The Isle of Wight (/waɪt/) is a county and the largest and second-most populous island in England. It is in the English Channel, between 2 and 5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated by the Solent. The island has resorts that have been holiday destinations past Victorian times, and is known for its serene climate, coastal scenery, and verdant landscape of fields, downland and chines. The island is designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The island has been house to the poets Swinburne and Tennyson and to Queen Victoria, who built her much-loved summer address and final home Osborne House at East Cowes. It has a maritime and industrial tradition including boat-building, sail-making, the develop of on high boats, the hovercraft, and Britain’s space rockets. The island hosts annual music festivals including the Isle of Wight Festival, which in 1970 was the largest rock music event ever held. It has well-conserved wildlife and some of the richest cliffs and quarries for dinosaur fossils in Europe.
The isle was owned by a Norman family until 1293 and was earlier a kingdom in its own right. In common like the Crown dependencies, the British Crown was next represented on the island by the Governor of the Isle of Wight[n 1] until 1995. The island has played an important share in the defence of the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth, and been close the front-line of conflicts through the ages, including the Spanish Armada and the Battle of Britain. Rural for most of its history, its Victorian fashionability and the growing affordability of holidays led to significant urban go forward during the late 19th and before 20th centuries. Historically allocation of Hampshire, the island became a remove administrative county in 1890. It continued to allowance the Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire until 1974, when it was made its own ceremonial county. Apart from a shared police force, and the island’s Anglican churches belonging to the Diocese of Portsmouth (originally Winchester), there is now no administrative colleague with Hampshire; although a combination local authority taking into consideration Portsmouth and Southampton was considered, this is now unlikely to proceed.
The quickest public transport associate to the mainland is the hovercraft from Ryde to Southsea; three vehicle ferry and two catamaran services cross the Solent to Southampton, Lymington and Portsmouth.