Wight, Isle of, an island in the English Channel, two miles (3 km) off the southern coast of England, to which it belongs. It is separated from Hampshire by two channels, The Solent on the north and Spithead on the northeast. The island, 23.5 miles (38 km) long (east-west) and 13 miles (21 km) wide, has an area of 147 square miles (381 km2). On its west coast are chalk cliffs, and running its length are chalk downs (uplands).
Its scenery and mild climate have made the island a resort. Sheep raising, dairy farming, vegetable raising, and yacht building are leading industries.
The island's towns include Newport, the county seat; Freshwater, where Alfred Tennyson spent his later years; and the yachting center of Cowes, where Queen Victoria had her seaside home, Osborne House. After Victoria's death the grounds of Osborne House were presented to the public by her son, King Edward VII.
Early visitors or settlers on the Isle of Wight were Romans (43 A.D.), Jutes, West Saxons (661), and Danes (10th century). In 1647–48 King Charles I was imprisoned here at Carisbrooke Castle, which is now in ruins. The Isle of Wight was a part of Hampshire until 1888, when it became a separate county.