It takes somewhere pretty special to persuade passionate Instagrammers to train the lens away from themselves, or their plates. Welcome to the Isle of Wight, island of views so captivating nothing else competes.
Here’s a countdown of the top ten most posted places, from Wightlink’s first view of Yarmouth Harbour to that last, lingering gaze over the Renaissance grandeur of palatial Osborne House.
10th place: Yarmouth Harbour
It would be easy to dismiss Yarmouth’s high ranking as inevitable: it’s where Wightlink’s ferries dock, so over-excited first posts are a given. But, oddly enough, there are far more shots of the harbour’s fantastic nautical extravaganzas, luscious sunsets, lamp-lined pier, and quaint classic yachts, than ‘intro to Isle of Wight’ selfies. The flag bedecked sails on boats during the annual Old Gaffers Festival alone, guarantee this entry into the Instagram top ten.
9th place: Sandown Pier, Sandown
Instagrammers can never resist a traditional English pleasure pier, so it’s no surprise that Sandown attracts a fair bit of attention. It’s a classic example of seaside fun from favourite local fishing spots to splashy, after-dark neon dazzle. It also happens to sit on the island’s sunny east coast, surrounded by the long, broad and golden sweep of Sandown Beach. And it doesn’t hurt to have an Instagram-ready natural frame, courtesy of Culver Down’s mighty chalk headland to the north.
8th place: Isle of Wight Festival 2017, Newport
Surprised this icon doesn’t have higher Instagram potential? Technically it does: if social media had been around in 1968, the grooviest summer music festival would probably have broken it by now. But, to be fair to others without the advantage of celebrity wattage for four straight days, this is just the count for 2017. And still the legendary Isle of Wight Festival comes in at number eight, even without the tens of thousands of posts from previous years.
7th place: Tapnell Farm Park, Yarmouth
Okay, it’s almost impossible not to have instant Instagram appeal when the stars of your show include cute piglets, lambs, calves, ducklings, acres of wide-eyed kids, and tiny toddlers on enormous tractors. There’s also Tapnell Farm Centre in the mix for this one. They’re the island’s leading adventure specialists, and the sight of terror struck adults roped into extreme activities is an almost never-ending source of posting pleasure.
6th place: Shanklin Chine, Shanklin
If you need proof positive that Instagramming’s art, a quick look at Shanklin Chine’s inspirational heritage should be more than enough. The Isle of Wight’s most famous gorge has been immortalised by everyone from Turner to Jane Austen. Fairy tale enchanting, lush and leafy, captivating by lamplight or on a summer afternoon, it also has the big reveal of gorgeous Shanklin Beach for a finale. Clearly as inspiring in 2017 as 1817, it’s the island’s oldest attraction and sits very comfortably in the Instagram top ten, as it should.
5th place: Colwell Bay, Freshwater
Instagram might only have been around since 2010, but it’s not short on colourful traditions, and nothing comes much more colourful than a sunny day, glittery sands, and a cheerful beach hut. Or, in the case of Colwell Bay: dozens of pristine, beautifully cared for, Victorian classics, lining the boardwalk and beach, and even spilling into gardens here and there. It’s a post-perfect paradise for seasoned seaside Instagrammers, and more than deserves the Isle of Wight’s number five spot.
4th place: Round the Island Race
Every year, at the end of July, the Isle of Wight hosts Cowes Week: the world’s biggest, and oldest sailing regatta. Naturally, this is a bit of a spectacle, and inspiration for countless hardy sailor-type selfies. But it’s pipped to the post, for Instagram posts by the annual Round the Island Race, at the start of July. With over 1600 yachts competing, some of the world’s top crews at helms, and a course navigating England’s most hazard strewn coast, it’s an obvious Instagram darling, and spinnaker scattered seascapes from several vantage points easily secure it a place at number four.
3rd place: Blackgang Chine Land of Imagination
Opened in 1843, this is the UK’s longest running amusement park and best loved of all by generation after generation of Isle of Wight enthusiasts. Not only does it have enough adoring Instagram posts to jump effortlessly into the island top five, the comments are so lavishly praise-filled any less of an all-time legend would blush. The park’s immense animatronic T-Rex have a lot of lens appeal, naturally. But top billing almost always goes to sweet Fairy Land, summer-long Wednesday night fireworks, and the old fashioned charm of Cowboy Town.
2nd place: Alum Bay & The Needles
Even the most relentlessly narcissistic Instagrammer can’t resist a natural wonder, and few are more wonderful in the UK than the sight of The Needles from magnificent Alum Bay. The fact that there’s a cliffside cable car system is a bit of a blessing for ardent posters, and lingering (almost) aerial shots of the whole fantastic panorama are plenty – thousands and thousands of plenty. The iconic Needles sneak into dozens of other posts too, but they never look better than they do in this setting.
1st place: Osborne House
Surprised? The top Instagram favourite on the Isle of Wight isn’t a dramatic seascape, a yacht race, or mysterious gorge, it’s a house. Or more a palace really: Osborne was Queen Victoria’s island home, her family summer holiday retreat, and where she died in 1901. Big draws are Instagram-ready shots of the Royal Beach, children’s playhouse, bathing wagons, and lavish beyond reason private apartments. Although most battery life’s saved for the magnificent building itself. Grand and Italianate, it looks perfectly at ease under a sun-filled Isle of Wight sky, but wouldn’t be out of place among the Medici villas nestled round Florence either.
Ready to discover your own Isle of Wight Instagram favourite? Sail to Isle of Wight all year round with Wightlink. The foot passenger catamaran service from Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier Head takes just 22 minutes, and it’s 40 minutes by car ferry from Portsmouth to Fishbourne, or Lymington to Yarmouth.