.

During her reign, in 1897, the world's first radio station was set up by Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

, at The Needles Battery
The Needles Battery
The Needles Battery was a military Battery built on the cliff top above the Needles stacks in 1861–63 to guard the West end of the Solent. Its field of fire was from approximately West South West clockwise to Northeast and it was designed to defend against enemy ships.-Old Battery:It was...

, at the western tip of the island.

Modern history

During the Second World War the island was frequently bombed. With its proximity to France the island also had a number of observation stations and transmitters, and was the starting-point for one of the earlier Operation Pluto
Operation Pluto
Operation Pluto was a World War II operation by British scientists, oil companies and armed forces to construct undersea oil pipelines under the English Channel between England and France. The scheme was developed by Arthur Hartley, chief engineer with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company...

 pipelines to feed fuel to the Normandy landings.

The Needles
The Needles
The Needles is a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, England, close to Alum Bay. The Needles lighthouse stands at the end of the formation...

 battery was used as the site for testing and development of the Black Arrow
Black Arrow
Black Arrow, officially capitalised BLACK ARROW, was a British satellite carrier rocket. Developed during the 1960s, it was used for four launches between 1969 and 1971...

 and Black Knight
Black Knight (rocket)
Black Knight was a British launch vehicle to test and verify the design of a re-entry vehicle for the Blue Streak missile.The United Kingdom's first indigenous rocketry project, Black Knight was manufactured by Saunders-Roe on the Isle of Wight, had its engines tested at The Needles and was...

 space rockets, subsequently launched from Woomera, Australia.

The Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival which takes place every year on the Isle of Wight in England. It was originally held from 1968 to 1970. These original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited...

 was a very large rock festival
Isle of Wight Festival
The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival which takes place every year on the Isle of Wight in England. It was originally held from 1968 to 1970. These original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited...

 that took place near Afton Down
Afton Down
Afton Down is a hill near the village of Freshwater on the Isle of Wight.It was the site of the Isle of Wight Festival 1970, where the Guinness Book of Records estimates 600,000 to 700,000, and possibly 800,000 people, flocked to see the musical talents of Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Free, The Who,...

, West Wight in 1970, following two smaller concerts in 1968 and 1969. The 1970 show was notable both for being one of the last public performances by Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix was an American guitarist and singer-songwriter...

 and for the number of attendees reaching, by many estimates, 600,000. The festival was revived in 2002 in a different format and is now an annual event.

Physical geography and wildlife

The Isle of Wight is approximately diamond-shaped and covers an area of 380 km2. Slightly more than half of the island, mainly in the west, is designated as the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Isle of Wight AONB
The Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Isle of Wight, England's largest offshore island....

. The Island has 258 km2 of farmland, 52 km2 of developed areas, and 92 km of coastline. The landscape of the Island is remarkably diverse, leading to its oft-quoted description of "England in Miniature". West Wight is predominantly rural, with dramatic coastlines dominated by the chalk downland
Downland
A downland is an area of open chalk hills. This term is especially used to describe the chalk countryside in southern England. Areas of downland are often referred to as Downs....

 ridge, running across the whole island and ending in The Needles
The Needles
The Needles is a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, England, close to Alum Bay. The Needles lighthouse stands at the end of the formation...

 stacks—perhaps the most photographed aspect of the Isle of Wight. The South Western quarter is commonly referred to as the Back of the Wight
Back of the Wight
Back of the Wight is an area on the Isle of Wight, England that has a unique history and social background. Part of this stems from the fact that the area was and still is very cut off from the rest of the island and is made up of small villages strung out along the coast, such as Brighstone,...

 because it has a unique social and historical background. The highest point on the island is St Boniface Down
St Boniface Down
St Boniface Down is a chalk down on the Isle of Wight, England. It is located close to the town of Ventnor, in the southeast of the Island, and rises to , the Island's highest point, north of the town...

, at 241 m which is a marilyn
Marilyn (hill)
A Marilyn is a mountain or hill in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Isle of Man with a relative height of at least 150 metres , regardless of absolute height or other merit...

.
The rest of the Island's landscape also has great diversity, with perhaps the most notable habitats being the soft cliffs and sea ledges, which are spectacular features as well as being very important for wildlife, and are internationally protected. The River Medina
River Medina
The River Medina is the main river of the Isle of Wight, rising at St Catherine's Down in the south of the Island and through the capital Newport, towards the Solent at Cowes. The river is a navigable tidal estuary from Newport northwards where it takes the form of a ria . The Medina is 17km long...

 flows north into the Solent
Solent
The Solent is a strait separating the Isle of Wight from the mainland of England.The Solent is a major shipping route for passengers, freight and military vessels. It is an important recreational area for water sports, particularly yachting, hosting the Cowes Week sailing event annually...

, whilst the other main river, the River Yar flows roughly north-east, emerging at Bembridge
Bembridge
Bembridge is an affluent village and civil parish located on the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight. It had a population of 3,848 according to the 2001 census of the United Kingdom, leading to claims by residents that Bembridge is the largest village in England, and occasional claims that it is...

 Harbour at the eastern end of the island. Confusingly, there is another entirely separate river at the western end also called the River Yar flowing the short distance from Freshwater
Freshwater, Isle of Wight
Freshwater is a large village and civil parish at the western end of the Isle of Wight, England. Freshwater Bay is a small cove on the south coast of the Island which also gives its name to the nearby part of Freshwater....

 Bay to a relatively large estuary at Yarmouth
Yarmouth, Isle of Wight
Yarmouth is a port and civil parish in the western part of the Isle of Wight, off the southern coast of mainland England. The town is named for its location at the mouth of the small Western Yar river...

. To distinguish them, they may be referred to as the Eastern and Western Yar.

The south coast of the island borders the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

. Without man's intervention the sea might well have split the island into three; at the west end where a bank of pebbles separates Freshwater Bay
Freshwater Bay
Freshwater Bay can refer to:*The cove on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, England: see Freshwater, Isle of Wight*The bay in Newfoundland, Canada: see Freshwater Bay, Newfoundland*Freshwater Bay, Barbados*Freshwater Bay...

 from 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 basin of the Eastern Yar, east of Sandown
Sandown
Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

. Yarmouth itself was effectively an island, with water on all sides and only connected to the rest of the island by a regularly breached neck of land immediately east of the town.

It is one of the few places in England where the red squirrel
Red Squirrel
The red squirrel or Eurasian red squirrel is a species of tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus common throughout Eurasia...

 is flourishing, with a stable population (Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island is the largest of the islands in Poole Harbour in the county of Dorset, England. The island is owned by the National Trust. Much of the island is open to the public and includes areas of woodland and heath with a wide variety of wildlife, together with cliff top views across Poole...

 is another). Unlike most of England, no grey squirrels are to be found on the island, nor are there any wild deer
Deer
Deer are the ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. Species in the Cervidae family include white-tailed deer, elk, moose, red deer, reindeer, fallow deer, roe deer and chital. Male deer of all species and female reindeer grow and shed new antlers each year...

. Instead, rare and protected species such as the dormouse
Dormouse
Dormice are rodents of the family Gliridae. Dormice are mostly found in Europe, although some live in Africa and Asia. They are particularly known for their long periods of hibernation...

 and many rare bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

s can be found. The Glanville Fritillary
Glanville Fritillary
The Glanville Fritillary is a butterfly of the Nymphalidae family.The animal spends most of its life as a black, spiny caterpillar. The orange patterned butterfly lives only a few weeks....

 butterfly's distribution in the United Kingdom is largely restricted to the edges of the crumbling cliffs of the Isle of Wight.

A competition in 2002 named the Pyramidal Orchid
Pyramidal orchid
The Pyramidal Orchid, Anacamptis pyramidalis, is an herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the Genus Anacamptis of the family Orchidaceae...

 as the Isle of Wight's county flower.

The island has one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

 fossils. The eroding cliffs often reveal previously hidden remains particularly along the region known as the Back of the Wight
Back of the Wight
Back of the Wight is an area on the Isle of Wight, England that has a unique history and social background. Part of this stems from the fact that the area was and still is very cut off from the rest of the island and is made up of small villages strung out along the coast, such as Brighstone,...

.

Climate

Being one of the most southerly parts of the UK, the Isle of Wight has a milder sub-climate than most other areas, which makes it a popular holiday destination, particularly the resorts in the south east of the island. It also has a longer growing season
Growing season
In botany, horticulture, and agriculture the growing season is the period of each year when native plants and ornamental plants grow; and when crops can be grown....

 than most other areas in the UK.

Geology

The Isle of Wight is made up of a wide variety of different rock types ranging from Early Cretaceous
Cretaceous
The Cretaceous , derived from the Latin "creta" , usually abbreviated K for its German translation Kreide , is a geologic period and system from circa to million years ago. In the geologic timescale, the Cretaceous follows the Jurassic period and is followed by the Paleogene period of the...

 times (around 127 million years ago) to the middle of the Palaeogene (around 30 million years ago). The northern half of island is mainly made up of Tertiary clays, with the southern half formed of Cretaceous rocks (the Chalk
Chalk
Chalk is a soft, white, porous sedimentary rock, a form of limestone composed of the mineral calcite. Calcite is calcium carbonate or CaCO3. It forms under reasonably deep marine conditions from the gradual accumulation of minute calcite plates shed from micro-organisms called coccolithophores....

 that forms the central east-west downs, as well as Upper and Lower Greensand
Greensand
Greensand or Green sand is either a sand or sandstone, which has a greenish color. This term is specifically applied to shallow marine sediment, that contains noticeable quantities of rounded greenish grains. These grains are called glauconies and consist of a mixture of mixed-layer clay...

s and Wealden
Wealden
For the stone, see Wealden GroupWealden is a local government district in East Sussex, England: its name comes from the Weald, the area of high land which occupies the centre of its area.-History:...

 strata).

All the rocks found on the island are sedimentary, made up of mineral grains from previously existing rocks. These are all consolidated to form the rocks that can be seen on the island today, such as limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

, mudstone
Mudstone
Mudstone is a fine grained sedimentary rock whose original constituents were clays or muds. Grain size is up to 0.0625 mm with individual grains too small to be distinguished without a microscope. With increased pressure over time the platey clay minerals may become aligned, with the...

 and sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

. Rocks on the island are very rich in fossils and many of these can be seen exposed on the beaches as the cliffs erode.

Cretaceous rocks on the island, usually red, show that the climate was previously hot and dry. This provided suitable living conditions for dinosaur
Dinosaur
Dinosaurs are a diverse group of animals of the clade and superorder Dinosauria. They were the dominant terrestrial vertebrates for over 160 million years, from the late Triassic period until the end of the Cretaceous , when the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event led to the extinction of...

s. Dinosaur bones and footprints can be seen in and on the rocks exposed around the island's beaches, especially at Yaverland
Yaverland
Yaverland is a village on the Isle of Wight, just north of Sandown. It has about 200 houses. About 1/3 of a mile away from the village is the Yaverland Manor and Church. Holotype fossils have been discovered here of Yaverlandia and a pterosaur, Caulkicephalus...

 and Compton Bay
Compton Bay
Compton Bay is a bay located on the southwest section of the Isle of Wight, England. The northern edge of the bay is defined by a distinctive white chalk cliff called Freshwater Cliff, named after Freshwater Bay which is located next to them and forms a small but piercing bay into them...

. As a result, the isle has been nicknamed Dinosaur Island.

Along the northern coast of the island there is a rich source of fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

ised shellfish, crocodiles, turtles and mammal bones. The youngest of these date back to around 30 million years ago.

About ten thousand years ago, sea levels began to rise and the great ice sheets of the last Ice Age melted. As sea level rose higher, the Isle of Wight became separated from the mainland. This is thought to have occurred about 7,000 years ago.

Politics

The Isle of Wight is a ceremonial
Ceremonial counties of England
The ceremonial counties are areas of England to which are appointed a Lord Lieutenant, and are defined by the government as counties and areas for the purposes of the Lieutenancies Act 1997 with reference to the metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England and Lieutenancies Act 1997...

 and non-metropolitan county. Since the abolition of its two borough
Borough
A borough is an administrative division in various countries. In principle, the term borough designates a self-governing township although, in practice, official use of the term varies widely....

 councils in 1995 and the restructuring of the county council as the Isle of Wight Council
Isle of Wight Council
The Isle of Wight Council is a local council. It is a unitary authority covering the Isle of Wight, South East England. It is currently made up of 40 seats, with the Conservatives as ruling party with 24 councillors at the latest local election in June 2009....

, it has been a unitary
Unitary authority
A unitary authority is a type of local authority that has a single tier and is responsible for all local government functions within its area or performs additional functions which elsewhere in the relevant country are usually performed by national government or a higher level of sub-national...

 county. It also has a single Member of Parliament, and is by far the most populous constituency
Isle of Wight (UK Parliament constituency)
Isle of Wight is a county constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Created by the Great Reform Act for the 1832 general election, it covers the whole of the Isle of Wight and elects one Member of Parliament by the first-past-the-post voting system.-...

 in the United Kingdom (more than 50% above the average of English constituencies).

As a constituency of the House of Commons
British House of Commons
The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

, it is traditionally a battleground between the Conservatives
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 and the Liberal Democrats
Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats are a social liberal political party in the United Kingdom which supports constitutional and electoral reform, progressive taxation, wealth taxation, human rights laws, cultural liberalism, banking reform and civil liberties .The party was formed in 1988 by a merger of the...

. The current MP Andrew Turner is a Conservative, and his predecessor Dr Peter Brand
Peter Brand
Peter Brand is a United Kingdom general practitioner and Liberal Democrat politician. He was elected Member of Parliament for the Isle of Wight at the 1997 general election after coming second in 1992, but lost his seat to the Conservatives at the 2001 election...

 was a Liberal Democrat.

The Isle of Wight Council
Isle of Wight Council
The Isle of Wight Council is a local council. It is a unitary authority covering the Isle of Wight, South East England. It is currently made up of 40 seats, with the Conservatives as ruling party with 24 councillors at the latest local election in June 2009....

 election of 2009 was a victory for the Conservative Party, which took 24 of the council's 40 seats.

There has been a minor regionalist movement, in the form of the Vectis National Party
Vectis National Party
The Vectis National Party was a minor political party operating on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s. Formed in 1969, the party sought the same status for Wight as the Isle of Man has...

 and Isle of Wight Party, but they attracted little support in elections.

Main towns

  • Newport
    Newport, Isle of Wight
    Newport is a civil parish and a county town of the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England. Newport has a population of 23,957 according to the 2001 census...

    , located in the centre of the island, is the county town of the Isle of Wight and is the island's main shopping area. Recent developments include a new bus station with retail complex and a new retail park on the outskirts. Located next to the River Medina
    River Medina
    The River Medina is the main river of the Isle of Wight, rising at St Catherine's Down in the south of the Island and through the capital Newport, towards the Solent at Cowes. The river is a navigable tidal estuary from Newport northwards where it takes the form of a ria . The Medina is 17km long...

    , Newport Quay was a busy port until the mid 19th century, but has now been mainly converted into art galleries, apartments and other meeting places.
  • Ryde
    Ryde
    Ryde is a British seaside town, civil parish and the most populous town and urban area on the Isle of Wight, with a population of approximately 30,000. It is situated on the north-east coast. The town grew in size as a seaside resort following the joining of the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower...

    , the island's largest town with a population of around 30,000, is located in the north east of the island. It is a Victorian
    Victorian architecture
    The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

     town with an 800 metre long pier
    Ryde Pier
    Ryde Pier is an early 19th century pier serving the town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.- Before the pier :Before the pier was built, passengers to Ryde had the uncomfortable experience of coming ashore on the back of a porter and then, depending on the state of the...

     and 6 km of beaches, attracting many tourists each year. Every year there is a Ryde Carnival in two parts, spread over more than one day: one in the daytime, and one at night with many coloured lights. Ryde is also home to the ice hockey club Isle of Wight Raiders, who play in the English Premier League.
  • Cowes
    Cowes
    Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east Bank...

     is the location of Cowes Week
    Cowes Week
    Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,500 competitors ranging from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world...

     every year and an international sailing centre. It is also the home of the record-setting sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur
    Ellen MacArthur
    Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur, DBE is an English sailor, up until 2009, from Whatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in West Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. She is best known as a solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo...

    .
  • Sandown
    Sandown
    Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

     is another seaside resort, attracting many tourists each year. It is also home to the Isle of Wight Zoo
    Isle of Wight Zoo
    The Isle of Wight Zoo, also known as the Isle of Wight Tiger and Lemur Sanctuary, is housed inside a fort on the coastline of Sandown. It is currently home to the biggest collection of tigers in the United Kingdom.-Past:...

     and Dinosaur Isle
    Dinosaur Isle
    Dinosaur Isle is a purpose-built dinosaur museum located on the Isle of Wight in southern England.The museum was designed by Isle of Wight architects Rainey Petrie Johns in the shape of a giant pterosaur. It claims to be the first custom-built dinosaur museum in Europe...

     geological museum, and one of the island's two 18-hole golf courses.
  • Shanklin
    Shanklin
    Shanklin is a popular seaside resort and civil parish on the Isle of Wight, England, located on the east coast's Sandown Bay. The sandy beach, its Old Village and a wooded ravine, Shanklin Chine, are its main attractions. The esplanade along the beach is occupied by hotels and restaurants for the...

     just south of Sandown, also attracts tourists, with its sandy beaches, Shanklin Chine
    Shanklin Chine
    Shanklin Chine is a geological feature and tourist attraction in the town of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, England. A wooded coastal ravine, it contains waterfalls, trees and lush vegetation, with footpaths and walkways allowing paid access for visitors, and a heritage centre explaining its...

     and the old village.
  • Ventnor
    Ventnor
    Ventnor is a seaside resort and civil parish established in the Victorian era on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, England. It lies underneath St Boniface Down , and is built on steep slopes and cliffs leading down to the sea...

    , 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. Recent developments include Ventnor Haven, a small harbour built around a Victorian-style bandstand.

In addition there are smaller towns along the coasts, particularly on the eastern side of the island. There are also a number of smaller villages. Some of these (for example, Godshill
Godshill
Godshill is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight with a population of 1,465 according to the 2001 census. It is located between Newport and Ventnor in the southeast of the Island.-History:...

) also attract many tourists.

Language and dialect

The accent of the Isle of Wight is similar to the traditional dialect
Dialect
The term dialect is used in two distinct ways, even by linguists. One usage refers to a variety of a language that is a characteristic of a particular group of the language's speakers. The term is applied most often to regional speech patterns, but a dialect may also be defined by other factors,...

 of Hampshire, featuring the dropping of some consonant
Consonant
In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , pronounced with the front of the tongue; , pronounced with the back of the tongue; , pronounced in the throat; and ,...

s and an emphasis on longer vowel
Vowel
In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as English ah! or oh! , pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh! , where there is a constriction or closure at some...

s. It is similar to the West Country dialects
West Country dialects
The West Country dialects and West Country accents are generic terms applied to any of several English dialects and accents used by much of the indigenous population of South West England, the area popularly known as the West Country....

 heard in SW England, but less removed in sound from the Estuary English
Estuary English
Estuary English is a dialect of English widely spoken in South East England, especially along the River Thames and its estuary. Phonetician John C. Wells defines Estuary English as "Standard English spoken with the accent of the southeast of England"...

 of the SE. As with many other traditional southern English regional dialects and accents, a strong island accent is not now commonly heard, and, as speakers tend to be older, this decline is likely to continue.

The island also has its own local and regional words. Some words, including grockle (visitor, tourist – hence grockle-can, tour coach) and nipper/nips (a younger male person), are still commonly used and are shared with neighbouring areas of the mainland. A few are unique to the island, for example overner (a mainlander who has settled on the island) and caulkhead (someone born on the island and born from long-established island stock). Other words are more obscure and now used mainly for comic emphasis, such as mallishag (meaning "caterpillar
Caterpillar
Caterpillars are the larval form of members of the order Lepidoptera . They are mostly herbivorous in food habit, although some species are insectivorous. Caterpillars are voracious feeders and many of them are considered to be pests in agriculture...

") and nammit ("noon-meat", meaning food). Some other words are gurt meaning "great", and gallybagger ("scarecrow").

Identity

There has been and still is some confusion between the identities of the Isle of Wight as a separate county and, as it once was, a part of the nearby county of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

. At least one mainstream newspaper article as recently as 2008 refers to the "Isle of Wight in Hampshire". Prior to 1890, the Isle of Wight was normally regarded and was administered as a part of Hampshire. With the formation of the Isle of Wight County Council in 1890, the distinct identity became officially established: see also Politics of the Isle of Wight
Politics of the Isle of Wight
As a geographical entity distinct from the mainland, the Isle of Wight has always fought to have this identity recognised. The Isle of Wight is currently a ceremonial and Non-metropolitan county and as it has no district councils it is effectively a unitary county...

. In January 2009, the new Flag of the Isle of Wight
Flag of the Isle of Wight
The Flag of the Isle of Wight was adopted and registered in January 2009.In 2007 an Isle of Wight Flag Committee was founded to create a flag for the Isle of Wight. The Committee ran a public competition in association with the County Press newspaper to design a flag for the island. They received...

, the first general flag for the county, was accepted by the Flag Institute
Flag Institute
The Flag Institute is a research and documentation centre for flags and flag information, founded on St George's Day, 23 April 1971 by William Crampton and Captain EMC Barraclough CBE RN. Although not an official body, it is the principal advisor and designer of flags to the government of the...

. Denizens of the Isle of Wight are sometimes referred to as 'Vectensians'.

Sailing

Cowes
Cowes
Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east Bank...

 is a centre for sailing, playing host to several racing regatta
Regatta
A regatta is a series of boat races. The term typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas...

s. Cowes Week
Cowes Week
Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,500 competitors ranging from Olympic and world class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world...

 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 yacht racing.
In 1851 the first America's Cup
America's Cup
The America’s Cup is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two yachts. One yacht, known as the defender, represents the yacht club that currently holds the America's Cup and the second yacht, known as the challenger, represents the yacht club that is challenging...

 race took place around the island. Other major sailing events hosted in Cowes include the Fastnet race
Fastnet race
The Fastnet Race is a famous offshore yachting race. It is considered one of the classic offshore races. It takes place every two years over a course of . The race starts off Cowes on the Isle of Wight in England, rounds the Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland and then finishes at...

, the Round the Island Race
Round the Island Race
The Round the Island Race is a yacht race around the Isle of Wight, organized by the Island Sailing Club based in Cowes. It is the fourth largest sporting event in the United Kingdom and is one of the most popular fixtures on the Solent racing calendar attracting competitors from Europe and the...

, the Admiral's Cup
Admiral's Cup
The Admiral's Cup is an international yachting regatta. For many years it was known as the unofficial world championship of offshore racing. The Admiral's Cup regatta was started in 1957 and was normally a biennial event which was competed for between national teams. However the event was not...

, and the Commodore's Cup
Commodore's Cup
The Commodores' Cup also known as the Rolex Commodores' Cup is an international offshore regatta held for three-boat national teams held in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. It is a biennial event that lasts for seven days. It was first held in 1992, with the next event occurring in 2010. It is organised...

.

Marathon

The Isle of Wight Marathon is the United Kingdom's oldest continuously held marathon, having been run every year since 1957. The course starts in Ryde, passing through Newport, Shanklin and Sandown, before finishing back in Ryde. It is an undulating course with a total climb of 459 metres.

Speedway

The island is home to the Isle of Wight Islanders
Isle of Wight Islanders
The Isle of Wight Wightlink Islanders are a British Speedway team. They currently compete in the National League and ride at the Smallbrook Stadium....

 speedway
Motorcycle speedway
Motorcycle speedway, usually referred to as speedway, is a motorcycle sport involving four and sometimes up to six riders competing over four anti-clockwise laps of an oval circuit. Speedway motorcycles use only one gear and have no brakes and racing takes place on a flat oval track usually...

 team, who compete in the sport's third division, the National League
Speedway National League
The National League was the top division of Speedway in the United Kingdom from 1932 until 1965 when it became known as the British League. Prior to 1932 there were only small regional leagues competing within the sport in the UK. The National League was re-incarnated in 1975 as the second division...

. The club was founded in 1996, with a first-night attendance of 1,740.

Ice Hockey

The island is also home to the Wightlink Raiders
Wightlink Raiders
The Wightlink Raiders are an ice hockey team based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight, England. They are sponsored by Wightlink and play in the third-tier English National Ice Hockey League...

, an ice hockey team based at Ryde Arena. They compete in the 1st Tier of the English National Ice Hockey League
English National Ice Hockey League
The English National Ice Hockey League is an amateur ice hockey league below the English Premier Ice Hockey League which is administered by the English Ice Hockey Association. It is split into two conferences, north and south...

, the 3rd Division in the country. There is also an amateur team the Vectis Tigers
Vectis Tigers
The Wightlink Tigers are an amateur English ice hockey team from the Isle of Wight, they are currently in pool A of the southern conference of the ENIHL. Although no promotion or relegation system exists between the leagues , the ENIHL is seen as the third tier of English ice hockey...

 of the 2nd Tier English National Ice Hockey League
English National Ice Hockey League
The English National Ice Hockey League is an amateur ice hockey league below the English Premier Ice Hockey League which is administered by the English Ice Hockey Association. It is split into two conferences, north and south...

, and four youth teams including the Isle of Wight Wildcats
Isle of Wight Wildcats
The Isle of Wight Wildcats are a Youth Ice hockey team based in Ryde on the Isle of Wight and are coached by Justin Attrill. They are sponsored by Wightlink and play in the second-tier of the South under 18 youth Ice hockey league . The Wildcats are a source for the Wightlink Raiders and the...

, all based at Ryde Arena.

Hockey

The Isle of Wight Hockey Club run three senior teams and a junior side, with the 1st XI competing in Hampshire's top division, just one below the regional leagues. The island also has a ladies team—the Vectis Ladies—which is a separate organisation from the IW Hockey Club. Ventnor Middle School on the Isle of Wight runs a successful hockey set-up, producing a number of players who have since gone on to play at high standards.

Football

The now-disbanded Ryde Sports F.C.
Ryde Sports F.C.
Ryde Sports Football Club was an English football club based in Ryde, Isle of Wight.Before its demise, Ryde Sports was for many years a successful and significant club on the Isle of Wight and in Hampshire, and an important part of the town of Ryde.-Foundation:Ryde Sports F.C. was founded in 1888...

 founded in 1888 and became one of the eight founder members of the Hampshire League
Hampshire League
Hampshire League is a name used for two distinct football competitions based in Hampshire, England. There are two leagues; Hampshire Premier Football League named 'Puma Engineering Hampshire Premier Football League' for sponsor purposes and the division below which is the Hampshire League 2004 or...

 in 1896. There are several other non-league clubs such as Newport (IW) F.C.
Newport (IW) F.C.
Newport F.C. are a football club based in Newport on the Isle of Wight, England, They were founding members of the Wessex League in 1986.-History:...

 There is an Isle of Wight Saturday Football League
Isle of Wight Saturday Football League
The Isle of Wight Saturday Football League is a football competition based in England. This league has three divisions for first teams, , plus two for reserve teams .-Member clubs 2011-12:...

 with three divisions, and a rugby union
Rugby union
Rugby union, often simply referred to as rugby, is a full contact team sport which originated in England in the early 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand...

 club, plus various other sporting teams. Beach football is particularly prevalent on the island and has several of the nation's premier clubs with almost all of the England Beach Soccer team made up from players from the island. Many of the stadiums are used when the island hosts the Island Games
Island Games
The Island Games are an international multi-sports event organized by the International Island Games Association.- History :The Island Games began in 1985 as the Inter-Island Games, as part of the Isle of Man International Year of Sport, and were intended to be a one-off sporting celebration only...

 as it has done twice.

Cricket

The Isle of Wight is the 39th official county in English cricket, and the Isle of Wight Cricket Board organise an internal cricket league between various local clubs. Ventnor
Ventnor
Ventnor is a seaside resort and civil parish established in the Victorian era on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, England. It lies underneath St Boniface Down , and is built on steep slopes and cliffs leading down to the sea...

 Cricket Club compete in the Southern Premier League, and have won the Second Division several times in recent years. There is a new County Ground
Newclose County Cricket Ground
Newclose County Cricket Ground is the new county cricket ground for the Isle of Wight, located between Newport and Blackwater. Several open days were held in September 2008 on which special matches were to take place....

 near Newport, which held its first match on 6 September 2008. As of November 2010, the Isle of Wight Cricket Board have been in discussion with the Minor Counties Cricket Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board
England and Wales Cricket Board
The England and Wales Cricket Board is the governing body of cricket in England and Wales. It was created on 1 January 1997 combining the roles of the Test and County Cricket Board, the National Cricket Association and the Cricket Council...

 regarding proposals to enter a side in the Minor Counties
Minor counties of English cricket
The Minor Counties are the cricketing counties of England and Wales that are not afforded first-class status. The game is administered by the Minor Counties Cricket Association which comes under the England and Wales Cricket Board...

 tournaments. The island has recently produced some notable cricketers, such as Danny Briggs
Danny Briggs
Danny Richard Briggs is an English cricketer who currently plays for Hampshire. He is a right-handed batsman and bowls slow left-arm orthodox....

, who plays county cricket for Hampshire County Cricket Club
Hampshire County Cricket Club
Hampshire County Cricket Club represents the historic county of Hampshire in cricket's County Championship. The club was founded in 1863 as a successor to the Hampshire county cricket teams and has played at the Antelope Ground from then until 1885, before moving to the County Ground where it...

 and is a member of the England Lions. Hampshire have played a number of first-class
First-class cricket
First-class cricket is a class of cricket that consists of matches of three or more days' scheduled duration, that are between two sides of eleven players and are officially adjudged first-class by virtue of the standard of the competing teams...

 matches on the island, at J Samuel White's Ground
J Samuel White's Ground
The J.Samuel White's Ground is a cricket ground in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The ground was built and owned by J. Samuel White & Co. shipbuilders. Originally laid out in 1953, Hampshire first played there in 1956 in a County Championship match against Worcestershire which ended in a draw...

 (originally built and owned by J. Samuel White
J. Samuel White
J. Samuel White was a British shipbuilding firm based in Cowes, taking its name from John Samuel White . It came to prominence during the Victorian era...

 Shipbuilders) and the Victoria Recreation Ground
Victoria Recreation Ground
The Victoria Recreation Ground is a cricket ground in Newport on the Isle of Wight. Hampshire played two first-class matches at the ground. They first played there in 1938 in a County Championship match against Northamptonshire, with the second and last match played there in 1939 against...

.

Island Games

The Isle of Wight competes in the biennial Island Games
International Island Games Association
The International Island Games Association is an organisation the sole purpose of which is to organise the Island Games, a friendly biennial athletic competition between teams from several European islands and other small territories. The IGA liaises with the member island associations and with...

, which it hosted in 1993. The Isle of Wight hosted these games again in 2011 with events taking place across the island.

Music

The Isle of Wight is home to the Isle of Wight Festival
Isle of Wight Festival
The Isle of Wight Festival is a music festival which takes place every year on the Isle of Wight in England. It was originally held from 1968 to 1970. These original events were promoted and organised by the Foulk brothers under the banner of their company Fiery Creations Limited...

 and the Bestival
Bestival
Bestival is a four-day music festival held at the Robin Hill country park on the Isle of Wight, England. It has been held annually in late summer since 2004. The event is organized by DJ and record producer Rob da Bank and is an off-shoot of his Sunday Best record label and club nights. The initial...

. The Isle of Wight is also the home of the band The Bees
The Bees (UK band)
The Bees are an English band from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Although their sound is generally classified as indie rock or psychedelic rock, the band have a colourful range of styles and influences, such as 1960s garage rock, country, reggae and jazz.-History:The Bees have so far released four...

. Recently they have been having more national success and often perform at smaller concerts on the island. The band Trixie's Big Red Motorbike
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike
Trixie's Big Red Motorbike were an indiepop band formed in the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom, in 1981.They released two singles, one e.p. and one flexidisc...

 as well as Mark King
Mark King (musician)
Mark King is an English musician. He is most famous for being the lead singer and bassist of the band, Level 42. In the early 1980s King popularized the 1970s-era slap and pop style for playing the bass guitar by incorporating it into pop music.-Early life:King was brought up on the Isle of Wight,...

 of Level 42
Level 42
Level 42 are an English pop rock and jazz-funk band who had a number of worldwide and UK hits during the 1980s and 1990s.The band gained fame for their high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the...

 also came from the Isle of Wight. The Isle of Wight has also hosted a one day festival called 'Summer Madness'. It started in 2009 when Madness
Madness (band)
In 1979, the band recorded the Lee Thompson composition "The Prince". The song, like the band's name, paid homage to their idol, Prince Buster. The song was released through 2 Tone Records, the label of The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The song was a surprise hit, peaking in the UK music charts...

 headlined it; in 2010 Paul Weller headlined. In January 2011 it was reported that the promoter of Summer Madness was insolvent.

Economy

This is a table of the trend in regional gross value added by the Isle of Wight economy at current basic prices by the Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
The Office for National Statistics is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.- Overview :...

with figures in millions of pounds
Pound sterling
The pound sterling , commonly called the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, its Crown Dependencies and the British Overseas Territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, British Antarctic Territory and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence...

.
Year Regional Gross Value added Agriculture Industry Services
1995 831 28 218 585
2000 1,202 27 375 800
2003 1,491 42 288 1,161

Industry and agriculture

The largest industry on the Isle of Wight is tourism, but the island has a strong agricultural heritage, including sheep and dairy farming and the growing of arable crops. Traditional agricultural commodities are more difficult to market off the island because of transport costs, but island farmers have managed successfully to exploit some specialist markets. The high price of these products overcomes the transport costs. One of the most successful agricultural sectors at present is the growing of crops under cover, particularly salad crops, including tomatoes and cucumbers. The Isle of Wight has a longer growing season than much of the United Kingdom and this also favours such crops. Garlic has been successfully grown in Newchurch
Newchurch, Isle of Wight
Newchurch is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. It is located between Sandown and Newport in the southeast of the island. Anthony Dillington, owner of the Knighton Gorges Manor in Newchurch wrote to his son Robert in 1574 that, "This is the very Garden of England, and we be privileged...

 for many years, and is even exported to France. This has led to the establishment of an annual Garlic Festival at Newchurch, which is one of the largest events of the island's annual calendar. The favourable climate has led to the success of vineyard
Vineyard
A vineyard is a plantation of grape-bearing vines, grown mainly for winemaking, but also raisins, table grapes and non-alcoholic grape juice...

s, including one of the oldest in the British Isles, at Adgestone
Adgestone
Adgestone is a small hamlet on the Isle of Wight. It is located close to Brading in the east of the island.There is vineyard in Adgestone which also is the site of a bed and breakfast. This is one of the oldest vineyards in the British Islands, having been started in 1968.There is a campsite in...

 near Sandown
Sandown
Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

. Lavender
Lavender
The lavenders are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. An Old World genus, distributed from Macaronesia across Africa, the Mediterranean, South-West Asia, Arabia, Western Iran and South-East India...

 is also grown for its oil. The largest sector of agriculture has been dairying, but due to low milk prices, and strict UK legislation for UK milk producers, the dairy industry has declined. There were nearly one-hundred and fifty dairy producers of various sizes in the mid-eighties, but this has now dwindled down to just twenty-four. Due to modern farming practices, the Island has noted increased levels of pesticide poisoning in local farmers and other local residents living near crops and vineyards.

The making of sailcloth, boats and other connected maritime industry has long been associated with the island, although this has somewhat diminished in recent years. Cowes
Cowes
Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east Bank...

 is still home to various small marine-related companies such as boat-builders
Boat building
Boat building, one of the oldest branches of engineering, is concerned with constructing the hulls of boats and, for sailboats, the masts, spars and rigging.-Parts:* Bow - the front and generally sharp end of the hull...

.

Although they have reduced the extent of the plants and workforce, including the sale of the main site, GKN operates what was once the British Hovercraft Corporation
British Hovercraft Corporation
British Hovercraft Corporation was the corporate entity created when the Saunders Roe division of Westland Aircraft and Vickers Supermarine combined March 1966 with the intention of creating viable commercial hovercraft - .None of the Vickers designs were 'taken forward', the...

 a subsidiary of, and known latterly, when manufacturing focus changed, as Westland Aircraft
Westland Aircraft
Westland Aircraft was a British aircraft manufacturer located in Yeovil in Somerset. Formed as a separate company by separation from Petters Ltd just before the start of the Second World War, Westland had been building aircraft since 1915...

. Prior to its purchase by Westland, it was the independent company known as Saunders-Roe
Saunders-Roe
Saunders-Roe Limited was a British aero- and marine-engineering company based at Columbine Works East Cowes, Isle of Wight.-History:The name was adopted in 1929 after Alliot Verdon Roe and John Lord took a controlling interest in the boat-builders S.E. Saunders...

. It remains one of the most notable historic firms, having produced many of the flying boats, and the world's first hovercraft
Hovercraft
A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

.

The island's major manufacturing activity today is in composite material
Composite material
Composite materials, often shortened to composites or called composition materials, are engineered or naturally occurring materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties which remain separate and distinct at the macroscopic or...

s, used by boat-builders and the wind turbine
Wind turbine
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical energy. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called a wind generator or wind charger. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or...

 manufacturer Vestas
Vestas
Vestas Wind Systems A/S is a Danish manufacturer, seller, installer, and servicer of wind turbines. It is the largest in the world, but due to very rapid growth of its competitors, its market share decreased from 28% in 2007 to 12.5% in 2009...

, which has a wind turbine blade factory and testing facilities in Newport
Newport, Isle of Wight
Newport is a civil parish and a county town of the Isle of Wight, an island off the south coast of England. Newport has a population of 23,957 according to the 2001 census...

 and East Cowes
East Cowes
East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes....

.

Bembridge Airfield
Bembridge Airport
Bembridge Airport is located northeast of Sandown, Isle of Wight, England.Bembridge Aerodrome no longer has a CAA Ordinary Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee .The airport is home to the aircraft manufacturer...

 is the home of Britten-Norman
Britten-Norman
Britten-Norman is a British aircraft manufacturer owned by members of the Zawawi family from the Sultanate of Oman, making it the last remaining UK independent commercial aircraft producer....

, manufacturers of the Islander
Britten-Norman Islander
The Britten-Norman BN-2 Islander is a 1960s British light utility aircraft, regional airliner and cargo aircraft designed and originally manufactured by Britten-Norman of the United Kingdom. The Islander is one of the best-selling commercial aircraft types produced in Europe. Although designed in...

 and Trislander
Britten-Norman Trislander
*LIAT*Montserrat Air Services*Air Queensland*Eagle Airways*Aero Services*Cayman Airways*TAVINA*Vision Air*Bali Int. Air Service*Trans Jamaican Airlines*Aero Cozumel*Great Barrier Airlines*Aero Taxi Intl*Aviones de Panama...

 aircraft. This is shortly to become the site of the European assembly line for Cirrus
Cirrus Design
The Cirrus Aircraft Corporation is an aircraft manufacturer that was founded in 1984 by Alan and Dale Klapmeier to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft....

 light aircraft. The Norman Aeroplane Company is a smaller aircraft manufacturing company operating in Sandown
Sandown
Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

. There are have been three other aircraft manufacturers that built planes on the island.

In 2005, Northern Petroleum began exploratory drilling for oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

, with its Sandhills-2 borehole at Porchfield
Porchfield
Porchfield is a village on the Isle of Wight between Cowes and Yarmouth. It is located seven kilometres southwest of Cowes in the northwest of the island....

 but ceased operations in October that year, after failing to find significant reserves.

Breweries

There are three breweries on the island. Goddards Brewery in Ryde
Ryde
Ryde is a British seaside town, civil parish and the most populous town and urban area on the Isle of Wight, with a population of approximately 30,000. It is situated on the north-east coast. The town grew in size as a seaside resort following the joining of the villages of Upper Ryde and Lower...

 opened in 1993. David Yates, who was head brewer of Burts and Island Brewery, started brewing as Yates Brewery at the Inn at St Lawrence
St Lawrence, Isle of Wight
St Lawrence is a village on the south side of the Isle of Wight, in southern England. It is located to the west of Ventnor and many consider it a part of that town. St Lawrence is situated on the Undercliff, and is subject to regular landslips.-Features:...

 in 2000. Ventnor Brewery, under new management, is the latest incarnation of Burt's Brewery, which has been brewing on the island since the 1840s in Ventnor
Ventnor
Ventnor is a seaside resort and civil parish established in the Victorian era on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, England. It lies underneath St Boniface Down , and is built on steep slopes and cliffs leading down to the sea...

. Until the 1960s most pubs were owned by Mews Brewery sited in Newport near the old railway station, but it closed and the pubs taken over by Strongs and then by Whitbread
Whitbread
Whitbread PLC is a global hotel, coffee shop and restaurant company headquartered in Dunstable, United Kingdom. Its largest division is Premier Inn, which is the largest hotel brand in the UK with around 580 hotels and over 40,000 rooms. Its Costa Coffee chain has around 1,600 stores across 25...

. By some accounts Mews beer was apt to be rather cloudy and dark. They pioneered the use of cans in the 19th century for export to British India. The old brewery was derelict for many years but was then severely damaged in a spectacular fire.

Tourism and heritage

The heritage of the island is a major asset, which has for many years kept its economy going. Holidays focused on natural heritage, including both wildlife and geology, are becoming a growing alternative to the traditional British seaside
Seaside resort
A seaside resort is a resort, or resort town, located on the coast. Where a beach is the primary focus for tourists, it may be called a beach resort.- Overview :...

 holiday, which went into decline in the second half of the 20th century, due to the increased affordability of air travel to alternative destinations.
Tourism is still the largest industry on the island. In 1999, the 130,000 island residents were host to 2.7 million visitors. Of these, 1.5 million stayed overnight, and 1.2 million visits were day visits. Only 150,000 of these visitors were international visitors. Between 1993 and 2000, visits increased at a rate of 3% per year, on average.

At the turn of the nineteenth century the island had ten pleasure piers including two at Ryde
Ryde Pier
Ryde Pier is an early 19th century pier serving the town of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight, off the south coast of England.- Before the pier :Before the pier was built, passengers to Ryde had the uncomfortable experience of coming ashore on the back of a porter and then, depending on the state of the...

 and a "chain pier" at Seaview
Seaview, Isle of Wight
Seaview is a small Edwardian resort located on the north-eastern corner of the Isle of Wight, overlooking the Solent.The village is popular with tourists and is only a 15-minute drive from the town of Ryde, where most tourists reach the island by ferry or hovercraft...

. The Victoria Pier in Cowes succeeded the earlier Royal Pier but was itself removed in 1960. The piers at Ryde, Seaview
Seaview, Isle of Wight
Seaview is a small Edwardian resort located on the north-eastern corner of the Isle of Wight, overlooking the Solent.The village is popular with tourists and is only a 15-minute drive from the town of Ryde, where most tourists reach the island by ferry or hovercraft...

, Sandown
Sandown
Sandown is a seaside resort town and civil parish on the southeast coast of the Isle of Wight, England, neighbouring the town of Shanklin to the south. Sandown Bay is the name of the bay off the English Channel which both towns share, and it is notable for its long stretch of easily accessible...

, Shanklin
Shanklin
Shanklin is a popular seaside resort and civil parish on the Isle of Wight, England, located on the east coast's Sandown Bay. The sandy beach, its Old Village and a wooded ravine, Shanklin Chine, are its main attractions. The esplanade along the beach is occupied by hotels and restaurants for the...

 and Ventnor
Ventnor
Ventnor is a seaside resort and civil parish established in the Victorian era on the south coast of the Isle of Wight, England. It lies underneath St Boniface Down , and is built on steep slopes and cliffs leading down to the sea...

 originally served a coastal steamer service that operated from Southsea on the mainland. The piers at Seaview, Shanklin, Ventnor and Alum Bay
Alum Bay
Alum Bay is a bay near the westernmost point of the Isle of Wight, England, within sight of the Needles. Of geological interest and a tourist attraction, the bay is noted for its multi-coloured sand cliffs.-Geology:...

 were all destroyed by storms during the last century. Today only the railway pier at Ryde and the piers at Sandown, Totland
Totland
Totland is a village and civil parish at the western tip of the Isle of Wight. It lies on the coast at Colwell Bay, which is the closest part of the island to the British mainland...

 Bay (currently closed to the public) and Yarmouth survive. Blackgang Chine
Blackgang Chine
Blackgang Chine is the location of a now-destroyed chine in the soft Cretaceous cliffs about 6 miles from Ventnor at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight just below St Catherine's Down. Since 1843 it has been home to the Blackgang Chine amusement park, run by the Dabell family who also run the...

 is arguably the oldest theme park in the UK, and one of the oldest in the world.

As well as more traditional tourist attractions, the island is often host to walking holidays or cycling holidays through the attractive scenery. Almost every town and village on the island plays host to hotels, hostels and camping sites. Out of the peak summer season, the island is still an important destination for coach tours from other parts of the United Kingdom and an annual walking festival has attracted considerable interest. The 108 km Isle of Wight Coastal Path
Isle of Wight Coastal Path
.There are a couple of cafes on the cliff path which I believe are open in the summer months. The only public convenience on the cliff path now appears to be closed permanently ....

 follows the coastline as far as possible, deviating onto roads where the route is impassable closer to the sea.

A major contribution to the local economy comes from sailing and marine-related tourism.

Summer Camp
Summer camp
Summer camp is a supervised program for children or teenagers conducted during the summer months in some countries. Children and adolescents who attend summer camp are known as campers....

 at Camp Beaumont is an attraction at the old Bembridge School
Bembridge School
Bembridge School was an independent school in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight founded in 1919 by social reformer and Liberal MP John Howard Whitehouse. Set in over on the eastern most tip of the Isle of Wight Bembridge was a public school intended to challenge the traditional concept of education...

 site.

Transport

The Isle of Wight has a total of 787 km of roadway. Major roads run between the main island towns, with smaller roads connecting villages. It is one of the few counties in the UK not to have a motorway, although there is a dual carriageway from Coppins Bridge in Newport towards the north of Newport near the island's hospital and prison.

A comprehensive bus network operated by Southern Vectis
Southern Vectis
The Southern Vectis Omnibus Company Limited is the dominant bus operator on the Isle of Wight. It was purchased by the Go-Ahead Group in 2005 and is a part of the company's Go South Coast division. The firm employs 299 staff, with 105 single deck, double deck and open-top buses and coaches...

 links most island settlements, with Newport as the central hub.

The island's location 8 km off the mainland means that longer-distance transport is by boat. Car ferry and passenger services are run by Wightlink
Wightlink
Wightlink is a ferry company operating routes between Hampshire and the Isle of Wight in southern England.Their core routes are car ferries from Lymington to Yarmouth and Portsmouth to Fishbourne...

 and Red Funnel
Red Funnel
The Southampton Isle of Wight and South of England Royal Mail Steam Packet Company Limited, which trades as Red Funnel, is a ferry company that carries passengers and vehicles on routes between the English mainland and the Isle of Wight...

 as well as a hovercraft operated by Hovertravel
Hovertravel
Hovertravel is a ferry company operating from Southsea, Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight, UK. They are the only company operating in Britain with passenger hovercraft, after Hoverspeed stopped using their craft in favour of catamarans...

. Fixed links, in the forms of tunnels or bridges, have been proposed.

The island formerly had its own railway network
Railways on the Isle of Wight
There once existed a 55½ mile network of railway lines on the Isle of Wight. They were opened by several companies between 1862 and 1901, and all but the 8½ mile-long Island Line closed between 1952 and 1966. A further 5½ miles have reopened as the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.- Early beginnings...

 of over 88 km, but only one line remains in regular use. The Island Line
Island Line, Isle of Wight
The Island Line is a railway line on the Isle of Wight, running some from Ryde Pier Head to Shanklin down the eastern side of the island. The line was electrified in 1967. Trains connect with passenger ferries to Portsmouth Harbour at Ryde Pier Head, and these ferries in turn connect with the...

 is part of the United Kingdom's National Rail
National Rail
National Rail is a title used by the Association of Train Operating Companies as a generic term to define the passenger rail services operated in Great Britain...

 network, running a little under 14 kilometres from Ryde to Shanklin. The line was opened by the Isle of Wight Railway
Isle of Wight Railway
The Isle of Wight Railway was a railway company on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. The company owned 14 miles of railway line and its headquarters were at Sandown...

 in 1864, and from 1996 to 2007 was run by the smallest train operating company on the network, Island Line Trains. It is notable for utilising ex-London Underground rolling stock. Branching off the Island Line at Smallbrook Junction is the heritage Isle of Wight Steam Railway
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a heritage railway on the Isle of Wight. The railway passes through 5½ miles of unspoiled countryside from to station, passing through the small village of Havenstreet, where the line has a station, headquarters and a depot...

, which runs for 5.5 miles to the outskirts of Wootton.

There are currently two airfields for general aviation, Isle of Wight Airport at Sandown and Bembridge Airport
Bembridge Airport
Bembridge Airport is located northeast of Sandown, Isle of Wight, England.Bembridge Aerodrome no longer has a CAA Ordinary Licence that allows flights for the public transport of passengers or for flying instruction as authorised by the licensee .The airport is home to the aircraft manufacturer...

.

The island has over 322 km of cycleways, much of which can be enjoyed by families off road. Major Trails are
  • The Sunshine Trail, which incorporates Sandown, Shanklin, Godshill, and Wroxall in a 19 km circular route
  • The Troll Trail' between Cowes and Sandown (21 km, 90% off road)
  • The Round the Island Cycle Route, which circumnavigates the island on a reported 100 kilometre ride

A full list of routes are available here: Isle Cycle The site is constantly updated to add new routes.

Communications

All the island telephone exchanges are broadband-enabled, although some areas, such as Arreton
Arreton
Arreton is a village and civil parish in the central eastern part of the Isle of Wight, England. It is about 3 miles south east of Newport.-Name:The settlement has had different names and different spellings over the years...

, have no broadband access. Some urban areas such as Cowes
Cowes
Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east Bank...

 and Newport are also covered by cable lines.

Media

The Isle of Wight's main local newspaper is the Isle of Wight County Press
Isle of Wight County Press
The Isle of Wight County Press is a local, compact newspaper published every Friday on the Isle of Wight.It has an audited circulation of 36,663 copies, compared to a local population of 110-132,000, with a readership approaching 90% of the Island's adult population...

, which costs 75p. It discusses local issues and is published each Friday, or the previous working day if the Friday is a public holiday.

The island has one local commercial radio station and also falls within the coverage area of a number of local stations on the near mainland. Isle of Wight Radio
Isle of Wight Radio
Isle of Wight Radio is an independent local radio station in Newport on the Isle of Wight. The station began transmitting from Briddlesford Farm AM transmitter on April 15, 1990...

 has broadcast in the medium-wave band since 1990 and on 102 and 107 MHz FM
FM broadcasting
FM broadcasting is a broadcasting technology pioneered by Edwin Howard Armstrong which uses frequency modulation to provide high-fidelity sound over broadcast radio. The term "FM band" describes the "frequency band in which FM is used for broadcasting"...

 since 1998, as well as streaming on the internet
Internet radio
Internet radio is an audio service transmitted via the Internet...

.

The island's not-for-profit community radio station opened in 2007, Angel Radio began broadcasting on 91.5 MHz from studios in Cowes and a transmitter near Newport. On 1 February 2009, Wight FM
Wight FM
Wight FM was an internet radio service based on the Isle of Wight which closed in December 2009. It was first launched on 1 February 2009 and initially included high-profile radio DJs such as David Hamilton, Paul Burnett, Mike Read and Howard Pearce among others. Its main sponsorship and form of...

 began broadcasting as an internet radio station. It closed down 6 months later. This was replaced in February 2010 by Internet station Vectis Radio.

On-line news sources for the Isle of Wight include Ventnor Blog and The Isle of Wight Chronicle. The Chronicle was originally a best selling island paper in the 1950s.

The island has had community television stations in the past, first TV12 and then Solent TV
Solent TV
Solent TV was an independent not-for-profit television channel broadcasting on the Isle of Wight. It was transmitted from the Rowridge transmitter on the Isle of Wight on UHF channel 54...

 from 2002 until its closure on 24 May 2007.

Prisons

The geography of the island, and its location near the densely populated south of England, led to it hosting three prisons: Albany
Albany (HM Prison)
HMP Isle of Wight - Albany Barracks is a Category B men's prison, situated on the outskirts of Newport on the Isle of Wight, England. The prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service....

, Camp Hill
Camp Hill (HM Prison)
HMP Isle of Wight - Camp Hill Barracks is a Category C men's prison, located on the outskirts of Newport, Isle of Wight. The prison lies adjacent to Albany and Parkhurst. These have now joined together to form HMP Isle of Wight, and the combined prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison...

 and Parkhurst
Parkhurst (HM Prison)
HMP Isle of Wight - Parkhurst Barracks is a prison situated in Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight, operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.Parkhurst prison is one of the three prisons that make up HMP Isle of Wight, the other two being Camp Hill, and Albany...

, all located outside Newport near the main road to Cowes. Albany and Parkhurst were among the few Category A prisons in the UK until they were downgraded in the 1990s. The downgrading of Parkhurst was precipitated by a major escape: three prisoners (two murderers and a blackmailer) made their way out of the prison on 3 January 1995 for four days of freedom before being recaptured. Parkhurst especially enjoyed notoriety as one of the toughest jails in the United Kingdom and housed many notable inmates, including the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe
Peter Sutcliffe
Peter William Sutcliffe is a British serial killer who was dubbed "The Yorkshire Ripper". In 1981 Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering 13 women and attacking seven others. He is currently serving 20 sentences of life imprisonment in Broadmoor Hospital...

, New Zealand drug lord Terry Clark and the Kray twins
Kray twins
Reginald "Reggie" Kray and his twin brother Ronald "Ronnie" Kray were the foremost perpetrators of organised crime in London's East End during the 1950s and 1960s...

.

Camp Hill is located to the west of, and adjacent to, Albany and Parkhurst, on the very edge of Parkhurst Forest, having been converted first to a borstal
Borstal
A borstal was a type of youth prison in the United Kingdom, run by the Prison Service and intended to reform seriously delinquent young people. The word is sometimes used loosely to apply to other kinds of youth institution or reformatory, such as Approved Schools and Detention Centres. The court...

 and later to a Category C prison. 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 well-proportioned officers' quarters (of varying grandeur according to rank, but now privately owned) to the south and east.

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

Education

There are sixty-nine Local Education Authority
Local Education Authority
A local education authority is a local authority in England and Wales that has responsibility for education within its jurisdiction...

-maintained schools on the Isle of Wight, and two independent school
Independent school (UK)
An independent school is a school that is not financed through the taxation system by local or national government and is instead funded by private sources, predominantly in the form of tuition charges, gifts and long-term charitable endowments, and so is not subject to the conditions imposed by...

s. As a rural community, many of these schools are small, with average numbers of pupils lower than in many urban areas. There are currently primary schools, middle schools and high schools. However, education reforms have led to plans for closures (for full details on these see Education reforms on the Isle of Wight
Education reforms on the Isle of Wight
Education reforms on the Isle of Wight is part of a process to change the Isle of Wight's education from a three-tier system to a two-tier system. The debate as to how this should occur was first started in 2004, lasting until 2008. Three options were put forward at the start of 2008 as to what...

). There is also the Isle of Wight College
Isle of Wight College
The Isle of Wight College is a general further education college with a broad curriculum to reflect the needs of the island community. The main campus is sited in a central location on the outskirts of Newport, the county town of the Isle of Wight and the island's principal retail centre...

, which is located on the outskirts of Newport.

From September 2010, there is a transition period from the "3-tier system" of primary, middle and high schools. Some schools have now closed their doors, such as Chale CE Primary School. Other schools have become "federated", such as Brading CE Primary School and St Helens Primary School. Christ the King College started as a "middle school" but is being converted into a High School so that eventually it will have a Sixth Form.

From September 2011, there will be 5 new schools, with an age range of 11 to 18 years, which will replace the existing High schools.

When the transition is complete, there will be fewer schools on the Isle of Wight.

Notable residents

Notable residents have included:
  • Raymond Allen
    Raymond Allen (scriptwriter)
    Raymond Allen is a British television writer most notable for creating the 1970s sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.-Early life:...

    , scriptwriter
  • Indie rock
    Indie rock
    Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

     group The Bees
    The Bees (UK band)
    The Bees are an English band from Ventnor on the Isle of Wight. Although their sound is generally classified as indie rock or psychedelic rock, the band have a colourful range of styles and influences, such as 1960s garage rock, country, reggae and jazz.-History:The Bees have so far released four...

     are from the Isle of Wight.
  • Julia Margaret Cameron
    Julia Margaret Cameron
    Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes....

    , a Victorian portrait and creative photographer, lived at Dimbola Lodge
    Dimbola Lodge
    Dimbola Lodge was the Isle of Wight home of the Victorian pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron from 1860 to 1875.It is now the home of the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, and a photographic museum.-History of the property:...

    , which is now a museum dedicated to her work.
  • Charles I of England
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

     was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle is a historic motte-and-bailey castle located in the village of Carisbrooke, near Newport, Isle of Wight, England. Charles I was imprisoned at the castle in the months prior to his trial.-Early history:...

    .
  • Irish Republican Thomas Clarke
    Tom Clarke (Irish republican)
    Thomas James "Tom" Clarke was an Irish revolutionary leader and arguably the person most responsible for the 1916 Easter Rising. A proponent of violent revolution for most of his life, he spent 15 years in prison...

  • Sir Christopher Cockerell
    Christopher Cockerell
    Sir Christopher Sydney Cockerell CBE FRS was an English engineer, inventor of the hovercraft.-Life:Cockerell was born in Cambridge, where his father, Sir Sydney Cockerell, was curator of the Fitzwilliam Museum, having previously been the secretary of William Morris. Christopher Cockerell was...

    , inventor of the hovercraft
    Hovercraft
    A hovercraft is a craft capable of traveling over surfaces while supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air which is ejected against the surface below and contained within a "skirt." Although supported by air, a hovercraft is not considered an aircraft.Hovercraft are used throughout...

    , lived in East Cowes
    East Cowes
    East Cowes is a town and civil parish to the north of the Isle of Wight, on the east bank of the River Medina next to its neighbour on the west bank, Cowes....

     while it was being developed by Saunders-Roe
    Saunders-Roe
    Saunders-Roe Limited was a British aero- and marine-engineering company based at Columbine Works East Cowes, Isle of Wight.-History:The name was adopted in 1929 after Alliot Verdon Roe and John Lord took a controlling interest in the boat-builders S.E. Saunders...

    .
  • Ray Cokes
    Ray Cokes
    Ray Cokes is an English television presenter. His father was an officer in the Royal Navy, who was stationed at various navy bases around the world. At age 15 they permanently relocated back to the UK...

     MTV presenter and actor
  • Charles Dickens
    Charles Dickens
    Charles John Huffam Dickens was an English novelist, generally considered the greatest of the Victorian period. Dickens enjoyed a wider popularity and fame than had any previous author during his lifetime, and he remains popular, having been responsible for some of English literature's most iconic...

     rented Winterbourne, in Bonchurch in the summer of 1849.
  • Dave Ellison Creator/writer/producer of the award winning children's TV series Tales of the Riverbank
    Tales of the Riverbank
    Tales of the Riverbank, sometimes called Hammy Hamster, is a Canadian children's television show starring Hammy Hamster and other animals....

  • Cardell 'Scum' Goodman, late 17th century actor, murderer, highwayman and Jacobite conspirator was the son of Robert Hooke's fathers predecessor as vicar of Freshwater.
  • Bear Grylls
    Bear Grylls
    Edward Michael "Bear" Grylls is an English adventurer, writer and television presenter. He is best known for his television series Man vs. Wild, known as Born Survivor in the United Kingdom...

     Survival Expert, Motivational Speaker and Chief Scout.
  • Sheila Hancock
    Sheila Hancock
    Sheila Cameron Hancock, CBE is an English actress and author.-Early life:Sheila Hancock was born in Blackgang on the Isle of Wight, the daughter of Ivy Louise and Enrico Cameron Hancock, who was a publican. Her sister Billie is seven years older...

     Actress
  • Thomas Harrison, Regicide of Charles I and Fifth Monarchist leader was imprisoned at Carisbrooke Castle by Cromwell as were other Fifth Monarchy Men, John Rogers
    John Rogers (Fifth Monarchist)
    John Rogers was a Fifth Monarchist preacher of the 1650s, and later a physician.-Background:He was born at Messing in Essex, the second son of the clergyman Nehemiah Rogers, by his wife Margaret. Because of his religious views, he was turned out by his father in 1642. He returned to studies of...

     and Christopher Feake
    Christopher Feake
    Christopher Feake was an English Independent minister and Fifth-monarchy man. He was imprisoned for maligning Oliver Cromwell in his preaching. He is a leading example of someone sharing both Leveller views and the millenarian approach of the Fifth Monarchists...

    .
  • Peter de Heyno
    Peter de Heyno
    Peter de Heyno was the Lord of Stenbury, Isle of Wight under Edward III.In 1377 a raiding force of French and Castilians invaded the Isle of Wight and burnt Yarmouth and Newtown which he had to defend...

    , defended the Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle is a historic motte-and-bailey castle located in the village of Carisbrooke, near Newport, Isle of Wight, England. Charles I was imprisoned at the castle in the months prior to his trial.-Early history:...

     1377 against French / Castilian
    Crown of Castile
    The Crown of Castile was a medieval and modern state in the Iberian Peninsula that formed in 1230 as a result of the third and definitive union of the crowns and parliaments of the kingdoms of Castile and León upon the accession of the then King Ferdinand III of Castile to the vacant Leonese throne...

     troops
  • Robert Hooke
    Robert Hooke
    Robert Hooke FRS was an English natural philosopher, architect and polymath.His adult life comprised three distinct periods: as a scientific inquirer lacking money; achieving great wealth and standing through his reputation for hard work and scrupulous honesty following the great fire of 1666, but...

    , a 17th century natural philosopher and polymath
    Polymath
    A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

  • Geoffrey Hughes
    Geoffrey Hughes
    Geoffrey Hughes, DL is an English actor.As well as a wide range of TV and film appearances, Hughes is best known for a series of supporting roles in popular UK television dramas...

    , English Actor is also a Deputy Lieutenant
    Deputy Lieutenant
    In the United Kingdom, a Deputy Lieutenant is one of several deputies to the Lord Lieutenant of a lieutenancy area; an English ceremonial county, Welsh preserved county, Scottish lieutenancy area, or Northern Irish county borough or county....

     of the county.
  • David Icke
    David Icke
    David Vaughan Icke is an English writer and public speaker, best known for his views on what he calls "who and what is really controlling the world." Describing himself as the most controversial speaker in the world, he has written 18 books explaining his position, and has attracted a substantial...

     – TV Presenter, Author, Conspiracy Theorist
  • Jeremy Irons
    Jeremy Irons
    Jeremy John Irons is an English actor. After receiving classical training at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Irons began his acting career on stage in 1969, and has since appeared in many London theatre productions including The Winter's Tale, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the...

     Actor
  • Phill Jupitus
    Phill Jupitus
    Phillip Christopher Jupitus is an English stand-up and improvised comedian, actor, performance poet, musician and podcaster....

     Comedian
  • Laura Michelle Kelly
    Laura Michelle Kelly
    Laura Michelle Kelly is an English actress and singer who achieved critical acclaim in the role of Mary Poppins in the musical of the same name.-Musical theatre:...

    , Olivier Award-winner for her role as Mary Poppins
    Mary Poppins
    Mary Poppins is a series of children's books written by P. L. Travers and originally illustrated by Mary Shepard. The books centre on a magical English nanny, Mary Poppins. She is blown by the East wind to Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, London and into the Banks' household to care for their...

     in the world premiere of the Mary Poppins musical and film actress playing Lucy Barker
    Lucy Barker
    Lucy Barker is a fictional character that appears in some versions of the story Sweeney Todd.-Character overview:In the original legend and in the earliest melodramas and plays, Sweeney Todd has no wife or backstory and is the primary villain of the stories he appears in. His wife Lucy first...

     in Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd
    Sweeney Todd
    Sweeney Todd is a fictional character who first appeared as then antagonist of the Victorian penny dreadful The String of Pearls and he was later introduced as an antihero in the broadway musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and its film adaptation...

  • Mimi Khalvati
    Mimi Khalvati
    Mimi Khalvati is an Iranian-born British poet.-Life and career:She was born in Tehran, Iran in 1944. She grew up on the Isle of Wight and was educated in Switzerland at the University of Neuchâtel, and in London at the Drama Centre and the School of Oriental and African Studies...

     – Iranian poet was educated at Upper Chine School, near Shanklin
  • Stuart Hobday, singer with 60s band Mike Stuart Span and BBC Radio 2 producer
  • Mark King
    Mark King (musician)
    Mark King is an English musician. He is most famous for being the lead singer and bassist of the band, Level 42. In the early 1980s King popularized the 1970s-era slap and pop style for playing the bass guitar by incorporating it into pop music.-Early life:King was brought up on the Isle of Wight,...

    , lead singer and bassist for 80s/90s pop-funk band Level 42
    Level 42
    Level 42 are an English pop rock and jazz-funk band who had a number of worldwide and UK hits during the 1980s and 1990s.The band gained fame for their high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the...

    .
  • Allan Lake
    Allan Lake
    Allan Lake is a British disc jockey.-Career:Lake has been doing radio for the last 10 years. He started his radio career at Isle of Wight Radio, working as the teaboy on the Saturday sports show and as producer for the station's veteran phone-in presenter Alex Dyke...

    , radio presenter
  • Anthony Minghella
    Anthony Minghella
    Anthony Minghella, CBE was an English film director, playwright and screenwriter. He was Chairman of the Board of Governors at the British Film Institute between 2003 and 2007....

    , Academy Award–winning film director, playwright and screenwriter
  • Henry Sewell
    Henry Sewell
    Henry Sewell was a prominent 19th century New Zealand politician. He was a notable campaigner for New Zealand self-government, and is generally regarded as having been the country's first Premier, having led the Sewell Ministry in 1856.-Early life:Sewell was born on 7 September 1807 in the town of...

    , first Prime Minister of New Zealand.
  • Algernon Charles Swinburne. Victorian Poet, spent his boyhood at his parents home East Dene, in Bonchurch.
  • Alfred Tennyson, who was Poet Laureate
    Poet Laureate
    A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events...

     to Queen Victoria, lived at Freshwater and became Baron Tennyson of Aldworth in the County of Sussex and of Freshwater in the Isle of Wight.
  • Alan Titchmarsh
    Alan Titchmarsh
    Alan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE DL is an English gardener, broadcaster and novelist. After working as a professional gardener and a garden journalist, he established himself as a media personality through appearances on gardening programmes...

    , a UK gardener, was High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight
    High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight
    -Roll of High Sheriffs of the Isle of Wight:*1974-75 Lieut.-Colonel Claude Richard Henry Kindersley, D.S.O.,M.C., of Hamstead Grange, Yarmouth.*1975-76 Rear-Admiral Joseph Leslie Blackham, C.B.,of " Downedge ", The Mall, Brading, Sandown....

     in 2008/9.
  • Guglielmo Marconi
    Guglielmo Marconi
    Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

    , inventor and Nobel Prize winner, lived in Marconi Cottage at St. Catherine's Lighthouse in late 1890. He transmitted the first wireless message across open water from Alum Bay in Totland in 1897.
  • Anneka Rice, TV personality
  • Kelly Sotherton
    Kelly Sotherton
    Kelly Jade Sotherton is an English heptathlete and 400m sprinter. She was the bronze medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics and was fourth at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She also was a bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, and was the heptathlon gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth...

     Olympic heptathlete
  • Ellen MacArthur
    Ellen MacArthur
    Dame Ellen Patricia MacArthur, DBE is an English sailor, up until 2009, from Whatstandwell near Matlock in Derbyshire, now based in West Cowes, on the Isle of Wight. She is best known as a solo long-distance yachtswoman. On 7 February 2005 she broke the world record for the fastest solo...

    , solo and long-distance yachtswoman.

Places of interest

  • Alum Bay
    Alum Bay
    Alum Bay is a bay near the westernmost point of the Isle of Wight, England, within sight of the Needles. Of geological interest and a tourist attraction, the bay is noted for its multi-coloured sand cliffs.-Geology:...

  • Appuldurcombe House
    Appuldurcombe House
    Appuldurcombe House is the shell of a large 18th-century baroque country house of the Worsley family. The house is situated near to Wroxall on the Isle of Wight....

     
  • Amazon World Zoo
    Amazon World Zoo
    The Amazon World Zoo is located between Newport and Sandown on the Isle of Wight, England.The zoo mostly features exotic animals from South America, including Giant Anteaters, Tamarins and Marmosets, Ocelots and Parrots. It also is home to the biggest collection of toucans in the United Kingdom...

  • Blackgang Chine
    Blackgang Chine
    Blackgang Chine is the location of a now-destroyed chine in the soft Cretaceous cliffs about 6 miles from Ventnor at the southern tip of the Isle of Wight just below St Catherine's Down. Since 1843 it has been home to the Blackgang Chine amusement park, run by the Dabell family who also run the...

     
  • Brading Roman Villa
    Brading Roman Villa
    Brading Roman Villa was a Roman courtyard villa which has been excavated and put on public display in Brading on the Isle of Wight.-1879 - present day:...

     
  • Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle
    Carisbrooke Castle is a historic motte-and-bailey castle located in the village of Carisbrooke, near Newport, Isle of Wight, England. Charles I was imprisoned at the castle in the months prior to his trial.-Early history:...

      , where King Charles I
    Charles I of England
    Charles I was King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution in 1649. Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his Royal prerogative which Charles...

     was imprisoned
  • Dimbola Lodge
    Dimbola Lodge
    Dimbola Lodge was the Isle of Wight home of the Victorian pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron from 1860 to 1875.It is now the home of the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, and a photographic museum.-History of the property:...

     , home of Victorian
    Victorian era
    The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

     photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron
    Julia Margaret Cameron
    Julia Margaret Cameron was a British photographer. She became known for her portraits of celebrities of the time, and for photographs with Arthurian and other legendary themes....

  • Dinosaur Isle
    Dinosaur Isle
    Dinosaur Isle is a purpose-built dinosaur museum located on the Isle of Wight in southern England.The museum was designed by Isle of Wight architects Rainey Petrie Johns in the shape of a giant pterosaur. It claims to be the first custom-built dinosaur museum in Europe...

     
  • Fort Victoria
    Fort Victoria (Isle of Wight)
    Fort Victoria was a single tier battery with defensible barracks west of Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, England, built in the 1850s, later used as a submarine mining centre and training area for military purposes....

     
  • Godshill
    Godshill
    Godshill is a village and civil parish on the Isle of Wight with a population of 1,465 according to the 2001 census. It is located between Newport and Ventnor in the southeast of the Island.-History:...

     Village, and Model Village
  • Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum
    Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum
    The Isle of Wight Bus & Coach Museum, also referred to as The Isle of Wight Bus Museum, was founded in 1997 in Newport on the Isle of Wight in the United Kingdom. The museum is a registered charity and run completely by volunteers...

     
  • Isle of Wight Steam Railway
    Isle of Wight Steam Railway
    The Isle of Wight Steam Railway is a heritage railway on the Isle of Wight. The railway passes through 5½ miles of unspoiled countryside from to station, passing through the small village of Havenstreet, where the line has a station, headquarters and a depot...

     
  • Isle of Wight Zoo
    Isle of Wight Zoo
    The Isle of Wight Zoo, also known as the Isle of Wight Tiger and Lemur Sanctuary, is housed inside a fort on the coastline of Sandown. It is currently home to the biggest collection of tigers in the United Kingdom.-Past:...

    , Yaverland
    Yaverland
    Yaverland is a village on the Isle of Wight, just north of Sandown. It has about 200 houses. About 1/3 of a mile away from the village is the Yaverland Manor and Church. Holotype fossils have been discovered here of Yaverlandia and a pterosaur, Caulkicephalus...

     
  • Medina Theatre, home to the island's entertainment including music and performances.
  • The Needles
    The Needles
    The Needles is a row of three distinctive stacks of chalk that rise out of the sea off the western extremity of the Isle of Wight, England, close to Alum Bay. The Needles lighthouse stands at the end of the formation...

     , which is near "The Old Battery" museum and Old Look-out Tower tea-room
  • Osborne House
    Osborne House
    Osborne House is a former royal residence in East Cowes, Isle of Wight, UK. The house was built between 1845 and 1851 for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert as a summer home and rural retreat....

     , where Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert had a country residence
  • Quarr Abbey
    Quarr Abbey
    Quarr Abbey is a monastery between the villages of Binstead and Fishbourne on the Isle of Wight in southern England. The name is pronounced as "Kor" . It belongs to the Order of St Benedict. The present imposing brick construction was completed in 1912. A community of about a dozen monks maintains...

     
  • Robin Hill 
  • Botanic Gardens, Ventnor
    Ventnor Botanic Garden
    Ventnor Botanic Garden is a botanic garden located in Ventnor, Isle of Wight. It was founded in 1970, by Sir Harold Hillier, and donated to the Isle of Wight Council. The garden is free to visit, except for parking charges....

  • Yarmouth Castle
    Yarmouth Castle
    Yarmouth Castle is a small off-square blockhouse built by Henry VIII in 1547, to guard Yarmouth harbour on the Isle of Wight. It was built as part of Henry's second device programme to fortify the English coast with a chain of coastal defences known as Device Forts or Henrician Castles. These were...

      , associated with King Henry VIII
    Henry VIII of England
    Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...


Notable media references

  • The 1980s pop group Level 42
    Level 42
    Level 42 are an English pop rock and jazz-funk band who had a number of worldwide and UK hits during the 1980s and 1990s.The band gained fame for their high-calibre musicianship—in particular that of Mark King, whose percussive slap-bass guitar technique provided the driving groove of many of the...

     is from the Isle of Wight.
  • The Northumbria
    Northumbria
    Northumbria was a medieval kingdom of the Angles, in what is now Northern England and South-East Scotland, becoming subsequently an earldom in a united Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England. The name reflects the approximate southern limit to the kingdom's territory, the Humber Estuary.Northumbria was...

    n scholar, Bede
    Bede
    Bede , also referred to as Saint Bede or the Venerable Bede , was a monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, England, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow , both in the Kingdom of Northumbria...

    , recorded the arrival of Christianity on the Isle of Wight in the year 686, when the population was massacred and replaced by Christians.
  • The Beatles
    The Beatles
    The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

    ' song "When I'm Sixty-Four
    When I'm Sixty-Four
    "When I'm Sixty-Four" is a song by The Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and released in 1967 on their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.-Composition:...

    ", written by Paul McCartney
    Paul McCartney
    Sir James Paul McCartney, MBE, Hon RAM, FRCM is an English musician, singer-songwriter and composer. Formerly of The Beatles and Wings , McCartney is listed in Guinness World Records as the "most successful musician and composer in popular music history", with 60 gold discs and sales of 100...

    , refers to renting a cottage on the Isle of Wight (if it's not too dear).
  • The Isle of Wight is called The Island in some editions of Thomas Hardy
    Thomas Hardy
    Thomas Hardy, OM was an English novelist and poet. While his works typically belong to the Naturalism movement, several poems display elements of the previous Romantic and Enlightenment periods of literature, such as his fascination with the supernatural.While he regarded himself primarily as a...

    's novels in his fictional Wessex
    Thomas Hardy's Wessex
    The English author Thomas Hardy set all of his major novels in the south and southwest of England. He named the area "Wessex" after the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom that existed in this part of that country prior to the Norman Conquest. Although the places that appear in his novels actually exist,...

    .
  • There is a running joke in radio sitcom The Navy Lark involving Sub-Lieutenant Phillips inability to navigate and subsequently tail "the Isle of Wight ferry".
  • The Isle of Wight is the setting of Julian Barnes
    Julian Barnes
    Julian Patrick Barnes is a contemporary English writer, and winner of the 2011 Man Booker Prize, for his book The Sense of an Ending...

    's novel England, England.
  • The island also features in John Wyndham
    John Wyndham
    John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris was an English science fiction writer who usually used the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John Beynon and Lucas Parkes...

    's novel The Day of the Triffids
    The Day of the Triffids
    The Day of the Triffids is a post-apocalyptic novel published in 1951 by the English science fiction author John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris, under the pen-name John Wyndham. Although Wyndham had already published other novels using other pen-name combinations drawn from his lengthy real...

    and Simon Clark
    Simon Clark
    Simon Clark is a horror novel writer from Doncaster, England. One of his most notable works is the novel The Night of the Triffids.Clark has been nominated for the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel, World Fantasy Award for Best Novella and British Fantasy Award...

    's sequel to it, The Night of the Triffids
    The Night of the Triffids
    The Night of the Triffids is a science fiction novel by Simon Clark published in 2001. It is a sequel to John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids. Clark has been commended for his success at mimicking Wyndham's style, but most reviewers have not rated his creation as highly as the original 1951 work...

    .
  • In the radio series Nebulous
    Nebulous
    Nebulous is a post apocalyptic science fiction comedy radio show written by Graham Duff and produced by Ted Dowd from Baby Cow Productions; it is directed by Nicholas Briggs. The series premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4...

    , the Isle of Wight has been accidentally disintegrated by Professor Nebulous while he was trying to move it slightly to the left to give it more sunlight, on Janril 57, 2069.
  • Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan
    Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

     recorded the songs "Like a Rolling Stone
    Like a Rolling Stone
    "Like a Rolling Stone" is a 1965 song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Its confrontational lyrics originate in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England...

    ", "Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
    Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
    "Quinn the Eskimo " is a folk-rock song written by Bob Dylan and first recorded during The Basement Tapes sessions in 1967. The song was first released in January 1968 as "Mighty Quinn" by the British band Manfred Mann and became a great success...

    ", "Minstrel Boy", and "She Belongs to Me
    She Belongs to Me
    "She Belongs to Me" is a song by Bob Dylan, and was first released as the second track on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. It was one of the first anti-love songs and one of Dylan's first of many songs that describe a "witchy woman"...

    " for the album Self Portrait
    Self Portrait (Bob Dylan album)
    Self Portrait is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's tenth studio album, released by Columbia Records in June 1970.Self Portrait was Dylan's second double album, and features mostly cover versions of well-known pop and folk songs. Also included are a handful of instrumentals and original compositions...

    live on the Isle of Wight.
  • The Isle of Wight is the setting in D. H. Lawrence
    D. H. Lawrence
    David Herbert Richards Lawrence was an English novelist, poet, playwright, essayist, literary critic and painter who published as D. H. Lawrence. His collected works represent an extended reflection upon the dehumanising effects of modernity and industrialisation...

    's book The Trespasser, filmed for TV in 1981 on location.
  • In the 1966 novel Colossus
    Colossus (novel)
    Colossus is a science fiction novel by British author Dennis Feltham Jones, about super-computers assuming control of man. Two sequels, The Fall of Colossus and Colossus and the Crab continued the story...

    , the entire island is selected for the development of a new base by the supercomputer, Colossus.
  • The Isle of Wight is the setting of Graham Masterton
    Graham Masterton
    Graham Masterton is a British horror author. Originally editor of Mayfair and the British edition of Penthouse, Graham Masterton's first novel The Manitou was released in 1976. This novel was adapted in 1978 for the film The Manitou...

    's book Prey.
  • Parts of Frágiles (Fragile: A Ghost Story), a 2005 movie starring Calista Flockhart
    Calista Flockhart
    Calista Kay Flockhart is an American actress who is primarily recognized for her work in television. She is best known for playing the title character in the Fox comedy-drama series Ally McBeal for which she won a Golden Globe Award...

    , were filmed on the island.
  • Mrs. Brown
    Mrs. Brown
    Mrs. Brown is a 1997 British drama film starring Judi Dench, Billy Connolly, Geoffrey Palmer, Antony Sher and Gerard Butler...

    - 1997 - with Dame Judi Dench and Billy Connolly was filmed at Osborne and Chale.
  • The film That'll be the Day - 1973 - with David Essex was filmed on the Island including scenes shot in Ryde and Shanklin.
  • Something to Hide - 1972 - (US title Shattered) starring Peter Finch was filmed near Cowes. There is also a scene on the Red Funnel ferry.
  • Karl Marx
    Karl Marx
    Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

     visited the Isle of Wight on numerous occasions while he was writing The Communist Manifesto
    The Communist Manifesto
    The Communist Manifesto, originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party is a short 1848 publication written by the German Marxist political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the...

    .
  • The Commodore 64
    Commodore 64
    The Commodore 64 is an 8-bit home computer introduced by Commodore International in January 1982.Volume production started in the spring of 1982, with machines being released on to the market in August at a price of US$595...

     game 'Spirit of the Stones' by John Worsley was set on the Isle of Wight.
  • In the radio panel game
    Panel game
    A panel game or panel show is a radio or television game show in which a panel of celebrities participates. Panelists may compete with each other, such as on The News Quiz; facilitate play by guest contestants, such as on Match Game/Blankety Blank; or do both, such as on Wait Wait.....

     Genius
    Genius (radio series)
    Genius is a BBC Radio 4 comedy gameshow presented by comedian Dave Gorman. Listeners send in 'genius' ideas which are considered by Gorman and a guest before a studio audience, with a different guest for each show...

    , someone proposed that to increase Isle of Wight tourism, it should be made symmetrical
    Symmetry
    Symmetry generally conveys two primary meanings. The first is an imprecise sense of harmonious or aesthetically pleasing proportionality and balance; such that it reflects beauty or perfection...

    , even though it would involve destroying Ventnor.
  • In the Blackadder II episode "Potato", Blackadder's plot to sail to France is thwarted when it turns out that the captain of his ship is completely incompetent at navigation. Because of this, every expedition the captain had organised so far had been limited to "sailing around the Isle of Wight until everyone gets dizzy", and then sailing back home to Southampton.
  • The song "Island in the Rain", by The Men They Couldn't Hang
    The Men They Couldn't Hang
    The Men They Couldn't Hang are a British folk punk group. The original group consisted of Stefan Cush , Paul Simmonds , Philip "Swill" Odgers , Jon Odgers and Shanne Bradley .- Controversy and success:Their first single, "The Green Fields...

     is about the Isle of Wight.
  • In S.M. Stirling's novel The Protector's War
    The Protector's War
    The Protector's War is a 2005 alternate history, post-apocalyptic, science fiction novel written by S.M. Stirling and is the second novel in the Emberverse series. The Protector's War describes the events of roughly a year, some eight years after the Change which altered the laws of physics in...

    , in which all high energy technology ceased to function, the Isle of Wight became the refuge of the British monarchy and government. After the holocaust that followed, the island was the base for re-population of England and the European mainland whose populations had perished except for cannibals and savages.
  • Setting of Jane Feather's novel, "The Least Likely Bride."
  • The island is featured as the location of Vectis Abbey in Glenn Cooper's novels Library of the Dead and Book of Souls.

See also

  • List of Lord Lieutenants of the Isle of Wight
    Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight
    This is a list of people who have served as Lord Lieutenant of the Isle of Wight:*1 April 1974 – 1979: Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma *1980–1985: Sir John Nicholson, 2nd Baronet...

  • List of High Sheriffs of the Isle of Wight
    High Sheriff of the Isle of Wight
    -Roll of High Sheriffs of the Isle of Wight:*1974-75 Lieut.-Colonel Claude Richard Henry Kindersley, D.S.O.,M.C., of Hamstead Grange, Yarmouth.*1975-76 Rear-Admiral Joseph Leslie Blackham, C.B.,of " Downedge ", The Mall, Brading, Sandown....

  • Isle of Wight gasification facility
    Isle of Wight gasification facility
    The Isle of Wight gasification facility is a municipal waste treatment plant in southern England. It entered the commissioning phase in autumn 2008...

  • Isle of Wight Rifles
  • List of civil parishes on the Isle of Wight
  • List of places on the Isle of Wight
  • Yaverland Battery
    Yaverland Battery
    Yaverland Battery is a battery located in Yaverland on the Isle of Wight, United Kingdom.The battery was completed in 1863 and was one of numerous forts built along the English coastline to protect England from an anticipated French invasion, under direction of Prime Minister Lord Palmerston...

  • Wight, one of the sea areas of the British Shipping Forecast
    Shipping Forecast
    The Shipping Forecast is a four-times-daily BBC Radio broadcast of weather reports and forecasts for the seas around the coasts of the British Isles. It is produced by the Met Office and broadcast by BBC Radio 4 on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency. The forecasts sent over the Navtex...

    , named after the island.

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