Thursday, 24 September 2009

The Isle of Wight - for all your cycling, sweetcorn and wine needs...

Happy Arthur's Day! (Guinness drinkers will know what I mean!)

What a beautiful day it is on the Isle of Wight - the sun is shining, and it's heading to be a lovely 21 degrees! Today is not a day to be stuck in the office, I should be out enjoying the weather - plenty of rides to enjoy today as the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival continues, especially the Chale Pub Trail - let's see what I can do to get out of work early today...

Where does the week go? I'm not too fussed though, I can see the end of the working week in the distance - which means it's time to start kicking back and relaxing on the Isle of Wight!

Although looking at our events diary for this week and weekend, I'm going to have to pick and choose where I relax...

The Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is reaches it's climax this weekend with many events taking place. On Saturday, the Great Island Challenge is on - teams learn to crew a yacht and take it around the Isle of Wight, and then if that wasn't enough, they then cycle around the Island!

The Hills Killer Challenge is on Sunday - take your pick of 3 Hills, 7 Hills or the massive 14 Hills challenge - not one for the faint-hearted! Sunday also sees the Recycle The Island event - with two routes to choose from, it's an ideal way to support the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance service.

Along with a variety of other cycle related events, it brings this year's Isle of Wight Cycling Festival to a close - but that isn't all on the Isle of Wight this weekend!

As part of British Food Fortnight, Arreton Barns are holding their annual Sweetcorn Fayre, including an attempt at the record for the world's largest sweetcorn fritter! Alongside other sweetcorn recipes and a host of food stuffs, including local ales (I know where I'm off to this weekend!), the Sweetcorn Fayre will also be holding the Farmer Jacks' Sausage competition to decide the Isle of Wights' best sausage... It all happens this weekend at Arreton Barns!

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway are holding their annual Wine Festival this weekend too - whether you have a nose for fine wine, or just enjoy the grape, then this is for you - wines from around the world and closer to home are on offer - all set in the ambience of a genuine steam railway station!

WightStay is the ideal way to search for your place to stay on the Isle of Wight - with many great hotels, bed and breakfasts, camping or caravan sites - stop to take a look at what we have to offer - and start enjoying your holiday on the Isle of Wight!

Now then, which first, sweetcorn or sausages, the beer or wine?

pictures courtesy of Isle of Wight Council

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Catch up on the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival with WightStay

Mid-week on the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is on track to be a huge success as year after year more people come to the Isle of Wight to take part in 9 days of cycling fun!

So far this week there have been plenty of routes on offer, and some of the most popular rides have been for charity - the Pedal 4 Parkinsons and Cycle The Wight for the British Heart Foundation, raising money and awareness for these two organisations. Of course, the hilarious Sink Or Swim also took place on Sunday - we'll have pictures of that soon, but in the meantime this is last years' winner...

The fun doesn't end there – over the next few days there are story telling rides, a picnic on wheels, a dinosaur ride and for those that really prefer their routes to have a more liquid angle, there is a pub trail to follow too!
This weekend is the finale, with the Hills Killer Challenge and the ReCyle The Island route, raising money and awareness for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance – more on that later this week.
And cycling isn't all the Island has to offer either – more news on a wine tasting festival and a huge bowls tournament in our next blog!
So, if you're looking to take part in these events and need somewhere to stay on the Isle of Wight, then look no further than our own guide - with plenty of lovely hotels, bed and breakfasts, self catering or camping and touring park, WightStay has it covered!
With plenty to offer, the Isle of Wight is the ideal place to take that end of summer break!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Isle of Wight Businesses Shortlisted in Tourism Awards!

Great news for the Isle of Wight as Island business have been shortlisted for top awards - and at WightStay, we are all about celebrating good news!

"A wide range of Island businesses have been shortlisted for this year's prestigious Tourism ExSEllence Awards.
The awards recognise excellence, quality and innovation achieved over the last 18 months and categories cover all sectors of the industry, from bed and breakfasts to large exclusive hotels and visitor attractions.
Island businesses shortlisted include: Sunny Bay Apartments, Shanklin (Access for All Tourism Award), Seaview Wildlife Encounter, Seaview (Best Tourism Experience), Old Mill Holiday Park, St Helens (Caravan/Holiday Park of the Year), The Orchards Holiday Park, Newbridge (Caravan/Holiday Park of the Year), The Garlic Farm, Newchurch (Flavour of the South East and Self Catering Holiday of the Year), IW Walking Festival (Tourism Event of the Year), and Bedford Lodge, Shanklin (Sustainable Tourism Award).
The winners will be announced and the awards presented at a glittering gala dinner to be hosted at the exclusive Wentworth Club, Surrey, on Thursday, October 22."

Courtesy of the Isle of Wight County Press

WightStay offer their congratulations to all the business shortlisted, proving once again that the Isle of Wight is a top destination for holidays in the UK!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Isle of Wight Cycling Festival 2009 starts this weekend - or On Yer Bike mate!

The popular Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is upon us once again - 8 days of cycle related activities for the fit, enthusiastic - or if you're like me - someone who quite likes a gentle ride taking in the scenery!

This years' cycling festival is bigger and better than ever, with a host of different events to take part in - including the popular (or should I say infamous!) Sink Or Swim event - pedal across the river Medina without sinking - it can be done...

With many different routes available, the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival is a great opportunity to get out and enjoy some of the last of the summer sun on the Isle of Wight. Try the gentle family cycle to the launch event on Saturday, which takes in the cycle path between Cowes and Newport... Or really go for it on the last day of the cycling festival, in the 3 Hills, 7 Hills or even 14 Hills Killer challenge, a test of endurance and strength for anybody brave enough!

With a whole week of events in between, the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival has something for everybody, and gives you the chance to take in some of the stunning views the Isle of Wight has to offer.

Looking for somewhere to stay on the Island? Do you need a hotel in Sandown, a B&B in Newport or a campsite in Freshwater? Take a look at some of the accommodation on the Isle of Wight on our pages, and enjoy the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival 2009!

Some of the slightly more fit members of our team will let you know how they are getting on next week - I better get going, I have a puncture to fix!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

International Charity Classic Car show rolls onto the Isle of Wight

If you're into classic cars, then this weekend on the Isle of Wight is just for you! Classic cars of all shapes and sizes will be on display - a unique collection, hand-picked by organiser Vic Gallucci.

You can see these cars in two locations - on Saturday they will be at Newport Town Quay between 11am and 5.30pm (and just up the Quay is the launch of the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival - more about that later!). On Sunday, these beautiful cars will be on show at Ryde Esplanade's North Walk, between 11am and 5.30pm - and all in the name of charity - proceeds from the two events will be going towards the Barely Born appeal (a charity supporting a new Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight), and the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, providing care for terminally ill patients and their families on the Isle of Wight.

The International Charity Classic Car show is in its 8th year and over 800 cars will be on display, classic cars, retro cars, custom cars and motorbikes, cars from films, and in the 50th anniversary year of the Mini, there will be plenty of those around the Isle of Wight as well!

People from across the UK and Europe will be exhibiting their treasured and rare cars on the Isle of Wight - so come along and make a weekend of it! Stay in one of our many hotels on the Isle of Wight, B&B's and touring or camping sites on the Isle of Wight - just have a look on our pages to find your place to stay.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Bestival + Kids = fun!

This year has been a new experience for me - Rob Da Bank's Bestival, with two small kids. We were initially a bit apprehensive about taking two under three years to such a big event, but it was great; with a really family-friendly atmosphere. Although the site at Robin Hill is big it's not over-crowded, so unless you choose to dive into the melee in front of the main stage it's reasonably easy to keep an eye on little ones. Bestival-goers were very considerate and gave me a wide berth when I had a baby carrier on my back, which was really good.

The larger of our girls said she had an amazing time at the 'big party at the theme park' with lots of running around and dancing. The great thing about the location is that she could use the play attractions within Robin Hill, as well as everything else that had been laid on, including a specific kids area. The wide variety of rides and stalls really added to her enjoyment of the event.

With the beaches so close we were able to escape from the Bestival. We had a packed lunch on the beach at Colwell Bay on Sunday. Autumn on the Island's beaches is lovely as there's plenty of space. The sun's also not nearly as strong, so there's much less worry about sunburn. The tail end of the summer also means lovely warm sea, which the kids love for paddling and swimming on the safe, clean beach.

After our daughters enjoying the Bestival so much we are hoping to be able to go in 2010, although it'll be a tough choice between the Isle of Wight Festival in June and the Bestival in September. Maybe we'll take the kids to both!

What to do this weekend? Visit the Isle of Wight!

Another Bestival weekend over! And what a weekend - a good time had by all on Wightstay - and the weather held out too! I had a brilliant time, surrounded by great friends, with some fantastic music - roll on next year, that's all I can say! Check out another of our team's take on Bestival with kids in the next post...

Autumn on the Isle of Wight still has lots to offer. This weekend is no exception. Four big events are taking place this weekend on the Isle of Wight, and you can be part of them. Just work out where to stay on the Isle of Wight, and come over with your bike for the Isle of Wight Cycling festival.

Watch and cheer the entrants to the Wight Challenge - the charity team event raising money for the Wessex Heartbeat appeal. Come and see the International Classic Car Show with sites in Newport and Ryde. More details to follow...

Visit the Isle of Wight and see what you're missing! Have a look at our pages for places to stay on the Isle of Wight.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Another great weekend ahead for the Isle of Wight (or 50 000 people can't be wrong!)

It's a bright and brisk day on the Isle of Wight today - and people travelling across the Solent to get to the Bestival for a weekend of fun and madness are certainly in the mood (we can hear them on the ferry from the WightStay office!)
Your holiday on the Isle of Wight starts as soon as you get on the ferry, or the hovercraft - but of course there are other ways to get across the short stretch of water...
Many people sail their own boats to one of the many beautiful harbours on the Isle of Wight - and this weekend is no exception. Cowes is busy with the  Little Britain Challenge Cup, four days of racing organised by - and for - the construction industry. Not only a series of races in the Solent, the onshore activities are equally renowned - cocktail parties and dinner functions - with 3000 competitors, Little Britain is the second biggest regatta in the UK (Cowes Week itself is the largest!)
There is, of course, a serious side to the Little Britain Challenge Cup - over the years they have raised more than £1 million for sailing charities - last year alone, they raised £110 000! Mind you, even when they're raising the money, they are definitely having fun...
It's another busy weekend ahead - looking for somewhere to stay on the Isle of Wight? Then have a look at the accommodation pages on WightStay, listing lots of caravan sites, camping sites, self catering, B+B's and hotels on the Isle of Wight.
Whatever you're up to this weekend, have fun!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Bestival 2009

You can almost taste the excitement in the air here on the Isle of Wight and in the WightStay office! It's the one thing everyone is talking about right now - Bestival 2009 is nearly upon us, and with only one more sleep until it opens at Robin Hill Country Park, everyone is rushing around sorting out their fancy dress costume (amongst many things, Bestival is famous for it's crazy themes - and this years' is no exception - Space)

WightStay is pleased that Bestival curator Rob Da Bank has managed to include so many great bands this year, and as the last big music festival of the season, now is the time to really let your hair down in style - and it's a great opportunity to go star spotting (no pun intended) with Radio 1 broadcasting from the site, and lots of famous people making their way down to this incredibly popular event.

Here at WightStay, we're working out exactly which of the many bands on different stages we're going to catch! Top bands Massive Attack and Kraftwerk are making appearance, Lily Allen will be there, as well as rising star Little Boots! There is a great selection local bands playing too including Hugo Frusslinky. Me, I'm definitely going to see Seasick Steve (I missed him last time he played Bestival, no chance of that this year!)

But where to stay on the Isle of Wight? Do we camp out under the stars, or do we look for somewhere with slightly more creature comforts? Plenty of choices are on the WightStay website right now, so take a look at the site, and with great transport links to Robin Hill Country Park, you can enjoy everything Bestival has to offer! Now, I know I put my moon boots down somewhere...

WightStay - the original holiday guide to the Isle of Wight since 1996

WightStay - the original holiday guide to the Isle of Wight since 1996 - is in the process of undergoing a facelift - and we can barely contain our excitement! So we're here to keep you up-to-date with a few of the changes to site...

WightStay is different - we won't just bombard you with pictures of where you can sleep on the Isle of Wight - we want to help you enjoy your stay on our Island - make the most of your holiday on the Isle of Wight and see why we love it!

The Isle of Wight is the perfect place to visit - if you like cycling, walking, sailing, flying, paragliding, steam trains and steam boats or just sitting on a beach - then the Island is for you.

Perhaps you're coming for the Isle of Wight Festival, the Bestival, Cowes Week, the Garlic Festival, the Walking Festival or the Cycling Festival, any of our wonderful carnivals including the UK's oldest carnival in Ryde...

Or you want to enjoy the perfect family fun holiday with trips to our theme parks at Blackgang Chine or Robin Hill, attractions such as the Dinosaur Museum, Dinosaur Farm, the Needles Pleasure Park, and then take the kids out to one of the many family friendly places to eat on the Island...

Maybe you want to get away from it all with long walks on the Island (much of the Isle of Wight is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest), or enjoy an intimate meal in one our many restaurants, pubs or hotels... ***breaking news - The Hambrough in Ventnor has just been voted as one of the top 50 places to eat in the UK according to the Good Food Guide 2010 - congratulations from all at WightStay to Chef Patron Robert Thompson!***

The Isle of Wight has so much to offer the visitor - and WightStay is the best place to start looking - keep visiting here to see how WightStay is developing, working to bring you much more useful information to help you make the most of the Isle of Wight!