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It's just a short ferry ride across the Solent from the mainland and you'll end up in the Isle of Wight. Ferries to the Isle of Wight tend to depart from Southampton or Portsmouth and the crossing usually takes approximately an hour before you arrive in the Isle of Wight. Although only a small island, it packs a mighty punch in terms of what it offers visitors to see and do on their holiday here.
The Isle of Wight is said to be Britain's sunniest spot and has long been favoured as the perfect holiday getaway. The resorts on the island hold the traditional British seaside feel combining amusements with a multitude of activities to take part in. The two most popular holiday resorts on the Isle of Wight are Sandown and Shanklin.
Sandown is famous for its wonderful beaches with over 5 miles to explore and awarded with the Blue Flag for cleanliness. When in Sandown you should visit the Pier as there are a variety of amusements to keep the whole family entertained including a funfair. If you happen to be staying in either Shanklin or Sandown, you can get to the other quite easily with a casual stroll along the beach – weather permitting. Add a bit of fun and walk in the surf if it's a nice sunny day! Sandown Isle of Wight is home to the highest collection of dinosaur fossils compared to anywhere else in the world which is why it has been referred to as 'Dinosaur Island'.
Shanklin is another one of those traditional seaside resorts but if you tear yourself away from the stunning coastline, you will come across the tiny Old Village filled with quaint thatched cottages, many housing traditional tea rooms or souvenir shops. Rylstone Gardens provide a beautiful spot to sit back and watch the world go by or you can take in the entertainment provided on the Bandstand. Shanklin Chine should also be visited, a gorge that contains a variety of rare plants and a beautiful waterfall. The Shanklin Esplanade is the perfect place to keep the whole family entertained with its array of seaside games, amusements and cafes.
There are many other places on the Isle of Wight that should be visited during your holiday here. Cowes is a mecca for sailing enthusiasts as it has an extensive maritime history and is the setting for the famous 'Round The Island Boat Race'. Discover the Island's Royal connections with a visit to Osborne House in East Cowes, the seaside home of Queen Victoria and her family. Newport, in particular Seaclose Park, is a favourite among music lovers as this is where the Isle of Wight Festival takes place attracting thousands of visitors from across the UK. Ventnor is home to one of the island's best theme parks Blackgang Chine which features rides and attractions to suit the whole family. Discover the quintessential English Village of Godshill located between Newport and Shanklin. Godshill is famous for its Model Village which depicts the entire area in miniature and is home to a 15th century church which is among the top 10 most visited churches in the UK. Take a ride on the iconic chairlift in Alum Bay where you can visit The Needles and make souvenirs out of the coloured sand.
As you can see, although the Isle of Wight is a small diamond isle, you'll never run out of things to do and it doesn't matter if the weather is changeable as the island will keep you entertained and coming back for more!
Isle of Wight tours start from £110 per person and tend to include; return coach travel (unless self-drive), hotel accommodation in a good standard hotel, meals and a variety of included or optional excursions so you can really see the best of the resort you're visiting.
To help you have an enjoyable holiday in the Isle of Wight, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
British Citizens are advised by some of our tour operators to have travel insurance before going on a tour or holiday, even if it happens to be in your country of residence. As a British citizen, you will be entitled to free emergency health care on the NHS.
If you are visiting England from outside the United Kingdom and fall ill or are involved in an accident and are from any member of the European Economic Area or Switzerland, you can obtain free or reduced cost treatment with The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Comprehensive travel insurance is advised for all other nationals planning on visiting England.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in England simply dial 999 or 112 to ask for an ambulance.
Most destinations are generally trouble-free, however as with all places that you are not familiar with, keep an eye on your belongings and if necessary lock them away somewhere safe back at your hotel if possible. Keep an eye on everyone in your party and do not go off with people you do not know. Buy your own drinks and keep sight of them at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and don't venture off on your own.
Local Laws and Customs
Queuing is a British Institution - jump a queue at your own risk!
Drug offences will carry penalties in the UK, so avoid getting involved with anything whilst in England. Please note the narcotic plant Khat/Qat is legal in the UK, but is not in a majority of other countries so never try to export this when leaving the UK.
If you are visiting from outside of the United Kingdom, it is wise to check customs requirements before you travel. If you are planning to bring alcohol, tobacco or souvenirs into the country, you need to be familiar with the UK's custom laws. For those people coming to the UK from the EU, you are allowed to bring an unlimited amount of most goods for your own use without paying tax or duty.
However, if you are travelling to the UK from outside of the EU, you are given an allowance of how much alcohol, tobacco, perfume, souvenirs and other goods. If you go above this allowance you may have to pay tax or duty. It is worth checking the HM Revenues and Customs website before you travel.
When travelling between the UK, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man in most cases an official form of identification such as a Driver's License will be ok. However, some airlines will insist you show a passport so check before you travel.
If you are travelling to England from Australia, Canada or the USA, you must have a valid passport for at least three months beyond the length of your stay. EU nationals need to have either a valid passport or identity card.
Visas for the UK are not required by those travelling from Australia, Canada, USA or EU for stays of up to six months.
Any other nationality looking to visit the UK must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
For further information on the Isle of Wight you can visit the official tourism website as visitisleofwight.co.uk
It may be a tiny island resting in The Solent but there is no end to the things you can do to keep everyone amused during your break here. Let us inspire you whilst you're planning your holiday to the Isle of Wight:
Alum Bay and The Needles
Found on the west coast of the Island, Alum Bay is a remarkable geological phenomenon made up of sandstone cliffs, richly coloured with different minerals. From Alum Bay, you will be able to view The Needles, three chalk monoliths stretching out into the sea. The lighthouse constructed in 1859 is still in use today, warning ships in low visibility.
Queen Victoria chose Osborne House for her country retreat and during her reign, the Family spent many holidays based on the Isle of Wight. The richly decorated interior of the property gives a real insight into the grandeur of private life of the Royal Family during the 19th Century.
Isle of Wight Steam Railway
The Edwardian and Victorian carriages and locomotives have been lovingly restored and brought back to life. A journey on board will see you pass through 5.5 miles of picturesque countryside, recapturing the journey of the branch line railway.
Ventnor Botanic Gardens
Developed on the site which was formerly the Royal National Chest Hospital, the Ventnor Botanic Gardens extend over 22 acres. Originally opened in 1972, the Gardens take full advantage of the Isle of Wight's micro-climate which allows for a wide variety of species to grow providing a stunning array of plants and flowers to be seen.