The lozenge-shaped ISLE OF WIGHT has begun to shake off its old-fashioned image and attract a younger, livelier crowd, with a couple of major annual rock festivals and a scattering of fashionable hotels. Despite measuring less than 23 miles at its widest point, the island packs in a surprising variety of landscapes and coastal scenery. Its beaches have long attracted holiday-makers, and the island was a favourite of such eminent Victorians as Tennyson, Dickens, Swinburne, Julia Margaret Cameron and Queen Victoria herself, who made Osborne House, near Cowes, her permanent home after Albert died.

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