Hairdresser: “Going anywhere nice on your holidays this year?”
Customer: “We’re going to Mansfield for a week, the kids are really excited!”
Hairdresser: “Oooh, I hear it’s lovely there, my sister had a week there last year.”
The stats say that 660,000 people per year visit the Isle of Wight as holidaymakers compared to 630,000 in Nottinghamshire (page 112 if you want to check my working). And these aren’t just people reluctantly visiting Aunt Maud in Retford, they are actually planning a holiday, sticking a roof box on the car and announcing “Come on kids, we’re off to Nottinghamshire!”.
Now, I have no great objection to Nottinghamshire, it’s a county I know fairly well and it’s a nice enough place, but here are 5 reasons why a holiday on the Isle of Wight is a far better option:
1. The Nottinghamshire coastline...
The Isle of Wight has 67 miles of actual real life beaches, with proper sand and water and everything. There are beaches for surfing (Compton Bay), kayaking (St Helens), coasteering (Freshwater), rockpooling (Bembridge), kitesurfing (Brook), swimming (Sandown amongst others), sunset viewing (Gurnard), eating chips and discussing the good old days (Ventnor), beach football (Appley) and sandcastle building (Shanklin).
The closest Nottinghamshire ever came to a beach was a pile of sand dumped in Nottingham city centre as a summer ‘attraction’. Oh, and there was a stabbing at the fake beach as well.
2. Our historic characters actually existed
In comparison, on the Isle of Wight you can see Queen Victoria’s death-bed at Osborne House or sit in her pew at St Mildred’s Church in Whippingham. You can see where King Charles I was held captive in a castle, or you can even see the village shop in Chale that was opened by Alan Titchmarsh. Oh, and we've got loads of dinosaurs too.
3. The sun always shines on the Isle of Wight
For those who get a headache from looking at big numbers, that's an average of an extra 80 minutes of sunshine every day.
4. Our festivals are headlined by people my mum has heard of
And of course we’ve got Bestival, which is now about the same size as the Isle of Wight Festival and has recently included a tent for breastfeeding mothers, the world’s biggest glitterball, Snoop Dogg and Elton John. Now that’s what I call a festival.
We also have Cowes Week, which is an excellent opportunity to go sailing and drink Pimms, if that’s your sort of thing. If not, you can still watch the fireworks and mooch around looking for people wearing red trousers.