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There are so many weird and wonderful, fascinating facts to discover about the Isle of Wight.

To most mainland folk, not much is known of the Isle of Wight, a relatively tiny island lying twenty or so miles off the Hampshire Coast. You’ve probably heard about its annual music festival, which has drawn some of the world’s biggest performing artists. They might have heard that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert used to spend their summers there, or that it’s a haven for the endangered red squirrel. But apart from these few things, what’s really known about the island of the Solent?

Here are 10 of our favourite weird and wonderful things you didn’t know about the Isle of Wight…

1. The Isle of Wight is the sunniest place in the UK

The Isle of Wight receives, on average, 1,800-2,000 hours of sunshine each year – more than some parts of Spain! With this in mind, how could you not take a holiday on the Isle of Wight for a sunny summer break?

2. It’s all about garlic

Garlic has been produced on the island for centuries and is one of the Isle of Wight’s most important exports. Islanders are so besotted with their crop of this wonderful superfood, they created the Isle of Wight Garlic Festival, a celebration of all things garlicky.

3. The Isle of Wight has been home to several high-profile “celebrities”

Osborne House, Isle of Wight

In Victorian times, many well-known characters from history, including Alfred Lord Tennyson, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria, inhabited the Isle of Wight. Other famous faces who’ve graced the isle include Winston Churchill and Karl Marx.

4. It’s the most haunted island in the world

Haunted room

Despite its relatively small size, the Isle of Wight is said to be the most haunted island in the world, with an assortment of spectres lingering amongst the living. Supernatural sightings that have been recorded include phantom monks, marching Romans and grey ladies.

5. The Isle of Wight used to be known as Vectis

Cockerel Headed Man - Brading Roman Villa

During the Roman occupation, the Isle of Wight was known as Vectis. Surprisingly, this name is still used widely to this day, despite being dropped after the Romans left in the 5th century.

6. At high tide, the Isle of Wight becomes England’s smallest county

needles isle of wight at dusk

However, when the tide is low, the historic county of Rutland near Leicestershire reclaims this title.

7. The Isle of Wight is home to the world’s oldest amusement park

Blackgang Chine

Blackgang Chine was built way back in 1843. The park was named after a former chine (coastal ravine) and provided entertainment for Victorian holidaymakers.

8. The Isle of Wight receives over twenty times more overseas visitors than its permanent population

Shanklin, Isle of Wight

In 2011, for example, the population of the Isle of Wight was around 140,000, but the island received over two million visitors!

9. The Isle of Wight has housed some of the UK’s most infamous criminals

Carisbrooke Castle - Isle of Wight

Due to its location, the Isle of Wight was considered an excellent location for housing some of the UK’s most infamous prisoners. Notorious names incarcerated on the isle include the Kray Twins, the Richardson Brothers, and king of England, Charles I.

10. It’s home to the world’s first radio

Marconi Radio

In 1896, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi established the world’s first radio on the Isle of Wight. His invention was placed near the Needles, and went on to be distributed throughout the world.

Image credits: Chris Downer CC BY-SA 2.0; Mike LichtCC BY 2.0; Mark HoganCC BY-SA 2.0; Nick HarrisCC BY-ND 2.0; NilfanionCC BY-SA 3.0; Martin Lewison – CC BY-SA 2.0; Martyn WrightCC BY 2.0; DeFactoCC BY-SA 4.0; Bill OhlCC BY-ND 2.0

Whether you’re interested in renting a holiday cottage on the Isle of Wight or not, we hope this has shed some light on this wonderful isle. For more fascinating things to do in the area, view our Isle of Wight Travel Guide. Did you also know that Scotland is full of fun facts too?

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