Tourism in the Isle of Wight- what you need to know for your trip
20th January, 2023
Tourism in the Isle of Wight is big business and it is no surprise why that the Isle of Wight is becoming such a popular destination in recent years, with its stunning beaches and amazing natural scenery. Whether you’re booking a holiday or staying for a daytrip, here I will break down everything about tourism in the Isle of Wight, from the prettiest places to a packing list. Keep reading to find out more…
- Tourism in the Isle of Wight
- What is the Isle of Wight famous for?
- Why is tourism in the Isle of Wight so popular?
- How much is tourism worth on the Isle of Wight?
- Sustainable tourism in the Isle of Wight
- The best Isle of Wight tourist attractions
- What is the prettiest place on the Isle of Wight?
- The best accommodation in the Isle of Wight
- Tourism in the Isle of Wight packing list
- Tourism in the Isle of Wight- further reading
Tourism in the Isle of Wight
Tourism in the Isle of Wight has been on the rise over the past decade. Why exactly? Well, the island is becoming more centred around visitors and is supplying directly to tourists by regenerating seaside areas, including more information points, as well as providing better services to attract visitors at off peak times.
Tourism in the Isle of Wight amounts to roughly 2.6 million visitors a year, compared to its small resident number of 132,000, which is approximately 19 times smaller than the amount of tourists who visit a year! This represents the huge scale of tourism in the Isle of Wight, as well as seeing rises from 2018 of 5% in visitor numbers.
The promotional provider ‘Visit Isle of Wight’ had 1,604,702 users in 2021, which was higher than any other year on record! This goes to show that tourism in the Isle of Wight is increasing, as well as gaining interest in recent years. This is represented in the graph below.
What is the Isle of Wight famous for?
The Isle of Wight is famous for its stunning coastal paths, areas of natural beauty and its historic value. It’s a host and home to many famous attractions such as Osborne house, Blackgang Chine, The Isle of Wight Festival and The Needles. It’s set apart from the the rest of the UK with its own unique maritime climate, as well as being home to the endangered red squirrel! Some claim that this is one of the most romantic locations in the UK too!
Why is tourism in the Isle of Wight so popular?
Tourism in the Isle of Wight is so popular because of the diversity it has from the rest of the UK. The beautiful scenic views place the Isle of Wight at the second most instagrammable location in the UK when it comes to the hashtag ‘AONBs’ – ‘Areas of outstanding natural beauty‘. This highlights that the appearance of the Isle of Wight plays a big role in its popularity, especially with ‘Insta tourism‘ on the rise due to influencers showcasing their new and exciting destinations.
Aside from the appearance, it’s also filled with visitor attractions that are heavily geared towards tourists. Events like ‘Cowes week’ and ‘The Isle of Wight festival’ bring many tourists over because of the change of atmosphere and location. The Isle of Wight is also filled with quiet seaside towns as opposed to big cities, which can be refreshing for tourists.
How much is tourism worth on the Isle of Wight?
Tourism in the Isle of Wight is worth over half a billion pounds, this means the impact of tourism is fundamental to the economy. As well as this, tourism spend in the Isle of Wight amounts to roughly £280 million! The sheer amount of visitors has a huge effect on the Isle of Wight’s revenue. Taking into account the length of their stay, accommodation, and leisure spending, then it makes sense as to why the Island makes so much money as a result of tourism. As well as this, the amount of tourism spend has nearly doubled from day visitors since 2018, which is looking positive for the islands tourism industry in future. You can learn more about the Tourism Development Plan here.
Sustainable tourism in the Isle of Wight
Sustainable tourism is the most important factor in the growth of travel because it is in control of ensuring the protection of our present, but more significantly, the future of our environment. If we continue to holiday in the way we have been, tourism simply won’t survive. It is important to be aware of, so make sure to find ways you can help out in making your travel choices safer and more environmentally friendly, because we have to act now or never.
Sustainability acts on The Isle Of Wight include the ‘Green star scheme‘ with the slogan- ‘Drive less see more’. This aims to reduce carbon footprint, and instead focuses on the natural scenery that the Island has to offer, rather than the industrial side. Since then, there have been roughly 502,000 less car journeys on the Island. It’s clear to see that The Isle of Wight wants to embrace exploration, and the positives are leaving the car at home and taking it head on by using the Southern Vectis bus service, walking or cycling!
The Isle of Wight has a manifesto for its citizens to :
-use renewable energy in the home
-buy locally produced food
-use low energy security lighting
It is definite that tourism management is developing and thriving within the Island, which is what sustainability is all about! This underlines that the Isle of Wight is actively trying to better itself as a destination, by cutting imports, using energy effectively and supporting local businesses. Furthermore, when citizens engage with this way of life, it creates a positive environmental impact.
The best Isle of Wight tourist attractions
If you’re visiting the Isle of Wight you will surely know what are the best things to see and do! So here is a summary of the best Isle of Wight tourist attractions-
The Isle of Wight festival
The IOW festival kicks off the year as the first festival of the UK. It’s iconic for it’s famous starting point in 1968-1970, where it hosted one of Jimi Hendrix’ last performances, where the crowd was thought to be an astonishing 150,000! It began again in 2002 and ever since it has been a hugely popular festival with roughly 50,000 visits per year. It has hosted legendary names such as Amy Winehouse, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, The Who, Fleetwood Mac, The Sex Pistols and Blondie. It’s one of those feel good, vibrant and electric experiences, and you can’t miss the iconic psychedelic style that The IOW festival has been sporting on its posters for over 20 years.
Osborne was the favourite holiday home of Queen Victoria, stating ‘I couldn’t imagine a prettier spot’. And she was definitely right. The stunning grounds and architecture are amazingly well kept and perfect for a browse into the past, as well as an entertaining day out. This particular tourist attraction is amazing for the family, catering to children with the beautiful Swiss Cottage which is full of interactive activities, as well as the selection of great restaurants and exhibitions.
What makes the Osborne experience even more special is a guided tour, which will allow you to find out everything about the house grounds and why it was so important to Queen Victoria and her family. Here is a recommended guided tour that allows you to follow in her footsteps and access a whole new world of Italian architecture, greenery and history.
You can but tickets for Osborne House here.
Officially the UKs oldest running theme park, Blackgang Chine is an amazing attraction for the family. Running for 175 years, it’s easy to spot with the iconic giant statue that stands proud at the front of attraction. It’s a place of supernatural fairies, wizards, mazes and dinosaurs, and you may even stumble into a cowboy village! This is one of the must-sees of the Isle of Wight which should definitely be added to the bucket list!
The Wild heart animal sanctuary
The Wild heart animal sanctuary has been praised for its prevention of animal cruelty, including petitions on their website to put an end to the abuse of big cats. The sanctuary takes special care with all of it’s animals, each of them has a specific keeper who gets to know the animals personality so they can be put in a more comfortable environment that is suited to them. Some of the animals consist of lions, lemurs, meerkats, tigers and wallabies. It’s an easy spot to find opposite Sandown seafront, so it makes for an amazing day out and it is a great example of positive wildlife tourism!
You can get more information about the Wild heart animal sanctuary here.
What is the prettiest place on the Isle of Wight?
The prettiest place on the Isle of Wight is hard to define… because it is filled with magnificent scenery and attractions! However, for the answers you have been looking for, here is an outline of what are thought to be the prettiest places on the Isle of Wight.
Gurnard beach sits delicately in the north of the Island, known for its pebble sand and small collection of beach huts that stretch along the seafront. It’s a small and charming beach, just a walk away from Cowes seafront. The view out to sea on a summers night is undeniably gorgeous, as well as being surrounded by woodland and picnic benches.
St Bonafice Down
St Bonafice down or ‘The Landslip’ is the highest point on the Isle of Wight at a summit of 791ft, making the views from here particularly spectacular. Here you can gaze at the Islands beautiful landscape from new levels, which makes for an exceptionally amusing sunset!
The Needles, Alum Bay
The Needles (one of the islands most famous attractions) is indeed a highly beautiful attraction. Alum bays soft coloured sands are made of the three minerals; mica , felspar and quartz, giving them that unique and stunning quality. Looking out to sea, the 19th century Needles lighthouse is in clear view. Not only is it pretty from the bay, but you can also take the chairlift to witness the beauty from above.
St Helens beach
Looking for a bit of peace and quiet? St Helens beach is amazingly gorgeous and is sure to give you a secluded and unique experience. The open space is refreshing, with a vast view of the ocean and a faint outlook on Portsmouth’s landscape over the sea. The connecting paths are perfect for exploring too, with beautiful walkways to discover.
The best accommodation in the Isle of Wight
Looking to indulge in some of the best accommodations in the Isle of Wight? Luckily you’re spoilt for choice across all areas of the Island. Whether you’re on a budget or looking for a luxury accommodation, there are so many beautiful quality accommodations to choose from.
Budget tourism in the Isle of Wight
Is there budget tourism in the Isle of Wight? Of course there is. Travelling on a budget isn’t always easy, but luckily there are plenty of budget accommodations on the Isle of Wight that still provide excellent facilities. Here are some recommendations for the best budget accommodations the island has to offer.
Halcyone Villa has a pretty interior as well as amazing ocean views. It’s a 20 minute walk away from Cowes high-street and seafront, which is one of the loveliest places to visit on the Isle of Wight. There is full access to free WIFI and parking, access to board games, darts, flat screen TV and special diet menus.
Totland Youth Hostel
Totland youth hostel is only a ten minute walk away from Totland Bay, which is an ‘AONB’ meaning ‘Area of outstanding natural beauty’. It’s perfect for a low budget whilst containing great facilities like free WIFI, private bathroom, outdoor dining and a children’s playground. Totland youth hostel also contains a range of amazing activities from windsurfing to snorkelling!
-Mid-priced tourism in the Isle of Wight
Searching for mid priced accommodation on the Isle of Wight? Look no more, because here they are. These accommodations have been selected selected for the most outstanding price and quality.
The Wellington Hotel
The Wellington Hotel boasts a beautiful view of Ventnor’s seafront, overlooking the green hills and charming houses in front of the bay. It’s a perfect seaside escape, with only a short walk to the beach. A few of the many facilities include a stunning bar, Free WIFI, evening entertainment and balcony retreat.
Villa Mentone Hotel
The Villa Mentone hotel is located a convenient minute away from Shanklin’s beach, making it amazing for summer days or evenings to stroll along the seafront. The Villa Mentone offers luxury without the added price, with it’s impeccable interiors. The bath features LED lights for a tranquil atmosphere, the rooms are decorated vibrantly with chandeliers and there’s a bar for drinks on the balcony.
-Luxury tourism in the Isle of Wight
Indulge in the stunning array of luxury accommodations hosted by the Isle of Wight! If you are looking for a lavish, beautiful and relaxing experience at the highest quality, then here are recommendations that fit that five star brief.
For a luxurious spa day and woodland retreat, Ralphs barn combines the great outdoors with modern facilities. This countryside retreat leaves room for so much adventure! The grounds contain access to free WIFI as well as having all technology that you need in your room, including a flat screen TV. You can gaze over the beautiful balcony and relax in the huge open spaces filled with natural light. Not only do they have all the amazing facilities you could need, they also have a spa where you can treat yourself, as well as a hot tub and jacuzzi for ultimate bliss.
Enchanted manor is a truly therapeutic experience, making it a perfect Wellness tourism destination. Hence the name, it’s a truly magical experience with features that are entirely unique. This includes the several retreat lounges that craft transformational healing, so it’s great for a mindfulness journey that takes care of the body and soul. It gained recognition for its TV appearance on ‘Homes Under the Hammer’ and has since become a popular five star hotel.
Tourism in the Isle of Wight packing list
Sure every holiday requires the essentials…so the Isle of Wight is no different! Bring your usual items like a book for the road, a suitcase and of course your chargers. But there are a few unique items specifically suited for your trip to the island that will come in extra handy for a location like this. Here is a packing list to make your holiday that bit more comfortable, as well as stylish!
- Hiking boots
For the full island experience, make sure to pack hiking boots for the coastal paths and your feet will thank you later! Whether you’re trekking along Alum bays luxurious green land, or spending the day walking through and indulging in Osborne houses’ historic grounds, hiking boots are essential to become fully immersed in the island’s natural scene. These boots are amazing value.
2. A beach bag
Tourism in the Isle of Wight means being surrounded by beautiful beaches, so what better to be prepared for a day of fun in the sun? Not only is it a great day out for the family, but there is also so much variety and choice of scenery. No need for hassle with totes and rucksacks, a simple and fashionable beach bag will do! I just LOVE these canvas tote bags on Amazon.
3. Picnic bag
Perfect for a low budget, a picnic bag is essential to a day out in the park in secluded areas without having the inconvenience and cost of finding restaurants nearby. Not only this but its so convenient for camping and hiking, with your own personal ready meal safely secure in your picnic bag. I recommend an insulated bag like this.
4. Poncho/ Raincoat
The island isn’t all sunshine, so its important to pack raincoats for those bad weather days. Disposable ponchos are a good idea for the summer because they take up minimal space, but don’t buy plastic ones! Here is a link to Ponchos made of eco friendly materials, so you can avoid the rain whilst being sustainable.
Tourism in the Isle of Wight- further reading
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