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Solent Cruises celebrates arrival of Cunard Queen Anne

Solent Cruises are proud to be celebrating the maiden arrival of the new Cunard Queen Anne cruise ship into Southampton on Saturday 27th April.   Solent Cruises will be part of the welcoming flotilla into the Solent and up Southampton water. The Cunard Queen Anne will become the 249th ship to sail under the Cunard flag and enters service this year.  It will make up a quartet of Cunard ships at sea alongside Queen Mary II, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Inger Klein Thorhauge will serve as the first captain of the Queen Anne and is also Cunard’s first female captain.   The event

Quarr Abbey

A day at Quarr Abbey

Blessed with rolling countryside hills and stunning sea views, something else the Isle of Wight boasts is an abundance of historical sites. One of the most prominent and charming being Quarr Abbey, a stunning monastery based not far from the seaside town of Ryde. One of our favourite ways to spend a day is in the beautiful grounds of Quarr Abbey, enjoying the gardens, cafe and of course the beautiful architecture of the Abbey itself. From the moment you arrive, it’s like stepping into a protected area of peace and tranquility.   We couldn’t make a trip to Quarr Abbey without taking a

War relics blog pic

WWII Island Heritage buildings and relics

If you have an interest in old war relics there are plenty on the Isle of Wight. The Island has always been thought of as strategically important, and a potential gateway to the rest of the UK, so it was heavily fortified at all times of conflict during our history. Puckpool Park, overlooking the Solent, was a manned fort in both World Wars and whilst none of the interior rooms are open to the public, you can wander around the exterior, picking out gun emplacements and features from the former garrison. Bembridge Fort on top of Culver Down was armed during

Famous people blog

Famous people who have visited the Island

    The late HRH Prince Philip, has been a frequent visitor to the Island Photo: Macaulay Media   The Isle of Wight has been a magnet for famous people for almost 200 years. It was made popular in Victorian times, when Queen Victoria built her holiday palace, Osborne, and the movers and shakers of the day joined her. But the Isle of Wight has been seeing a huge rekindling of interest by contemporary celebrities since the turn of the 21st century. In the past 20 years or so we have had some very big names visiting the Island, mostly incognito, and often to visit friends

Blackgang blog

A short history of Blackgang Chine

  When Alexander Dabell acquired Blackgang Chine in 1842 it was a unique and picturesque chine leading down to the beach, and he knew that Victorians would love to visit this atmospheric coastal location. Amazingly, the amount to which his land extended was decided upon his ability to throw a stone, with the agreed the point at which it landed becoming the furthest reach of the lease. The sides of the chine were predominantly black, due to mineral deposits of iron in the soil, and this is what is thought to have led to the name Blackgang – with ‘gang’ probably meaning

st catherines lighthouse copy

New Smuggling Trail Launched

The Isle of Wight has a rich smuggling history that goes back hundreds of years, and many Island families were involved in the import of illicit goods, mainly brought by boat from France. These were especially ‘tubs’ of brandy and fleeces of wool. Niton, and the villages closest to the southernmost point of the Island, were perhaps the most notorious areas for this illegal trade, and a new Smugglers Trail has been devised by Niton and Whitwell Parish Council, following the pathways and hiding places favoured by smugglers in days of yore. By 1830 most of Niton village was involved in the

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Incarcerated Isle – Isle of Wight Prisons

  We all feel a little like prisoners at the moment, unable to go out of our houses, except to exercise and shop. But did you know that the island has one of the most notorious prisons in the country, HMP Isle of Wight, which over its history has housed a number of famous prisoners?   The prison was originally three prisons, Parkhurst, Albany and Camp Hill prisons. Camp Hill was a category C low security prison, but the others were both high security prisons holding the most dangerous criminals.   Parkhurst began in 1778 as a military hospital and children's asylum and by 1838,


Queen Victoria’s Island

Queen Victoria visited the island on various occasions before becoming queen. As a young girl she stayed at Norris Castle in East Cowes in 1831, when she was 12, and again in 1933, aged 14, with her mother. Mother and daughter visited attractions of the day around the island, including the Sand Rock Spring Hotel in Niton to take the reputed health-giving waters from the nearby chalybeate spring. Later it was renamed the Royal Sandrock Hotel for her visit, but it sadly burned down in the 1980s. The Buddle Inn Is close to the site of this former hotel. The Isle of

Longstones landscape

Our Ancient Island – Barrows and Burial Mounds

  Discover the Isle of Wight’s ancient history by walking to the various barrows, or burial mounds, that remain here.   The Longstone The most impressive ancient monument has to be the Longstone above Mottistone Manor. This site is thought to date from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) era and archaeologists believe that the Longstone was an earthen long barrow (burial mound) with a stone revetted entrance. The barrow is long gone, having been looted over the centuries, but the two large blocks of local greensand, one upright and the other lying next to it on the ground, are believed to be the remains of


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