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  • Writer's pictureRachel

A - Z of the Isle of Wight; Part One

We can wax lyrical about the wonders of the Isle of Wight for days...but don't just take our word for it! Get to know the island that little bit better with our A - Z! All our entries have simply been chosen as a bit of fun, we'd love to hear your choices and whether you agree with ours!

A is for Alverstone Railway Station

Once an active station on the Southern Railway, the station was finally closed in 1956. Now a private residence, the property is a prominent landmark on the walking and cycle route that runs to Alverstone Mead.

B is for Blackgang Chine

The oldest amusement park in the United Kingdom, having opened in the 1840s. A must-do family attraction with plenty of activities that have been delighting visitors to the Isle of Wight since early Victorian times!

C is for Cowes

Seen as the home of international yacht racing since the founding of the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1815, Cowes is of course the setting for the world-famous Cowes Week; the world's oldest regular regatta.

Cowes is also, of course, home to the famous Crew House...!

D is for Downs

The Isle of Wight Downs represents one of the best examples of chalk grassland in the south of England under maritime influence and is a Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

E is for East Cowes

East Cowes is connected to its neighbour Cowes by the Cowes Floating Bridge, which first began operation in 1859. The site of Norris Castle, and Osborne House; East Cowes is a popular tourist spot.

Charles Godfrey Leland described towns as "The two great Cowes that in loud thunder roar/This on the eastern, that the western shore".

F is for Freshwater

Freshwater is famous for its geology and coastal rock formations that have resulted from centuries worth of coastal erosion. The "Stag Rock" is so named because supposedly a stag leapt to the rock from the cliff to escape during a hunt. Another huge slab fell off the cliff face in 1968, and is now known as the "Mermaid Rock".

Freshwater features a fine example of a surviving Victorian beach hotel, The Albion.

G is for Gatcombe

Gatcombe is the site of St Olave's Church which houses stained glass of 1865-66 by William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox-Brown and Edward Burne-Jones. Well worth a visit for art lovers!

H is for Holiday

The island has been a popular holiday destination since Victorian times, with guests flocking to visit the mild climate, coastal scenery, and natural landscapes.

When Queen Victoria - who had herself holidayed on the island as a child - made Osborne House her Winter home, she turned the island into a popular and fashionable resort and that popularity has lasted to date!

The Crew House is a perfect base to spend a holiday on the Isle of Wight!

I is for Isle of Wight Festival

Held between 26th and 31st August 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival has gone down in history as one of the greatest (and certainly the largest) rock festivals of all time. 600,000 to 700,000 people packed into the site at Afton Down and saw performances from some of the world's biggest stars such as and Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Moody Blues, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Jethro Tull, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Free. Following commercial failings of the event, there wouldn't be another on the island for a whopping 32 years!

Tune in next time for Part 2!!

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