The people of the Isle of Wight are quite proud of their 'wonders' - that is if you are to believe the countless postcards, tea towels and other souvenirs with them emblazoned accross! There is some debate though as to how many there are, some say six, some say seven and some say eight. However, in accordance with the wonders of the world, I've always believed there were seven and here they are:
1. Cowes - you cannot milk
Is a small town at the top of the island where the famous Red Funnel passenger and car ferries dock. It is split into two parts (Cowes and East Cowes) by the River Medina. It's a lovely, sleepy little town with a big focus on the sailing community. It absolutely comes alive though during Cowes Week - the world famous sailing meeting that brings in enthusiasts and celebrities in their droves. It's a fabulous time to be there, but book early and don't be surprised by significant price hikes.
2. Needles - you cannot thread
The needles are a series of three brilliant white rocks on the Western-most point of the Island. An unlikely tourist attraction, they have become very popular and as a result have become the basis for the Needles theme park.
Here you'll find all manner of tourist traps including a fairground, a glass blowing exhibit, a sweet making factory, crazy golf, arcades and the sand art shop. The sand art shop is a popular place where you pick a glass container (available in every shape you can imagine) and you fill it withthe different coloured sands. It makes a very popular, if not a little tacky, souvenir.
Also, you'll find a rather decrepit-looking cable car that will take you down to the beach for even better views of the needles away from the chaos of the theme park.
3. Newport - you cannot bottle
Newport is the Isle of Wight's county town and is located at the end of the River Medina, at the centre of the Island. Here you'll find all the usual things you'd expect to see a typical city centre - shops, restaurants, businesses and clubs. There's also a fairly new cinema and entertainment complex.
Parkhurst (a suburb of Newport) is home to three prisons: Parkhurst Prison (the most famous), Camp Hill, and Albany. Parkhurst and Albany were once amongst the few top-security prisons in the United Kingdom.
4. Freshwater - you cannot drink
Once home to the Poet Laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, Freshwater is a small village formed around Freshwater Bay, near the needles. There are a few things of interest in the village. These include the Old Battery - a Victorian port and rocket testing site during WW2. There is an interesting little museum here that is free to enter. Also, at low tide you can actually see dinosaur footprints at Compton Bay. Finally, nearby Afton Down, was the location for the 1970 Isle of Wight festival.
5. Ryde - where you walk
Ryde is the Isle of Wight's equivalent to Blackpool, in my opinion. It's the most populous are in the Isle of Wight and is home to a one of the oldest and longest piers in Britain.
You can connect to the mainland via hoverraft from Ryde to Portsmouth.
Entertainment wise, there is plenty on offer in Ryde; there are five street carnivals each year; the ice rink is home to the Island's hockey team; and there are also theatres, restaurants, arcades and nightlife-a-plenty.
6. Lake - where you walk and stay dry
Unfortunately, there isn't much to say about this tiny village near Sandown Bay at the bottom of the Island. In fact, it's probably only on the list thanks to its name!
7. Newtown - that is very old
Another very small place (a hamlet in fact) that was probably founded around the time of the Norman Conquest. There is a legend about a piper, very similar to the Pied Piper of Hamlin who had to lure the village rats into sea. When he wasn't paid by the villagers, he lured all the children away, resulting in a loss of a generation and the demise of Newtown!
Some of them, as you can see are very tenuous to say the least, but it is all meant as a little bit of fun for the tourist market. All joking aside though, this list isn't a bad place to start if you're considering where to visit during a visit to the Island. All of them have their own quirks and attractions and all make great destinations.