There’s something a bit mysterious about the Isle of Wight – at least, to anyone who’s never been there! Just off the Southern mainland from England, it’s a popular holiday destination and community with incredible history behind it. But what are some truly interesting Isle of Wight facts? Let’s take a look.
1. The Isle of Wight is… haunted.
You’ll likely hear all sorts of ghost stories about the Isle of Wight. In fact, some claim it to be the most haunted island on the planet. There seems to be more ghost and spectre sightings on this one little island than anywhere else floating in the ocean.
2. The Isle of Wight was a royal holiday spot.
Queen Victoria used to summer on the Isle of Wight, and as such, her holiday home still stands. It’s Osbourne House, which you’ll find to the East of Cowes. In fact, it was where the Queen passed away. It’s now in the control of English heritage staff.
3. The Isle of Wight’s county status changes every day.
When the tide comes in, the Isle of Wight is officially the smallest county in England.
4. It’s home to hovercraft mania.
The island has a thing about hovercraft – it’s the only place you’ll find a commercial vehicle of the kind, and it’s actually where Sir Christopher Cockerell invented the machine.
5. The music scene is enormous.
The Isle of Wight is home to an internationally famous music festival. It’s probably most famous for playing to hundreds of thousands in the early 1970s, thanks to a certain rocker called Jimi Hendrix.
6. The Needles Lighthouse was a long runner.
Built in 1859, The Needles Lighthouse is without doubt one of the most famous landmarks on the island, and until 8th December 1994, it was one the last manned lighthouses in Britain.
7. There are rare animals on the Isle of Wight.
Did you know, the Isle of Wight is one of the only places in England that Red Squirrels still thrive? It’s said that the Solent acts as a natural barrier as grey squirrels aren’t that good at swimming!
8. The Ryde pier is truly old.
The Isle of Wight is home to the oldest pier in the UK. The pier in question is Ryde Pier, and it’s of Victorian construction.
9. …so is a certain phone box!
Phone boxes are quickly fading from our high streets. However, one we really hope doesn’t go any time soon is the one in Bembridge, Isle of Wight. That’s because it’s the oldest phone box in the country! Sources say it’s so old it won’t accept modern currency.
10. The Isle of Wight is a tourist hotspot.
More people visit the Isle of Wight than actually reside there – to an incredible extent. According to statistics, around 140,000 people live on the island at last count – compare that to the two million people who are likely to holiday there on average!
11. It has radio heritage.
The Isle of Wight is also home to the first-ever radio. It was Guglielmo Marconi who first set up the world’s first wireless, near to the famous Needles in 1896.
12. There’s nowhere brighter in Britain!
The Isle of Wight is the sunniest spot in the UK. If you really want to get the best of the British summer, be sure to soak up one or two of the 2,000 hours of pure sunshine the island gets each year!
13. The Isle of Wight is dinosaur country.
The IOW is also rich in dinosaur fossils. It’s thought that around 20 specific breeds of dinosaur once roamed the island, and there are still footprints visible on some of the beaches!
14. The attractions here are ancient!
The Isle of Wight is also home to the oldest theme park in the UK. Blackgang Chine has been welcoming visitors for nearly 200 years – and to this day, it still strives to keep some of its 19th century charm! Who needs Alton Towers?
15. Fancy a hovercraft ride?
The only passenger hovercraft service in Western Europe operates between Portsmouth and Ryde. The journey takes just 10 minutes, making it the fastest way to cross the Solent and visit the Isle of Wight.
Do you know any fun facts about the Isle of Wight? Share them in the comments below!