The Isle of Wight is an English island and county, off the southern English coast, to the south of the county of Hampshire. It is part of the United Kingdom.
Popular from Victorian times as a holiday resort, the Isle of Wight is known for its natural beauty and as home to the Royal Yacht Squadron at Cowes, a town that hosts a world famous annual regatta. Colloquially, it is known as "The Island" by its residents. It possesses a rich history including its own brief status as a vassal kingdom in the fifteenth century, home to poet Alfred Lord Tennyson and Queen Victoria's much loved summer residence and final home Osborne House. Its maritime history encompasses boat building and sail making through to the manufacture of flying boats and the world's first hovercraft. Its space history includes the launch of the Black Arrow and Black Knight space rockets. It is home to the Isle of Wight Festival, which, in 1970, was one of the largest rock music events ever held, with estimates reaching 600,000 attendees, overtaking the record set at Woodstock a year earlier. The Isle of Wight Festival was revived in 2002 to critical acclaim, headliners in 2006 were Coldplay, Foo Fighters and The Prodigy. The island is also one of the richest fossil locations for dinosaurs in Europe.
In 686 AD, it became the last part of the British Isles to convert to Christianity, almost a century after the rest of Great Britain.
The island is the smallest ceremonial county in England (when not including Bristol or the City of London) at 380 km², just beating the revived Rutland at 382 km². With just one Member of Parliament and 132,731 permanent residents in the 2001 census, it is also the most populated Parliamentary constituency in the United Kingdom.
A competition in 2002 named the Pyramidal Orchid as the Isle of Wight's county flower.
Locations within the Isle of Wight: