School trip getaway and wedding venue East Dene will close its gates for the final time on Friday - just shy of its 100 year anniversary.

Its owners say they are 'devastated' that some of the 'best staff in the world' will lose their jobs.

Built in 1824, and set in 10 acres of woodland, the mansion is a listed property, best known as a venue for school trips.

It has also hosted scored of weddings and generations of Island schoolchildren.

It was formerly the home of poet Algernon Swinburne.

Its owners told the County Press that they had hoped to be able to reopen and host residential trips in 2021.

The Prime Minister announced on Wednesday lunchtime that the reopening of schools would be considered from March 8, three weeks after the government's target to vaccinate those in its top priority groups - news that has come too late for the venue.

There are no confirmed plans to allow the resumption of school trips, and East Dene says it has not been able to host any bookings in a year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

They said there was no other option.

In a statement, the owners said: "East Dene, the Allnatt Residential Outdoor Education Centre in Bonchurch, will cease trading on January 29 2021.

"This is confirmed with huge sadness and regret and is a direct result of the Covid pandemic.

"The Centre has not had any school visits since March 2020 and despite all the government's financial support through the JSS and small grants, there is still no sign that the Government's ban on residential school visits will be lifted.

"The current surge in the infection rate and another lockdown period has made it impossible to continue for an organisation which prides itself on providing a safe experience for children.

"It is particularly upsetting that all staff have been made redundant, most of whom have served East Dene loyally for many years.

"In addition it will impact on future weddings, special occasions and charitable events and all customers are being contacted personally to discuss their individual situations.

"This is a devastating time for a well established and highly respected business which was just 3 years short of its centenary."

East Dene has also been a popular venue and community hub in Bonchurch.

It was used regularly by the Bonchurch Community Association.