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Centuries of historical highlights on an Isle of Wight trail through the past

Experience Living History

Wight History Trail

High on the cliffs overlooking Freshwater Bay in the far south of the Isle of Wight stands a striking memorial to one of the Island’s most famous forefathers. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, then Poet Laureate, was a familiar sight walking these cliffs in Victorian times and the area is named Tennyson Down in his memory. Two hundred years after the birth of this most iconic of English poets, the Wight History Trail weaves a route around the IOW that celebrates not only Tennyson and his heritage but the evidence of a rich and varied past that can still be visited today.

Carrisbroke Castle

The Isle of Wight is, of course, well known as the location for Queen Victoria’s favourite home, Osborne House – one of the most visited palaces in the British Isles. But our longest reigning monarch is just one of an illustrious group of cast members whose stories are told in a trail that traces the history of Wight from its birth in prehistoric times to the present day – and includes dinosaurs, Romans, smugglers and wreckers, medieval knights and imprisoned royals, inventors, rock heroes and rocket men.

In the Wight History Trail we spotlight some of the Island’s best-known historic attractions – among them Osborne House, Carisbrooke Castle and the Needles Battery – as well as unearthing the unusual and, sometimes, astounding.


Did you know, for example, that Marconi set up what he called the “world’s first permanent wireless station” on the Isle of Wight and subsequently made the first long distance wireless telegram from West Wight? Or that the IOW’s most celebrated botanic garden, now famous for its head-turning collection of southern hemisphere plants, was once the Royal National Hospital that treated tuberculosis?


Moving forward in time to the twentieth century, we spotlight the history of the Isle of Wight Festival, Britain’s original contemporary music event that can trace its origins back more than forty years but which has its feet firmly planted in the present day. And the present day is what Wightlink’s Wight History Trail is all about: the opportunity to experience living history on an Island packed with ageless treats.

Download the guide (6.15mb PDF)

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