Quirky gems to discover on a Wylde Isle of Wight weekend

We can’t wait to be able to welcome people from a little further afield than the shores of our dear little Island. We wanted to tip you off to some of the unusual spots that await you on your Wylde weekend to the Isle of Wight when it’s possible again. Here’s our list of quirky gems for you to discover :

Arty Farty people

The Island has been a cultural hub for centuries, with many greats like Tennyson and Elgar choosing to come here to create work. The first Isle of Wight Music Festival took place here back in the sixties – and that creative tradition continues on to this day. As a result, the Isle of Wight is home to some fantastic creative spaces that are a must-see on your visit here.

Ventnor Exchange

Ventnor Exchange, formerly the old town post office, has been renovated by a homegrown local arts organisation into a theatre, bar and record store. This offers a dose of the bohemian cosmopolitan that Ventnor has become known for. The year-round home of the team behind the Ventnor Fringe festival is a great place to pop in for a drink, browse the records, and check out the regular programme of diverse and critically acclaimed comedy, theatre shows and performances on offer. Find out more on the website ventnorexchange.co.uk

Isle of Wight open studios

There is a rich cottage industry here on the Isle of Wight. To really experience the display of variety and calibre, a visit to the local Isle of Wight Open Studios summer event is your first port of call. See artists and craftspeople at work in their own spaces and get a glimpse into what it is like to be an artist creating here on this beautiful island paradise. The event runs 16th – 22nd July. Find out more on the website isleofwightarts.com

Dimbola Lodge museum and Gallery in Freshwater is a reminder of the cultural sanctuary the Island became to many creative minds. Owned originally by friend of poet Lord Tennyson, Julia Margaret Cameron, a powerful female pioneer in photography. Her images and work can be viewed as a part of the permanent collection. But the gallery also exhibits all sorts of creative exhibitions of both local and international acclaim. There is a fantastic cafe on site run by volunteers and we happen to think they do one of the best cream teas you’ll find on the Island. There’s an admission fee to the museum that helps the organisation continue their work, restoring and protecting the house for generations to come. Find out more on the website Dimbola.co.uk

Festival Island

Festival Island, or so it is known, famously began with the 1960s Isle of Wight Festival event – one of the UK’s first festivals. It is now home to a plethora of festivals and events across the calendar. Covid sadly put a halt to a lot of these last year but, with the hope of things returning to a form of normality this summer, many of these are set to return in some form this year and we for one can’t wait!

The Round the Island Yacht Race is one of many famous sailing events that are held on the Island. This year it takes place on 3rd June. It is always a true spectacle to see the sea littered with hundreds of colourful sails all around the Island’s shores. Watch from pretty much anywhere, with a sea view prosecco not compulsory but advised.

Ventnor Fringe Festival

Ventnor Fringe, a multi-award winning arts festival has been running for over ten years now. Originally set up by a group of local young people, it has made a national name for itself by drawing artists and audiences alike from all over the UK and internationally. The arts festival takes over the town of Ventnor, transforming it into even more of a quirky mecca for the creative, weird and the wonderful . This year, the festival is taking place across ten days from 23rd July – 1st August. An open access arts festival where anything goes – with a range of unique venues, including a local launderette, a parisian bus bursting with books, and a pop-up seafront bar. You never know quite what you’ll find each year and we’re glad to see they’re back again for more fun! Find out more on the website vfringe.co.uk

Last but certainly not least is the Isle of Wight Festival – traditionally the event to kick off the British festival season, due to Covid they have moved to September so we’re holding out for an Indian Summer with good weather for its return. This weekend is never one to disappoint so see the rest of the summer out in style. The line-up this year so far includes the likes of Liam Gallagher, Tom Jones, Duran Duran, All Saints, Sophie Ellis-Bexter and Kaiser Chiefs to name just a few! Find out more on the website isleofwightfestival.com

Gastronomic adventures

It’s been said many times that the Isle of Wight has some of the finest produce in the UK, so try some of the hidden gems that make the most of this tasty bounty while you’re here on your Wyldesistas escape.

First off, take your taste buds on a journey at Cowes restaurant Call It What you Want, where you and your soul sistas can sample their take on soul food. From the menu, try their iconic Louisiana and Creole style dishes like the three fish chowder, their take on traditional gumbo along with customer favourites such as their iconic ribs and the jambalaya. Expect flavours from further afield than the shores of the Isle of Wight, packed to the punch with local ingredients. These guys have now branched out to Newport, where alongside takeaway lunches you can pick up some of their best loved dishes to reheat yourself at home. Find out more on the website ciwyw.co.uk

Tansy’s Pantry

In the last few years Veganism has become a huge thing, which we think is wonderful as it’s kinder to the planet and ourselves. With this in mind, we are proud to say that Island has an amazing range of dedicated plant based eateries alongside most island businesses offering a range of vegan options for diners. While you’re here be sure to check out the fantastic Tansy’s Pantry famous for their ‘vish and chips’ dish along with their weekly changing curry of the week.

Peach Vegan Kitchen

We can’t go to Newport without stopping off at Peach Vegan Kitchen for an oat ‘mylk’ Flat White and Peanut butter blondie. Not only do they do the tastiest coffee and sweet treats but a full breakfast and lunchtime menu too, as well as stocking some fantastic zero waste and cruelty free products in their zero waste store.

Craft vegan pizza

Did someone say pizza? Craft Vegan Pizza in Ryde is not to be missed! Making artisan craft pizza well vegan they make a lot of their own fabulous products made in-house including their own selection of vegan meats and cheeses that adorn the delicious sourdough bases. The newest addition to the menu is their selection of vegan seitan doner kebabs all served in a sourdough fold with crunchy salad and slaw

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