While away last week, we packed our week with days out and adventure. One of the places we knew we had to go to was Blackgang Chine – the oldest theme park in the UK and apparent ‘must do’ on everyone’s list. Both Sean and I had been before when we were kids (15 years ago!) but both of us remembered only parts so were excited to hear back and take Florence along to explore.
Dubbed the ‘Land of Imagination’, the park is around a 20 minute drive from the Thorness Bay holiday park where we stayed and situated in Ventnor. Entry to the park off peak is £19.50 for 4-59 year olds when you book online and kids under 4 go free. As we were a large group (11 of us in total) the discounted entry really made the difference. Saying that, the entry price includes a free pass to return to the park within 7 days which I think is a fantastic offer and one we definitely would have taken advantage of had we been staying in the Isle of Wight for longer.
We started our adventures around Blackgang Chine in the ‘Restricted Area 5‘ – home of the dinosaurs! Once she’d realised it couldn’t reach her, Florence was rather taken by the giant T-Rex that greets you as you enter.
We soon made our way through the dinosaur land passing a whole host of Jurassic beasts as we went. They were mostly all interactive, so those that you couldn’t actually touch or climb on yourself would move or spit water at you or make noises as you passed. Each were accompanied by a plaque emblazoned with their name and a few facts which is something I am certain older children would really enjoy.
Our favourite part of the park though, has to be one of the parks most recent additions – the DoDo Valley. A cross between a tree top walk and a giant adventure playground that both littles and big kids can enjoy, the valley is filled with yet more interactive creatures and features.
Florence loved pushing the buttons to make the DoDo’s talk and sing and move.
We visited Pirate Cove next, and while the grown ups took advantage of the seating area and little café by having a coffee and taking in the sea views, Florence, ‘uncle Craig’ and I played aboard the Pirate ships which had buttons which you could press to squirt water at the other shipmates.
There was also a little set of swings and a picnic area at Pirate Cove and I think this would have made a fab spot to enjoy lunch had we thought that far ahead.
After the new underwater world (which was just awesome!) and Rumpus mansion (a haunted house) we arrived in Cowboy Town. This is the part of the park I remember the most from my visits there as a child. I have fond memories of running around playing cowboys with my cousins and riding in the horse and cart. From memory, we spent ages here. It seemed to bring back memories for the boys too, and they took over the shooting gallery leaving a queue of children watching and waiting in awe for their go.
Florence did so well wandering around the park herself, considering the paths are so incredibly hilly and windy. By the time we reached the half way point though, she was exhausted and ready for a nap. Actually, I think we all were! Top tip for visiting Blackgang Chine: wear trainers or comfortable shoes!
We left once the boys had finished playing in Cowboy Town which meant we managed to explore only half of the park, missing nursery land, fairyland, the maze and the theme park section. As I mentioned above, we definitely would have gone back for a second day had we been staying long enough. There is just SO much to do and see. We thoroughly enjoyed our day at Blackgang Chine and Sean are already planning a return there for when we head back for our own little break to the Island next year.