Lying four miles off the coast of the county of Hampshire, in South Western England, the Isle of Wight is the largest island to form part of England. There are bigger islands off Scotland, but it is the largest one falling under the jurisdiction of England and is a county to itself.
Although it is only separated from the mainland by one mile at a certain point, it is still regarded as a Channel Island and relies heavily on tourism. It attracts visitors from the UK as well as from further afield and it has been a tourism resort since the time of Queen Victoria.
Queen Victoria had her summer residence there and this inspired many others to begin to take a summer holiday there. You can still see the monarch’s old summer residnce – Osborne House – which is found in East Cowes, which we will look at in more detail in another post.
It has also been home to famous poets such as Swineburn and Tennyson who were inspired by the natural beauty that the island possesses.
The Solent Strait is a busy shipping lane which separates Wight from England and it is a heavily used shipping lane.
Some people actually make a holiday out of swimming from England to the Isle of Wight at it’s narrowest point , which is where The Hurst Spit is less than a mile from the mainland. Many others also visit to enjoy the wealth of maritime sports and activities that are on offer.
It is quite easy to get the the Isle of Wight and there is a novel hovercraft service that operates between Ryde and Southsea. If you want a more traditional approach, you can use one of three ferry and two catamaran shuttles that operate from Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth on a regular basis, weather permitting.