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The Isle of Wight is an Englishmarker island and a county, located 3-5 miles (5–8 km) from the south coast of the mainland, in the English Channelmarker. It is separated from mainland Englandmarker by the Solentmarker and is situated south of the county of Hampshire. The island is known for its outstanding natural beauty, its world-famous sailing based at Cowesmarker, and its holiday resorts — which have been popular since Victorian times as a holiday destination.

The island has a rich history, including a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century. It was home to the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and Queen Victoria built her much loved summer residence and final home Osborne House at East Cowesmarker. The Island's maritime and industrial history encompasses boat building, sail making, the manufacture of flying boats, the world's first hovercraft and the testing and development of Britain's space rockets. It is home to the Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival, Bestival and the recently-revived Isle of Wight Festival, which, in 1970, was one of the largest rock music events ever held. The island has some exceptional wildlife and is also one of the richest fossil locations for dinosaurs in Europe.

It has in the past been part of Hampshire; however, it became an independent administrative county (although still sharing the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire) in 1890. In 1974 it was reconstituted as a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county with its own Lord Lieutenant and the name was adopted as a postal county. With a single Member of Parliament and 132,731 permanent residents according to the 2001 census, it is also the most populous Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdommarker.

It is easily accessible from Portsmouthmarker by hovercraft. Various regular ferry services operate across the Solent: Southampton to Cowes is 10 miles (16 km), Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier is 5 miles (8 km), Portsmouth Gunwharf to Fishbourne is 7 miles (11 km), and Lymington to Yarmouth is 4 miles (6 km).


Early history

The Isle of Wight is first mentioned in writing in Geography by Claudius Ptolemaeus.

At the end of the Roman Empire the island of Vectis became a Jutish kingdom ruled by King Stuf and his successors until AD 661 when it was invaded by Wulfhere of Merciamarker 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 of Wessexmarker and can be considered to have become part of Wessex. Following the accession of West Saxon kings as kings of all Englandmarker, it then became part of England. The island became part of the shire of Hampshire and was divided into hundreds as was the norm.

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

The island suffered especially from Viking predations. Alfred the Great'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. Carisbrooke Priorymarker and the fort of Carisbrooke Castlemarker 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, to Edward I in 1293.

The Lordship thereafter became a royal appointment, with a brief interruption when Henry de Beauchamp, 1st Duke of Warwick was in 1444 crowned King of the Isle of Wight, with King Henry VI 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.

Henry VIII, who developed the Royal Navy and its permanent base at Portsmouthmarker, fortified the island at Yarmouthmarker, East and West Cowes, and Sandownmarker. Much later, after the Spanish Armada 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 King 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. During 1759 with a planned French invasion imminent, a large force of soldiers was 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 Baymarker. A later French invasion plan involved a landing on the Isle of Wight.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria made Osborne House 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, Charles Dickens (who wrote much of David Copperfield there) and members of European royalty.

During her reign, in 1897, the world's first radio station was set up by Marconi, at the Needlesmarker battery, 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 pipelines to feed fuel to the Normandy landings.

The Needlesmarker battery was used as the site for testing and development of the Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets, subsequently launched from Woomera, Australia.

The Isle of Wight Festival was a very large rock festival that took place near Afton Downmarker, 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 and for the number of attendees reaching, by many estimates, 600,000. The Festival was revived in 2002 and is now an annual event.

Physical geography and wildlife

Isle of Wight Map.
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 of the island, is designated as the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beautymarker. 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 famous chalk downland ridge, running across the whole island and ending in The Needlesmarker stacks — perhaps the most photographed aspect of the Isle of Wight. The highest point on the island is St Boniface Downmarker, at 241 m which is a Marilyn.

The rest of the island 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 flows north into the Solentmarker, whilst the other main river, the River Yarmarker flows roughly north-east, emerging at Bembridgemarker Harbour at the eastern end of the island. Confusingly, there is another entirely separate river at the western end also called the River Yarmarker flowing the short distance from Freshwatermarker Bay to a relatively large estuary at Yarmouthmarker. To distinguish them, they may be referred to as the Eastern and Western Yar.

The south coast of the island borders the English Channelmarker. 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 from the marshy backwaters of the Western Yar east of Freshwater, andat the east end where a thin strip of land separates Sandown Bay from the marshy basin of the Eastern Yar, east of Sandownmarker. 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.

Island wildlife is remarkable, and it is one of the few places in England where the red squirrel is flourishing, with a stable population (Brownsea Islandmarker is another). Unlike most of England, no grey squirrels are to be found on the island, nor are there any wild deer. Instead, rare and protected species such as the dormouse and many rare bats can be found. The Glanville Fritillary butterfly's distribution in the United Kingdommarker is largely restricted to the edges of the crumbling cliffs of the Isle of Wight.

A competition in 2002 named the Pyramidal Orchid as the Isle of Wight's county flower.

The island is known as one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils. The eroding cliffs often reveal previously hidden remains.


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 than most other areas in the UK.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Avg High (°C) 9 9 10 13 16 18 20 21 19 15 12 10
Avg Min (°C) 3 3 4 7 9 12 14 14 12 9 6 4
Mean (°C) 6 6 7 10 13 15 17 17 15 12 9 7
Avg Precip (mm) 89 61 66 48 56 53 41 56 66 79 84 89


The Isle of Wight is made up of a wide variety of different rock types ranging from Early Cretaceous times (around 127 million years ago) to the middle of the Palaeogene (around 30 million years ago). 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, mudstone and sandstone. 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 dinosaurs. Dinosaur bones and footprints can be seen in and on the rocks exposed around the island's beaches, especially at Yaverlandmarker and Compton Baymarker. As a result, the isle has been nicknamed Dinosaur Island.

Along the northern coast of the island there is a rich source of fossilised shellfish, crocodiles, turtles and mammal bones. The youngest of these date back to around 30 million years ago.

The island is mainly made up of Tertiary clays, in most of the northern parts of the island, limestone, upper and lower greensands, wealdenmarker and chalk.


The Isle of Wight is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county. Since the abolition of its two borough councils in 1995 and the restructuring of the county council as the Isle of Wight Council, it has been a unitary county. It also has a single Member of Parliament, and is by far the most populous constituencymarker in the United Kingdom (more than 50% above the average of English constituencies).

As a constituency of the House of Commonsmarker, it is traditionally a battleground between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. The current MP Andrew Turner is a Conservative, and his predecessor Dr Peter Brand was a Liberal Democrat.

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

Main towns

  • Newportmarker, 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, 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.
  • Rydemarker, 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 town with an 800 metre long piermarker 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 which play in the English Premier League.
  • Cowesmarker is the location of Cowes Week every year and a popular international sailing centre. It is also the home of the record-setting sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur.
  • Sandownmarker is another seaside resort, attracting many tourists each year. It is also home to the Isle of Wight Zoomarker and Dinosaur Islemarker geological museum, and one of the island's two 18-hole golf courses.
  • Shanklinmarker just south of Sandown, also attracts tourists, with its sandy beaches, Shanklin Chinemarker and the old village.
  • Ventnormarker is built on the steep slopes of St Boniface Down on the south coast of the island and leads down to a picturesque bay which 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, Godshillmarker) also attract many tourists.


Language and dialect

The Isle of Wight accent is a somewhat stronger than but similar to the traditional dialect of Hampshire, featuring the dropping of some consonants and an emphasis on longer vowels. It is similar to the West Country dialects heard in SW England, but less removed in sound from the Estuary English of the SE. As with many other traditional southern British 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), caulkhead (someone born on the island and born from long-established island stock) and 'somewhen' (a derivative of sometime, with similar meaning). Other words are more obscure and now used mainly for comic emphasis, such as mallishag (meaning "caterpillar") and nammit ("noon-meat", meaning food). Some other words are gurt meaning "great", and gallybagger ("scarecrow").


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. 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. In January 2009 the new Flag of the Isle of Wight, the first general flag for the county, was accepted by the Flag Institute.


Cowesmarker is a world-famous centre for sailing, playing host to several racing regattas. Cowes Week 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 race took place around the island. Other major sailing events hosted in Cowes include the Fastnet race, the Round the Island Race, the Admiral's Cup, and the Commodore's Cup.

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.

The island is home to the Isle of Wight Islanders speedway team, who compete in the sport's third division, the National League. The club was founded in 1996, with a first-night attendance of 1,740. The island is also home to the Wightlink Raiders, an ice hockey team based at Ryde Arena. They compete in the 1st Tier of the English National Ice Hockey League, the 3rd Division in the country. There is also an amateur team the Vectis Tigers of the 2nd Tier English National Ice Hockey League, and four youth teams including the Isle of Wight Wildcats, all based at Ryde Arena.

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 to 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.

The now-disbanded Ryde Sports F.C. was founded in 1888 and became one of the eight founder members of the Hampshire League in 1896. There are several other non-league clubs such as Newport F.C. There is an Isle of Wight Saturday Football League with three divisions, and a rugby union 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.

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, and Ventnor Cricket Club compete in the Southern Premier League, and have won the Second Division in several recent years. There is a new County Groundmarker near Newport which held its first match on 6 September 2008. The Board's intent is to enter a side in the Minor Counties tournaments in future seasons.

The Isle of Wight competes in the biennial Island Games, which it hosted in 1993. The Isle of Wight will host these games again in 2011.


The Isle of Wight is home to the Isle of Wight International Jazz Festival, the Isle of Wight Festival and the Bestival. The Isle of Wight is also the home of the band The Bees. Recently they have been having more national success and often perform at smaller concerts on the island. The band Trixie's Big Red Motorbike (popular in the early-to-mid 1980s) as well as Mark King of Level 42 also came from the Isle of Wight.


This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added by the Isle of Wight economy at current basic prices by the Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of pounds.
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 Kingdommarker and this also favours such crops. Garlic has been successfully grown in Newchurchmarker for many years, and is even exported to Francemarker. This has led to the establishment of an annual Garlic Festivalmarker at Newchurch, which is one of the largest events of the island's annual calendar. The favourable climate has led to the success of vineyards, including one of the oldest in the British Isles, at Adgestonemarker near Sandownmarker. Lavender 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.

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. Cowesmarker is still home to various small marine-related companies such as boat-builders.

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 a subsidiary of, and known latterly, when manufacturing focus changed, as Westland Aircraft. Prior to its purchase by Westland, it was the independent company known as Saunders-Roe. It remains one of the most notable historic firms, having produced many of the flying boats, and the world's first hovercraft.

The island's major manufacturing activity today is in composite materials, used by boat-builders and the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, which has a wind turbine blade factory and testing facilities in Newportmarker and East Cowesmarker.

Bembridge Airfieldmarker is the home of Britten-Norman, manufacturers of the world-famous Islander and Trislander aircraft. This is shortly to become the site of the European assembly line for Cirrus light aircraft. The Norman Aeroplane Company is a smaller aircraft manufacturing company operating in Sandownmarker. There are have been 3 other aircraft manufacturers that built planes on the island.

In 2005, Northern Petroleum began exploratory drilling for oil, with its Sandhills-2 borehole at Porchfieldmarker but ceased operations in October that year, after failing to find significant reserves.


There are three breweries on the island. Goddards Brewery in Rydemarker 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 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 Ventnormarker.. 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. 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 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 Rydemarker and a "chain pier" at Seaviewmarker. The Victoria Pier in Cowes succeeded the earlier Royal Pier but was itself removed in 1960. The piers at Ryde, Seaviewmarker, Sandownmarker, Shanklinmarker and Ventnormarker originally served a coastal steamer service that operated from Southsea on the mainland. The piers at Seaview, Shanklin, Ventnor and Alum Baymarker were all destroyed by storms during the last century. Today only the railway pier at Ryde and the piers at Sandown, Totland Baymarker (currently closed to the public) and Yarmouth survive. Blackgang Chine 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 Kingdommarker and an annual walking festival has attracted considerable interest. The 108 km Isle of Wight Coastal Pathmarker 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.


A map of the island from 1945
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 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 and Red Funnel as well as a hovercraft operated by Hovertravel. Fixed links, in the forms of tunnels or bridges, have been proposed.

The island formerly had its own railway network of over 88 km, but only one line remains in regular use. The Island Line is part of the United Kingdom's National Rail network, running a little under 14 kilometres from Ryde to Shanklin. The line was opened by the Isle of Wight Railway in 1864, and from 1996 to 2007 was run by the smallest train operating company on the network, Island Line Trains.

There are currently two airfields for general aviation, Isle of Wight Airportmarker at Sandown and Bembridge Airportmarker.

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.

Cycles can be brought to the island by foot passengers on any of the car ferries. Hire cycles are also available.


All the island telephone exchanges are broadband-enabled, although some areas, such as Arretonmarker, have no broadband access. Some urban areas such as Cowesmarker and Newport are also covered by cable lines.

The Isle of Wight's main local newspaper is the Isle of Wight County Press. It discusses local issues and is published each Friday, or on the previous working day if the Friday is a public holiday. In May 2008 the Isle of Wight Gazette was launched as a free newspaper supporting the local Earl Mountbatten Hospice.

The island had a television station called Solent TV from 2002 until its closure on Thursday, 24 May, 2007.

The island has two local commercial radio stations and also falls within the coverage area of a number of local stations on the near mainland. Isle of Wight Radio has broadcast in the medium-wave band since 1990 and on 102 and 107 MHz FM since 1998, as well as streaming on the internet. In 2007, Angel Radio began broadcasting on 91.5 MHz from studios in Cowesmarker. On 1 February 2009, Wight FM began broadcasting as an internet radio station.

An active local websites with coverage of island news is Ventnor Blog.

Emergency Services In Isle of Wight


The geography of the island, and its location near the densely populated south of England, led to it hosting three prisons: Albanymarker, Camp Hillmarker and Parkhurstmarker, all located outside Newport near the main road to Cowes. Albany and Parkhurst were among the few Category A prisons in the UKmarker 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 British Isles and "hosted" many notable inmates, including the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, New Zealand Drug Lord Terry Clark and the Kray twins.

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 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.

These 3 prisons were merged into a single HMP Isle of Wight in April 2009.


There are sixty-nine Local Education Authority-maintained schools on the Isle of Wight, and two independent school. As a rural community, many of these schools are small, with average numbers of pupils lower than in many urban areas. There are currently 46 primary schools, 14 middle schools and five high schools. However, education reforms have lead to plans for closures (for full details on these see Education reforms on the Isle of Wight). There is also the Isle of Wight Collegemarker, which is located on the outskirts of Newport.

The island implements a middle school system.

Famous residents

Over the years, the island has had many well-known visitors. Many come over for health reasons due to the cool sea breeze and clean air. For example, Winston Churchill and Karl Marx were visitors to the island.

Notable residents have included:

Selected places of interest

Notable media references

  • The 1980s pop group Level 42 is from the Isle of Wight.
  • The Northumbrianmarker scholar, Bede, 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' song "When I'm Sixty-Four", written by Paul McCartney, 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's novels in his fictional Wessex.
  • There is a running joke in radio sitcom The Navy Lark involving Sub-Lieutenant Phillips inability to navigate and subsequent "tailing the Isle of Wight ferry".
  • The Isle of Wight is the setting of Julian Barnes's novel England, England.
  • The island also features in John Wyndham's novel The Day of the Triffids and Simon Clark's sequel to it, The Night of the Triffids.
  • In the radio series Nebulous, 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 recorded the songs "Like a Rolling Stone", "Quinn the Eskimo ", "Minstrel Boy", and "She Belongs to Me" for the album Self Portrait live on the Isle of Wight.
  • The Isle of Wight is the setting in D. H. Lawrence's book The Trespasser, filmed for TV in 1981 on location.
  • In the 1966 novel Colossus, 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's book Prey.
  • Parts of Frágiles (Fragile: A Ghost Story), a 2005 movie starring Calista Flockhart, were filmed on the island.
  • Karl Marx visited the Isle of Wight on numerous occasions while he was writing The Communist Manifesto.
  • The Commodore 64 game 'Spirit of the Stones' by John Worsley was set on the Isle of Wight.
  • In the radio panel game Genius, someone proposed that in order to increase tourism to the Isle of Wight, it should be made symmetrical, even though it would involve destroying Ventnor. The idea was rejected.
  • In the Blackadder II episode "Potato", Blackadders plot to sail to France is thwarted when it turns out that the captain of his ship is completely incompetent at navigation, and that 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 is about the Isle of Wight.

See also


  1. Isle of Wight Festival history
  2. Saxon Graves at Shalfleet, Isle of Wight History Centre, August, 2005
  3. England, A Narrative History, Peter N. Williams
  4. The English Accept Christianity, The Story of England, Samuel B. Harding
  5. William Camden, Britain, or, a Chorographicall Description of the most flourishing Kingdomes, England, Scotland, and Ireland (London, 1610)
  6. Longmate, Norman. Island Fortress: The Defence of Great Britain, 1603-1945. London, 2001. p.186-88
  7. Connected Earth: The origins of radio
  8. Movies
  9. Operation Squirrel
  10. Plantlife: County flowers
  11. Isle of Wight Climate Statistics
  12. Isle of Wight Council, 2009. Local election results.
  13. Example story in the Telegraph 16 Jan 2008 showing confusion between the Isle of Wight and Hampshire
  14. Flag institute
  15. Skandia Cowes Week 2008 - Welcome
  16. JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race
  17. Rolex Commodores' Cup - Home
  18. Isle Of Wight Marathon Race
  19. The Isle has produced several high profile players including Kevin "The Hitman" Broderick, now playing for a local Sunday side. Isle Of Wight Rugby Football Club
  21. Isle of Wight County Cricket Ground | Isle of Wight Cricket Board
  22. Southern Premier Cricket League - Construction work underway on new island county ground
  23. Newclose: Cricket Scoreboard Arrives | Isle of Wight News:Ventnor Blog
  24. published (pp.240–253)
  25. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
  26. includes hunting and forestry
  27. includes energy and construction
  28. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  29. English Wine - Wine for Sale - Vineyard Tours, Isle of Wight
  30. Isle of Wight lavender farm, lavender products, lavender plants, teas
  31. A list of aircraft and airplane manufacturers as well as airfields on the Isle of Wight
  32. about us
  33. Yates' Brewery
  34. Ventnor Brewery:: Since 1840
  35. A website with Isle of Wight statistics for investors
  36. Isle of Wight walking holidays - Wight Walks
  38. arrival of Christianity
  39. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club band
  40. The Lost Talismans of Spirit of the Stones

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