Saturday, 7 November 2020

Days out on the Isle Of Wight - Blackgang Chine

During our recent trip to the Isle of Wight we visited Blackgang Chine, the UK's oldest theme park.  We have visited three times over the years, but it is somewhere the children remember and talk about and for us, a visit to the island isn't complete without spending a day here.  In many ways walking through the gates is like stepping back in time.  You are greeted at the entrance by a giant statue of a smuggler and a board inside informs us that he has recently had his clothes repainted for the first time since 1987.  Many of the exhibits haven't changed since my childhood.  My mum remembers bringing my brother and I here back in 1989 and it is amazing to see how much is the same.  

The park is set in Ventnor on the edge of the island and you can see where the cliff collapsed into the sea many years ago.  With a real mix of attractions, the park is aimed at under 10s with plenty to do for the little ones.  We arrived shortly after 10 and ended up leaving just before 5 when the park was shutting.  It was half term when we visited but I think the weather put a lot of people off (it rained almost all day) so it was pretty quiet and we had no problem keeping our distance from others.  We started off entering the dinosaur exhibit and the older children found the signs around the area hilarious.  Amongst the dinosaurs we could see moving and squirting water there are a few that can be climbed on which is always popular! I have photos of the boys on these from our last two visits which I need to bring out!

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

The land of the Dodos is worth exploring as well as a quick walk through of the crooked house and then we found the two pirate ships that can be played on, both with water guns that shoot across to the other.  As it was raining anyway there seemed no harm in letting the children soak each other.  There are lots of little cabins around the outside of the play area with different things to look at but quite a few were shut (presumably due to their size and Covid guidelines).

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

The bigger boys remembered Cowboy town well, including the fact you can buy those little bangers that you throw at the floor so we headed there.  There is a mini town with different buildings and shops and they love playiand exploring.  There is also a little outdoor cafe so adults can get a hot coffee! I think this is their favourite part of the park. 

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

We visited the underwater section, with memories rushing back for the boys (Cora wasn't quite 2 I don't think on our last visit so doesn't remember as much) and Rumpus Mansion which had a Halloween event going on.  The actors were fantastic (and all wearing masks) and it wasn't scary in the slightest.  There was a Halloween fancy dress competition but we hadn't come dressed up.  We did find the little spooky disco area though and got to meet a dragon which was exciting! 

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Over the other side of the park there are two rides, one teacups style and a mini rollercoaster which children need to be 1.1m tall to go on.  I took Archie and Finn on it and they enjoyed it.  There was also a water ride which three of them loved, although the younger two needed to go in a boat with an adult (between 0.9 and 1.2m which Finn is a tiny bit shy of).  Dylan is quite cautious and prefers to watch. In the midst of the rides is an ice cream shop called iScream which looks a little modern and out of place in the surroundings but I imagine would be very welcome in different weather.  I turned down requests from the children to get ice cream and eat it in the rain and we popped back to the main cafe for a delicious cake instead. 

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

 Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

The park isn't big and there isn't anything really designed for over 8s but all four of my children love Blackgang Chine and it makes a fun day out for young families.  It is a highlight of our trip every time we visit and the children would have happily gone back for round 2 if we were on a longer trip.  With entry to both Blackgang Chine and its sister park Robin Hill, you get free return entry for 7 days.  The novelty features, like the bin that talks to you when you put rubbish in, the 'mouth of hell' that you can climb in and look out of the eyes, the musical pet shop and the distinctly old fashioned feel are quirky and charming and whilst modernising the park may increase footfall, I hope it never changes.  The park is currently closed due to Covid guidelines but we are looking forward to returning in the future.

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight

Blackgang Chine, Days out on the Isle of Wight



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