Fetes & Festivals: Experience Rural Living

Get into the real rural vibe of the Island by attending one of our local festivals or fairs. Everyone is welcome, and you’ll probably make some friends whilst you’re there – plus you might learn something about our lovely island.

County Show July 8th

For a real country-based show with its roots planted firmly in the farming community, pay a visit to the Isle of Wight County Show on Sunday July 8th. The Island’s livestock owners bring their finest animals to the show for judging, with cows, sheep, pigs and even alpacas and llamas being paraded for everyone to see. There’s a poultry marquee for all things feathery and you may even find caveys being shown– that’s Guinea pigs by the way. Down to the rear of the field are all of the horsey events that break into the main ring for the Hunter Classes, and the hounds usually make an appearance too. Sometimes there’s even a sheep shearing event, or ferret racing in the time honoured tradition running down drainpipes. It’s all very rural and very traditional – right down to the beer tent, featuring island ales. Plus there are arts and crafts and loads of food stalls. From 9am till 5pm at the Royal Agricultural Society Show Ground, Northwood, PO30 5TP.

Mottistone Open Day Sunday 27th May, Monday 28th May

The gardens of Mottistone Manor are open daily throughout the season, but the house is privately let and there are only two days per year when you get a chance to see inside this ancient manor house. The south-east wing dates from the fifteenth or early sixteenth century, the north-west wing was added or remodelled by Thomas Cheke in 1567, and additions to the south-east wing were made in the early seventeenth century. The whole house was remodelled in the 1920s by the architects Seely and Paget; John Seely, Lord Mottistone (1899–1963) of the firm being a great-grandson of Charles Seely (1803–1887), who had bought the house and estate in 1861. From 9.30 am till 4.30pm on Sunday 27th May and 10.30 till 4.30pm on Bank Holiday Monday 28th you get a unique opportunity to see this beautiful house and the gardens. You do have to buy a ticket for the gardens to visit the house, and there’s a charge for entry to the house for non NT members.

Wolverton Folk and Blues Fair Saturday 12th May

With an IW real ale beer tent, local food stalls, tea tent, children’s activities, craft stalls, circus skills and morris dancing, the Wolverton Folk and Blues Fair is a wonderful day out for the whole family set against the backdrop of Wolverton Manor and the stunning West Wight scenery. This year it’s on Saturday May 12th and the headliners are Errol Linton Band and The Jigantics, with support from MoonShiners, Feck, Cat Skellington, Blackfoot Daisy, Claydon Connor and Baggywrinkles Blues Band. The second Acoustic Stage in the beer tent features All Washed Up, ‘Grizzly’ Rhys Morgan, Annabelle Spencer, Vote Pedro, Danton, Brighstone Barnacles, The Mojo Mamas and Bob’s Basement Band.  Just the names of these acts give you a good idea for what you have in store – a rip roaring day of great folk and blues!



Walking Festival  April 28th to May 13th

Whether you’re a seasoned walker or a newbie who hasn’t even broken in their walking shoes, you’ll find a walk for you at the Isle of Wight Walking Festival that runs from April 28th to May 13th. With between five and eight walks daily over the two week period, ranging from three mile jaunts to a 66 mile around the Island challenge.

Outdoors writer, national journalist and news editor of BBC’s Countryfile Magazine, Mark Rowe kicks the festival off on April 28th with a 9 mile ‘River and Coastal Circular’ around the East Wight. Other walks during the festival include titles such as ‘Changing Chines,’ ‘Naughty Knighton’ and ‘Getting Bogged Down’. There are even Group Coaching Walks during which you can discuss Career Development or Life Changes – these cost £50, are limited to ten people and need to be booked here. The two week festival culminates with the annual Walk the Wight in aid of the Earl Mountbatten Hospice, with various options for those not wanting to complete the whole 26 ½ miles.


IW Steam Railway Real Ale Festival 5th 6th & 7th May

Be transported back to the days of steam travel whilst sampling a pint of your favourite real ale at the 13th annual Isle of Wight Real Ale Festival. Featuring many of the popular Isle of Wight brewed beers, plus those from all over the country, along with hot and cold food. Entrance to the festival is free, you can enjoy flying displays from Haven Falconry, and for a fee you can add a trip on one of the wonderful old steam trains that will be operating on the day. Open from 11am until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday and from 11am until 5pm on bank holiday Monday, there will be live music between 1pm and 5pm daily from:  Saturday 5th May - All Washed Up; Sunday 6th May -The 545s; Monday 7th May - Moonshiners.


Jo Macaulay

4 April 2018

By Jo Macaulay in Articles