Isle of Wight

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The Isle of Wight from the mainland, near Lymington.

The Isle of Wight is an island and administrative county off the south coast of England. It is a popular destination for tourists, having good beaches, chalk cliffs and impressive coastal scenery. The Island (as it is usually referred to by inhabitants) was popularised by Queen Victoria, who had a summer home near Cowes called Osborne House. Today, the Island is also popular with fossil hunters, due to the abundance of bones to be found along the cliffs and beaches, and it also hosts a number of festivals and events that attract thousands of people, including the world-famous Cowes week (focussed around sailing) and the Isle of Wight Festival and the Bestival (music). Farming is an important occupation on the Island with farmers cultivating wheat, potatoes and oilseed rape. Principal towns on the island include Cowes, Newport and Ryde. The island is bounded by the English Channel to the south and the Solent to the north. Though there have been proposals for an Isle of Wight bridge, residents have so far strenuously resisted attempts to join the Isle to the English mainland.

Regular ferry services to the island run from Southampton, Portsmouth, and Lymington.