Blackgang Chine Amusement Park | IOW

Known as the land of imagination, Blacking Chine is the UK's first amusement park. Located on the south coast of the Isle Of Wight, it started life as a curiosity park where the owner, Mr Alexander Darbell had created purpose built gardens in the chine (a steep ravine in the coastal wall) which were popular with the Victorians as a holiday destination. It was when Alexander Dabel bought the skeleton of a whale that had washed up on the shores of the Needles that the park came to life. He cleaned it up, put it on show and the people came in droves.

Now, it is a great place for families to spend time, especially for those with children upto the age of 12/13 (of course all ages are allowed entry, but I think it is appreciated at its most by this age group). There are a series of lands of imagination... the Pirates Cove, Dinosaurs, the new Underwater Kingdom, Fairy Land, and my favourite of all, Cowboy Town! On entry, you walk through a series of paths that lead from one land to the next - very easy to navigate with lots to see and do along the way. The lands themselves are made up of huge life size models set within thier 'natural habitat' along with bridges, buildings etc that create the whole environment.

Cowboy Town is at the far end of the amusement park and I love it because it feels like you have been literally been transported into a cowboy town - the buildings, the colours, the sounds everything! We had lunch here and it was good - we sat in a saloon style bench area and ate out of red checkered baskets. The queue was long and we had to wait for about 45 mins, but as most people make their way to the Cowboy Town for lunch, it wasn't a surprise. There is plenty to do for the kids while you wait and so they won't be board, but its worth building the time in so you don't get any 'hangry' group members! They also have the best gun shop ever.... floor to ceiling play guns with blanks and snaps (well priced) - we ended up with two rifles and so many rounds of blanks the kids couldn't believe their luck (my other half is 43 year old child)!

It's a busy place during the peak season, but it's so well designed that the crowds move and so you don't feel like you are having to wait for anything. There are a couple anomalies to this including the roller coaster and the slides - but that's expected. There are lots of places to sit and have a picnic while you look out to sea and the kids can run around. There are also plenty of restaurants, cafes, ice cream parlours etc in the park - however, like I said before, just build in a waiting time, esp during peak season.

Buy your tickets in advance, it is £0.50 cheaper pp and if you buy 4 tickets, there are additional discounts. All tickets (4-59yrs) are £19.50 - it is worth it - a full day of entertainment and on top of that, you also get free entry into the park for 7 days!