BlackGang Chine, Isle of Wight
My recent visit to Blackgang Chine has left me feeling nostalgic. I haven't been there since I was a kid. Taking my 5 year old to visit this week, took me back a fair few years to my own childhood.
If you like a bit of vintage, mixed with a dash of new, you are going to love Blackgang Chine. Set on a chine, providing amazing views of the Island, your imagination really is brought to life.
What to Expect
One minute we were fighting pirates, next we were under the sea with the whales, after a quick hunt for dinosaurs we bumped into a fairy; a little bit of fairy dust and we were princesses in our own castle, (this was after a quick showdown in the local cowboy saloon, ye-hah).
Dinosaurs, smugglers and pirates feature heavily, a random mix of rides, side shows and themed areas makes for a 'playground' fit for all the family. Perfect for Rosie who was tall enough to go on all the rides, but young enough to appreciate every last attraction in the park. It was pretty damn perfect for the 40 something year old too. A mix of childhood memories AND new ones provided by my daughters smiles and imagination running wild.
The Best Bits
- Cliffhanger the rollercoaster ride. Daughter thought it was hilarious as I screamed my way around it. Best bit for her, not quite the best bit for me (although the view at the top is pretty spectacular). It's worth noting the ride goes around twice and they slow it down after the first circuit and ask if you want to get off. I could not do the walk of shame.....
- Snakes and Ladders. Stairs and Slides. Rosie whizzed around the place coming back to me every 5 minutes declaring it was amazing. Grab yourself a coffee and enjoy the sit down for half an hour (plenty of benches right in front so you can watch your crazy ones climbing up and sliding down).
- The Crooked House still being there and looking exactly as I remember it back in the 80's.
- FairyLand. Just seeing my daughter's face as she climbed the castle, poking her head out every couple of minutes yelling Mummy, as she found another turret or window to shake her Rapunzel hair out of.
- The Hall of Mirrors. The room was full of people laughing their heads off. Nice feeling - along with the mirror that made me 5 inches taller and gave me slim legs that went on forever.
- The Dinosaurs. Mummy, I think the man has been eaten by the dinosaur as there are a pair of wellies and a bone next to him.... have we got any snacks? Maybe this 3 year old boy wasn't convinced, but the dinosaur zone certainly has an eerie feel about it and the 'warning' signs are quite funny.
- Dodos. Trying to explain what a dodo was to Rosie. Nope, its not a yellow flamingo walking past.....
- The Views. When it all gets too much, sit down, have an ice cream and enjoy the views.
- The Simplicity of it. The fun that can be had in a theme park which actually only has a small amount of rides. What it lacks in rides, it makes up for in an abundance of nooks and crannies containing themed areas and somewhat old fashioned attractions. Leaving the kids to use their own imagination and interpret them as they please.
The Worst Bits
- It's built on a chine, its hilly, don't expect a relaxing time of it. 13500 steps on my fitbit, most of those on an incline.
- The toilets. When busy, the 'flushes' run out. They are probably the same toilets I remember from the 80's too.
- The Pirate Barrel Ride. Do not be fooled by the sweet toddler music that accompanies this ride. With a 5 year old in charge of the wheel - it spins fast. Parents turning green all over the place.
- Chessington World of Adventures it isn't. If you have come to Blackgang Chine expecting fast thrill seeker rides and cbeebies characters, you maybe disappointed. However, you won't be disappointed with the sensible queue times. You do not have to purchase an extortionately priced photo of yourself blurred and screaming on a fast ride. And, my favourite, there are definitely no fast track queue jumpers to contend with. Instead you will be treated to a day of watching your children explore the park , using their own imaginations to create a magical day for themselves. That in itself is the magic.
Verdict on our Day Out - Some new Magical Memories made. We will be back.