Isle of Wight

16th November 2007 at 00:00
Once it launched that 1960s icon, the Isle of Wight Festival, this small island seemed to get a taste for annual events. Next year's second Folk and Blues Festival (September 19-21) will join a crowded music schedule: the Jazz Festival (April 11-13), the revived Isle of Wight Festival (June 13-15) and the mellow Bestival (September 5-7).

Add to that the Walking Festival (May 3-18), the garlic (August 16-17), apple (September 20-21), countryside (July 5-6) and mountain bike (May 24-26) festivals, and every summer month has a celebration.

Find out more from the island's six tourist information centres (visit, which has links to all the island's attractions and online accommodation booking, or call 01983 813 800).

For daredevils, the White Air Festival (September 18-21) includes 15 extreme sports, such as parkour, kitesurfing and freestyle frisbee. Winter visitors can take it easier, sampling the island's many excellent restaurants and pubs and perhaps looking out for some of the island's red squirrel population or joining in the Lights of Love lantern parade (December 1) in Ryde.

Get to the island from Portsmouth, Southampton or Lymington by passenger or car ferry with Wightlink or Red Funnel, or take the hovercraft from Southsea. Buses are good and the ecologically-minded can take the recycled London Underground trains that run from Ryde to Sandown.

In pursuit of a greener future, the island recently announced plans to run solely on renewable energy from wind, tides and farm waste.

But this doesn't rule out luxurious weekend breaks. Try The Hambrough boutique hotel and restaurant (01983 856 333,, overlooking Ventnor Bay, for in-room spa treatments and mini-espresso machines (BB doubles from pound;109 per night for two), or the Seaview Hotel (01983 612 711,, which has just been restyled by former Ralph Lauren designers and runs cookery and wine classes (BB doubles from pound;120 a night).

Eat local produce, stylishly cooked, at the Pond Cafe (01983 855 666, in Bonchurch, near Ventnor.


- Where to stay

The Grange ( is peaceful, with well-being courses and spa treatments. - Jenny, Berkshire

- What to do

It's got superb, clean beaches and lots to see and do with kids. - Susan, Wolverhampton

We did lots of cycling and saw some spectacular scenery along the coast. - Danny, Ipswich

Have you got a holiday tip you want to share with your fellow teachers? Send details in no more than 50 words to

Coming up: Austrian Tirol, Val d'Isere, Glasgow, Andorra.

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