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Green Travel Guide to the Isle of Wight

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Words by Rhiannon Batten.
Artwork for Green Traveller's Guides by Tina Smith and Mark Edwards.

Foreword by David Thornton, Chief Executive, Visit Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has been England’s holiday island for generations. Our stunning coastal scenery and picturesque rural villages provide an unspoilt backdrop to a staggering diversity of special night-stays and year-round adventures.

Ride the Dinosaur bus across the Island in spring, thread the Needles by paddleboard under summer skies, hear the crunch of autumn leaves under your tyres on a 3-day cycle tour, or simply sit beside a pub fireplace after a winter walk. It really is an island for all seasons.

A festival island, where Tennyson and Lewis Carroll found inspiration and the arts is always close to the heart. From top authors at the Literary Festival to rock heroes at Bestival and the historic Isle of Wight Festival, there is more than one way to take a journey of self-discovery here. Lonely Planet named us as one of the world’s top ten cycle routes and now “Bicycle Island” is waiting for you, with a suite of over 150 miles of waymarked bike routes. Choose from a Red Squirrel family rail trail, a country lane foodie tour, to a “Chalk Ridge Extreme” mountain bike ride. There is a themed multi-day route to suit your interest here.

Just over two hours train ride from London and yet a world away, it’s getting even easier for visitors to leave their cars behind when they come abroad to the Isle of Wight. A place with a strong heritage of green transport options, from hovercraft to open top buses, we have always provided more variety here and it’s getting better for green travellers every year. 

Significant investment from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund is now providing bike racks in buses, newly surfaced off-road cycle routes and is even pump-priming investment in an exciting new array of cycle tourism services. From electric bike hire to pedicabs, “Rover” bus tickets to baggage transfer for walkers and cyclists, it’s never been easier to “Drive Less, See More” on the Isle of Wight.

Islands have a way of giving green thinking an extra edge. Whether it’s providing a solid market for a high-quality food producer, or helping it make sense to invest in the local community first, that strip of water brings challenges but real advantages too. A warm welcome to all green travellers from a magical place that Queen Victoria simply called THE Island.

What our writers discovered on the Isle of Wight
 

England’s largest island, the Isle of Wight puts a bright, contemporary twist on the traditional British seaside holiday. With far more than just stunning coastlines and amazing beaches on offer, visitors to the island can lunch on sea-fresh crab sandwiches from simple beachside shacks, hike across springy clifftop downs, cycle between artists’ studios, or follow in the footsteps of dinosaurs as you delve into local history. Those who come to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural attractions will also find a range of wonderful places to stay, from chic, Scandinavian-style treehouses to elegant and pampering country hotels.

Stay, Eat, See & Do

Our pick of places across the Isle of Wight AONB

Google Map Key:
Click on the coloured icons for more information about each listing
Green = Places to stay; Blue = Places to eat; Yellow = Attractions

Click on the square brackets top right of map to reveal expanded map

  • The correct spelling is 'Wight' rather than 'White', but experts don't all agree why this word was adopted after the Romans left in the 5th Century AD
     

  • Osborne House in East Cowes was the home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert
     

  • Robert Hooke (1635-1703), the famous scientist, philosopher, inventor and astronomer was born in Freshwater on the Isle of Wight in the road that now bears his name, Hooke Hill.
     

  • The Isle of Wight is famed for its garlic growing! The Isle of Wight Garlic Festival is held in August in the rolling green hills just outside of Newchurch.
     

  • The first Cowes Regatta was held in 1812