Tuesday 27 October 2009

The Isle of Wight rakes in tourism awards!

Wightstay offer their huge congratulations to businesses and events on the Isle of Wight, following their success at the Tourism South East ExSELlence Awards 2009!

The awards ceremony took place at the Wentworth Club in Surrey, and the Isle of Wight was without a doubt the winner, with nominations in nearly every category!!

The results are as follows...

Silver Award Winners

Tourism Event of the Year - Isle of Wight Walking Festival
Best Tourism Experience Award - Seaview Wildlife Encounter
Caravan/Holiday Park of the Year - Old Mill Holiday Park
Self Catering Holiday of the Year - Mersley Farm

Highly Commended Award Winners

Access for All - Sunny Bay Apartments
Caravan/Holiday Park of the Year - The Orchards Holiday Park
Flavour of the South East - The Garlic Farm
Sustainable Tourism Award - Bedford Lodge

Proof positive that the Isle of Wight is tops when it comes to places to visit in the UK - and for places to stay on the Isle of Wight, take a look at the rest of the Wightstay - with hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping, touring and holiday parks, great attractions, the Isle of Wight really is the best place to visit - especially this half term!

Monday 26 October 2009

Catch the tail-end of an indian summer on the Isle of Wight this half-term

Occasionally the Isle of Wight feels just like the rest of the UK, but on so many days it feels genuinely special.

This morning was one of those days, despite the clocks having done their thing on Sunday.  First day of half-term and walking to the office was warm enough without a jacket - it's shirt-sleeves for us!  We have a light wind, very little cloud and beautiful sun.

Given the weather, we just couldn't resist a couple of photos on the way in to the office.  Here's the view across Cowes Harbour:

With the Solent pretty much flat calm and the Red Funnel boats coming and going.

Here's the view up-river, past the Cowes Ferry (or Floating Bridge), the listed Hammerhead crane, towards UKSA:

If you're still thinking about taking the kids somewhere this week then you might be able to pick up a last minute deal on self-catering from our friends at Wight Farm Holidays.  Or maybe one of the hotels on Wightstay, such as Luccumbe Manor Country House Hotel or Melville Hall Hotel would suit your needs better?

Not only is the weather good, but the sea is still warm enough to enjoy a bracing dip from one of the Blue-Flag approved beaches on the south coast.  Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor all hold the Blue Flag for cleanliness - that's three out of a total of only 40 beaches across the whole of the south and south-west England which reach the Blue Flag standard.  All of the Island's beaches are also currently testing above the higher recommended water quality standards, as well as getting 10/10 from us for the stunning views from them!

If you have any photos of the Island's beaches you'd like to share, do mail them in to us here at Wightstay and we'll be sure to show the best ones in a future post!

Friday 23 October 2009

Another busy weekend on the Isle of Wight, OR Something for the kids to do over half-term!

It' such a busy weekend on the Isle of Wight I'm not sure I know where to begin!

There's Isle of Wight Walking Festival Weekend - I said about that a couple of days ago - and of course on Saturday there is the Friendship Walk supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month - expect to see a whole host of people dressed up at the Western Yar on Saturday 24 October. This four mile walk around the estuary offers a wealth of heritage and wildlife sights and ends in a pink party with tea and cake, so remember to bring your party hats and pink outfits. Wightlink are also offering mainland participants free foot passenger travel from Lymington to Yarmouth making it the perfect event to invite all your family and friends along to. day, as we try to turn the entire place into the Isle of Pink!

There are plenty of Isle of Pink events taking place over the half-term holidays too! Pink fundraising activities will be taking place at Havenstreet Steam Railway during their wizard week, Blackgang Chine will become Pinkgang Chine as everyone is invited to dress up in pink witches and wizards outifts to take part in ther fancy dress competition and pink tresaure hunt on 29th Ocotober and Isle of Wight Zoo at Sandown will be holding a pink Halloween event on saturday 31st October. All the money raised from the Isle of Pink will help Breast Cancer Campaign get a step closer to beating breast cancer!

This weekend also see the V-Bay Festival - and if you haven't heard of it before, let me explain!

Dubbed the hippest resort, Ventnor is a vibrant place, filled with cultural history, great bars, stunning coastal views - I could go on, but the best way to find out is to visit yourself!

The V-Bay Festival hass been called the finale to a great Isle of Wight summer - and they're right! WIth so much going on, the town is filled with sights and sounds - from the Speakeasy Night with cabaret, jazz, casino and cocktails, a celebration of 50 years of Motown, pirate fancy dress parties, real ale festival and seafood festival, fun for kids and adults!

So much going on this week-end and through into half term week! The Island is a great place to visit for a week-end or even the whole week - so stop the kids getting bored this half-term and bring them to the Isle of Wight - with so many great hotels, guesthouses and B&B's, camping and touring sites to choose from, WightStay is the best place to look for your fun on the Isle of Wight!

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Isle of Wight Walking Festival Weekend!

It may be not be the tropical sunshine of the summer, but the Isle of Wight is still a great place to visit at this time of year - and with plenty to do (especially with the schools half-term coming up), make the Isle of Wight your place to stay this weekend and beyond.

More later this week about what to do over half term, but first this weekend!

You can join in with the special Weekend Isle of Wight Walking Festival - an extra event to the already massive 16 day festival Isle of Wight Walking Festival (the largest of its kind in Europe), it is an opportunity to take part in all sorts of walks - wild food walks, twilight walks, friendship walks (part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month), Nordic Walk, a treasure hunt - and of course, at this time of year - spooky ghost walks!

Come to the Isle of Wight this weekend and find somewhere to stay with WightStay. We have just what you're looking for, be it a hotel in Shanklin, a bed and breakfast in Freshwater, and farmhouse cottage in Newchurch, WightStay is the best place to start your search!

Thursday 15 October 2009

The Isle of Wight on the BBC Inside Out South!

Just a quick one - if you don't live in the southern region, then you may have missed the brilliant Inside Out South programme from the BBC. This weeks' feature included an report from Ben Southall, the man who landed what was billed the best job in the world, by looking after a tropical island off the coast of Australia. He visited the Isle of Wight with a camera crew to get a taste of what his job could cover - and left amazed by the amount that this small island off the south coast of Britain can offer - especially weather wise!

You can see what Ben thinks of the Isle of Wight by clicking here - Ben's piece on the Island starts approximately 20 minutes in and is available on the BBC iplayer until at least 19th Ocotber... He may think he has the best job in the world - but compared to living here, that's nothing!

Ben was particularly taken by Vintage Vacations - take a look at what they have to offer, maybe you fancy being part of the frontier spirit!

If that isn't your cup of tea (or plate of beans!) then have a look at some of the camping and touring parks on the Isle of Wight, our lovely hotels in Newport, Sandown and Freshwater, our self catering farmhouse cottages and chalets - all here on WightStay - the guide to the Isle of Wight!

Wednesday 14 October 2009

Come and see the Isle of Wight in all its Autumn Glory

It is definitely Autumn now on the Island - the pretty kind though - the sun is still shining, the air is brisk - step outside and take deep lungfuls of fresh air - sea air, if you are right by the coast!

It is a photographers paradise here - country lanes where the leaves are turning golden, clear pathways across rolling hills with views to the mainland, or away across the English Channel, beaches where the waves roll in against the cliffs, shooting spray high and wide...

Now is an ideal time to visit the Isle of Wight, and at WightStay, we have all kinds of accommodation to tempt you to stay on the Isle of Wight. Have a look at our new list of camping and touring sites on the Isle of Wight, our hotels in Sandown and Freshwater, and our self catering cottages and chalets - farm and country holidays to suit you! One great example is Gurnard Pines, set within 55 acres of woodland and just a short stroll from the beach, it is a beautiful place to stay - and you'll see exactly what I mean about Autumn colours there.

Many of our hotels, B&B's and self catering locations also carry special offers - give them a call, or check out the website to see who has the best deals!

photo courtesy of the Isle of Wight Bus Museum

This Sunday on the Isle of Wight sees the Vintage Bus Museum in Newport open their (big) garage doors for their Annual Autumn Running Day. Vintage buses of all description will be running to a special timetable, as well as a Grand Vintage Display at the museum itself - ideal for touring the Isle of Wight and seeing this beautiful Island - just don't forget to bring a camera!

Two Bristol K Buses will celebrate their 70th anniversary by running on the Island. Photo courtesy of Grahame Bowler.

Friday 9 October 2009

Go Yellow Day for the EarlMountbatten Hospice with Netguides and WightStay

What a day! The WightStay team have been out and about with our tame gorilla collecting money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice on Go Yellow Day.

Take a look at the photos, as people queued to get on to the Red Funnel car ferry from East Cowes, they were treated to the sight of our gorilla and his handlers giving away bananas - nearly 500 of them!

Those waiting dug deep and put money in the collection tins, which filled very quickly!

With lots of great monkey music blasting out from our speakers, we hope that everyone had fun - the smiles on the faces of children in particular was brilliant.

We can't thank enough Lynn and Sandra at That's Service Party Shop for helping us out with the gorilla suit and Darren, Alexa and the team at Red Funnel for letting us take over the car park, and collect money for this great charity.

And of course - a huge thank you to everyone who gave so generously!

If you weren't on the Island, then you missed out on your free banana - why not take a look at WightStay and our selection of great hotels on the Isle of Wight, our list of lovely self catering cottages and apartments on the Isle of Wight, or our bed and breakfast choices, or the camping and touring sites on the Isle of Wight!

Once again, thank you to everyone who gave money - we hope you enjoyed the bananas!

Thursday 8 October 2009

One day left to Go Yellow Day

Thursday and the sun is shining bright on the Isle of Wight!

Here at WightStay, we're getting ready for tomorrow - Go Yellow Day is taking place tomorrow - people across the Isle of Wight are getting ready to take part in all sorts of yellow related tom-foolery, all in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice!

Now, we're a bit concerned that the boss may go ape, but we're not afraid to use some gorilla tatics, as we go bananas and monkey around...

Enough puns - on Go Yellow Day, the normally very quiet and serious team at WightStay and Netguides will be donning their favourite gorilla suit courtesy of the very kind people at That's Service Party Shop and giving away bananas - supplied by Manor Farm Produce, whilst collecting money for the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, who need every penny to continue their great work in providing the Islands' centre of excellence in caring for people with life-shortening illnesses - and their families and carers.

So, if you see us in the car park at Red Funnel car ferry terminal at East Cowes (thank you Red Funnel for letting us do this!), acting like the 'Jungle VIP', then stop and give some money to this great cause - we look forward to seeing you! And at some point the team from the Hospice and Isle of Wight Radio will be making an appearance to help out! Don't worry - pictures to follow...

As for business as normal - if you are coming to the Island for a short break, maybe a self catering cottage holiday on the Isle of Wight, a weekend stay at a hotel in Sandown, or self-catering apartment in Freshwater, then look no further than WightStay!

Monday 5 October 2009

The Isle of Wight - or Pink - or Red - and now even Yellow!

Autumn on the Isle of Wight is all about the colours - the sky goes from bright blue to a range of dramatic shades; the leaves on the trees take on their autumn hues - from green to red, to yellow, to brown; the scarves come out around the necks of schoolchildren, dazzling in their array of colours...

All very poetic - but the Isle of Wight itself? We know that it is National RED Squirrel week, and there are plenty of opportunities to see these cute and increasingly rare creatures; and that this month the Isle of Wight aims to become the Isle of PINK to help raise awareness and support for the Breast Cancer Campaign; but did you know that this Friday it is Go YELLOW Day here on the Isle of Wight?

Go Yellow Day is in support of the Earl Mounbatten Hospice - and anybody who has come to visit the Isle of Wight during the Isle of Wight Festival or Bestival will have seen the Earl Mountbatten Hospice collecting money by selling huge sunflowers (now the must-have addition for any festival-goer of style and taste)

Across the Island, people are wearing yellow, selling yellow cakes, even climbing the equivalent height of Mount Everest - all to support the Island's only hospice which needs every penny of support it can generate to provide hospice care to the patients with life-limiting conditions and their families on the Isle of Wight.

If you are coming to the Isle of Wight this week, perhaps you might like to take part in the fun and raise money for this worthwhile cause!

Come and stay at one of our many hotels on the Isle of Wight, our camping and touring sites on the Isle of Wight, or our bed and breakfasts in Shanklin, Sandown, Freshwater, Cowes - everywhere on the Isle of Wight!

What are WightStay doing on Go Yellow Day? I'll let you know later in the week!
(Notice I resisted the urge to mis-spell the Isle of Wight to Isle of WHITE...)

Friday 2 October 2009

National Red Squirrel Week on the Isle of Wight

What a beautiful day on the Isle of Wight! The sun is shining, people are still walking around in shorts and t-shirts - Indian summer? No - on Isle of Wight the summer just lasts longer!

This month, the name is changing to the Isle of Pink - but this week coming on the Isle of Wight is a chance to see something that very few places in the UK can boast... The Island is a desingated grey squirrel free area - we only have the red squirrel here and this week is the Wildlife Trusts' National Red Squirrel Week.

If you are interested in the red squirrel - perhaps you've never seen one - then visit the Isle of Wight this week! The red squirrel is the only squirrel native to the UK - contact Helen Butler who runs the Wight Squirrel Project to book on one of her walks, or take part in the workshop which shows you how to spot the signs of these shy creatures - and you may even see one yourself! Give her a call on 01983 611003 or email wightsquirrels@hotmail.com .

If you need somewhere to stay whilst out spotting squirrels, then WightStay is here to help - we have many hotels, camping sites, guesthouses and bed and breakfasts to choose from Shanklin to Totland, Ryde to Ventnor and all points between!

Come and see these rare and beuatiful creatures, whose numbers have been declining on the UK mainland for many years, but thrive on the Isle of Wight - we look forward to seeing you soon!

Thursday 1 October 2009

Visit the Isle of Wight - or even the Isle of Pink!

Pinch, punch first of the month! October has rolled around on the Isle of Wight, the air has the clean crisp feeling to it, and the sun is still shining!

There is plenty to do on the Isle of Wight - or this month as it is known - the Isle of Pink!

The Guildhall in Newport turns pink with the help of the people from Happy Daze!

As part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Island will see a series of events to raise awareness and funds for the campaign. This month, the aim is to raise £40 000 for the Breast Cancer Campaign on the Isle of Wight and £3.5 million nationally, and there will be many opportunities to do it - so if you want to help out, visit the Isle of Wight (I mean Pink!) and join in the many fun events - or even organise your own Pink event!

If you visit the Botanic Gardens in Ventnor, you can place a pink ribbon around a tree - or at the Isle of Wight Zoo in Sandown you can celebrate Halloween in style - as long as your style is Pink! More details to come over the next few days and weeks...

With plenty of places to stay on the Isle of Wight, you won't be short of great hotels in Sandown, camping in the countryside or self catering cottages in Freshwater.

The sea's still lovely and warm after a great summer and the beaches are deserted. What are you waiting for?

Come and stay on the Isle of Wight - and paint the town PINK!