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Isle of Wight Spring Bank Holiday entertainment

Postman Pat, Jess the Cat, and what is believed to be the oldest theme park in the UK, top the bill in the Isle of Wight's line-up of special events, activities, festivals and family fun for this year's Spring Bank Holiday.

Blackgang Chine is set to celebrate its 170th birthday in style between May 27th and 30th, at a special Birthday Bash where Postman Pat and his black-and-white cat will be the guests of honour. Visitors will have a chance to meet them, as they join other Blackgang characters in a birthday celebration that will feature Pirates party games, competitions, live music and balloon modelling.

For full details, visit www.blackgangchine.com/events/blackgangsbirthdaybash.

The Island's Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is also celebrating a big birthday this year. Now in its 50th year, the AONB is hosting a full season of special events and activities to mark its golden year; and one of the best for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend is an Open Weekend on May 26th and 27th when National Trust members can go behind-the-scenes at the magnificent Mottistone Manor.

Further details at www.nationaltrust.org.uk/mottistone-manor-garden.

English Heritage, meanwhile, will staging a Grand Victorian Day Out at world-famous Osborne on Saturday May 25th, 26th and 27th. The event will involve spectacular equestrian displays, a magnificent parade of Redcoats, royal walkabouts, Victorian music, traditional stalls and side shows - all combining to bring alive the days of the British Empire.

For full details, visit www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/events/a-grand-victorian-day-out-o-25-may/.

The Isle of Wight Steam Railway will also be turning the clocks back, when they host the Isle of Wight Festival of Transport at Havenstreet on Sunday, May 26th. Visitors will have the chance to get up-close-and-personal with a couple of steam traction engines and a colourful array of old bangers and smartly polished classics on a day when there will also be a full two-train service of steam trains - reminiscent of Island transport in days gone-by. To complete the weekend there will be live music with 'The Five O'Clock Shadows', as well as a bouncy castle in the Children's Play Area.

For further details, visit www.iwsteamrailway.co.uk/special-events/may/isle-of-wight-festival-of-transport/details/40-isle-of-wight-festival-of-transport.html.

Elsewhere on the Island, look out for the return of Henry VIII and his falcons to Appuldurcombe in Wroxall, near Ventnor, between May 26th and 30th. Last seen there in 1538, King Henry will be appearing in public daily from 10am-4pm: www.appuldurcombe.co.uk/listpages/events.php.

And last but by no means least, A Midsummer Night's Dream is due to be performed at Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the evening of Thursday, May 30th by the Taking Flight Theatre Company - who tour with casts of physically disabled, sensory impaired and non disabled professional actors. Advance booking is recommended for the open-air performance in the lovely setting of the New Zealand Garden; and further details can be found at www.botanic.co.uk/.

For all tourist information, visit www.visitisleofwight.co.uk.

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