If you’re planning a visit to a new part of the UK, these Q&A’s are a great place to start, full of hidden gems and special outdoor places for you to explore during a weekend away. This time, we’re on the Isle of Wight…
So tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Caroline Young and I am a Business Support Officer in Economy, Tourism and Leisure for the Isle of Wight Council.
What’s your favorite way of exploring the Island?
My favourite way to explore the Island is on foot and I am a keen participant in the Isle of Wight Walking Festival. With more than half of the Island recognised as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and 500 miles of well-maintained footpaths, it’s the perfect place to host the UK’s largest walking festival. There are over around 300 walks scheduled each year, many of which are themed including heritage trails, fossil hunting and even a speed dating walk!
For something more unusual, you could try Wight Llama Treks based in Brighstone. They organise treks in the chalk downs of the West Wight which are great fun and offer breathtaking views of the Island, The Needles and the open sea.
I love sleeping under the stars, any favourite campsites?
There are a number of campsites on the Island and here are some of the more quirky ones; Old Bank End Farm who offer yurts and luxury camping, The Really Green Holiday Company, who provide luxury, eco-friendly camping holidays in comfortable yurts and bell tents, Isle of Wight Campers who provide fully equipped camper vans for you to explore our beautiful island, and Vintage Vacations who offer vintage airstream trailers or classic British caravans for rent.
Where’s your favourite spot for eating al fresco?
My favourite spot is the Royal Hotel in Ventnor. Perched high on the cliff top, overlooking Ventnor Bay, the Terrace boasts stunning views across the unspoilt English Channel. The unique micro-climate of the garden isle allows sub-tropical plants to flourish in abundance imparting a distinctly Mediterranean flavour.
What about Paragliding? The Isle of Wight’s unique climate escapes the worst effects of low pressure which means there are more flyable days throughout the year. Regular summer sea-breezes provide smooth flying conditions that are essential for rapid and easy learning of basic paragliding skills. It’s no wonder the Island has been the training ground for a number of top British pilots.
There are 15 flying sites within a 10 mile radius on the Island, which cater for all wind directions as well as a good variety of terrain with cliff sites, thermal ridges, a challenging 15km cliff run and the possibility of flying sea thermals as well as land based thermals.
So where can I find out more about planning an outdoorsy weekend on the Isle of Wight?
(all pics c/o islandbreaks.co.uk and contributions from Red Funnel Isle of Wight Ferries)