Join in the “Bear Hunt” on the Isle of Wight
Visitors to the Isle of Wight will be able to take part in a very special ‘Isle of Wight Bear Hunt’ in 2018. Based on the original children’s book We’re going on a Bear Hunt, the newly formed partnership with Walker Books will see Bear Hunt adventure weekends at National Trust and other popular locations highlighting similarities between the locations in the story and places on the Island. Each adventure weekend will feature nature-themed activities to introduce young children to wildlife around them as they hunt for hidden bears across meadows, woods and sandy beaches. A grand finale Bear Hunt will coincide with the Isle of Wight Literary Festival in October. There are also plans for a new Bear Hunt adventure trail and guide. The newly formed partnership with Walker Books is aimed squarely at attracting more families to the Island in 2018 and is a key element of the Island’s Year of Family Adventures, which has been created to coincide with the 175th anniversary of Blackgang Chine.
Bed and breakfast – in a tree
Goodleaf on the Isle of Wight will be unveiling a new tree top experience in April/May, 2018. Taking place in the grounds of historic Jacobean manor house Northcourt, in Shorwell, Goodleaf Tree Climbing will offer Tree Top Camping for the very first time on the Isle of Wight. Sleeping in special ‘Tree Boats’ imported from the USA, climbers will learn the ropes with recreational tree climbing experts Goodleaf, before spending the night sleeping high in the canopy of a beautiful 15 metre beech tree in this beautiful location deep in the rural heart of the Island. Supper can be taken at the local pub The Crown Inn in Shorwell before ascending into the canopy, relaxing and enjoying a bird’s eye view from your “bed for the night”. Breakfast will be delivered to you in your hammock by the instructor. The cost is £350 per person; £450 for two people; and £550 for three. There will be a maximum of ten overnight camps a year. https://www.goodleaf.co.uk
Celebrating 175 years of magic
Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, the oldest theme park in the UK and one of the most iconic tourist destinations, will celebrate its 175th anniversary in 2018. Numerous events will be taking place throughout the year that befits this magical, wacky, wonderful theme park. Blackgang Chine was founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843 when all that stood here was the Chine itself – a spectacular gorge that cut some 500-feet, deep into the cliff face. The Victorians travelled from far and wide to experience its breathtaking views; and the very first ‘attraction’ was the skeleton of a whale which had been washed up onto the beach – and is still on display at Blackgang Chine today. (Blackgang Chine received the royal seal of approval when Queen Victoria visited in August 1853 to see the whale skeleton). The park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell, (the current owner’s great, great, grand-father) and the magic has only grown over the years. Blackgang Chine is now filled with an eclectic mix of attractions, theme worlds and rides – offering something for all the family and the generations of families who continue to visit year after year. https://blackgangchine.com
Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography
Julia Margaret Cameron – one of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, and a member of a Freshwater Circle of glittering literati on the Isle of Wight – was the subject of an exhibition at Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in 2014, and featured in special exhibitions at the V&A in London to mark the 200th anniversary of her birth in 2015. She will be in the headlines again in 2018 when Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography (is staged at the National Portrait Gallery in London, from March 1 to May 20. This major new exhibition brings together the works of four giants of Victorian photography, Lewis Carroll (1832–98), Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–79), Oscar Rejlander (1813–75) and Clementina Hawarden (1822-65). Dimbola Lodge at Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight, was the home and workplace of celebrated Victorian photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. It is now a Museum and Gallery dedicated to her life and work, as well as a showcase for contemporary exhibitions from photographers around the globe. Dimbola Lodge has also been called the best kept secret on the Isle of Wight. http://www.dimbola.co.uk
50 years of a Music Festival on the Isle of Wight
2018 will mark 50 years of an Isle of Wight Festival on the Island. It’s the 50th anniversary of the first Music Festival on the Isle of Wight. “The Great South Coast Bankholiday Pop Festivity” took place on August 31 and September 1 at Hell Field, Ford Farm, near Godshill in 1968; and was followed in 1969 by the Wootton Festival with Bob Dylan, and in 1970 at the Afton Festival (site of Dimbola Museum & Galleries) with Jimi Hendrix. http://isleofwightfestival.com
Tiny Homes Holidays
Opened towards the end of 2017, Tiny Homes Holidays is a new, ethical way to holiday on the Isle of Wight. Tiny Homes are all about downsizing your space and upsizing your free time – and living simply in a smallholding environment adjacent to Parkhurst Forest with its walking trails, cycle routes and wildlife galore (including the Isle of Wight’s famous red squirrels). Another new trend being introduced here, thanks to the construction of a small studio is #studycations. http://www.tinyhomesholidays.com/
Isle of Wight Literary Heroes Trail
Following hard on the heels of the launch of its Victoria’s Island Trail to celebrate the appearance of the Victoria & Abdul movie in cinemas worldwide, Visit Isle of Wight has published a new Literary Heroes Trail which visitors to the Island can follow all-year-round. One of the highlights of the Literary Heroes Trail is the newly re-opened Farringford in Freshwater, where the renowned poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson once lived (https://farringford.co.uk). The dramatic Gothic house has been the subject of a meticulous five-year restoration project, and is decorated in a late 19th Century style that reflects Tennyson’s tastes and interests. The grounds have also been returned to their authentic Tennyson-era appearance, complete with a walled kitchen garden. Other key locations on the Trail include the sailing village of Seaview, where author Enid Blyton was a regular visitor; and the traditional seaside resort of Ventnor, where Charles Dickens rented Winterbourne in Bonchurch – describing it to his wife as, “The prettiest place I ever saw in my life.” Author Lynne Truss – herself, a regular visitor to the Island – edited the new Literary Heroes Trail leaflet. “I’m not the first writer to be inspired by this jewel of an island,” she says. “Writers have breathed the air here, walked the cliffs and gazed at the glittering sea – and then dashed home to put pen to paper.” The trail also reveals some of its own, home-grown talent, including Oscar winning screenwriter Anthony Minghella who wrote The English Patient. https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/inspiration/literary-heroes-trail
Isle of Wight to host UK Pride in 2018
The Isle of Wight will host the next UK Pride, on July 21, just one year after the Island’s first ever Pride event. This fun, inclusive and welcoming event for the whole family will be held in the seaside town of Ryde. It provides the perfect excuse to celebrate the LGBT community, raise awareness and enjoy a long weekend enjoying the beaches, fresh locally sourced food and live music down by the sea. At the heart of the event is a colourful parade through the Victorian seaside town with information stalls, art opportunities and a party on the beach.
Two-night electric-bike sightseeing package launched on the Isle of Wight, from £139pp
The Seaview Hotel on the Isle of Wight, in partnership with the Island’s Drive Less See More campaign will be offering a special two-night break in 2018, which includes the use of electric-bikes during the stay. Electric bikes are a great way to exercise, but the extra help from their electric motors make life that little easier when the landscape starts to undulate. The cost of a two-night package is £139 per person and will include a return Wightlink FastCat crossing to Ryde Station; accommodation in a standard room; the use of Axcess 2 Camargue step-through e-bikes; and full English breakfast both mornings.
Osborne House marks WWI centenary with a ‘battlefield to butterflies’ installation
The walled garden at Osborne House will bloom with a ‘battlefield to butterflies’ installation this May, to commemorate Britain’s parks, gardens and grounds staff who died in the First World War. Wildflowers, including poppies and cornflowers, will blossom among barbed wire at the acre garden. During WWI Osborne House became a convalescent home for military casualties including A.A Milne of Winnie The Pooh fame and novelist Robert Graves. They would have walked in the walled garden to aid their recovery. The Osborne project is part of a nationwide commemorative programme initiated by the Royal Parks Guild.
For all tourist information about the Isle of Wight, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.