Discover The Rich History Of The Isle Of Wight
Located just five miles off the coast of Britain, the Isle of Wight has an incredible history and intriguingly has not always been part of England – back in the 15th century it was actually an independent kingdom for a short spell! If you’re planning a holiday or a short break in the UK this year then consider paying a visit to the Isle of Wight where you are sure to get more than you bargained for!
Getting there and away
The Isle of Wight’s location off the Hampshire coast means a short ferry journey is necessary to get there and back. There are a number of possible routes visitors can take, including between Lymington and Yarmouth, Southampton and East Cowes and Portsmouth and Fishbourne. The journey only takes a matter of minutes and there are scores of sailings each day.
The Roman connection
When the Romans invaded mainland Britain in 43AD the Isle of Wight was also taken. A surviving reminder of the time they spent on the island is Brading Roman Villa – described as one of the finest Roman sites in Britain. A visitor centre and museum has now been constructed near the site of the villa, which was rediscovered by children in 1879. If you have an interest in the Roman period then why not pay a visit to the villa to explore the excavations and find out what it was like to live on the Isle of Wight all those years ago.
According to TS Elliot, Alfred, Lord Tennyson had the “the finest ear of any English poet since Milton”. After a house hunting trip in the autumn of 1853 Tennyson and his wife Emily settled on Farringford House, located near Freshwater Bay in the west of the island. The property is currently being restored and after work is complete the aim is to use the house as a Tennyson study centre. Why not pay a visit to the house and grounds while you’re on the island?
If you are keen to go right back in time then why not discover more about when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Britain’s first purpose-built, interactive dinosaur museum opened its doors on the island in 2001. It is dedicated to telling the story of the island’s geology and is home to an extensive collection of fossils. Collections which were started more than 200 years ago tell the tale of 126 million years of history. Find out how the environment has changed over time and what could be in store for us in the future. Discover more about the plants that once grew on the island and the creatures that once lived on land, in the island’s rivers and the sea.
A light shining through history
Said to be a medieval lighthouse, the octagonal tower known as St Catherine’s Oratory stands proudly on one of the highest spots of the island. According to local legend it was built by Walter de Godeton in 1328 as punishment for stealing wine from a wrecked ship. If you’re keen on ruined buildings then without doubt this tower is worth visiting, if just for the magnificent views afforded by the location on a clear day.
- License: Creative Commons image source
Guest post contributed by Lauren Belfield. A lover of the United Kingdom & the holiday destinations it has to offer. Over the years has been regularly taking breaks with Warner Leisure Hotels to visit their fabulous, quintessentially english, hotels.