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Is the weather better on the Isle of Wight?

From an Islander... 

Ask any local this question and we’ll tell you 100% that the weather is better on the Isle of Wight. The Island is sunnier, it’s warmer and it’s surrounded by beaches - it’s practically a tropical Island.  We’d love to say it doesn’t rain here, but it totally does. But even when it rains, our rain is still nicer than mainland rain… 

A diamond shaped Island on the UK south coast, the Isle of Wight is a little slice of paradise just an hour away by ferry. And while our proud local boasts about the weather may seem a little too good to be true, there is truth behind these claims. Read on to find out more. 

bembridge beach
freshwater bay
shanklin beach

more sunshine on the isle of wight

The Isle of Wight is in fact one of the sunniest places in the UK, with an average 37 hours of sunshine a week compared to the national average of 29.7 hours. That works out at 1924 hours of sunlight per year for the Island, compared with 1,410 hours average for London. That’s a whopping 500-hours additional sunshine per year for the Isle of Wight, an average 90 minutes per day. This ‘sunny’ fact has been celebrated for many years, the Island known in the 1930’s as ‘England’s Garden Isle of Sunshine’ and visitors being encouraged to head south for sun.

These extra hours are not just applicable to the summer months either, with the Met Office reporting more hours of sunlight per week on the Island in winter than further north in the country. So, while we can’t always guarantee the weather here in the UK, you can certainly expect more sunshine and subsequently warmer climes on the Isle of Wight – Britain’s own “Island in the Sun”. 

Adgestone Vineyard - Sea Views

As a result, the Island’s produce is some of the best you’ll ever taste. Thanks to temperatures sometimes rivalling Spain and The Med, the Isle of Wight at one time had three working vineyards producing wine from vine to bottle. Adgestone Vineyard situated on the side of Brading Downs, is a great place to visit on a warm summer’s day. Offering vine and cellar tours and tastings of their local vino, it’s the perfect spot for sitting with a glass, a charcuterie board, and spectacular views across Sandown Bay – you’ll feel like you’re abroad.

Another signature local food thanks to the Island’s sunny disposition is tomatoes. Big ones, small ones, green, yellow, orange, and red ones – Isle of Wight Tomatoes are sweet, juicy, and bursting with flavour. People who don’t even like tomatoes like Isle of Wight Tomatoes, and you’ll find them to buy as fruit on the vine or as a tasty jam, pasta sauce or “Sunshine Juice” at farm shops across the Island. There’s even an Isle of Wight Tomato Green Ketchup.

These extra hours of sunshine influence the sea temperatures too, the sun warming the water to a lovely 16-to-19-degrees in the summer months – even warmer in the shallows. Even in winter, the average sea temperature is around 10 degrees, making the Island a popular destination with wild swimmers year-round. 

Isle of Wight Micro-Climate

Another thing us Islanders love to talk about is our microclimate, which makes it warm enough for tropical plants to grow and for lizards to survive on the south side of the Island.

A microclimate is classed as a small area with a differing climate to the surrounding area, which is true of ‘The Undercliff’. An area along the south coast including Ventnor, Bonchurch, St Lawrence and Niton, the Undercliff is protected from cold northly winds by the towering chalk downs behind. This natural shelter combined with a south-facing location gives rise to warmer temperatures in the area – a microclimate. The warmer temperatures and close proximity to the sea also mean it rarely frosts this far south of the Island. 

The town most synonymous with the microclimate is Ventnor, a pretty seaside town characterised by grand sandstone architecture built into a sloping hillside down to the beach. Ventnor has been referred to as a “health resort” since Victorian times, the place to be to take air and enjoy the sun.

Ventnor also boasts its own Botanic Gardens, dubbed ‘Britain’s hottest gardens’ due to the fact it remains around 5 degrees warmer there than the general UK climate at any time of year and averages only 28 inches of rainfall - thanks to the microclimate.

Ventnor Botanic Gardens

Ventnor Botanic Gardens grow a wide variety of plants over 22 acres of beautifully managed land, many of which would be unable to survive outdoors anywhere else in the UK. A walk through the gardens is to be transported to different geographical regions around the world, plants growing in association with one another as they would in the wild and thriving in the sub-tropical climes.

Who’d have thought just one hour from Southampton city centre you’d find, succulents and cacti, sun-loving herbs, giant echiums, vibrant bedding plants, mature palm trees, colourful South African treasures, Australian eucalyptus, bottlebrushes, tree ferns and more, all growing naturally outside and thriving year-round. 

You may even spot one of the Island’s most exotic residents while in Ventnor, the wall lizard. These cute but quick little sun worshipers are a typically a continental species but do well living within the Undercliff’s microclimate and are now part of the Island’s eco-system.

For more Island inspiration, see our Explore section. 

Book your ferry travel to the Isle of Wight today!