Mention the words Blackgang Chine and it is amazing how many people mention the fact that they visited as a child and have very fond memories of Britains oldest theme park which turns 174 years old in 2017.
I loved Blackgang Chine as a child and have fond memories of walking around the dinosaurs and in 2006 we visited with a young Abbey, Callan and Kian.
Last weekend it was the turn of Isaac, Eliza and Sebastian to make the ferry journey from Lymington over to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight, with Blackgang Chine being a 20 minute picturesque coastal drive from the port.
As soon as they spotted the huge giant at the entrance to the theme park they could not wait to get inside.
Once inside the first thing that struck me was that the park has been modernised and updated. Our favourite dinosaurs are still there, but in a modern twist, are now animatronic and incredibly lifelike, much to the kids delight, although we did find an old favourite to climb!
Sebastian is dinosaur mad and excitedly bounded up to each and every one, until we reached a rather intimidating T-Rex, which is the largest animatronic dinosaur in the UK. The floor actually shakes when he roars and giving him the nickname Terence we thought we had managed make him slightly less scary to get Sebby to pose for a picture………..not sure it quite worked!
Unlike most UK theme parks, Blackgang Chine doesn’t have many rides. In fact it has one rollercoaster, a waterslide and a small teacup ride, however, don’t let that put you off. It is the “Land of Imagination” and the kids were having a ball exploring everything the park has to offer with the Crooked House being a huge hit.
We had been invited to Blackgang Chine to visit their new Underwater Kingdom and we were not disappointed.
From the moment we entered the cave the kids knew they were heading underwater, with Sebby excitedly exclaiming “Mummy, I am under the sea“.
On our journey through the colourful coral reef we discovered an abandoned sunken shipwreck to explore, the most amazing array of colourful, larger than life animatronic sea creatures including a huge whale floating above our heads, moving its tail as if it were swimming.
The park still has a familiar set up from how I remember with Pirate Cove and its massive pirate ship to play on, complete with water pistols to fire at each other. I urge you to visit the pirate pet shop which is full of weird and wonderful creatures.
Cowboy Town is also still there and I could not resist the urge to buy the kids some fun snaps in the shop. We staged a bank robbery, put the kids in jail and even tried out some coffins for size – all in fun of course!
Eliza loved finding fairies in Fairyland ………
…..and visiting Sleeping Beauty in her castle.
They all enjoyed a real life game of snakes and ladders.
On our last visit the mouth of hell was still being built but it was there in all it’s glory and Isaac especially enjoyed messing around in it, sticking his hands through the nose as if it had bogies or pretending it was eating him.
Facility wise, there are plenty of toilets and baby changing stations and lots of food and drink stands selling things from donuts to ice creams and those all important teas and coffees for Mum and Dad. We ate in the Chine Cafe at the entrance to the park and our food was lovely – especially the fish finger sandwiches!!
If you are visiting with young children, please be aware that the park is very hilly, although perfectly accessible, so it can be hard work pushing a pram / buggy or on those little legs.
Do make sure you explore the whole park as their first ever exhibit is still on display – the magnificent skeleton of a Fin Whale that you can actually walk through to find some dinosaurs and discover the history of Blackgang Chine – beware of the landslip room though.
A hall of mirrors is always a hit too.
If you are looking for somewhere to visit that is full of thrills and spills, then Blackgang Chine probably isn’t for you, but, if you are looking for somewhere for kids to use their imaginations and play then this is the perfect place to visit.
Tickets cost from £19.50 each, for adults and children over the age of 4 or £74.00 for a family ticket (you may revisit the park for up to 7 days with these tickets so great if you are on holiday).
Some things never change………..
Thinking of visiting, check out my video below.