Best-known for its two festivals, the Isle of Wight Festival (June) and Bestival (September), the Isle of Wight is also a sailing hotspot with its numerous regattas, including the high-profile Cowes Week (August). Well-known for its scenic beauty, its endless white cliffs, especially for its chalk stacks, the Needles, east of the island.
The island is located off the south coast of England and can be accessed via ferry from Portsmouth and Southampton. Ryde and Newport are the two main parish towns although most visitors don't tend to visit the island for its urban scene (which is close to non-existent), but for its miles of lush green countryside that provide great terrain for cycling.
The island is also well-known for its royal heritage: Osbourne House and Carisbrooke Castle were Queen Victoria's main residence and where Charles I was held prisoner in the late 1600s).
The Isle of White is a destination of multiple facets - one of the jet-setter during Cowes Week, more of a relaxed, even hippy face during its festivals, and the rest of the year it attracts nature-lovers and hikers from all over the world, but especially from England's southern cities.
The Isle of Wight may not be your most obvious choice for a holiday destination, but it has some great draws such as the range of water sports on offer and its numerous festivals. For travellers considering taking a holiday here, the Isle of Wight Festival (June) and Bestival (September) are worth combining a holiday with. Cowes Week (August) is also one of the most impressive regattas you will see in the world - brace yourself for the jet-setter atmopshere during the race.
The island is also renowned for its dinausaur fossils, which can still be found today.
The most popular places of interest are Sandown and Shanklin along the eastern coast for their beaches, however these areas do tend to get a little crowded over the summer, especially during the festivals going on. The best place to head to if you want a cross between getting away from it all and touristic infrastructure is Whitecliff Bay in Bembridge, also east. There is a campsite here with cabins and tents. The beach, Whitecliff Bay is mainly shingle, but there tends to be fewer people here - a perfect spot for tea and scones at the tiny blue beach shack that sits along the beach. For travellers wanting to feel at one with nature, there are a number of places to explore, including Alum Bay, renowned for its multicoloured sand (close to the Needles), and a number of gorges like Blackgang Chine and Shanklin.
As there is hardly any public transport on the island and is very expensive, therefore travellers should consider renting a car or bike for the duration of their stay.
Avoid venturing out after dark on a bike without appropriate safety gear as the roads are poorly lit and often are not lit at all, which is extremely dangerous.
There isn't really anything typical of the area to try that differs from the mainland apart from the range of fresh fish available all over the island in its pubs and restaurants.
As with things to try there isn't anything particular to bring back from the Isle of Wight that you cannot get on the mainland. Travellers should satisfy themselves with a refreshed body and mind.