Walkers' paradise

The Isle of Wight in the south of England is one of the UK’s best-loved destinations for ramblers, with a wide network of paths to explore

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On the Isle of Wight, miles of extraordinary countryside are yours to explore. About half the island is a designated National Landscape and, thanks to strong environmental values and innovation, it’s one of the UK’s seven UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. And with more than 800km/500 miles of footpaths, it’s a ramblers’ paradise – not bad for an island that’s only about 37km/23 miles by 21km/13 miles in size.

There’s also the Isle of Wight Walking Festival – one of the best-loved celebrations of walking in the UK. This year marks the event’s 25th anniversary, with the spring festival taking place from 11 to 19 May. It’s the perfect opportunity to explore the island like a local: most walks are led by passionate residents who are keen to show off their favourite trails and hidden gems (booking is highly recommended). Alternatively, you can choose your own pace and follow the island’s themed trails. The Tennyson Trail, a 22km/14-mile walk from Carisbrooke to Alum Bay, traces some of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s daily routes, which inspired his famous poems. Or explore the Jail Trail and learn about the island’s famous prisoners. This route takes in Parkhurst Prison, once inhabited by the Kray Twins, and Carisbrooke Castle, where King Charles I was imprisoned before being sentenced to death.

isle of wight
You can savour some spectacular views and dive into history on the Warrior Trail, which commemorates General Jack Seely and his legendary horse, Warrior, a survivor of some of the First World War’s most famous conflicts. The trail follows much of the route where Warrior was once exercised, running from Carisbrooke Castle to the beach at Brook Bay. After your adventures, unwind in charming accommodation, from converted farmhouses and cosy cottages to hot-tub hideaways (perfect for soaking tired legs). Traditional country pubs, historic sites, boutique shops – and even tree-climbing experiences – are also on offer. There’s a whole island waiting to be discovered – and Wightlink is ready to take you there from one of its three ferry ports in Hampshire. It’s also offering 20% off travel to and from the Spring Walking Festival – visit wight.link/walkingfestival