The Isle of Wight is well stocked with attractions, including a range of adventure theme parks. Blackgang Chine; the Needles Pleasure Park; and Robin Hill Park are all popular with thrill seeking families, and make it possible for visitors to engage in activities from the hair-raising to the downright bonkers.
The frankly extraordinary Blackgang Chine will live in the memory of children who visit it for the rest of their lives – not least thanks to the alarming statuary, which consists of oversized pirates and undersized dinosaurs, some manufactured in the dim and distant past, others added more recently. The giant smuggle statue added in the late 80s has become emblematic of the place; and its “Lost Valley” landscape, featuring legendarily out of scale saurians, has to be seen to be believed.
Blackgang Chine has been one of the major Isle of Wight attractions since as far back as 1843. Originally simply a beauty spot, though even then renowned for its association with smugglers and wreckers, the Chine stayed as a place of local interest until the 1930s, during which decade a hall of funny mirrors was installed. The Charity Gnomes Garden followed one year later – and from then on, as they say, the rest is history.
Modern Blackgang features a log flume and a rollercoaster, with themed areas including Frontierland and Pirate Cove. Nurseryland, Fairyland and Dinosaurland are ideal for youngsters; while those interested in the history of the area will enjoy the World of Timber; and the Wight Experience.
Robin Hill is all about fresh air. It also hosts the Isle of Wight Bestival – an increasingly popular alternative to Glastonbury, which to a degree attempts to recreate the famous Isle of Wight festival at which Jimi Hendrix played his last ever gig.
When it isn’t hosting rock festivals, Robin Hill becomes one of the family’s favourite Isle of Wight attractions. With an obstacle course including Troll Bridges and the Squirrel Tower, Robin Hill is also popular with schools taking classes on an end of term trip.
The park also hosts regular falconry displays, and combines natural history walks with plenty of information to keep kids interested.
The Needles Pleasure Park is a more “classic” seaside attraction – full of circus rides, candyfloss and fun! There’s an extraordinary chairlift taking tourists up and down from the beach, with full views of the Needles; plus a range of exciting attractions to get involved with. With easily a day’s worth of fun and sightseeing all in one place, the Needles Pleasure Park is understandably one of the Isle of Wight’s prime attractions.
It’s also one that hosts evening events throughout the season, including firework displays and concerts. Open in winter festive times too, with a grotto and plenty of seasonal delights, the Needles Pleasure park is truly a year round theme park – perfect for adventure, for sightseeing and for good plain family fun.
The Isle of Wight crams such a lot of fun into such a small space, it’s unlikely you’ll see it all the first time around.
The Author owns Wight Locations. When not managing the company’s self-catering holiday properties, he spends time with his family – seeking out the best parts of the island by bicycle and by boat. He writes about his experiences, personal favourites and the Isle of Wight’s hidden gems.