The South-East

The south-east of the Isle of Wight enjoys over 2,000 hours of sunshine every year. Benefiting from the micro climate along the south-east coast are three of the Island’s towns: Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor. The Undercliff between St Catherine’s Point and Bonchurch is the largest area of landslip morphology in western Europe. Basking in the micro climate of the Undercliff, Ventnor became a popular resort during Queen Victoria’s reign.

Today, there is a thriving arts scene and a popular fringe festival held every August. Inland, there are hamlets including Apse Heath and the mediaeval village of Godshill.

The North-East

The north-east of the Isle of Wight faces the sheltered Solent and has four of the Island’s six ferry terminals. The largest town is Ryde with its early 19th century, 703-metre pier, serving as a ferry dock and railway terminus. The area also includes the town of East Cowes on the Island’s main river, the Medina; Bembridge, the largest village in the UK, and Wootton, site of the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. Osborne House, Queen Victoria’ much-loved summer residence is located on the outskirts of East Cowes and its extensive grounds sweep down to the shores of the Solent. The sheltered waters of the Solent are unique in Europe for complex tides and the long periods of stand at High and Low Waters.

Today, there is a thriving arts scene and a popular fringe festival held every August. Inland, there are hamlets including Apse Heath and the mediaeval village of Godshill.

Central

Located in the central area is the Isle of Wight’s capital and its largest town, Newport which also hosts the annual Isle of Wight Festival. The River Medina runs south to north and is tidal up to Newport which was laid out, at the limit of the tides, as a new town in the 12th century. The inland area of Arreton Valley has the Island’s most fertile farmland. The south-facing slopes of the chalk downland ridge that runs across the area provide ideal growing conditions for a wide variety of crops including garlic, sweetcorn, tomatoes and asparagus.

West

West Wight is predominantly rural, with dramatic coastlines dominated by the chalk downland ridge running across the whole Island. From Cowes, the indented coastline runs past the port town of Yarmouth to the Island’s most westerly point. The dramatic south-western coast looks onto the English Channel and is known as the Back of the Wight. This area is dominated by the western half of the Island’s chalk ridge which includes Tennyson Down and ends at the Needles, with its lighthouse and iconic sea stacks. The area is one of the most important areas in Europe for dinosaur fossils. The eroding cliffs often reveal previously hidden remains, particularly along the Back of the Wight. Dinosaur bones and fossilised footprints can be seen in the rocks exposed around the Island’s beaches, especially at Compton Bay.