The waters of the Solent not only physically separate the Isle of Wight from the English mainland, they also give the island a special feeling of being a little bit different, where the pace of life is slower and things are more relaxed. On the east coast there are sandy beaches and gentile resort towns popular since Victorian times, while the west is more rural, with dramatic cliff and the iconic towering chalk cliffs of the Needles.
Queen Victoria had her summer residence on the island at Osborne House, where she died in 1901. The house is now one of many Isle of Wight attractions, along with Carisbrook Castle, a steam railway, beaches and even two vineyards. Crowds flock to the island for the Isle of Wight and Bestival music festivals and for Cowes Week yacht regatta when hotels and B&Bs on the Isle of Wight book up well in advance.