The Isle of Wight, immortalized by Paul McCartney in the Beatles song “When I’m Sixty-Four”, lies off the south coast of England in the English Channel, across the water from the city of Portsmouth. The scenic Coastal Path that takes you around the island is just 65 miles (106 km) long. But this little island has seen a lot of British history. King Charles I was held prisoner here in Carisbrooke Castle after losing the English Civil War. The 11th century castle is now a popular tourist attraction. You can see Cowes, the castle that was built by King Henry VIII, and is now the headquarters for the Royal Yacht Squadron. Another popular attraction is magnificent Osborne House, a palace that was a favorite retreat for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The queen died here on January 22, 1901, and the rooms are still kept as she knew them. Nearby is the Swiss cottage. It was once a playhouse for the royal children, and is now a museum. If you love a dramatic seascape, then be sure to see The Needles, three rock towers that jut out of the water at the western end of the island. Here you can also see Alum Bay, with its colorful cliffs.
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