Isle of Wight - Island beach holidays

Self-catering holiday cottages on The Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight, situated in the English Channel off the coast of Hampshire near Portsmouth, is itself a county and has been a popular holiday destination for over 150 years. Because of its location, it has a maritime tradition stretching back even further and is world-renown for the manufacture of boats and maritime equipment of all descriptions, including hovercrafts, flying boats and even space rockets.

Because of its popularity as a destination, there is plenty of accommodation throughout the island, your only choice being on whether you want to be central for walking, cycling, dog-walking or shopping. There are plenty of self catering cottages of all sizes and descriptions, and you will never be too far away (at worst, “comfortably far away”) from shops for provisions or a restaurant or two giving you a break from cooking duties.

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The Isle of Wight - thing to do on an Island holiday

Maritime tradition aside, the Isle is also known for its fabulous cliffs and quarries, wonderful wildlife (one of the few places in England to have no grey squirrels and where the native and rare British red squirrels actually flourish) and possibly the best dinosaur fossils in Europe. Its climate is slightly more temperate, being milder, sunnier, sees virtually no snow and much less frost than the mainland - perfect for a vacation year round.

There is a very old Victorian joke that says the locals didn’t like boats because they preferred Cowes to Ryde (two towns on the island), the former being the island’s international sailing centre, the latter, the largest town on the island and the record-holder for the oldest se pier in England. For those seeking a dose of serious retail therapy, Newport followed by Ryde are the island’s main formal shopping areas. Cowes is famous for the world-famous Cowes Week (sailing and boating), while the town of Sandown is popular as home of the Dinosaur Museum, the Isle of Wight Zoo and one of the Isle of Wight’s two 10-hole golf courses. Ventnor, to the south, sits above the highly-popular Ventnor Bay and harbour. Meanwhile the town of Shanklin pulls in the people to its sandy beaches because of its higher-than-mainland England levels of sunshine.