Newport, the Island’s county town and central to the Island, is home to some amazing historical sites including Carisbrooke Castle and Newport Minster, and the town centre is a fascinating mix of olde-world Victorian architecture and modern-day essentials.
The main travel hub to the rest of the Island, Newport is the starting point for a whole host of historical venues, with Osborne House to the north, Brading Roman Villa to the east and Yarmouth Castle to the west. Stately homes and historical monuments populate the map and are guaranteed to meet the needs of the curious and those looking to learn about the Islands’ incredible history.
Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle and Appuldurcombe House are all owned and managed by English Heritage, so as members you are able to stay and explore free of charge. Osborne House was the main summer residence of Queen Victoria, and she and Albert raised their family largely on the Isle of Wight. Today, Osborne House remains as a monument to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and many of their personal belongings remain in the House for visitors to view. Also accessible to visitors are Osborne’s private beach, extensive grounds, and access to the Swiss Cottage, the Royal Childrens’ nursery.
Carisbrooke Castle, situated just west of Newport, is a stunning historical venue which has to be visited when you come to the Island. At the top of a high hill, views from the castle are breathtaking and utterly unmissable. Being over 1000 years old Carisbrooke Castle is understandably inaccessible in some places but English Heritage have done all they can to ensure as much of the Castle is accessible to all. During your visit, you’ll see donkeys demonstrating how water was raised from the well, the remains of the castle (including the keep) the grounds, and the castle gardens, recently redeveloped to reflect the gardens planted by Princess Beatrice during her residence at the Castle. Also on site is a museum and café.
As an additional bonus and an unforgettable day out, why not take a tour of the forts in the Solent? Regular tours are offered from Ryde and Portsmouth to see these incredible Victorian sea fortresses, built to defend the Solent against enemy attacks in days gone by but now wonderful historical reminders of the long history of Great Britain.
History is at the heart of the Isle of Wight, and the multitude of festivals, celebrations and fayres are clear evidence of this. From celebratory weekends of vintage buses to annual scooter rallies, the Island has a museum to suit all curiosities! Have a look at www.unlimitedisland.co.uk to find out more!