I've long claimed that one of the plus points of holidaying on my beloved Isle of Wight is that it is compact. There's a risk that can manifest itself as claustrophobia if you spend too long there, but it's terribly convenient to not be faced with an hour's drive to get anywhere decent.
I recently did a pseudo-scientific study to see if there was any truth in my hunch that the Isle of Wight has more attractions per square mile than its holiday competition. I just looked at the handful of similar locations which are currently featured on my holiday park guide (Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and the Isle of Wight) but I'd be intrigued to see the results if anyone wants to fund a nationwide study with full peer review and analysis by breakfast television.
To attempt a vaguely fair comparison I decided to look at how many attractions each county has, in relation to its size. Cornwall is obviously larger than the Isle of Wight but you aren't likely to drive from Lands End to Bude for a small playground. A high concentration of attractions is more important than a high number spread over a huge area.
So, the fairest way I could think to do this was to look at the number of attractions listed on TripAdvisor. I'm sure there are flaws in this, as you do get rogue shops and other non-attractions appearing on TripAdvisor as an attraction. However, I hoped it would even out across all the locations.
First up is Devon, which has (according to TripAdvisor) 825 attractions. I'm not inclined to sift through them all to work out which are legitimate as I was hoping to get to bed at some point today. Devon is 2590 square miles, which means there is an attraction for every 3.1 square miles.
Without looking at the others, that means nothing so let's plough on with a comparison to local rivals Cornwall.
Well, according to TripAdvisor you'll find 659 things to do in Cornwall across a land mass of 1376 square miles, which means there is an attraction for every two square miles in Cornwall - significantly more than Devon.
OK, how about Dorset? TripAdvisor reckons there are 437 things to do in Dorset and the county is 1024 square miles, so that puts it somewhere between Devon and Cornwall with an attraction for every 2.3 square miles.
Finally, my beloved Isle of Wight.
According to TripAdvisor (as I keep repeating) there are 184 attractions on the Isle of Wight, with a land mass of 146 square miles. So, there is an attraction for every 0.8 square miles.
OK, so I admit the Isle of Wight is small and I was kind of hoping that the result would go this way (as it was my hunch) but that's a pretty sensational victory. I'm certainly biased, but I encourage you to do the comparison yourself and see if you can find a UK county with more attractions per square mile than the Isle of Wight.
Sure, you can make valid arguments about the size of attractions etc...but let me have my moment.
This blog first appeared on Holiday Park Guru