TRAVEL FEATURE: Isle of Wight Pride

The Isle of Wight. A little secret that the local LGBT+ community on the Isle of Wight have kept hidden from the rest of the world… until now.

Freshwater

Freshwater

The picturesque island, nestled just four miles off the south coast will host its first ever Pride on Saturday, July 15 and it’s definitely going to be a party worth crossing the water for!

The Isle of Wight LGBT+ community will be celebrating with Islanders and visitors alike in Ryde, on the north-east coast of the Island. Starting at 11am with a colourful parade through the heart of the Victorian seaside town, Isle of Wight Pride promises a day out like no other, not least because it’s the only Pride in the UK to be held on a beach.

The parade will end at the golden sands of Harbour Beach, Ryde, one of the many gorgeous beaches that fringe the coastline of the Isle of Wight. The rest of the day’s festivities include a line-up that boasts acts like the Freemasons Russell Small, Horse McDonald and Reigns, speakers including Peter Tatchell and Justine Smithies, alongside a multitude of other acts, information stands, cocktail bar, family fun and VIP area. Isle of Wight Pride promises to be an event not to be missed.  

Gurnard beach huts

Gurnard beach huts

If you’ve never been to the Isle of Wight before, you’ll find there’s something uplifting about a ferry journey to a magical island. Getting across the sparkling blue water to Isle of Wight Pride is simple with fast connections from the mainland south coast by ferry and hovercraft from Portsmouth, Southampton and Lymington.  

In 2014 the Isle of Wight was listed as one of the top ten honeymoon destinations for LGBT+ couples by msn.com and it’s easy to see why. The Island is an idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of mainland life. Surrounded by sea and with over 57 miles of coastline and unspoilt tranquil countryside, it’s easy to see why so many people fall in love with the Isle of Wight and visit time and time again. 

Whether you’re looking for luxury accommodation to relax and unwind in, a secluded glamping spot, a cosy B&B or a top-notch spa, the Isle of Wight has it all. History buffs will fall in love with Osborne, the holiday home of Queen Victoria, adventure junkies will find it hard to get enough of our outdoor activities, from cycling and walking to coasteering and tree climbing! And if you enjoy great food, this is the Island for you.  

The Isle of Wight is a foodie paradise and you’ll find a range of great Isle of Wight produce available in shops and on menus. They have their own gin, beer, cheese and tomatoes as well as their very own Garlic Farm! Whether you’re after fine dining with a coastal view or a cosy drink in a friendly village inn, there’s a wide variety of eating and drinking establishments to choose from. 

Much of their delicious local produce will be available at Pride and they have even got their own special bottles of Isle of Wight gin being distilled just for Pride. 

The organisers of Isle of Wight Pride recognise why so many people love the Isle of Wight and want to share this love with more people. If you’re thinking about visiting for Pride, why not make a weekend of it. If you’re only there for the day, go back and see them again, you’ll always discover a warm welcome on the Isle of Wight. 

Isle of Wight Pride organisers recommend:

John Brownscombe: “The Isle of Wight has some great places to chill out with friends or that special someone and you’ll always get a warm welcome.  Personal favourites for myself and my husband are Bottega in Ryde, Cafe at SkinTrade Newport and The Sun Inn Hulverstone.”

Joe Plumb: “I always recommend a visit to the Quay Arts as a fantastic venue for the best arts and culture with loads of events for all the community.”

Caroline Diamond: “I recommend the Boathouse at Seaview, Quay Arts Cafe, the Garlic Farm and the walk from Seaview to Priory Bay. It’s a spectacular, unspoilt beach. You can’t beat the view across the Solent to the Spinnaker Tower with cruise ships at the weekends and ferries travelling to and from the Island.”

Matt Bundy: “You won’t find better dog walks anywhere in the UK, I personally love some of the coastal walks on the South Coast, usually ending up at a dog friendly pub with a nice pint of Island Ale! My favourite doggy friendly pubs include The Spyglass in Ventnor and the Kynges Well in Brading. It makes for a worn out doggy and a relaxing weekend every time.”

Yve White: “The Island is a very special place. I love the diversity of the Island itself – you can be in the middle of Parkhurst Forest one minute, hoping to catch a glimpse of our indigenous red squirrels and be in the middle of the countryside the next. I love walking over Chillerton Downs – the views are breathtaking. The beach is never far away, no matter where you are. I recommend viewing the perseid meteor shower every August from a beach on the South of the Island. Spectacular.”

To find out more about Isle of Wight Pride and to discover everything you need to know about visiting the UK’s holiday island, click here:  

For tickets and more information about Isle Of Wight Pride, click here: 

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Compton Bay

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