Isle of Wight Events and Festivals
(Isle of Wight, England, UK)
Many visitors organising a trip to the Isle of Wight ensure that their travel plans coincide with a festival of their choice. Interestingly, there are actually more carnivals held here (per capita) than any other location in the UK.
The summer season sees a series of crowd-pulling sailing regattas, with Cowes Week each August being a real highlight. With its origins in the 1820s, Cowes Week is actually one of the longest-running annual regattas in existence and attracts approximately 1,000 boats, competing in some 40 daily sailing races.
September sees the arrival of the hugely popular Bestival, a live music event first held on the Isle of Wight in 2004 and now drawing more than 50,000 festival-goers. Past artists performing at the four-day Bestival include the likes of the Cure, the Pet Shop Boys, the Prodigy, Primal Scream and the Scissor Sisters, amongst many others.
National Public Holidays
- 1st January - New Year's Day
- Good Friday / Easter Monday - late March or early April
- First and last Monday in May
- Last Monday in August
- 25th December - Christmas Day
- 26th December - Boxing Day
(If Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year's Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the next weekday becomes a public holiday).
Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015
- Sailing Regatta - this exciting sailing fiesta attracts many boats and is held in Cowes, on the northern shore
- Isle of Wight Walking Festival - attracting more than 15,000 people from around the world, including a number of family fun walks
- Isle of Wight Garden Show - this major horticultural event is held in the splendid gardens of Queen Victoria's beloved Osborne House
- Yarmouth Maritime Festival - this nautical celebration takes place in the Yarmouth area, on the western coast of the island
- Round the Island Yacht Race - this yacht race is one of the Isle of Wight's largest events and is held each year in mid-June
- Heavy Horse Festival - held at Brickfields Hourse Country
- Wightmax Mountain Bike Festival - this mountain bike event features a number of exciting competitions
- Schneider Trophy Air Race - the Air Race includes exciting flying displays at Bembridge Airport
- Royal Isle of Wight County Show - late June or early July, including a number of displays, exhibitions, showjumping demonstrations, a dog show, livestock and various agricultural events
- Cowes Week - held during the first week of August, this enormous sailing regatta is based around Cowes
- Garlic Festival - this unusual celebration of all things garlic is held at Newchurch
- Island Steam Show - the steam show includes a large display of working steam engines and is held at Havenstreet
- Cowes Classic Powerboat Race - this exciting speedboat race begins at Cowes, on the northern side of the island
- Bestival - early September, a huge alternative music fest organised by famous DJ, Rob da Bank, based at the Robin Hill Adventure Park and Gardens
- Isle of Wight Cycling Festival - late September, this enormous cycling extravaganza lasts for two weeks and includes competitive road races, time trials, off-road cycling and related children's activities
- White Air Extreme Sports Festival - late October, this international surfing, kitesurfing and windsurfing event is the biggest in the United Kingdom and is held at Sandown Bay, attracting world-class surfers. There is also live music and beach parties most nights as part of the festivities
- Isle of Wight Open Dog Show - mid-October, held at Brickfields Horse Country, in the Binstead area
- British Cod Championships - this fishing event is the largest of its kind in the United Kingdom and takes place in the waters off the Needles, throughout November
- Newport Illuminated Christmas Carnival - early December, this carnival heralds the beginning of the Christmas season on the Isle of Wight