“ 40 acres of Victorian clifftop gardens. Blackgang Chine, Near Ventnor, Isle of Wight, PO38 2HN. Tel: 01983 730052. „
Blackgang chine, Isle of Wight
Born and lived on the Isle of Wight for 21 years I have spent many summer holidays attending the amusement park that is called Blackgang Chine. It never gets boring.
The current price to visit this Island attraction is Standard off peak - £12.50 and on peak -£14.95 with a family ticket( 2 adults & 2 children) priced at £45.00 off peak and £55.00 on peak. I think the price of the ticket is fairly steep and seems to rise every year and I believe there should be a separate ticket price for both children and Adults. The ticket price does include unlimited visits for 7 days.
In the park.
The park is split into sections
Pirate cove - This section is fairly new to blackgang it was added in 2012 With a huge pirate ship in the centre of the section, you can walk the plank or have sword fights on and around the ship. If pirates aren't for you this section of the park also has many smaller attractions around the outside for example a musical pet shop, a small park and an amusement arcade. Plus a huge grass area ideal for picnics
Cowboy town- This has always been one of my favourite sections and one of the oldest I believe. This western area is made up of a saloon with swinging doors, a bank, a jail you can lock the kids in (temporarily of course) a shop to buy cap guns from and horses (plastic) you can climb on.
Dinosaur Land- This section was always bigger when I was younger but due to it being so close to the cliff edge unfortunately a lot of it has fallen over the edge which is a real shame. but you can walk up and down the hill which has many different types of dinosaurs displayed.
Fairyland - This is one of the smaller sections of the park it has a castle that is suitable for everyone to explore (please adults mind your head) and behind glass windows you can see prince and princesses (sleeping beauty for example)
Nursery land- The younger children will enjoy Nursery land it's filled with everyone's favourites from Humpty Dumpty to the old woman who lived in a show. Nursery rhymes are brought to life and your children will love it after this section take a walk through the beautiful water gardens
Fantasy land- this is where you meet the weather wizard but be careful you must keep his secret. along with the smugglers cave, dragons and the liquorice factory.
Rides- there are a few rides displayed at Blackgang, A small roller-coaster called cliff hanger, because it is literally hanging off the cliff, a water slide, snakes and ladder slides, spinning pirate barrels, and a maze. unfortunately the maze is not as good as it once was there are loads of holes so you can peer through them and many young children climb through the gaps, which of course makes them bigger.
The past 2 years in August one a week on a Wednesday(i think, not 100% certain so don't quote me on this) they have a pirate day with a musical firework display and fun activities to do throughout the day like sword fights and a live band clowns teaching juggling, face paints etc.
This park is fun for everyone and when buying your ticket you can return again for free as many times as you like for a week! If you are visiting the Isle of Wight make sure you check out this park. There are not many activities inside so make sure you chose a nice sunny day and if you enjoy this park check out it's sister park Robin Hill.
I rate 4 stars because unless it's a nice sunny day you wont enjoy the park and a lot of the area has disappeared over the edge of the cliff.
When I first visited Blackgang Chine it was way back in 199...er, well who cares, I was just a little girl no more than about ten or eleven on a family summer holiday to the Isle Of Wight and although we visited other attractions on the island this was the one that always stood out with the fondest memories. Tales of pirates and shipwrecks, windimg paths around the cliffs and the odd goblin, fairy or dinosaur to encounter along the way. It was a different type of theme park, one that was far more interesting and enchanting than the likes of Alton Towers which I also visited as a child but was somewhat borded by due to hight restrictions on the rides preventing me from living out my day at a theme park in full. Now although I had returned to the island on countless ocassions I had never actually returned to Blackgang Chine and so when myself and the hubby took our children for a week long break to the isle Of Wight it was compulsary that we visited Blackgang, not just so our children could experience that same excitement we had on our first visits but also for us to take a trip down memory lane and see if "the chine" still held onto all that mystery it had all those years ago!
Isle Of Wight:
Located in the English Channel approximately four miles from the south coast of England in the county of Hampshire. A popular tourist destination, the island is separated from England in an area of water called the Solent. The Isle Of Wight is host to several large festivals including; Isle Of Wight festival (an annual music event, held in June with performances from top names from the music industry), Cowes Week (held in August, the world longest running regular regatta provides magnificent displays of all mannor of boats, yatchts and the like as they race around The Solent in this week long event) and The IOW Garlic Festival (a world famous festival boasting over 300 stalls and attractions all dedicated to garlic!). The island is well known for beautiful coast line, beaches, chocolate box cottages and ever disappearing roads. Rich in history the island even documents residents and events in the Doomsday book.
Located approximately six miles south of Ventor and just a couple of miles from the pretty village of Niton on the southern tip of the Isle Of Wight the village. Allegedly Blackgang is an island term, for a dark path or track and a chine is a steep sided river valley where a river flows through coastal cliffs to the sea although the chine has long since vanished. The area has been synonymous with pirates and smugglers for hundreds of years and has been the scence of hundreds of ship wrecks.
The amusement park was first opened in 1843 by Alexander Dabell and remains to this day a family concern. Due to it's location on the steep cliff side many areas of the park has succombed to several landslides and many of the attractions have had to be relocated or closed for safety.
The Amusement Park:
The park can be in no way compared of that of a modern day theme park with dazzling rides and ultra modern attractions using the highest forms of technology available. The park itself reaks of old victorian charm. Most of the attractions (with the exceptions of a few newer ones) are really quite old, infact most of the attractions were quite familiar to me, especially the models of the dinosaurs and puppets that even some twenty years or so since the last time I saw them hadnt really changed that much. On arriving at the main gates of the park you are greeted by whats got to be a forty foot or so giant pirate whom has stood guard of the park since I was a child and long before, a welcoming sight and one that would make for a great family photos (if you managed to fit his whole body in!)
The park had and still does have a really quirky feel to it almost as if you are stepping back in time with attractions like the funny mirrors, crooked house and musical pet shop where you are greeted by an array of animated musical animals. Cliff paths lead you through the park providing stunning coastal views and on a clear day a view of Alum Bay lighthouse but just keep an eye out for the hungry dinosaurs that are lurking in the bushes and scrubbery! Smugglers Cave, a walk through story attraction provides the children with more animated puppets who relay the story of a famous ship wreck, they are just as I remembered them to be, quirky, a little bizzarre and just a bit old and dusty round the edges which adds to the parks rustic charm.
There is plenty to keep small children occupied in fantasyland, complete with castle to explore and frontier town taking you into the wild west with all of the old "seaside" attractions for photographs including those picture boards you pop your head through and horses (not real) that you can mount. An adventure playground provides a welcome rest stop while the younger members get time to wear thmselves out on the climbing frames or even explore a full size pirate ship. There are plenty of picnic tables and seats and food outlets that cater for most ages including La Cantina for burgers and chips or the Shipashore Tea Rooms for the yummy cream teas or a traditional pub style meal.
Other attractions include a rollercoaster called Cliffhanger, not the most exciting reaching speeds of around 35mph but a good way of introducing the younger members of the family to coasters. For those who have experienced the likes of Alton Towers, Chessington or even Universal Studios this wont even come close but is none the less fun. There is also a water ride, fun and cool relief on a hot day and pirate's Barrell. There are many other places within the park to explore, far too many to list but for light relief you could try the giant hedge maize or chocolate heaven!
The park provides all the rustic charm of an old Victorian theme park. For older members who have visited before like me and my hubby you will enjoy the cliff top walk down memory lane because I guarantee that almost all of the original attractions are there. Younger members will have plenty of fun too but the lack of technology and fast paced rides combined with old and somewhat antiquated attractions (particulary the puppets) will bore teenagers.
The park is deceptively big. We arrived soon after opening (10am) and scouted the park map to choose our attractions to maximise the days activities and although we thought we would rush through them it did take us most of the day that said I am not sure I could personally visit the park for two days in succession I think even I would get bored. The park is beautiful but it is old. That rustic charm (in my opinion) could fade pretty quickly, how long will people pay good money to visit dusty old attractions. The attractions, lovelly and antique as they are need serious updating, a lick of paint and some technical attention. It is not enough to simply add new ones to the collection they need to maintain the ones they have got. On our trip some of the animated puppets were not working at all.
Overall my trip down memory lane was nice. The park was as I remembered but along with the eccentric charm it feels a bit dated, a bit tired and a bit unloved which is a shame because I hold such great memories of it. For those that have visited before the charm might appeal but for new visitors I cant help thinking you will leave feeling you have been robbed of a few quid. Nostalgia was nice but at nearly £40 for the four of us it was not good value for money. I have now removed my rose tinited glasses and I see Blackgang for what it is, a beautiful park with dusty outdated attractions. I wonder how long the park can survive without paying some closer attention to what draws the paying guests in in the first place. It would perhaps be kinder if a landslip saved it from a slow painful death.
I would reccommend anyone to go with small children, probably up to ten or eleven as there is plenty to keep them amused and they dont really notice that its dated but if you have teenagers i would give it a miss altogether. We had a lovelly day out but when we go back to the island we probably wont bother coming back to Blackgang because I just feel you can get better value else where for around the same price. The price of a family ticket is now £39.00 and then you have your refreshments and food to purchase on top (we took a picnic yet still managed to buy food at the restaurant later in the afternoon because it is such a long day) the park just doesnt seem worth it.
The park opens from 10am - 6pm (and you will need a whole day to get around it)
Tickets are priced at £39.00 for four persons. £10.50 per person (aged 4-59) or £8.50 (seniors and disabled)
How To Get To The Island:
By plane from Bournmouth, Southampton and Gatwick or by Car using either Wightlink or Redfunnel ferries
By foot on either Wightlink or Redfunnel ferries or Hovertravel. Train using services operated by Southwest Trains
By coach using National Express, Greyhound or localised companies offering day trips
Redfunnel ferries operate from Southampton to East Cowes and Wightlink operate from Lymington to Yarmouth and Portsmouth to Fishbourne or Ryde and all offer a footpassenger service.
We always take the Wightlink ferry from Lymington to Yarmouth by car because our route takes us through the new forest and although adds around half hour extra to our journey it is a much prettier route.
Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight has long professed to be the oldest amusement park in the United Kingdom, and though I cannot vouch for the validity of this statement, I can certainly say that it is one of the most entertaining. I have a long history with the Isle of Wight, family on the island and many visits over the years and it remains one of my favourite places. Blackgang Chine is one of the attractions that I spent a lot of time at when I was a child, and even into my teens.
**History of Blackgang Chine**
It's always nice to get a little history on a place, and Blackgang has a particularly interesting one. The park was created in 1843, by Alexander Dabell (whose family still own it today). Back then, the main attraction was a large whale skeleton, which remains in one section of the park. Since its creation, Blackgang has suffered from its stunning location - several landslips and slides have occurred there since the 1920s, causing whole sections of the park to be swept away into the sea. The erosion is ongoing, and it is the sad fact that one day, this area of the coast on the Island will be gone - or at least look very different to what it does now. The constantly changing landscape means that the attractions keep having to be moved further and further inland, so from year to year a visit is never the same!
The park is situated at almost the southernmost point of the Island, near the well-known seaside town of Ventnor. There are some areas of the park where you can stand and look at some absolutely stunning views - think wide sweeping bays and immense golden cliffs. The park is at perhaps the furthest point from the three ferry ports, however the Island is so small that driving anywhere rarely takes long! As I mentioned above, the landslides and cliff falls give the area a very rugged look, quite different to the rest of the Island's coastline.
If you don't fancy spending the whole day at Blackgang (though with so much to see and do, you probably will!), you could visit Ventnor which isn't too far, or take a walk along a coastal path towards Chale.
The park itself is quite a curiosity. Immediately spotted by the GIANT smuggler stood in front of the entrance, the attractions are very unusual, and not quite like anything you'll have seen before. The park is split up into various 'lands', each with a different theme. In more recent years, the park has branched into larger rides, and I will cover these later on. As the park is situated in a chine (coastal ravine), there are quite a few twists and turns, and steep ramps to contend with.
The park has one main restaurant, with a pirate theme. They serve all the sort of food you would expect: chips, burgers, jacket potatoes etc. There are also various snack outlets and a fast food restaurant in Frontier Land, and numerous picnic benches if you prefer to take your own lunch.
On buying your ticket, you're provided with a map of the park, so navigating all the twists and turns shouldn't prove too difficult.
Dinosaur Land: This is perhaps the 'land' that stands out most in my memory. Following the winding paths down into the chine, you come across several large, plastic dinosaurs. There are speakers interspersed providing 'roaring' sounds, and each dinosaur is surrounded by that soft, foamy playground flooring. This is because the dinosaurs are regularly climbed on for photo opportunities! I remember loving this area as a child, but also being quite scared of it too!
Nursery Rhyme Land: Don't be put off by the name, this one isn't just for the young children. There's an air of whimsey here, where you can meet a life-size Humpty Dumpty rising up from behind his wall, you can roam the House That Jack Built, and see a myriad of other nursery rhyme characters. Again, I loved this area as a child (especially playing in The House That Jack Built), but the Humpty Dumpty used to terrify me!
Frontier Land: This one is fabulous. It was originally in a different part of the park, but due to a landslide had to be moved. All of the original attractions remain, and I think it is one of the most popular 'lands'. I remember it always being quite busy. Frontier Land is laid out like a small cowboy town. There are houses which you can go into and explore, complete with life-size humanlike models. There's a tavern, with 'wild west' music and the classic swinging doors, a post office, an undertakers (where you can try out a coffin for size) and even a jail. In the centre of the town are plastic horses pulling a wagon, which you can climb aboard, as well as an old steam engine. In addition to this, there's a sweet shop and gift shop (selling mainly cowboy themed gifts). A lot of fun to be had in Frontier Land.
Junglewalk: This isn't the most memorable of Lands; it consists mainly of the path leading into Frontier land, and is a little like Dinosaur Land in that it is made up of lifelike plastic jungle animals. They're fun to pose with for the camera, but not much else.
Fantasy Land: Again, a very whimsical aspect to this land, and some quite bizarre attractions as well. Here you'll find the weather wizard - an indoor tour of a small building, where a voice narrates a story to you as you look into glass windows displaying animatronics. Near here is the Crooked House - not for those who become easily dizzy! The house is indeed crooked, with uneven floors, windows etc. There's also the Pet Shop, a rather odd display of animatronic pets, singing a song. A gift shop is located at the end of the pet shop, where you can buy stuffed toys etc.
Smugglers Ship and Play Area: This is a play area themed around a pirate ship.
Sleeping Beauty's Castle: At the top of a grassy lawn sits Sleeping Beauty's pink castle. Not as grand as the Disney version, of course, but fully accessible for children, and again, one of the more popular attractions.
Snakes and Ladders: I remember this one being fun! A life size version of snakes and ladders, where the snakes are giant slides, and the ladders steps. You spin a wheel at each point and this determines if you climb up, or slide down.
Rumpus Mansion: This terrified me when I was younger. If your children are sensitive to boogy monsters and the like, this might be an attraction to avoid. It really is inside a big, old mansion-style house, and is a series of dark corridors, creepy sounds and scary animatronic monsters. I'm not sure if I'd even venture in there today!
Pirate Fort: A newer addition, this is sort of an adventure playground, like an obstacle course. The biggest pull here, I remember, was the mini zip-wire.
Water Force: This is again, a newer attraction, and is located opposite the car park (accessed via the main park, however). It consists of three, large water slides. Two are open, and the other is called "the plughole" and is enclosed.You travel down the slides in boat-type rafts, and this is hugely popular. Expect to queue.
Cliff Hanger: This is a fun little rollercoaster - not much in comparison to rides like Nemesis and Oblivion, but it's worth a go.
Maze: Near the entrance to the theme park is a maze, which are always fun. A viewing platform overlooks it, so if you don't feel like going through the maze you can always watch.
Water & Chimney Gardens: This is probably of more interest to the adults, but its nevertheless a charming walk. The water gardens consist of a series of beautiful ponds, which are accessed via the Chimney Walk. Either side of the path is literally covered with old chimneys, of varying shapes and sizes. Interesting and curious. At night, this area of the park is illuminated, and looks really lovely.
St Catherine's Quay & Blackgang Sawmill: This is the museum side of the park, all located in the same area. It is here you'll see the old whale skeleton, encompassing the entire length and bredth of the room. At the front of the skeleton is the wishing chair, and on the walls you'll see some interesting facts about local history. Also in this area is a very interesting display on the landslides and geology of the area, including one scale model showing how much the cliff has slipped since the park opened. The sawmill isn't really one of my favourite areas, but might interest you nonetheless. It is made a little less 'dry' through animatronic models that tell you a story.
The entrance prices are relatively reasonable, when compared to other attractions, especially considering that you get a free return visit within seven days with every ticket purchased.
If you're visiting in peak summer season, then the park puts on a themed evening and fireworks display on selected dates. The firework show last year (2009) was spectacular.
There are a couple of themed gift shops within the park (Frontier Land and the Pet Shop), but the main one is situated at the entrance/exit. Like the whale skeleton, this was once a big attraction here, called the 'bazaar'. Nowadays it sells the generic gift shop gifts: pencils with Blackgang or Isle of Wight on them, teddy bears, plastic gadgets etc.
I've visited Blackgang Chine countless times since I was little. It's one of those places that if you visit when young will always stay with you. I know of two friends who have only ever visited the Isle of Wight once in their life during childhood, and their predominant memory of the holiday is visiting Blackgang Chine. There will be something there that appeals to all ages of children, and despite the fact that other theme parks now offer state of the art rollercoasters and 3-D rides, the whimsy of Blackgang still prevails. The mix of attractions is odd, eccentric and eclectic (where else will you find bins that burp and thank you for the rubbish!), but mixed together they form a delightful park that's sure to make memories. Highly recommended.
Blackgang Chine website: http://www.blackgangchine.com/
tory lover who will love the well presented exhibitions on subjects including the histBlack gang chine is an award winning fantasy and adventure park situated in the magnificent and beautiful isle of wight. It is just six miles from the seaside resort of Ventnor.
For a few years when my children were babies we would take our tourer caravan over to the isle of wight and stay in the beautiful town of Shanklin. I love the isle of wight, it is a fabulous island and although it is a small island there is always lots of places to visit and fun things to do. You could always visit the local hospital which I can recommend as I spent a few nights there with severe sickness when pregnant. I digress.
Black gang chine is layed out over 40 acres of stunning, rugged cliff top gardens. As soon as you enter the park you will be transfixed by the mythical beauty of the place. I certainly think that both adults and children's needs are well met in regards to the parks attractions. Whether you are A history lover, who will love the excellent exhibitions on subjects including the history of the RNLI. Another interesting exhibition was concerning the erosion of the isle of wight cliffs over the years. This was fascinating if not a little scary!! seeing as we were on these very cliffs!!!
If you are a thrill seeker this park is not really the place for you. There are two big rides. Aroller coaster and a water slide. Both are great fun but it is hardly white knuckle, adrenaline junkie territory. The best thing about this park, is the ability it has, to allow your child to become lost in a world of imagination and make believe. Its different 'lands' throughout the park are so carefully created that your child will soon be running around cowboy land thinking they are Billy the kid or climbing the turrets of the full child sized pink castle that is every little girls ultimate dream in fairytale land.
There are also lots of walk through attractions such as rumpus mansion, which is full of automated models that create the ultimate journey through a mansion that has been taken over by naughty goblins. My children really loved this. It was as with all the attractions so excellently thought out and presented. It really does allow you to open your imagination and let it run wild!!
Throughout the park there are plenty of benches and picnic tables if you wish to have a little rest or a packed lunch. There are a couple of restraunts in the park which offer both fast food and homely cooked dishes. However the restraunts are overly priced, and I found it very expensive to feed a hungry family of four. The food was hot but not very tasty and the ques were crazy. The second time we went to this park I packed a lunch and found the experience much more enjoyable and cost effective.
One great area of the park is nursery rhyme land where all your favourite nursery rhyme characters are displayed using a wonderful array of models and scenery in order to again stimulate your child's imagination.
There are lots of toilets and really good clean and well layed out mother and baby facilities. There was also a good variety of kiosks throughout the park selling ice creams, teas and coffees. The only downside of the park is that it can become really hectic and busy during the peak seasons. This can lead to long waits for rides and toilets which in turn leads to bored and irritable children.
The best thing about the park is that once you have purchased your tickets you can visit the park for as many times as you wish within the next seven days. I think this is excellent and we, as a family took full advantage of this offer by returning to the park once in the evening to watch the fantastic firework display and another time late in the afternoon. which was a quieter time, in which the children could revisit their favourite parts of the park without the great ques.
The park I believe is an excellent day out and I would highly recommend it to families with young children as the memories of the attractions will live on in them for a very long time. My daughter is 9 and she still talks about the magic she felt playing in the princess castle. It is a place where your child's dreams will become reality if only for a couple of hours.
The price for admission is £9.50 per person (aged 4-60 yrs)
saver ticket (4 persons) £35.00
senior citizens £7.50
disabled concession £7.50
I think the price of the tickets are very reasonable considering the amount of things to see and do within the park. Once you have paid the entrance fee you do not have to pay any extra to go on the rides or into the attractions. Also as I have mentioned once you have paid admission you are able to visit the park as many times as you wish within the next seven days.
All the staff are friendly and helpful and are able to point you in the right direction and offer advice. The park is constantly being cleaned by maintenance staff and is always spotless and free from rubbish even in the busiest times in my experience. There is also a small gift shop where the children can by novelty pencils and other stationary, china ornaments and other nic nacs. This shop I found to be very reasonably priced and not over inflated as in other theme park attractions.
On the few occasions we have visited black gang chine, we have always had a really fun and wonderful time. A word of warning though most of the attractions are based outdoors. Also due to the fact you are on the cliff tops you are pretty exposed to the elements. so I would advise going on a sunny or failing that, dry day. I would really recommend a day here. Your children will love it and you will love it even more by seeing their little faces.
My memories of Blackgang Chine were still strong after about 14 years from when I last visited the famous Isle of Wight attraction with my primary school, which is why I longed to visit it again on my recent holiday to the island. I was slightly worried that I would look out of place in an attraction aimed mainly at the younger generation, so I employed the company of my younger brother and sister!
Blackgang Chine is situated close to the crumbling cliffs of the south western heritage coast of the Isle of Wight. The history of these cliffs, itself, is something of a wonder as throughout the years since the first smugglers and shipwrecks landed upon the shore, the cliffs have gradually eroded and fallen into the depths of the sea, forcing attractions within the park to constantly change as well as grow (something which creates a different atmosphere each and every time you visit).
Blackgang Chine was originally opened in the year of 1843 and was simply magnificant gardens used for the Victorians and Edwardians to spend a relaxing afternoon. Many of these original gardens exist within the park, yet most have unfortunately fallen into the sea, yet from 1933, Blackgang has been updating its look and feel by installing many different attractions and rides, from funny mirrors to the later installment of water rides.
******Timeline and Details******
The attractions are split into two categories, one for younger children and one for slightly older children, yet no matter what your age, you will find excitement in all of the many different attractions. It is also worth noting that, the attractions constantly change so in a year or so, some of the information below might change slightly.
* 1843: Blackgang Chine was originally opened (see above)
* 1933: Funny Mirrors were installed near the entrance of the park. These are now the first thing you see after paying your entrance fee and have children and adults in stitches.
* 1953: The Model Village was installed. This, unfortunately, is no longer there due to cliff erosion, though it can now be found at the sister park, Robin Hill.
* 1954: The smugglers cave was created as an animated story about a famous ship wreck. This was a little attraction and not very exciting. It is treated more as a walk through to a different part of the park than anything else.
* 1962: The water gardens were planted into the park. Most of this has vanished now, though there is a small section at the edge of the park. I wouldn't call it a water garden as such, though, as it is simply a five minute slow walk next to some ponds with a couple of small fountains.
* 1963: The maze was planted near the entrance of the park. It is a medium sized maze with a look out balcony. It took us about 15 minutes to find our way through the maze, though the children loved it. It is well kept and very neat, though unfortunately it is slightly on the small side.
* 1968: The infamous crooked house was installed into the park. As a child I loved this, though on my last visit, I stepped through the door and was immediately hit with a wave of claustrophobia and couldn't go through it all. The rest of my family did, however, and once again, the children loved it. The adults found it slightly boring, though, as it was simply a small house with crooked floors, walls, and ceilings along very narrow corridors.
* 1970: Adventure Land is opened - the first actual 'land' part of the park. This has since been relocated due to the cliff erosion and is no longer at the park. There is, however, a large sized adventure playground around the picnic area along with pirate ship and children's play area.
* 1972: Dinosaur Land opened. This is possibly one of the best parts of the park. Although a lot of the models have been either relocated further up the hill, or lost completely, there is still a fair sized collection. The land is situated along winding pathways at the far side of the park near to (but far enough away from so not to worry!) the cliff edge. The dinosaurs range in sizes between 'life size' to smaller plastic replicas which can often find children and adults alike climbing upon them. This was possibly my favorite part as a child, and continues to be my favorite part as an adult.
* 1972: The Fairy Castle is created. A small fairy castle with little exhibitions and a popular place for young children. An average attraction for adults.
* 1974: Nursery Land opens near the left side of the park. I loved this part! It is aimed at the very young, though it appeals to all ages. There are loads of models of characters from different nursery rhymes, and models to pose for photos against. Possibly the best part is an actual house mimicking the house that Jack built, giving children a chance to find all the parts of the rhyme.
* 1976: Frontier Land opens, although it has been located (still in Blackgang though). This is an amazing part of the park. A vast area kitted out as a wild west, cowboy country, complete with life sized models to play on, shops selling cowboy and Indian merchandise, and a small but enjoyable picnic area.
* 1978: Jungle Land opens. This is simply a walk through the winding paths near to the dinosaur land. Here you will find a few plastic replicas of jungle animals. Not extremely big, but a nice walk nonetheless, and children love climbing on all the animals.
* 1981: Blackgang Sawmill opens at the side of the park. This appeals mainly to older teenagers and adults as it is a small museum showing how the sawmill worked. There are many animated displays and workshops, a working oil engine and saw benches, the mill owner's cottage & millpond gardens. It is certainly worth a look and is very informative, with many photos and historic texts for you to browse through for quite a while.
* 1984: St Catherine's Quay Opens. This is another exhibition right near the sawmill which covers both local shipwrecks and life boat services through the years. My husband enjoyed this small exhibition, though it really didn't appeal to me much. The best part was the end where there was a huge, real skeleton of a whale.
* 1990: Snakes & Ladders opened. This is an amazing life size snakes and ladders game for children and adults alike. It is set in a small hillside and is equipped with four slides varying in depth and height. There are small wheels around the game in which you spin to tell you where to go, either up the steps or down the slides. I couldn't go on this as I am pregnant, but my little brother and sister (with step-dad in tow) went on it and it was extremely difficult to pull my brother away to leave! My three year old sister unfortunately did not like it half as much.
* 1991: Fantasy Land is completed, equipped with many different attractions, including a visit to the Weather Wizard - a small, yet pleasantly fun, house which is full of animation and narration covering many different fantastical things, An amazing pet shop with singing and dancing animals (not real!) leading to a small shop, A music shop where you can spend hours creating weird and wonderful sounds (not really music!) by jumping between beams of light, a parrot which mimics your voice and so much more! Possibly the most vast of the lands.
* 1993: Rumpus Mansion opens near to fantasy land. This was a brilliantly set out mansion (an actual historical building) with animation and loads of buttons to press to follow the slightly weird and scary story. I loved this mansion, yet my younger siblings were slightly scared. My three year old sister cried all the way through and my brother held onto my hand for dear life, though this could also be to do with my mum frightening them!
* 1998: The first of the bigger rides opens; the water force slide. This consists of three flumes, two of which are fast sliding flumes whilst the other is a fast tunnel flume. This is extremely fun (although I couldn't ride it, though my family did). Each slide is approximately 100 meters and you slide down in a small dingy boat and are sprayed with water when you reach the end. Although it boasts fun for all the family, there is a height measurement and younger children may not like it as it is quite fast.
* 2000: Junior rides installed. This is in the same place as the main rides and there are about two. Not many, but atleast it gives the very young a chance to have a go on a ride without feeling left out.
* 2002: Myths & Legends film opens. This is a small cinematic exhibition following the myths and legends of the island. Unfortunately, we ran out of time and so I can not comment upon how great or bad this is, though it does seem to be a popular attraction for the older generation.
* 2005: Cliffhanger coaster installed. This is another ride which seems to try to mimic (in a much smaller capacity) the Blackpool coaster. It is fast but short, and very enjoyable. I couldn't go on it, but my parents did and loved it. The only bad thing about it was the long queue for a very short ride.
Overall, the attractions mentioned above (along with a few other smaller attractions) prove to be great for all ages.
Blackgang Chine offers a range of different events throughout the season. These change regularly and you must check beforehand to see if and when an event is occurring.
Some past park events have included;
* Teddy Bears Picnic
* Cowboy Town Shoot-out (This is a regular Saturday occurrence which involves competitions, re-enactment and loads more)
* Treasure Hunt
* Wild West Musicals
* Ghost Walks (This was happening on the night we went to the park, though unfortunately we couldn't stay for it. It is said to be a spectacular walk through the specially lit park. An extra cost is applicable though)
******Food, Drink and Shopping******
There are plenty of café's and restaurants around the park as well as smaller snack shops. The prices vary, though it can be quite expensive, so it is probably better to take your own picnic. One annoying aspect was that there were no signs saying what time they stopped serving hot food and snacks, and as we found out it was quite early (before 4pm).
There are also many novelty shops around the park, all of which are quite reasonably priced. There is one main gift shop in the entrance/exit and a few differently themed shops around the rest of the park (such as pirate theme and cowboy theme).
The costs can become slightly expensive, though I feel that it is quite reasonable for what you get. They also offer a free return to the park within 7 days, which is a great deal, though something which is possibly rarely used as you can get around the park in one day easily. The prices as of 2007 are;
Per person (4-60yrs) £8.95
Saver Ticket (4 persons)£33.00
Disabled Concession £5.50
The park also offers a group rate;
Per person (4 - 60yrs, under 4 years FREE)£6.50
Disabled Concession £4.50
Further discounts available to Senior Citizens.£5.50
These rates are available to groups of 15 or more people. Free entry with each 10 paying admissions. The free return is not available to group bookings.
As of 2007;
26th March to 25th May - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
26th May to 20th July - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
21st July to 1st Sept - 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
2nd Sept to 28th October - 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please note that the operating times of some attractions may vary.
Blackgang Chine is an amazing adventure park which is aimed at the younger generation but is fun for all the family. I thoroughly enjoyed it when I was a child and continued to enjoy it on my last visit as an adult. Due to the constant changes, Blackgang is never the same and you can visit a number of times of a period of a few years without getting bored. The prices are of good value and it is a brilliant day out, full of history, fun and laughter. I would totally recommend this park to everyone who visits the Isle of Wight.
I have visited Blackgang Chine many times over the years from when I was tiny as I grew up on the Isle Of Wight. It was my regular summer holiday treat.
Blackgang Chine was started in the 1800's as a Victorian Garden that was created along the Gorge. Later, a giant whale was washed ashore close by, and the owners had the skeleton displayed in the park. This then built and built until Blackgang became a theme park that stretched from the top of the gorge and down the cliff face towards the beach at the bottom.
Over the years, the park has changed the locations of the different 'lands' that it is made up of, as the cliff is eroding and has the habit of falling into the sea. I was always fun to come back and see what was missing or had moved from the previous year!
Blackgang is the strangest and most amazing place for the imagination that I have ever come across. It has a fairy castle, a mansion inhabited by goblins, smuggling, pirates, a huge snakes and ladders game built into the cliff, dinosaurs and a wild west high street! It takes at least a day to get around and there is a LOT of walking up and down the hilly paths involved so take plenty of water and wear good walking shoes. We always used to take a picnic as the food is the usual chips and other rubbish, and it always added to the fun to sit down with a picnic on one of the grass areas while the sun was shining.
As a child, I loved that you could climb on and interact with almost everything! My favourite areas of the park were Frontierland - the wild west street with full sized jail that kids loved being 'locked' in and real sized model horses and wagons, the Crooked House, which was a small house with an uneven floor that you walked through and could look through glass into the rooms. It was dark inside which added to the crookedness, the Weather Wizard - a display explaining the seasons with animatronic models and the Weather Wizard talking you through them and the Rumpus Mansion - a full sized mansion house inhabited by goblins - also with brilliant animatronic displays.
Some of the park scared me in that great way when you're a kid that you feel a little uneasy that the models etc might be real but you're really enjoying it. There's some great imagination gone into the park and there is a real sense of atmosphere about the place. It HAS to be visited on a visit the the Isle Of Wight.
I visited Blackgang Chine today with my girlfirend's cousins and their young children. As a resident of the Isle of Wight it seemed the logical place to take a visiting family and their offspring.
Blackgang Chine is a place I remember fondly as a child, having spent many summers there as a youngster on the Island. Secretly I was expecting to enjoy this trip as much as I did in the 80's - even thoogh I would be too old to go on many of the rides!
Blackgang is situated on the south coast of the Island and due to heavy rainfall over the past ten or so years, a substantial amount of coastal erosion has meant that a vast amount of the attractions that used to be at the Chine have either been relocated or joined the great Adventure park in the sky.
Some of the classics remain, The Crooked House, The Mouth of Hell and Frontierland, albeit moved to new areas to escape mother nature. There are also many new attractions that have been added to the park's collection - a water ride as well as a small roller coaster.
Touring the park today, it suddenly dawned on me how weird and disturbed many of the attractions are - like a funfair on Summer's Isle in the Wicker Man. Full of strange gyrating models with warts, goblins and elves and the ugliest Humpty Dumpty ever! As the mist set in on a wet and windy Sunday afternoon the oark took on a weird Hammer-esque eerie quality - brrrrr!
For the most part, Blackgang Chine lives up to expectations. The children we went with loved all of the weirdness and the rides as well as the views that Blackgang has to offer. However, from an adults point of view, Blackgang left us wanting in several areas.
The weird attractions that I remembered as a child were the same, but weather worn with mould and obvious signs of wear and tear. These need a serious spruce-up to make the park 'sparkle'.
The £9.50 asking price was a little steep compared with mainland entry fees, but it did offer you the chance to come back again free for thirty days. But really a day was more than enough to see everything there.
The toilets on the day we visited were horrendous. Faeces and urine soaked the floor and seat of the majority of the park and was revolting - especially for mothers who wished to change their babies nappies. Gross!
All in all, Blackgang brought back some memories for me, and the kids loved the rides. I would say its probably one of those things you need to do if you're a tourist on the Island with a small family as its a good days worth of entertainment. Highlights for me were the new rides which were obviously the most popular and Frontierland - the cowboy town.
Well worth a visit if you haven't been before, but beware of the loos!
I have fond memories of Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight, as this was an attraction I visited with my parents when I was a child, over 25 years ago.
It is a magical place, filled with fantasy and adventure, an attraction that is enjoyed by young and old alike.
Blackgang Chine is situated on the south side of the Isle of Wight. It can be easily reached from all areas of the island.
***** History *****
In 1800, Blackgang Chine was merely a steep ravine, 500 feet above sea level, overlooking Chale Bay. The last path which led down to the beach was washed away in 1913.
In 1842, Alexander Dabell opened the chine to the public, as gardens.
In the same year, a massive fin whale was stranded on the shore, close to the Needles rocks. Sadly, the whale died, but fortunately for Alexander, this became a profitable business venture. He bought the whale, sold the blubber at auction and then displayed the whale bones and skeleton at Blackgang.
The whale skeleton has been preserved and it is still exhibited at the park and you can actually walk underneath it!!
In 1933, the hall of funny mirrors was opened, which then led to the gradual development of other attractions, many of which were opened in the 1970's.
The park continues to have new attractions, the latest being a rollercoaster, water chute ride and a new adventure playground, whilst some attractions have been relocated due to cliff erosion.
The website (www.blackgangchine.com) gives a more thorough account of the history of Blackgang Chine for anyone interested in learning more.
***** Attractions *****
Blackgang Chine is absoloutely full of different attractions, new and old. What I particular like is the fact that new attractions are continually being added to keep the park innovative and fresh, but the older attractions are still popular as well.
On a personal level, it brought back lots of happy childhood memories and nostalgia seeing attractions that I had seen and explored as a child.
The attractions are set within 40 acres of Victorian cliff top gardens.
Blackgang is divided into different themed areas, which lead from one area to another in a systematic way. The attractions are within easy reach of each other. These include:
** Frontierland / Cowboy Town **
This is a chance for all those budding cowboys and sheriffs to basically go around shooting people and sending them to jail in the wild west themed area. There is a jail, saloon (complete with swinging doors), shooting games, a stagecoach, wild west train and bank. The shop lacks authenticity, but is an ideal opportunity to buy rifles, pistols and caps.
This area of Blackgang can get rather noisy, but is great fun with kids of all ages running around shooting people!! It is amazing just how many Dads get into character in this place!!
I remember the area from my childhood, but I do not remember the guns!!
** Dinosaurland / Jungle walk **
There are lots of steep slopes in this area, so maybe worth a miss for anyone pushing a wheelchair or for people with limited mobiliy (it was hard enough pushing Ellie's puschair up these slopes!!)
This area is full of life size dinosaur and animal models and is one of the attractions that I remember from my childhood. Children are able to climb and sit on some of the models, which provides some good photographic opportunities.
** Fantasyland **
This is one of the newer attractions. It includes the weather wizard, a lovely animated display which has some nice ideas about how the seasons are made and a rather angry dragon.
** Rumpus Mansion **
Again, this is one of the newer attractions.
It is an enchanted place, full of riddles and poetic rhymes, a place that is full of surprises and unusual creatures, some nicer than others!!
This attraction could be a little scary for younger children, although it is only animated characters and models. We did avoid this one when we went to Blackgang with Ellie (she was 4 months at the time) My 9 year old stepson did not mind giving it a miss either, as he had already experienced the attraction the year before. His reason was so his sister did not get scared!!!!!
** Nurseryland **
I remember this one also, although some of the models and features here are new. This is a great place for younger visitors, as the characters and displays reflect popular nursery rhymes.
** Crooked House **
An attraction that I remember from my childhood visits and one that hasn't changed at all. Not much to see, but worthwhile to walk on the crooked floors and narrow passageways.
** Musical Pet Shop **
Animals that sing!! What more can I say..lots of buttons to press and then see what happens!
** Snakes and Ladders **
Sorry grown ups, but one for the kids. It's like a giant game of snakes and ladders. Sets of steps to represent the ladders and metal, curvy slides to represent the snakes.
** Giant Hedge Maze **
Not the most difficult maze to explore, but a fair size in comparison to the size of the park. There are a few dead ends to frustrate you and to provide lots of entertainment and laughs to those members of your party who are viewing your steps from the viewing platform above. You can guarantee that they will not be able to give you guidance instructions as they will be too busy laughing!!
** Cliff Hanger **
This is the rollercaoster. Fans of Blackpool, Alton Towers etc would be uninspired by this ride, but a great first time rollercoaster ride and fantastic views over the cliffs!!
** Waterforce **
This is an attraction for the older kids, as is does have a minimum height restriction. Queues during peak times can be horrendous for this ride.
It is basically like a giant astroglide in which you sit in a small dinghy like boat that shoots down the slide on a shallow flow of water.
For those more daring, one of the three chutes is a covered tube, so you ride in the dark.
I have not been on this ride, but it is great fun to watch. If you do have a go, however, prepare to get wet!!
** St Catherine's Quay / Blackgang Sawmill **
These two attractions are displays, geared more towards adults than children. The displays include information about the shipwrecks within the history of the island and the famous whale skeleton.
They are well worth a visit and very interesting.
** Other Attractions **
Although I have given a brief description of many of the attractions, Blackgang Chine also has a fairy castle, water gardens, gnome displays, smuggler's cave, chimney pot walk, adventure playgrounds, picnic areas, a pirate barrel ride, hall of mirrors, a gift shop, 3 restaurants / food outlets, toilet / baby change facilities and ample free car parking.
The views from the park are spectacular and there are several viewing platforms from which to enjoy the views of the cliffs and coastline. It is a little saddening, however, to see the cliff edges that have eroded and broken away and to see the paths that were once part of the park that have now been sealed off as they are dangerously close to the cliff edge. It's amazing to think that these were paths that I walked along as a child.
***** 2007 Opening Times and Prices *****
March to May - 10 a.m - 5 p.m
May to early July - 10 a.m - 6 p.m
Late July / August - 10 a.m - 8 p.m
September / October - 10 a.m - 5 p.m
Every Wednesday evening throughout August there is a special event, which ends with a firework display.
The park is floodlit during evening opening times.
Ages 4 - 60 - £8.95
Saver Ticket (4 persons) - £33.00
Senior - £6.50
Disabled Concession - £ 5.50
These prices include a return free visit with 7 days.
Dogs are welcome, providing they are on a lead
***** General Impressions *****
Although the cost of visiting this attraction seems quite expensive, in my opinion, it is well worth it, especially if you take advantage of the free return visit. You can easily spend an entire day here as there is so much to see and do.
There is quite a lot of walking with some steep slopes in areas of the park, so this is worth bearing in mind if someone in the family has mobility difficulties, although there are plenty of resting areas.
I would not recommend the park for older teenagers, as the attractions are geared more towards children of a younger age and I would say that children over 7 years of age would probably enjoy the park the most.
If, like me, you have childhood memories of Blackgang Chine, I would thoroughly recommend a return visit. You'll be surprised by just how much of the park you will remember!!!
To find out more, visit:
Blackgang Chine has always been a favourite of mine, ever since I was a child. I remember long summer days visiting the park, getting scared by the crooked house and enjoying hide and seek in the cowboy village (I am girl playing shoot outs was not my scene!) and having long, leisurely picnics surrounded by a gorgeous view.
Before I go into details, I will explain that Blackgang is a small, theme park compared to the likes of Alton Towers, Chessington World of Adventures and Paultons Park. It is not on the same scale. It doesnt have huge rollercoasters or death-defying rides which tickle the tummy. Its not a great place for teenagers and definitely not ideal for loved up couples on their own without any kids in tow.
Its aimed at families with children between the ages of 3 to 13. If you take along children within this age group I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. However, I recently (a few weeks ago) went with my 10-year-old son, my friend and her two children, aged 3 ½ and 2 and we all had a whale of a time.
Granted the 2 year old didnt have that much of a good time, she spent 85% of the visit strapped to a pushchair while being pushed up hills, paths and grassy areas. But my friends oldest daughter really enjoyed herself. There are attractions at the Chine, which will appeal to the ages groups that I have stated, and I will go into further details soon.
Blackgang Chine is situated close to Ventnor on the Isle of Wight; it was opened in 1843, so its been around a fair few years! It was opened by Alexander Dabell and it still owned by the same family. The Dabells bought Blackgangs sister site Robin Hill in 1993.
GIANT MAZE once you have paid the entrance fee, you will find yourself close to a café and the maze, which is really impressive. When I was younger it seemed so big and quite daunting, but now I can see over the top of it, it doesnt seem quite so threatening.
The maze was planted in 1963 and is still going strong. There is a viewing area, where friends and family who are not quite as adventurous can stand and shout directions if you happen to get lost!
NURSERYLAND I used to love this area as a child. Looking at the timescale for certain rides/attractions, I notice that it was opened in 1973, when I was two years old. This is the ideal age to experience Nurseryland. It has a selection of nursery theme models including a large tree which has characters similar to Gnomes, playing musical instruments, not sure which nursery rhyme this is from though!
There is a large model of Humpty Dumpty which swings back and forth while playing the rhyme. All together now: Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall, humpty dumpty had a great fall .
Other models included Little Miss Muffet, The House that Jack Built, which has life sized horses children can climb on, and a huge shoe or boot, which resembles the Little Old Woman who lived in a Shoe.
After you have visited this area, you move forward to the water gardens, which feature beautiful water fountains, which look even more impressive when it is floodlit during the height of summer. Theyre lots of coloured lights which reflect on the water, and as its usually dark by then, it seems very magical. I have only ever been once when it has been floodlit, and I was very impressed.
ST CATHERINES QUAY AND SAWMILL this is more for the adults. It has a workable water powered mill and you can find out how it works. This attraction, like all of them at Blackgang, have models (some a bit scary!) to show how things move, work and are used.
The quay also has the story of how the chine has been gradually slipping into the sea. There is a model which shows how much has fallen in over the years, plus photographs of the actual landslides. This is very interesting, but my 10-year-old just wants to go on the rides, so we do tend to skip this attraction which is a shame.
A sight which he does enjoy in the quay is the 87-foot skeleton of a whale which was washed up on the beach near the Needles in the 1800s. He loves running under it and seeing the sheer size of the creature. It really is quite magnificent.
Also included in the mill are photographs of shipwrecks and details of the boats which sunk, alongside information, photographs and equipment, past and present of the RNLI.
WATER FORCE this is a big attraction which was introduced to the park in 1998. It is always busy, so expect queues in the height of the summer. The water ride has three flumes or tunnels which you slide down. You sit in a boat which resembles a dinghy, and the mechanical system pushes you down the slide. You can get wet, but thats part of the fun!
I like the Plughole best, its a tunnel ride which is quite dark, as you go down there are hundreds of tiny lights which reflect on the water, its a brilliant experience. My son hates rides like this, so we do avoid the water force, which is fine by me, as we also miss the queues.
For younger children (and scared 10 year olds) there is also the gentler, teacup rides. My son loves this, I just cant tell his friends!
CLIFFHANGER this year (2005) there has been a new addition to the Chine which is a rollercoaster. Now, if you are used to the Corkscrew at Alton Towers, or something similar you are going to be mightily disappointed with Cliffhanger. It is very small, goes around once and isnt very death-defying, and despite being called Cliffhanger, there are no cliffs in the immediate vicinity to hang off! Just dont expect too much of this one, then you wont be disappointed!
PIRATE FORT this is a large pirate fort which has lots of adventure playground type rides. I love the Pulley although I am a bit too old and a bit too heavy for it really! Its great fun though, but there is always a queue of teenagers waiting to have a go.
The fort also has ropes, slides and things to climb, so will definitely tire the kids out!
DINOSAURLAND this was without a doubt, my favourite place at Blackgang when I was a child. Unfortunately, it all seems a bit tame now in comparison to all the CGI creatures we see on TV and in the films. I used to love walking around the huge, life sized fibreglass dinosaurs, climbing up some of the accessible ones and pretending I was a caveman or woman. Its lost some of its magic now, as children are just not as impressed as I was in the 1970s, standing in awe at the dinosaur models which dwarfed me.
There are models of Tyrannosaurus Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops and loads of others that I cannot begin to spell! You can climb on them, take photos of them, and read what they used to hunt and eat. I still love it, but I am disappointed that my son doesnt share my enthusiasm.
FANTASYLAND this houses the dreaded Crooked House, which I mentioned earlier. It is a house which is crooked, simple really! You enter, and immediately feel like youve had a little too much to drink! There are an assortment of rooms kitchen, toilet, bedroom, which you can look through.
Models of people are included and this is where my terror began! You look through a glass window and see a model of a man in bed; a simple device makes his foot, at the end of the bed, turn left and right. Very creepy when you are 5 years old! Im sure I wet my pants the first time I saw it!
All the way through the house you walk at an angle, and sometimes have to hold onto the wall for support! Its quite disorientating. But brilliant fun!
Also in fantasyland, is a selection of Toddler rides, which is great for the little ones, my friends 2-year-old, enjoyed the baby swings and slides. We couldnt get her off them!
A new attraction last year (2004) is a talking parrot. It is a huge parrot in a cage (not real of course!) who repeats everything you say. Just talk to it, and it copies. We visited when there were a load of 12-13 year olds who thought it highly amusing to speak a lot of swear words to the parrot and hear it repeat them. Its not big and its not clever! (Ive always wanted to say that!)
PIRATE SHIP this is a huge pirate ship that the children can climb all over and play at being pirates for a while. Its great fun, there a little rooms on the ship which you can play in, and a large wheel, where you can pretend to be the captain.
WEATHER WIZARD this is another favourite of mine. It is a sweet and gentle experience. You visit the seasons, and are shown beautiful moving models of fairies and pixies and other magical creatures, during spring, summer, autumn and winter. You press a button, and the display lights up, plays a tune and you learn about the seasons as you go along. The actual weather wizard at the end is the best, my friends 2-year-old had to be dragged away literally, oh how I love temper tantrums!
Fantasyland also includes a number of other attractions which I will let you discover on your own.
FRONTIERLAND this is my sons favourite, and has been changed a lot since I was a child, but the theme remains the same. It is a life size cowboy village with saloon, jail, shops, stables, a train, stagecoach, horses, general store and others. They sell play guns with caps, so dont expect a quiet experience. It is very LOUD! The children all bully their parents into buying them guns, and the whole town is awash with the sound of caps going off!
TIP if you dont mind your children having guns, buy them before you get there, as they are very expensive. Expect to pay about £5 for a basic rifle plus extra for caps. When we went they had run out of caps (are you picturing the extent of the noise here!!) so there were some very disappointed children that day!
SNAKES AND LADDERS a little way down from the cowboy town is the game of snakes (slides) and ladders (steps) this is great fun for kids and adults! It is also great exercise, as you are climbing up steps (lots) and sliding down again. It really brings out the child in me! You can use the spin option at the side of the ladder to determine whether you go up or down, but Ive never spotted anyone actually doing this, everyone just slides down! Its brilliant fun.
FAIRYTALE CASTLE this is a beautiful castle where the children can again walk around it, and up and down it. You can wave to your kids as they look at you from the turrets. Great photo opportunity! Its a bit small for adults, and the last time I went I felt a bit claustrophobic as I climbed the tiny staircase to the first level. Strictly for kids this one, and a great opportunity to relax after all the energy you have used up on the snakes and ladders.
RUMPUS MANSION this is a bit scary for the little ones. We skipped round this pretty quick, as my friends 2 year old walked round with her hands in front of her eyes! Rumpus mansion is in a real house, and includes a mixture of frightening ghosts, ghouls and other creepy characters. Again, you look through glass windows, to see displays of creatures in a variety of situations having dinner, gigantic eyes peering through holes in the wall! Scary fun!
Where to eat
As with all theme parks, the food there is quite expensive, and not the best quality. We tend to take a packed lunch as there is an abundance of picnic tables and lots of bins some of which make a noise when you add a piece of rubbish to it!
There are three main areas to eat at: Pirates Pantry, The Waffle House and La Cantina. They sell basic fast food like burgers, chips and hotdogs, so dont expect any gastronomic feast on your visit there!
They also have meal deals, which has been introduced this year, where you can buy two main meals, two desserts and two drinks for £15.99. There are similar deals at the La Cantina, which is located in the noisy cowboy village.
Drinks are also expensive; we paid £1.20 for a cup of tea in a polystyrene cup! It was a nice cup of tea, and well earnt after trampsing miles to each attraction. Well, the chine is set in 40 acres of land, and dont your feet know it!
Prices, opening times and facilities
The price of admission is £8.50 per person (ages 4 60 years) which isnt terribly expensive as you are likely to spend all day at the park.
Under 4s go free.
Senior citizens £6.00.
You can also buy a family saver ticket for £31.00 (4 people).
You also get a little card which you sign. This entitles you to free entry if you return within seven days.
The park is open daily from 10am to 5pm (22nd March to 28th May)
10am to 6pm (29th May to 16th July)
10am to 10pm (17th July to 4th September) and it is floodlit every evening, and well worth a visit during this time. We tend to go about 5pm, that still gives you five hours in the Chine (if you can stand it!).
Blackgang closes at the end of October.
There is a huge car park which is free.
There are plenty of toilets and disabled facilities.
There is also a huge gift shop with all the usual rubbish - rubbers, pencils, sweets, ice-cream (actually the last two aren't rubbish!) etc.
Visit www.blackgangchine.com for more information.
Blackgang Chine, Nr Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 2HN
As you can probably tell, I really do love this place. Its very different from other theme parks, which are all great in their own right. However, to a certain extent they do not allow you to use your imagination. Blackgang Chine makes children explore their senses and create games and adventures, using the facilities that they have on offer. This is in contrast to other bigger parks, where you go for the thrill of the ride, and leave your brain at home.
I do think its sad that today we live in a world where children are surrounded by TVs, DVD players and computers, but still say they are bored. When I was younger, I made my own games, and places like Blackgang Chine were magical and heightened my sense of adventure. It doesnt hold the same appeal to this generation, and this is a shame. I praise the owners for not bowing down to the pressure to build huge, daredevil rides which are adrenaline rushes. They have kept the theme of adventure and imagination and I think this is what makes the experience so special. Children use their imagination while there, and that can only be a good thing.
Thanks for reading.
If you have read my opinion on Whitecliff Bay Holiday Park then you will already know that my family and I are great lovers of the beautiful Isle of Wight. There are many reasons why we are attracted to the Island but some of the main reasons why we keep returning are because the Island is a very beautiful place and one of the few places in England today that remains unspoilt and has not become overdeveloped, there is still a vast amount of breathtaking scenery to enjoy and lots of coastal footpaths and other walks taking you further inland if you wish. Having said that the Isle of Wight is also home to a huge amount of tourist attractions including Blackgang Chine which is the subject of this opinion. Blackgang Chine is a family theme park which nestles on the cliff edge at Blackgang near Chale. Much of the original park has been lost due to coastal erosion, many of the areas I visited as a child have been lost. However, the park is continually expanding and now stretches across more than 40 acres of beautiful cliff gardens and has many attractions to look at and plenty of things to do along the way. Because Blackgang is set in the cliffs it is very steep in places and as such it can be hard work in places, if you are visiting with small children it would be advisable to bring a buggy, equally the elderly or disabled may find a wheelchair beneficial. Blackgang Chine is said to have been frequented by smugglers and wreckers in days gone by and some of the park has been based on this theme. Parking at Blackgang Chine is free, however there is a dummy parking attendant and a collection bin which suggests that you may like to make a contribution which will be passed on to charity. If you are coming by public transport there is a very good bus service which stops right outside the entrance. The park is open from the end of March through until early November this year. Opening times are from 10am - 5pm except during the peak summer holiday p
eriod where the park is open from 10am - 10pm, during this peak period the park is floodlit in the evenings and is well worth visit as it becomes a very magical place when it is all lit up. When I last visited in the evening there was a barbecue and firework display but I believe this is only on one evening a week, it would be advisable to check to see if this event still takes place. Admission to the park is as follows:- Adults £ 6.50 Children 3 - 13 £ 5.50 Senior Citizens £ 5.50 Disabled £ 3.50 Saver Ticket £21.50 (admits 2 adults & 2 children or 1 adult & 3 children) The park run a very good offer that allows you to return to the park within 4 days for only £1 per person, so if you originally visit during the day and wish to return for the evening only on another day you do not have to pay the full price, you can of course come for the whole day if you like. We have also found that it is a good way of spending the last day of our holiday as on a Saturday in the peak summer time there are a lot of people arriving and leaving the Island and the tourist attractions and theme parks are generally quieter with less queuing. **ATTRACTIONS** There are many attractions at Blackgang Chine including the following. **WATERFORCE BOAT SLIDE** This is a relatively new attraction. It consists of three slides, two are open and one is covered and dark inside. Basically you take a 100 metre high speed ride down a water slope in a 1-2 man boat. It is great fun but is a very popular ride and in high season you can expect to have to queue for about 30 minutes. **BADGERS FAIRGROUND** This is an area especially designed for the children and is mostly suitable for toddlers and children up to about 8 years old. The rides are simple but the kids love them there is a popular tea cup ride and a space jet ride. In this area there is also a model of a shark and you can walk though its&
#39; mouth, but beware it unexpectedly squirts water as you pass through. **THE MAZE** There is a hedge maze which is always very popular with children and adults. For the non adventurous there is a platform which you can view and shout directions from. **NURSERYLAND** This area consists of models based on popular nursery rhymes such as Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet the children will also love the musical tree. In nurseryland hildren can walk into toadstool houses and each nursery rhyme model has the nursery rhyme to accompany it playing in the background. **WATER GARDENS** As you walk away from nurseryland you walk through a very pretty water garden area. There is a viewing platform in this area and on a clear day you can look out to the Needles. There is also a park bench for you to sit and relax if you wish. **DINOSAURLAND** Going further down the cliff you can walk amongst the dinosaurs models which have been made to scale, there are several different dinosaurs, many of which can be climbed on for a photograph. There are also plaques which list information about the various dinosaurs. **FANTASYLAND** There is an attraction known as the Weather Wizard Show in fantasyland. The Weather Wizard is an animated story about how the different seasons are controlled. There is also a dragon in his lair, which comes to life when you push a button. **FRONTIERLAND** This is the land of the cowboys and there are walk in saloons and a shop for your little cowboy/cowgirl to buy a gun and caps or a cowboy hat. There is a gold panning area, I believe this costs about £1-£1.50 and if the children find enough gold they can have it made into a gold medal. There is also a train which the children can climb on. When we came in the evening the barbecue was held in Frontierland. There are toilets in Frontierland and there is also an eating area known as
the Cantina, this serves hot dogs, burgers etc along with drinks and ice creams etc. On the way between Frontierland and Fairyland there is an area known as snakes and ladders, this area consists of lots of slides built in the hillside, it is always very popular with the kids and adults alike. There are very long slides for the older children only but there are also some small slides so that the little ones can have a go too. For those in need of a good rest, there are some seats at the bottom from where you can view the kids having fun. **FAIRYLAND** Fairyland is every little girls dream land, there is a big castle and the children can walk around it and wave from the windows. **SMUGGLERLAND** There is a big boat in smugglerland, the children can pretend to be pirates and run about on the boat and climb over the many rope obstacles and across the bridges etc. **OTHER ATTRACTIONS** There are many other attractions, far too many to mention here but they include The Crooked House which you can walk in and Rumpus Mansion, this is an animated old castle like house. On the same site as Blackgang Chine and included within the admission fee you can visit the Blackgang Saw Mill which is an exhibition about wood and also St Catherine's Quay which is an exhibition about shipwrecks and land slips etc, there are old photos and archive news clip films with commentary. There is also an 87' skeleton of a whale on display. **EATING AND DRINKING** There are plenty of places to buy hot and cold food, hot and cold drinks, sweets and ice creams. However, if you prefer you can take a picnic, there are lots of grassy areas to picnic on and plenty of picnic benches dotted around the park. **SUMMARY** Blackgang Chine is a great value day out for all the family. You do not need to visit with children to have a good time. You can spend as long as you like here - if
you wish to take the whole park at a leisurely pace then you could easily spend a full day there. If however you prefer to skip some of it or whizz round then you could fit it into half a day. Don't forget if you don't feel you have had long enough you can always return within 4 days for only £1 per person.