The Needles - a famous outcrop of chalk stacks with a lighthouse.

15 Wonderful Facts about the Isle of Wight

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 fun facts about the Isle of Wight?  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’s county status changes every day.

When the tide comes in, the Isle of Wight is officially the smallest county in England.

3.    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.

An astounding 8,000 competitors have been known to participate in the world famous races.

Osbourne House, Cowes. Queen Victoria’s holiday home.

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.    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.

8.    …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.

9.    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!

a red squirrel sat on a log, eating.

Red squirrels can still be spotted on the Island

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!

an old map of the Isle of Wight

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.

a hovercraft on the sea, going towards the Isle of Wight, England

The Portsmouth to Ryde hovercraft service

FAQs about The Isle of Wight

Which ferry companies operate to Isle of Wight from the south coast of UK?

Three main ferry companies operate services to and from the Isle of Wight. They are Hover Travel, Wightlink Ferries and Red Funnel Ferries.

Who won the 2021 Cowes Yacht Race?

Giles Peckham captained his boat ‘Daring Dauntless’, to secure another magnificent win - he broke a record having achieved a total of five wins so far.

How many compete in the Cowes Yacht Races?

An astounding 8,000 competitors have been known to participate in the world famous races.

Do you know any fun facts about the Isle of Wight?  Share them in the comments below!

Are you interesting in finding out more about Britain’s islands? Check out these facts about The Scilly Isles.

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This page was last modified on October 8, 2021. Suggest an edit

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