Activities & Days Out / 21 May, 2018 / Ellie Thompson
Blackgang Chine is the UK’s original amusement park, opening its doors 175 years ago during Victorian England. The railway network was expanding and the Isle of Wight had become an increasingly attractive destination for holiday makers.
Named after a now-destroyed chine, Blackgang Chine is set in beautiful gardens with stunning views overlooking the south coast. It’s an eerily charming place, associated with ghost sightings, particularly that of smugglers.
Blackgang Chine is an action-packed, magical adventure. Its eclectic mix of attractions inspire and fuel the imaginations of little ones. From pirate ships, cowboys and the Wild West, to fairy princesses and underwater shipwrecks, your little ones will be captivated by every inch of the park.
Our adventure started out at 8am in Portsmouth, boarding a Wightlink ferry to take us over the water to the Isle of Wight. The ferry was one of the highlights of the day for the kids. We were an hour early for both ferry bookings, but were ushered on quickly, making the day trip super-easy. The drive from Fishbourne’s ferry port to Blackgang Chine was straight forward, and took around 35 minutes through beautiful countryside.
Blackgang Chine’s Restricted Area 5 is the first trail you’ll encounter – plunging you in at the deep end. A walkthrough journey of the thrilling dinosaur enclosure takes you up close and personal with many different life-sized moving and roaring dinosaurs, including the gigantic T-Rex.
The dinosaur trail leads the way to the pirate fort, a giant themed play area complete with pirate ship. The perfect spot for little ones to run wild. There’s also a singing Pet Shop nearby, which is absolutely hilarious, and definitely worth a peek inside.
The Underwater Kingdom is a themed walk through a coral reef inhabited by various animatronic sea creatures. There’s a sunken shipwreck which children can crawl through to find treasure and the skeletons of pirates.
Maddie was was utterly captivated by The Underwater Kingdom, especially the animatronic turtles and the giant blue whale swimming above her head.
Cowboy Town was one of my favourite parts of the park. A Wild West village complete with a prison, bar and undertakers! The view from Cowboy Town is beautiful too – set in amongst the cliffs with the sea right behind you.
One even the adults can enjoy! A hill-side reimagining of the game, with brilliant winding slides as snakes, and steps that take you to the various slides positioned at different heights.
Blackgang Chine is also home to some pretty awesome rides, there’s a rollercoaster, pirate barrels (think tea-cups) and a brilliant water-slide perfect for those hot summer days!
This year is a special year at Blackgang Chine as they’re celebrating their 175th birthday. I fell in love with Blackgang Chine after my first trip there with my family as a child. That’s my sister and I in the front of the photo. Going by my sister’s unfortunate mullet, Bermuda shorts and Kylie t-shirt – I’d say it was probably 1990!
It was so brilliant to be back, albeit 27-ish years later. It was wonderful to see our children experience the park with as much enthusiasm and excitement as we did – especially when posing on the same attractions!
Back in 1990…
There’s so much to explore at Blackgang Chine. For 175 years the park has charmed, enchanted, captured and fuelled the imaginations of many generations of children with its whimsical worlds and fairy-tale trails. I’m not going to leave it so long next time – I think we’ve decided to make Blackgang Chine an annual family event. Here’s to another 175 years!
Join in the celebrations and book your tickets today – it truly is a day-out you’ll remember forever.