The Isle of Wight now has three Premier Inn hotels. The newest one opened on Sandown seafront in 2021 whilst the Lake/Merrie Gardens opened in 2016 and Newport Premier Inns has been there for a few years.
To avoid confusion, I'll refer to them by their proper names which are Premier Inn Sandown (Seafront), Premier Inn Sandown (Merrie Gardens) and Premier Inn Newport (Isle of Wight). They are all on the Isle of Wight but the last one includes the 'Isle of Wight' name to save people accidentally booking a week's holiday in South Wales - although I'm sure that would be lovely too.
But which is the best Premier Inn on the Isle of Wight?
If you just want the summary then we think that:
Premier Inn Sandown (Seafront)
Premier Inn Sandown (Merrie Gardens)
Premier Inn Newport (Isle of Wight)
Our Price COmparisons of Premier Inn Hotels on the ISle of Wight
For a rough idea of prices, we searched for a Friday to Monday weekend break for a couple in the cheapest room available. We searched in June 2021 and found the following price:
Three nights for two people in mid-July 2021
Late September 2021
Early October 2021
Early November 2021
Early May 2022
As you can see, there are some dates where the prices are the same or very similar at all three Isle of Wight Premier Inns. For the nearer dates, the Premier Inn Newport (Isle of Wight) tends to be the most expensive. The Premier Inn Sandown (Seafront) is the cheapest for the dates which are a long way away, which suggests to me that it has a cheaper starting price than the other two, perhaps because of the added cost of paying for parking.
Side by Side - how do the Isle of Wight's Premier Inn's compare?
Warner Leisure run two of the Isle of Wight’s bigger hotels. They’re unusual because most of the Isle of Wight’s hotels are independently run. The other chain hotels are Premier Inn (Sandown, Lake and Newport), Travelodge (Newport and Ryde) and Best Western (Cowes).
This blog focuses on how to save money at Bembridge Coast Hotel and Norton Grange Coastal Village. If you're deciding which one to visit then you we've got a comparison of the two hotels here.
Anyway, here are six ways to save money on a holiday at Bembridge Coast and Norton Grange in Yarmouth.
1. Book early rather than holding out for a last minute bargain
Booking early is the key to getting a good price on most holidays. You might think that a ‘last minute bargain’ is the way to go, but it’s much more common for prices to climb up as availability drops.
This is usually because the cheapest grade of rooms are booked up earlier. If you leave it late then you’re forced into an upgrade that you probably wouldn’t have paid for otherwise.
For example, we searched in June 2021 for a week’s holiday in early September at Bembridge Coast Hotel. For a week in early September 2022 it was £493 per person for B&B. We could choose from standard rooms or posher rooms and could pay extra for a seaview and a balcony (which I would recommend, if you can afford it). The same week in September 2021 was about twice the price at £959 per person for B&B because the only room left was the Royale Room which is much plusher and more spacious.
2. Check the Warner Leisure Offers Page
Having said that booking early is the best thing to do, I'll now contradict myself by saying that you should check for last minute breaks on the Warner Leisure website.
To be honest though, if you are fixed on visiting one hotel then you will find there isn't much choice. When we checked, there weren't any last minute deals at Bembridge Coast Hotel and only one at Norton Grange (with Darren Day, no less).
However, the special offers page does also include some other deals. When I checked you could get an extra £20 off if you stay for seven days and there were several fixed priced deals on B&B as well as dinner, bed and breakfast.
3. Ask Warner Leisure to book the ferry for you
We’ve been jabbering on for years that the best way to get a good price on the Isle of Wight ferry is not to book it direct with Red Funnel and Wightlink (usually). A big company like Warner Leisure get a favourable trade rate and they bundle it in with holidays at a very good price.
At the time of typing, they charge £55 return for most crossings or £75 for some others (see more details of the Warner ferry offer here) That’s the price for a car and as many passengers as you want. They also say that if you find it cheaper then they’ll match it ‘on production of a valid quote or receipt showing the details’.
The only times that it might be cheaper to book direct with the ferry companies for a Warner Hotels holiday are:
If you want to do some more research, take a look at our ferries discount page. Honestly though, I wouldn’t bother – you’re unlikely to beat the Warner Leisure price.
4. Visit Norton Grange instead of Bembridge Coast
We carried out two price comparisons in our guide which looked at Norton Grange and Bembridge side by side. For both sets of dates, Norton Grange was notably cheaper – on occasion by £160 for a couple for a week and by £320 on the other date.
Of course, we also found that Bembridge Coast Hotel gets slightly better reviews but there’s more money saving potential at Norton Grange.
5. Choose the best time of year for you
You won’t be shocked to hear that a week at Bembridge Coast Hotel or Norton Grange Hotel in the depths of winter is cheaper than a summer break.
However, there are some golden patches where you can get a combination of good prices and good weather (hopefully).
To test this out we looked for the price for the cheapest available week in the middle of each month during 2022 at Bembridge Coast Hotel, including dinner, bed and breakfast and entertainment. We searched in June 2021:
So, the time for a bargain holiday is December, January and February whilst prices are at their highest from June to September.
Keep in mind that some Isle of Wight attractions stay open all year round whilst a significant number just open from April to October, or drop down to limited hours during winter.
Also worth mentioning is that the Isle of Wight is much busier during school holidays, particularly late July/August, May half term and Easter.
There’s no single answer here but I would suggest that:
It's also worth saying that Bembridge Coast and Norton Grange are aimed at couples rather than families. As a result, August isn't always the most expensive month - whereas it would be at every self catering cottage or holiday park. That means Bembridge Coast and Norton Grange are good options if you have grandchildren on the Isle of Wight and want to visit them without staying with them.
6. Skip the entertainment (and dinner)
I would say there’s only a marginal saving with this one, so it won’t be for everyone.
When we checked, the cost of upgrading from B&B only to B&B with entertainment and dinner at Bembridge Coast Hotel or Norton Grange Coastal Village was about £170-£180 per person, per week. That’s about £50 a night for a couple.
If you decide that you aren’t at all interested in watching the live shows and that you would prefer to head out each evening for dinner then it’s probably not worth the upgrade.
From Bembridge Coast you can get to Sandown, Shanklin, Bembridge and Ryde within about 15 minutes by car. Between them, you’ve got a good choice of places to eat, many of which overlook the sea.
From Norton Grange, there are a handful of places to eat in Yarmouth and there are pubs scattered throughout the West Wight's villages. I would say that the choice is greater from Bembridge Coast but either is fine if you have a car as the Isle of Wight is blessed with an abundance of good places to eat out.
We’ve picked out some of our favourites in our guide to restaurants with a sea view.
You’ll find that there’s less choice in winter than summer as some restaurants close for several weeks to get over the rush of the peak season.
Hats off to anyone who has started a new business in the last year. Or indeed to anyone who has managed to keep their business going throughout months of lockdowns, tiers, bubbles, furloughs and other words which have taken over our vocabulary.
Here's our shout out to new things you can do and see on the Isle of Wight during summer 2021.
It's been nice to see the attractions at Tapnell Farm growing over the last five years. There's the Farm Park, of course, but there's also now the Isle of Wight Aqua Park which opened in 2020 and the football golf which opens in 2021. It's a first for the Isle of Wight and it's in a lovely setting in the West Wight. I reckon the full 18 hole course will be popular with stag dos and enthusiastic dads (myself included). There's also a shorter nine hole course for younger children.
Robin Hill has hosted a few events since Bestival retired about five years ago. This year, that includes a night of comedy (Tom Allen, Rich Hall, Seann Walsh and Maisie Adam) plus an evening with Katie Melua. If restrictions allow, it'll be held in the woodland amphitheatre or they can spread people out on the lower fields if necessary.
3. Totland Pier Cafe
I'm not going to feature every new cafe and ice cream hut but the new cafe at Totland seems like it is worth a mention. The pier at Totland has been slowly corroding for a few years so it's been nice to see ongoing work to revive it. A big part of the plan is the new cafe which is now open.
Feel free to give a mention to other new cafes and pubs in the comments section below.
Willow fans will already know that there's only one other willow maze in the UK. This one has been created by a charity which tries to revive green spaces on the Isle of Wight. It sits in the grounds of a hexagonal fort which is mostly holiday apartments.
5. Outdoor escape Room at Appuldurcombe House
You might question how hard it is to escape from an outdoor escape room, but it's actually an 'escape room style game, played within the manor grounds'. It takes about an hour and is for 2-8 people. You can book tickets here.
6. The Isle of WIght Festival in September
Yes, I know that the Isle of Wight Festival isn't new. However, 2021 will be the first year it's been held in September (all being well). They've had to jiggle the lineup around but it's still looking good. Best of all, it means that those of us who suffer with hayfever will be able to enjoy the festival without constant nose blowing and sneezing. It's also much closer to the dates of the 1970 festival, which was at the end of August. You can buy tickets here.
7. Wight Knuckle Brewery
My father would be very disappointed at my lack of knowledge of real ales, microbreweries, craft beers and so on. If he knew I had a crate of non-alcoholic Becks in the fridge he'd be inconsolable.
Some people who know a bit more about these things have opened a microbrewery in Bembridge at the Pilot Boat Inn
As previously mentioned on this blog, I spent four happy summers working at Robin Hill Country Park. It was around the time that Bestival was starting and it was certainly one of the best two temporary jobs I had. The other contender was doing the washing up for Queens of the Stone Age but that's less relevant for this blog.
I can still give the safety talk for the Toboggan Run and am happy to rattle it out to friends and family on special occasions.
And so, every return to Robin Hill with my own children has a strong feeling of nostalgia. Many of the rides I operated are still there - Colossus and the Toboggan Run being the main ones. I also operated the Time Machine which has had a rebrand to a 4D Cinema. The ice cream hut is still there where I fell in love with mint choc chip.
Many other things have changed though - almost entirely for the better. The two rides for younger children have been replaced by the Cows Express. In my day, one of the rides was called Jumping Jets and the other was octopus themed (please comment below if you can remember the name of it).
One of the mazes disappeared around the end of my time at Robin Hill and a tonne weight which you could lift with pulleys also went. However, the jungle themed playground wasn't there and that whole section of the park was much quieter.
On our most recent visit it was the Sky High Festival and the park was open until 10pm. When I worked there, we always went home at 5pm or 6pm and special events were rare - besides Bestival and a Pink Floyd Tribute act.
Nowadays, Robin Hill hosts regular evening events and has lighting throughout the whole park. Covid-19 has thrown a spanner into the works for most big events, but the Sky High Night Glow was able to go ahead with everyone having a square of grass to sit on.
Before the balloons attempted take off, we bounced our way through the bouncy nets and walked through the woods and gardens which are much prettier and more interesting than they used to be. The children were less interested in the flowers but my mother enjoyed them. I made the mistake of taking the four year old on the left hand bouncy nets which go in a circular route. She decided she really didn't like it whilst inside a narrow bouncy tunnel which caused a worse tailback than a horsebox on the A303. I should have started with the right hand side bouncy net which is one big bouncy circle which is easier to escape.
After a couple of hours exploring the park we took our seats for the balloons. We had waited for the forecast before booking our tickets and so were enjoying a summer evening. There is food available but we brought our own to avoid queueing (and paying) for it.
As became obvious, ballooning requires practically zero wind to avoid the risk of crashing into the English Channel or onto the roof of M&S. At one moment, the ballooning compere told us that they were 'waiting for this wind to die down' despite the tops of the trees being statue still. We were told that a mass launch was 'amber' rather than 'green' so it could go either way.
I think I'm right in saying that this was the second balloon festival at Robin Hill and they hadn't managed a mass launch during the first one. If you don't get to see a mass launch, you do at least get to see a 'night glow' where the balloons sit on the ground and blast their flames in time with music. For those with long memories, it's a ballooning version of Waltzing Waters (rest in peace).
For a long time, it was touch and go whether we would see any balloons taking off. Mrs Guru was in need of a cup of tea and the children's bedtime was approaching.
However, after much tension-building and a fair amount of discussion about the history of ballooning the mass launch finally began. Balloons drifted over our heads and set off into the summer's evening. In all, seven or eight balloons took off and later landed in a farmer's field (hopefully).
A few days later we came back to use the free returns within seven days offer. This has changed since my day so that you can only visit after 1pm but it's still a good reason to visit at the start of your holiday rather than the end. We tried out disc golf which replaced the pitch and putt a few years ago. It was good fun, even if holes eight and nine had disappeared (presumably to make space for the balloons). Child one nearly got clobbered with a frisbee but thankfully it sailed past her left ear.
Robin Hill is certainly not the cheapest attraction on the Isle of Wight - we paid about £22 each which is about twice the price of Tapnell Farm Park. However, we felt like we got three days out for our money including the balloon festival, the first jaunt round the park and the return visit.
I received an email this week from a parent who was preparing for an Isle of Wight holiday with children aged nine, 14 and 18.
Florida was off the cards thanks to Covid, so plan B was a trip to the Isle of Wight. Needless to say, the pressure to compete with Florida was weighing on my mind.
The challenge is to find activities which are simultaneously interesting for a nine year old and an 18 year old that don't involve staring at a screen. I've had similar emails from other people before who are trying to occupy toddlers and teenagers at the same time. Do you just accept that one person in the party will be bored or find a middle ground that might please nobody?
We've written guides to days out for toddlers, junior school age children and teenagers but combining ages is more difficult. Fear not though, weary parents, it is not impossible.
Here are my suggestions of what I would with a nine, 14 and 18 year old on an Isle of Wight holiday.
I've crammed a lot in to each day, you might want to enjoy a slightly slower pace.
You can change the order of the days round to fit in with the weather, surf and tides.
Day One - Tapnell Farm Park, Isle of Wight Aqua park and Freshwater Bay
Day Two - Sandham Gardens, Dinosaur Isle, Wildheart Animal Sanctuary
Day Three - Alum Bay and Compton Bay
Day Four - Monkey Haven, Cineworld and Go Karting (ideal for a grey day)
Day Five - Watersports at St Helen's or Dunroamin
Day Six - Amusements and Minigolf in Shanklin, Treasure Trail in Ventnor
Some other options
There are a few big name attractions missing from our itinerary and you may well find that they do the job nicely for your family.
Some of the bigger Isle of Wight attractions that I haven't mentioned include:
A few months ago, the Isle of Wight got a big heap of attention thanks to it being declared as a ‘tier one’ location for Covid restrictions. The Sun featured the Isle of Wight on the front page and headline writers tried to think of puns involving the word ‘Wight’.
The issue was then discussed on Mock The Week which led to this amusing interjection from comedian Rhys James
“What’s the point of being in tier one on the Isle of Wight? I mean, it’s still the Isle of Wight. What are you going to do with your freedom? Pop to the local well and wish you were in London?"
I’m aware that December 2020 now feels like forever ago, but I felt it was my duty to offer a belated reply (plus, I only got round to watching it last night whilst lying on the floor and waiting for child two to go to sleep).
So, for Rhys James, here are my suggestions of five reasons why the Isle of Wight is a nicer place for a holiday than London:
1. The Isle of Wight is sunnier than London
Despite only being a couple of hours away, the Isle of Wight gets a whopping 500 hours a year more sunshine than London. And that’s not a stat from the tourist board calculated by moving a decimal place and looking at data for 1956. That’s actual data covering 30 years of sunshine hours from the Met Office. Shanklin averaged 1923 hours of sunshine per year whilst London only managed 1410 hours.
That’s an average of nearly 90 minutes of extra sunshine every day, meaning you could sit out on your balcony and watch the entirety of The Little Mermaid in the sunshine in Shanklin rather than watching it in the grey of Greenwich.
Plus, when you’re in London the sunsets are frequently obscured by vast glass buildings which once housed office workers and now gather dust because everyone is working from home.
And of course, most people in London spend at least an hour of their day underground.
2. The Isle of Wight has better beaches than London
By my count, there are about 25 beaches on the Isle of Wight which are worth a visit. If you’re staying in the middle of the Island, that gives you about 25 beaches within 25 minutes. (Note to self: suggest this as a future marketing slogan for Visit Isle of Wight).
You can bodyboard in Shanklin, surf at Compton Bay, paddleboard at Colwell, swim at Sandown, go crabbing in Bembridge, fly a kite in Ryde, kitesurf at Brook, let it all hang out at Blackgang (the beach, not the theme park please), kayak at St Helens, explore caves in Freshwater, watch yachts in Cowes, ride a chairlift at Alum Bay, strum an acoustic guitar and cry about an ex-girlfriend at Binnel Bay, lick an ice cream in Ventnor or walk the dog at Player’s Beach.
Meanwhile, London has got the Thames Estuary which has all the seaside appeal of a puddle. It’s fine if you’re Peppa Pig, it’s less of a pleasant day out for the rest of us.
3. People dance to mariachi bands on the Isle of WIght
As we all know, sweeping generalisations are always wrong.
However, we have all observed the misery of the London commuter. Face down, phone in hand, avoiding eye contact as if every other passenger is a mugger.
On one occasion when I was on the tube, a five piece mariachi band walked along the carriage playing El Jarabe Tapatio in the hope of raising a few pennies to pay for their vastly expensive rent.
The miserable commuters didn’t even look up. For a mariachi band!
I admit it’s a slightly different vibe on the tube at weekends, but still...
Contrast that with a mariachi band I saw perform at Appley Beach a couple of years ago (Vote Pedro) which featured a man in his 70s/80s shaking a musical pineapple whilst the rest of the band rattled out mariachi versions of Seven Nation Army and Another Brick In The Wall. A conga line started, the sun shone, we all applauded, I even danced a little.
4. There's more space on the Isle of Wight
Last summer, we decided it would be wiser and more relaxing to visit places on the Isle of Wight without many people. Covid rates were low but I find it more relaxing when Mrs Guru isn’t saying “they’re getting a bit close” every thirty seconds.
Keeping our distance proved remarkably easy.
On more than one occasion we found ourselves all alone on a glorious beach in the sunshine in the middle of the day in August. That was despite the Isle of Wight being much busier than usual. The reason is that the Island has such a choice of beaches and green space that it isn’t a case that everyone piles to the same green space when the sun comes out.
London’s parks are lovely, but they certainly aren’t places to avoid people on a sunny day.
5. Islanders aren’t as backwards as you might think
Alright, so a few Isle of Wight residents may still take a trip to the village wishing well on a daily basis but I would argue that this has become much less popular in recent years.
And reports of witch trials and pitchfork mobs are at an all time low according to the Office of National Statistics (2011 Census Data).
In fact, the Isle of Wight has a pretty good choice of cultural things to do. OK, so the Quay Arts Centre isn’t quite on the same scale as the Tate Modern and Brighstone Museum isn’t on the same scale as the British Museum. But then again, Brighstone Museum doesn’t receive millions of pounds from an oil company (as far as I’m aware – Brighstone residents feel free to correct me).
There are plenty of award-winning places to eat on the Isle of Wight for the discerning diner, including several which feature in the Michelin Guide. That’s not the same as a Michelin star, but it’s still impressive.
I can’t guarantee that everything on the Isle of Wight is cheaper than London, but as a general rule you will feel less like you’ve had your current account raided after ordering a drink on the Isle of Wight.
There are festivals too – such as Ventnor Fringe or the Isle of Wight Festival. I'm not going to argue that the Isle of Wight has a richer history than London, but there's plenty to keep you entertained – Osborne gives any of London’s stately homes a run for its money (and it’s got a beach) and Carisbrooke Castle has spectacular views from the top of the keep. Then there's the seaside views from Yarmouth Castle, the gardens of Mottistone Manor, the dinosaur bones of the West Wight, two lighthouses, four piers, a 17th century windmill and several seaside forts.
Anyway, I'd better go and make a start on my guide to 'five of the best wells of the Isle of Wight'.
If you want a second home/holiday home or a Furnished Holiday Letting on the Isle of Wight you'll need to consider a few things. This is certainly not a comprehensive list, it's more of a splurge of thoughts which might help guide someone in the right direction.
Most of this applies all over the UK but I'll throw in some local place names to keep it interesting.
Please note, I'm not an accountant and the bits which mention tax should be seen as a vague pointing in the right direction rather than up to date or water tight advice.
As I said, this isn't intended to be a checklist for a second home but hopefully it will be of use to someone who is exploring their options.
Before we get into the meat of this Solent-sandwich let's make it clear that there isn't currently a simple fixed price discount which every Isle of Wight resident receives on every vehicle crossing on the Isle of Wight ferries. You can’t just turn up at the ferry, shout a secret phrase ("alright nipper!") and help yourself to a £50 return journey without any effort or commitment.
However, with a bit of investment, faffing or forward planning then most people can make some good savings on the ferry if they're an Isle of Wight resident.
This blog post will focus on car ferry travel but there are deals for Isle of Wight foot passengers such as My Link and the Blue Card.
Anyway, let’s start with Wightlink car ferry travel.
If you’re an Isle of Wight resident or a second homeowner then you are entitled to buy a Wightlink Multilink pass.
The idea is that you buy a book of ten crossings for a car and passengers. At the time of writing, it costs £290, so a return journey is £58 regardless of when you travel or how many passengers you have. During the peak of summer that will probably save you more than £100 per crossing.
As far as I can tell, each ferry crossing has a number of spaces reserved for Multilink passes so you need to book early if you’re planning to use the ferry on a Saturday lunchtime in August.
There are some key bits of smallprint – some of which make it more appealing and some of which make it less appealing.
The main downside is that you need to use the journeys within one year of topping up. You may conclude that since you only manage two or three return journeys with a car each year, that it’s not worth it.
But wait, dear reader!
There are a couple of bits of juicy smallprint which will make your heart race.
Firstly, you can share a Wightlink Multilink pass with someone else who lives at the same address and you don’t have to be the driver. They aren’t tied to one vehicle, so a parent could share a pass with a son or daughter who is away at university.
Secondly, if you don’t use all your journeys within one year you can carry over spare credit by topping up another five journeys. This works well if you have a year of minimal travelling followed by a year of more regular journeys.
Thirdly, if you decide you don’t need your pass anymore and it has credit left, you can apply to get 75% of the cost back. There are some bits of smallprint to abide by but it’s not too complicated and it means that you’ll stil get a good price if you only use three or four crossings and then cancel the pass.
Let’s move on to Red Funnel, which takes a completely different approach.
Their travel deals for regular car ferry travellers are available to Islanders and Mainlanders (20% off if you prepay £1000). However, they do send out something called the Red Funnel Big Book of Savings to Isle of Wight residents (71,000 homes apparently.
They are sent out five times a year and offer special deals and discounts for residents. You can use the discount codes a limited number of times (usually three times) which is why we don’t share them on this website.
The deals either offer a fixed price or a percentage discount. As you’ll see from this marketing website the deals can be pretty good – during 2020 they offered 25% off vehicle ferry crossings or Red Funnel car ferry day returns for about £40.
The upside with these deals is that they will sometimes trump the Wightlink Multilink price and there’s no commitment or upfront payment.
The downside is that they are usually designed to steer customers towards lower demand sailings, whereas the Wightlink deal potentially lets you travel any time. You can’t rely on these discounts if you’re planning a trip to the mainland long in advance.
Besides those deals from Wightlink and Red Funnel, there are also generous discounts for Isle of Wight residents who have low incomes.
To qualify, you need to either be receiving ‘Local Council Tax support’ or housing benefit. This council page announcing the scheme back in 2018 reckons there are about 14,000 eligible people.
Once you’ve applied for the scheme, you can get Red Funnel return car ferry travel for a maximum price of £51, at the time of writing. They call it the Assisted Fares Scheme. Wightlink also offer a discount under the name of the Discounted Fares Scheme although I couldn’t see prices.
There are also foot passenger discounts for people on low incomes from Red Funnel, Wightlink and Hovertravel which is somewhere around half price. Hovertravel call it the IOW Council Affordable Fares Scheme.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there are schemes in place for Isle of Wight residents who are visiting hospitals on the mainland.
At the time of typing, you get a 50% discount with Wightlink if you're going for an NHS appointment. Red Funnel do a fixed price hospital trip deal whilst Hovertravel offer discounts to foot passengers under their Hovercare scheme.
If anyone knows of other discounts and deals which are exclusively for Isle of Wight residents, please add a comment below. We cover all the deals and offers that we know of in our ferry discounts guide.
Good news everybody, the Isle of Wight Festival 2021 lineup hasn't changed beyond all recognition. Let's all put on our masks and take a collective sigh of relief.
Of course, many people will complain about X being replaced with Y but I have already expressed my views about these whinge bags.
So, who is in and who is out compared to the June 2021 planned lineup? This will read like a football transfer deadline day summary, but stay with it.
Thursday is the campers' night at the Isle of Wight Festival, when the festival has sort of started but not completely. The lineup has changed significantly with The Happy Mondays and Natasha Bedingfield being replaced with Scouting for Girls and Sophie Ellis Bextor.
Friday's Main Stage lineup has probably had the most changes with the three main acts changing.
Lionel Richie and Lewis Capaldi have been replaced with Liam Gallagher and Tom Jones. So, you can still throw your knickers at a legend if you really want to.
I'm a bit disappointed that I won't see Lionel Richie but we'd been warned that it would mostly be British acts performing. Liam Gallagher has played the festival before, most recently in 2018 but Tom Jones hasn't appeared since 2011.
Spare a thought for Jess Glynne fans, as she has disappeared from the lineup. I suspect that a tabloid newspaper journalist is furiously bashing away at their keyboard right now to make this into a story, even if the most likely reason is that she had something else booked.
James has taken Jess Glynne's place. Personally, I like James a lot so I don't mind although they have played at the Isle of Wight Festival before in 2008, 2010, 2015 and 2019.
The Big Top lineup is mostly the same, except for a couple of the opening acts changing (Joy Crookes and Donna Missal have been replaced with Lucy Blue and Charlotte Jane).
Saturday night on the Main Stage looks pretty similar. Pete Tong has been replaced with David Guetta so there's still a massive dance act. Apart from that, it is just the opening acts which have changed - Rothwell and Asylums have been replaced with Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly and The Ks.
The Big Top on Saturday night is exactly the same, except Stone has been added to the lineup.
Sunday's Main Stage lineup hasn't changed much, except Carly Rae Jepson has been replaced with Chinchilla.
Sunday's Big Top has changed a bit. Mavis Staples has been replaced with Imelda May. Balcony has been replaced with Jasmine Jethwa, Lawson and er, Wet Leg.
All in all though, the changes to the lineup are not as major as I was expecting. I'm sure some people will be disappointed but there are still lots of acts I'm keen to see and as long as I get a bit of sunshine and a ride in the big wheel I'll be happy.
You can buy tickets here:
If you're interested, here are the two lineups next to each other.
Mrs Guru is excellent at buying presents. In fact, she's excellent at birthdays generally and has managed to rustle up some outstanding gifts and activities despite the obvious challenges of the last year.
One of her favourite present-buying sites is Etsy, which is full of artsy stuff, including a good choice of Isle of Wight related artwork, soft furnishings, birthday cards and other stuff (2334 search results at the time of writing).
Here's my choice of five of the best Isle of Wight themed things you can buy on Etsy. All images are from Etsy.
1. IW Letters by Lucy Loves This - £22 (unframed) or £52 (framed)
Mrs Guru bought this print for Guru Towers for my last birthday. Up close you'll see it's made up of Isle of Wight place names and buildings. The top right hand corner of the 'W' is Sandown Pier whilst the bottom right of the 'W' is Carisbrooke Castle. Personally, I think they've made a good job of it and have included lots of places which Islanders are fond of but which usually get missed off touristy souvenirs (Military Road, The Longstone etc.).
Mrs Guru tells me that the artist who created it put out a request for UK places that they could create an artwork for. Mrs Guru suggested the Isle of Wight (obvs) and a short time later they had produced it.
2. Isle of Wight Travel Posters - from £7
I think I'm right in saying that this style of poster is known as a 'travel' poster. There are several good Isle of Wight ones to choose from on Etsy. You can get a digital version for a few pounds or buy a framed print for more. My favourites are the ones of The Needles if you want an obvious choice or the Pepperpot or the beach huts at Gurnard if you're looking for a slightly less obvious choice for an Isle of Wightophile.
3. Wooden Topographic Isle of Wight Map by SDK Designer Maker - £60
This 3D map showing the hills of the Isle of Wight isn't the cheapest gift on Etsy but it's clearly labour intensive and it's pretty unusual. As you can probably tell, the whole thing is made from layers of wood which are numbered to show height.
There's a huge amount of detail with pretty much every beach being named around the edges of the image.
4. Isle of Wight Festival Poster by Bucket List Print Shop - from £25
There are a few different Isle of Wight Festival themed artworks on Etsy. They're mostly focused on the 'original' festivals which ran from 1968-1970 but there are also some nice ones from the more modern festival which has taken place annually since 2002...apart from 2020.
I've picked out this modern one showing the main stage at around sunset which has got to be one of my highlights of the year.
5. Ventnor from above by Mapply - from £12
This map of Ventnor from above wouldn't appeal to my mother as it's not exactly a pretty seaside scene, but I quite like it. You can choose from various contrasting colours but I think this yellow and grey version works well.
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