One of England’s largest and most famous islands, the Isle of Wight has been a popular holiday destination since Victorian times, and draws huge crowds to its annual summer music festivals – the Isle of Wight Festival and Bestival. Aptly nicknamed “England in Miniature,” the small island is undeniably photogenic and boasts an incredible variety of scenery, including dramatic coastal cliffs, sandy beaches, verdant farmlands and some of the world’s most impressive dinosaur fossil sites.
Just 40 km in length, getting around the Isle of Wight is easy and despite its small size, there are plenty of attractions to fill up your itinerary. Start with a visit to the legendary Carisbrooke Castle, which dates back to the 15th-century and once imprisoned King Charles I; the magnificent Osborne House, the former holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert; and the elegant Ventnor Botanic Gardens, then go hiking, cycling or horseback riding along the coast; ride the island's nostalgic steam railway or dip your toes in the multi-colored sands of Alum Bay.
The Isle of Wight is located less than 10 km off the south coast of England and can be reached by regular ferries from Lymington, Southampton and Portsmouth.