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England Travel Tips 
Discover the Real England   

      

   

  By Mike Valeriani
   
 
Regions: N West N East Yorkshire W Midlands E Midlands East S West S East

Isle of Wight

 

Osborne House and its groundsThe Isle of Wight is a very special place, located in the Southern part of the country and not by chance was chosen by Queen Victoria as her summer residence. She lived here the best years of her life in company of her beloved Prince Albert and her nine children. In her own words... “is it impossible to imagine a prettier spot”.

No trip to this island would be complete without a visit to Osborne House, even for those who are not interested in Royalty, as the architecture is quite interesting; tall towers help to give Osborne House the appearance of an Italian villa.

As a result of Queen Victoria’s presence on the Isle, it became a major holiday resort for fashionable Victorians including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron, Charles Dickens (who wrote much of David Copperfield there) and members of European royalty. Memories of less illustrious episodes in the island’s past are recalled by a very interesting and well stocked Museum of Smuggling.

The Coast of the Isle of Wight

Inland from the beaches that lure the summer visitor, the isle of Wight offers a wealth of year round attractions that between them span England’s history. At Brading and Newport the Romans have left signs of their presence and Arreton Manor has been owned by eight English monarchs, while the castle at Yarmouth was built by Henry VIII to defend the South coast of England against the French. The isle’s rich history even includes a brief status as an independent kingdom in the 15th century!

The flag of the Isle of Wight

For the technology lovers, the Isle of Wight is the birthplace of the world’s very first hovercraft and the manufacturing place of flying boats, other than the testing and development area of Britain's space rockets. For the nature lovers, the Island has some exceptional wildlife and is one of the richest locations of dinosaur fossils in Europe.

Carisbrooke Castle in NewportOne of the isle’s main attractions - meaning the one that gathers the most people - is the International Jazz Festival: Bestival, held at the Robin Hill country park. It was attended by 55.000 souls in 2010 and it keeps growing. Obviously the type of people attending a Jazz festival are not quite the same as those going to a techno festival, so relax and enjoy your Jazz!

In the island’s gentle climate vineyards thrive and trees and flowers blossom in Ventnor Botanic Garden, while more exotic forms of wildlife are on display at Flamingo Park.

Basically if I had to chose a holiday destination in England, I would probably go to this island, which is only about three hours driving distance from both London and Bristol. The whole of London goes to Brighton on the weekend, while the elite will invest in the extra travel time to enjoy a truly special place.

 

  

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