Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is an island off the South coast of England. Until the 1974 local government reorganisation, it was part of Hampshire, but is now a county in its own right.
Known locally as simply "The Island" it is roughly in the shape of a diamond, and measures 23 miles by 13 miles.
The main industry is tourism. There is a passenger ferry from Portsmouth to Ryde, and car ferries from Southampton to East Cowes, Portsmouth to Fishbourne and Lymington to Yarmouth, while there is a fast hovercraft crossing from Southsea to Ryde.
Osborne House was Queen Victoria`s family home, and Carisbrooke Castle was where Charles I was imprisoned.
The Needles are a series of chalk stacks at the Western extremity of the island.
Cowes is England`s best known yachting centre.
Newport (Isle of Wight) is the island`s capital and main shopping centre.
Ryde is a flourishing seaside resort, and the main port of entry for many holidaymakers. England`s first pier, constructed in 1814, has a railway.
Sandown is another seaside resort, and has a Geology Museum and pier.
Shanklin, also a seaside resort, has a steep cliff, in which is the delightful Shanklin Chine.
Ventnor is a smaller seaside resort.
Yarmouth is an old town with a castle built by Henry VIII.