We would all like a holiday this summer.

With the European countries being slow to vaccinate, surely the Island should be top of the nation’s holiday venues, as it was in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It was the “lockdown” on continental travel caused by the Napoleonic Wars in the early 1800s that led visitors to travel over the Solent sea to visit the picturesque Island.

The guide book produced by William Cooke in 1808 extolled the beauties of the Island and its sea bathing.

The best places for sea bathing, according to Cooke, were Ryde and Cowes, where new building was taking place to accommodate visitors.

Those who wanted to travel further to explore the Island generally found accommodation in Newport, and were able to hire carriages.

Five or six days would be needed to travel around the Island, “though the roads are very indifferent, and in some parts absolutely impassable for carriages, except in the finest weather!”

The visitor is recommended to see towering sea cliffs at the Needles and the Undercliff. Shanklin Chine is given three pages of flowery description.

Rapid expansion of the small villages of Sandown, Shanklin and Ventnor, Totland and Freshwater, did not come until the arrival of the railways.

Rail passengers could travel to Ventnor in 1866, Freshwater in 1889. The land between the stations and the sea soon was covered with late Victorian mansions, which the well-to-do could lease. The Totland area has a more Edwardian style of building.

Ryde Pier of 1814, all 2,250 feet of it, made it easier for visitors to land. Other piers around our coast were constructed from 1864 to allow pleasure steamers to berth. Round the Island sea trips were popular during the summer.

The heyday of the Island holiday was probably during the 1930s when a seaside holiday was the event of the year. The large Victorian houses of Sandown let rooms and rail travel was economical. It was common for 36,000 passengers to use Ryde Pier every summer Saturday, with trains leaving every ten minutes for the resorts.

Holiday camps and youth hostels also began at this time.

The growth of flights to guaranteed sunshine led to the end of the bucket and spade brigade holidaying on the Island.

Ten years ago our economy was enriched by the £300 million spent by the two and a half million visitors annually. Will this figure be reached this year?