Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a highly historic and culturally rich island situated off the southern coast of England. The Isle of Wight has been a vacation destination since the Victorian era, boasting such esteemed residents as Queen Victoria and Alfred Lord Tennyson. The Isle of Wight was popular even in prehistoric times, as evidenced by a massive deposit of dinosaur bones and other fossils throughout the island. The Isle of Wight covers a total area of one hundred and forty eight square miles, and has a population of just over one hundred and forty thousand residents. The earliest recorded histories indicate that the Isle of Wight was ruled by the Romans and Jutes before it was converted to Christianity and united with the rest of England during the Norman Conquest. In terms of geography and scenery, the Isle of Wight is often referred to as “England in Miniature.” The island has a considerable amount of agricultural land and coastline, creating a picturesque and beautiful landscape. This beauty has been memorialized by the western half of the island’s title of the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
The Isle of Wight’s geographic features and extraordinary biodiversity are arguably unparalleled throughout the entirety of the United Kingdom. The island is home to the red squirrel, which is rapidly vanishing in other parts of the country. Other notable flora and fauna on the Isle of Wight include the Glaville Fritillary butterfly and the Pyramidal Orchid. The island has a more mild climate that much of the United Kingdom, with a low winter temperature averaging around thirty degrees and a typical summer day clocking in around sixty five degrees. The largest town on the Isle of Wight, Ryde, has a population of about thirty thousand residents, and is notable for its Victorian architecture, the Ryde Carnival, and a number of sports club. Some of the island’s best shopping is found in the central town of Newport, while the town of Comes is a worldwide sailing destination. The towns of Sanddown, Shanklin and Ventnor are popular among tourists for their golf courses, beautiful bays, and lovely sand beaches.
The Isle of Wight is home to one of the best known and longest running marathons in the nation, the Isle of Wight Marathon, as well as a number of sports teams such as the Isle of Wight Islanders speedway team, the Isle of Wight Hockey Club, and the Wightlight Raiders. The island regularly hosts number of concerts, including the Bestival and the Isle of Wight Festival. Although island depends heavily on the tourist industry to fuel its economy, the Isle of Wight also has a strong agricultural sector, focusing on dairy, sheep, tomatoes, cucumbers, and garlic. The Isle of Wight has its own vineyards and breweries, along with considerable fields of lavender. There are more than two and a half million visitors to the Isle of Wight in a typical year, drawn by a number of beaches, resorts, and the island’s scenery. Some well known attractions and tourist destinations include the Amazon World zoo, Dinosaur Isle, Fort Victoria, The Needles, and Carisbrooke Castle.