The Isle of Wight is home to the Uk’s oldest theme park, Blackgang Chine. Both the Husband and I have memories of visiting when we were kids, and we visited together on our first holiday 20 (ouch) years ago. We were both looking forward to taking the kids there to create their own memories, and after spending the day there, I can honestly say it is now my favourite theme park to visit. So if nostalgic childhood memories aren’t enough of a reason for you to visit, here are my 11 reasons why you should visit Blackgang Chine.
1 It really is the land of imagination
Blackgang Chine calls itself the Land of Imagination. And it is! The different sections of the park are dedicated to different worlds, where children can use their imaginations to become a fairy, a cowboy or a dinosaur hunter as they run around and explore the worlds. To be honest I think the husband was convinced he was a pirate at one point.
Cowboy Town was a particular hit with my boys as they ran through the town, in and out of the jail and the saloon.
Resrticed Area 5 is home of the dinosaurs. It’s great fun watching the kids walk round gazing at the huge beats with a mixture of awe, excitement and fear!
There’s also Fairy Land, Pirate Cove, Rumpus Mansion, Valley of The Dodos and much much more, including a giant hedge maze.
2 It’s a proper family day out
There are 4 and a half years between my boys, and at times it can cause problems. They are not into the same things. At times it is hard to keep them both entertained at the same time. But they both really enjoyed everything Blackgang Chine had to offer. It bridged their age gap perfectly.
There was no arguing because big wanted to do something that Little was to small for. There was no tag team parenting, “You go with Big, I’ll stay with little”. We spent the day together as a family because the themed worlds appealed to them both. And we enjoyed it so much more because of that.
Kid Vs Dinosaur
3 No queues
If you are after thrill rides then Blackgang Chine isn’t the place for you. the theme park offers a few rides such as The Pirate Barrel Ride (a bit like tea cups), the Waterforce slide and the Cliffhanger roller coaster. But Blackgang Chine isn’t about the rides. It’s about play and imagination.
It’s so refreshing to go to a theme park where you don’t spend half the day standing in queues. And we all know toddlers behave perfectly when it comes to having to wait for something! No queues means a full day of adventure. Plus to very tired children come bedtime. That right there is a parenting win!
4 The views
We were lucky enough to visit on a beautiful sunny day. And honestly with views like this, you could easily think you are in the med. All that was missing was the cocktails!
5 Value for money
Most theme parks are expensive to get into, but then once you are in you still end up paying a small fortune for all the extras. I am still in shock at having to pay for parking at Legoland! At Blackgang Chine the parking is free! There are a few water squirting machines dotted around that cost a pound to play, but you weren’t spending money around every corner, and what we did pay for was reasonable. We were able to have lunch, ice creams and treat the boys to some souvenirs without having to consider a second mortgage!
At most theme parks I’ve been to, you have to pay extra to extend your stay. At Blackgang Chine they give you unlimited 7 day return at no extra cost. They also offer discounted rates for buying tickets to both Blackgang Chine and their sister park Robin Hill Country Park. It’s great value for money if you are having a holiday on the Isle of Wight.
6 The brand new Underwater Kingdom
One of my favourite worlds was the newly opened Underwater Kingdom. Colourful and interactive with a giant whale at the end guaranteed to make the kids gasp. When we asked the kids at the end of the day, if there was anything else they wanted to do, they both wanted to go back to the Under water Kingdom.
7 Friendly characters
On our visit to Blackgang Chine we encountered pirates and a deep sea diver. The characters brought the worlds to life even more. There are different events on through out the year centred around these characters such as the Fairy Fling and the Cowboy Showdown. Dates and information are on Blackgang Chine’s website.
8 The site is well maintained
Everything was clean, and to be honest The Under Water Kingdom didn’t stand out as a new attraction, because all of the others are so well maintained. Overall it felt like a really safe environment for the kids.
9 It’s a great workout.
We walked about 4 miles as we made our way round the park. And it is very hilly so it’s a great thigh workout. But thanks to all the attractions and things to see, they provided a great distraction, so it didn’t feel like you were working out at all. That’s my kind of exercise!
10 Friendly staff
I’ve been to some theme parks were the staff are no where to be found, and when you do, they look about twelve and cannot answer your question. At Blackgang Chine the staff were all really friendly and happy to help. Their main mission seemed to be to ensure that you were having a great time.
11 The location
I had forgotten how beautiful the Isle of Wight is and how much there is to do there. We even took the scenic route on the way back to the ferry to enjoy the coastal views and admire the properties. Helped immensely by the fact the kids were fast asleep in the back after running around all day! We are now planning a family holiday on the Island and will definitely be returning to Blackgang Chine.
It couldn’t be any easier to get there with Red Funnel. We went from Southampton to Cowes which takes an hour. With great views and comfy seats the crossing goes really quickly and the kids were really excited to be on a boat. Especially a boat that our car could come on with us!
To find out more about Blackgang chine and what’s on visit blackgangchine.com. I highly recommend it as a fantastic family day out.
Blackgang Chine is part of Hampshire Top Attractions. For more great days out in Hampshire visit hampshireattractions.co.uk for some inspiration.
We were given tickets to Blackgang Chine in exchange for this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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