In association with Visit Isle of Wight, we’ve picked out some of the island’s most uplifting activities and events to take place on its shores this year

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Packed with oodles of British nostalgia and recently dubbed the ‘Garden Isle’ for its horticulture, the Isle of Wight is the ultimate nearby faraway escape. It prides itself on being the ideal destination for both relaxing breaks and action-packed getaways. So, whether you’re travelling as a couple or family, there are tons of activities to try, including horse-riding on the beach, clifftop-walking, electric bike rides, alpaca trekking, or simply watching the sun set on the horizon from the seashore. If you have little ones in tow, don’t miss the Moo-seum at Tapnell Farm Park or the opportunity to ride the Isle of Wight steam railway.

Isle of Wight highlights this year are sure to include the Festival of the Sea, which takes place 18 June – 3 July. During the event, the Solitaire Bompard – Le Figaro (a spectacular French sailing race) will stop off at Cowes from 22-26 June, inviting food markets, drinks bars and live music to set up on the shoreline. The festival will also introduce the return of Shipwreck Isle in Ryde (18-19 June), where sword-fighting, historical reenactments and canon and firearm demonstrations will spring up on the beach. To top off the calendar, there’s the Round the Island Race (2 July), storytelling, lighthouse tours, coastal crafts and the Isle of Wight’s colourful Shakespeare-themed Mardi Gras in Ryde (25 June). Find out more about the Festival of the Sea here.

Photo: Round the Island Race

Can’t make it to the Festival of the Sea? Pencil these dates in to your diary instead:

30 April – 15 May
This year’s annual walking festival includes a fossil-hunting guided tour, botanic gardens ghost and history walk, and a serene stroll that incorporates yoga. Animal lovers should seek out the scenic walk with alpacas (

9-12 June
Partnered with national charity Stand up to Cancer, the 2016 Isle of Wight Festival has a star-studded line-up. Expect to see the likes of Queen, the Stereophonics, The Corrs, Feeder and Jess Glynne (

14-22 August
Love VW campervans? This is the festival for you. The family-friendly week of fun on South Fairlee Farm offers up a chilled-out music vibe and the chance to chat with like-minded revellers (

9-14 August
A creative hub for the arts, Ventnor Fringe attracts hundreds of artists from around the world every year. Think pop-up cinemas, basement bars, pianos in the streets, gigs in locals' houses, mystery tours, woodland sing-alongs and intimate church shows. This year it will be expanding with the International Festival (

There are plenty of camping and glamping accommodation options to choose from during these events – re-connect with nature at coastal eco-lodges, American-style caravans, canvas cottages and quirky yurts and shepherd’s huts. If you’re looking for something even more whacky, try spending the night in a treehouse (

It’s easy to hop over to the island and you don’t even need to bring the car. Here’s how:

·      10 mins by Hovercraft from Southsea (

·      From 22 minutes by passenger ferry from Portsmouth or Southampton

·      From 40 mins by car ferry from Lymington, Portsmouth and Southampton

Ferries operate twice an hour at peak times (; Public transport is also available on the island (

For more information and to plan your trip, go to

For more information and to plan your trip, go to