Classic collection

The Isle of Wight is a haven for all things vintage, says Anthea Payne, from car boot sales to Lindy hopping like an American GI

The Isle of Wight is the go-to place for revivalists from around the world. Whether it’s for vintage scooters, steam trains or music and dancing, many people have made the journey to enjoy the quirky charms of the Island — and some have even ended up making it their home.

There’s a host of places to stay that will take you back in time, from 1950s Airstream trailers to 1960s caravans. Need to clear away those cobwebs? There’s a vintage campervan waiting just for you — simply hit the open road and explore. Forage for classic homeware at a vintage car boot sale, or get into the retro groove with Lindy hop or northern soul nights. You can even take part in the biggest pub crawl in the UK, travelling around the Island on a vintage bus.

Vintage Car Boot Sale in Yarmouth

Yarmouth Vintage Car Boot Sale

The brainchild of local designer, Nao Utsumi, whose jewellery business, Rust, is on Yarmouth High Street, this vibrant event combines all the things Utsumi loves best: “I have a passion for all things vintage, from vehicles to furniture and fashion, so it seemed like the perfect idea — sell vintage stuff from vintage cars.” As well as the cars, established Island traders such as Gatcombe Gardenalia and Green Barn Antiques sell quality vintage items. In addition, swing singers Company-B and musicians Juke Box Jazz, create an upbeat vibe, and wood-fired Wightwood Pizza will be in action from its H-van.

26 August, 10am–2pm, Yarmouth School Field, River Road, Yarmouth, PO41 0RA. Free @vintageyarmouth

Havenstreet 1940s Experience

Many troops were stationed on the Island during the Second World War and evidence of this is dotted all around. Cue the annual 1940s Experience at Havenstreet Steam Railway. Stroll along a wartime street; see a bombed-out house; step inside an Anderson shelter; visit the Vintage Hair Salon and try on some wartime fashion. There’s dancing from the Cinque Ports Lindy Hoppers and, of course, a 1940s steam train ride.

7-8 July, The Railway Station, Havenstreet, PO33 4DS, 01983 882 204. Adult £11.50(online)/£13, child (5-15yrs) £6(online)/£6.50, family £29(online)/ £32.50.

A 1940s steam train at the Havenstreet Experience


Enjoy the Island at a slower pace and re-live bus operations from a bygone age in this ultimate bus-spotter event. Organised by the Isle of Wight Bus and Coach Museum, you’ll be able to spend the weekend riding around the Island on a variety of vintage buses.

19-20 May, IOW Bus and Coach Museum, The Bus Depot, Park Road, Ryde, PO33 2BE, 01983 567796. Free, although a programme is advised. Tours from £2.

Vintage shopping

Dig for Vintage Owned by Mike Hamlet and Sarah Campbell, this treasure trove in Ryde offers a collection of vintage fashion, furniture, homeware, fabric, antiques, maps and books. “Right now the 1970s are hot and mid-century modern is highly sought after,” says Sarah.

4 The Colonnade, Lind Street, Ryde, PO33 2NE. Mon-Sat 11am-5pm, 01983 740344.

Vintage Car Boot Sale at Yarmouth

Visual Impact If you are inspired by the look adopted by the Mods in the 1960s, head to Visual Impact in Newport where you can buy all the gear. Brands include Fred Perry,
Farah Vintage and Lyle & Scott. You can also pick up retro-styled radios and record players.

21 Holyrood Street, Newport, PO30 5AZ. Mon-Sat 9.30-5.30pm; Sun 11am-4pm. 01983 821908.

Beer and buses weekend

The Isle of Wight branch of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Isle of Wight Bus and Coach Museum have joined forces for this popular two-day event, during which 70 vintage buses will visit 100 CAMRA hostelries around the Island. Passengers can hop on and off along their chosen route and try specialist beers and food along the way.

13-14 October, IOW Bus and Coach Museum, The Bus Depot, Park Road, Ryde, PO33 2BE, 01983 567796. Free, although a programme is advised, £7.

Take to the road in a 1970s VW camper van

Lambretta Day

Spring Bank Holiday weekend sees the first flurry of scooter action on the
Island with Lambretta Day. It includes a “ride-out” from Newport to Ryde, followed by music and dancing at Ryde’s Pavilion Bar, with plenty of northern soul, 1960s soul and ska.

27 May, Ryde Esplanade and Ryde Pavilion Bar. Visual Impact Events 01983 821908. Free, £5 after 8pm.

Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally

During August Bank Holiday weekend, the Isle of Wight hosts thousands of scooters as enthusiasts come to show off their machines and enjoy a lively social scene.

23-27 August, Ryde Esplanade, Ryde’s Pavilion Bar and The Balcony Bars Club. Visual Impact Events 01983 821908. Free until 7pm, £12 after 8pm (£30 weekend).

Vintage Car Boot Sale in Yarmouth

Lindy hop dancing

Learn to dance in the 1940s swing-jive style, which the American GIs brought to the UK during the Second World War.

Every Tuesday, 7.30, Wight Rock Bar, Lind Street, Ryde, PO33 2NE, 07719 382726. £7

Northern Soul dance nights

Northern Soul is booming in this southernmost outpost of the UK. The Isle of Wight Soul Club holds music and dance events throughout the year.

Islandwide, including Wight Rock Bar, Ryde, Gas Light Café, Sandown, Quay Arts, Newport. From £5.