The Isle of Wight is an island separated from the mainland by the Solent strait and during high tide it is the smallest county in England. Since Victorian times tourists have been enjoying the sandy beaches of coastal resorts such as Ryde, Sandown and Ventnor. Visitors also enjoy holidays cycling, sailing and walking and half of the island has been designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. First held in 1968, 1969 and 1970, the Isle of Wight Festival wasnt held again until 2002, since when thousands of music fans have attended the three day event each June. Other popular events include Bestival, held each September, and the Isle of Arts Festival, which promotes art, literature, photography, film and the performing arts.
There are a number of historic sites on the Isle of Wight. Brading Roman Villa has well preserved Roman mosaics and archaeological exhibits from the period. Visitors to Newport Roman Villa can see the remains of hypocaust underfloor heating and parts of the villa have been reconstructed. Building of Carisbrooke Castle began during the 12th century, on the site of earlier fortifications. Visitors can play bowls on a green once used by King Charles I, who was held there before being executed in 1649. During its long history the castle resisted French siege and the Spanish Armada. Today tourists can explore the well preserved Norman castle and dress up in costumes from various periods of history. Appuldurcombe House was built as an elegant baroque mansion during the early 18th century, though only the restored exterior shell now remains. The grounds on which the house stands were designed by landscape architect Lancelot Capability Brown.
In 1886, she wrote her best known work The Silence of Dean Maitland under her pen name of Maxwell Gray. The novel is set on the Isle of Wight and was dramatised as a black and white silent film called Sealed Lips in 1912. The film is set in a fictional Isle of Wight, where the dean commits murder but allows his wrongly accused friend to go to prison for his crime.