Take the children to … Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight | Travel

In a nutshell

The UK’s oldest theme park, which opened its gates in 1843, solely 5 years after Queen Victoria had been topped. Its imaginatively-themed “lands” and spectacular location – on the facet of a steep coastal ravine (or “chine”, now destroyed) – shortly made it one of many Isle of Wight’s favorite sights. A programme of particular occasions is deliberate to mark the park’s 175th anniversary this summer season, together with a Wild West Week (26 May-Three June) and a Big Birthday Bash (Mondays and Wednesdays from 23 July -29 August) with music and fireworks.

Fun truth

The park’s first attraction was the skeleton of a whale that had washed up on the seashore simply off the Needles in 1844 – and which remains to be on show right this moment.

Best factor about it

I have fond childhood recollections of working round Blackgang Chine’s Cowboy Town and firing a cap gun within the 1970s. Though it has expanded since then, (the Underwater Kingdom and animatronic dinosaurs of Restricted Area 5 are two of the most recent additions) a lot of it was simply as I remembered – in a great way. There’s solely a handful of (light) rides and slides and only one tame rollercoaster, however this implies much less time spent queuing and extra time for kids to let their imaginations run wild within the themed lands.

View over Blackgang Chine and the Isle of Wight shoreline. Photograph: Education Images/UIG/Getty Images

What about lunch?

The Chine Cafe close to the park entrance serves sizzling meals, corresponding to fish and chips, burgers and pizzas, and kids’s packed lunches. In Cowboy Town, La Cantina has a brief take-away menu of burgers, hotdogs and burritos, and there are ice-cream and drink stalls dotted across the park.

Exit by means of the present store?

Not solely do you exit by means of the present store, you have to enter by means of it, too. Even on a quiet day this could imply being held captive within the store for 15 minutes whilst you queue for admission … and it feels for much longer than that with a baby at your elbow pestering you for toys and sweets earlier than you’ve even made it by means of the turnstiles.

Blackgang Chine, Isle of Wight

Photograph: Jason Swain

Value for cash

Even although it was unseasonably chilly and foggy, we simply managed to fill a day at Blackgang Chine. Admission is £20 for each adults and kids off-peak, and £22 peak; under-fours go free. Tickets embody free entry to the park for the next seven days after your first go to.

Opening hours

From 10am to 5pm, or 6pm within the college summer season holidays. The park closes between November and mid March, with particular night openings on chosen dates in October for the Blackgang by Night illuminations.

Getting there

Blackgang Chine is six miles from Ventnor on the south coast of the island. Car parking is free. It’s served by bus from Newport and Ventnor.


This will not be the place to come for theme park thrills (kids over 10 would possibly discover it a bit tame) and elements of it really feel old style (I have a suspicion the room units within the Crooked House haven’t modified since I visited in 1976) however in case you’re on the lookout for a delicate household time out in lovely environment, Blackgang will win you over. We liked it. eight/10


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