Continuing on our summer holidays – Isle of Wight series, where we visited East Cowes on the first day, we ventured to south of the Isle the next day. Following recommendations by colleagues, we decided to visit the UK’s oldest amusement park, Blackgang Chine, and head over to the seaside town of Ventnor for some food and play.
Date Visited: 11th July 2021
Location: Blackgang and Ventnor
Getting There: Although it looks far on Google Maps, it was only a 20 minute drive from our overnight accommodation in Newport to Blackgang Chine. It was then another 15 minutes or so drive from there to Ventnor.
Aaaarrrr, what the heck is Blackgang Chine?
I had never heard of Blackgang Chine prior to this visit to Isle of Wight. After Googling it the day before to check it out, we went ahead and booked the tickets, not knowing what to expect. Some photos of pirates, dinosaurs and dodos were all to go by! We headed off after breakfast from our new guest house in Newport and were there shortly after opening. Compared to Paultons Park, this was about 10x smaller and felt a lot more intimate and targeted to the younger kids.
We started our visit with the dinosaurs, which then led to some giant bugs and then the land of dodos. All very random, not sure how they came up with all these different ideas. Cara enjoyed the bungee bridges there as well as pressing all the buttons for the dodos. You’ll get the dodo birthday song stuck in your head! From there, we had a water cannon fight on the pirate ships, enjoyed the scenic lookout, before going through the land of imagination (more random attractions). There’s the fairyland, which we were a little disappointed with as it wasn’t very fairy-ish. And we popped by the ‘slides and ladders’, although unfortunately the slides weren’t very slippery (or I’ve just eaten too much these days to slide down properly).
Still not sure what it is…
Returning back to the entrance, we passed by dodo land again for some more bouncing and birthday songs. Before calling it quits, we ventured to the other side to inspect the maze and hall of mirrors which Cara giggled throughout. There’s a small roller coaster and water slide as well, but Cara was having none of that. Upon exiting, there’s the obligatory stopover at the gift store where Cara purchased a random rock and wriggly caterpillar. Although Cara enjoyed some parts, she did find a few bits weird and boring. She enjoyed her time more at the sister-site, Robin Hill a lot more. Even as a 6-year old, I think some attractions were too young for her, so would be more suited to a younger audience. The older siblings would probably enjoy the roller coaster though while the younger ones explored the rest of the park.
Ratings for Blackgang Chine:
Burn Time: 3 out of 5 – Cara could have stayed longer, pressing more buttons in dodo land had we not prompted her to move along. But depending on your age, you would either find this very interesting, or mildly boring.
Value: 3 out of 5 – Tickets were fairly affordable, although anyone over 5 years pays the same entry fee which is quite harsh. We visited during off peak as well! You can purchase tickets to both Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill which saves a little.
Overall: 3 out of 5 – A memorable visit, but compared to Peppa Pig World or Robin Hill, not the most fun.
Off to Ventnor for lunch
We headed off to Ventnor for some lunch, looking forward to some fresh seafood. As with most sites on Isle of Wight, there’s plenty of affordable parking options close to each main beach or site. We parked up and walked down the main promenade along the waterfront. Unfortunately, it appeared Covid had impacted local businesses here and there were quite a few empty shops, including the main amusement centre. Either that, or we came during off peak season and they were closed. Either way, there were a few options available for lunch, but the main one we were after was fully booked. So we kept walking down till we hit the Ventnor paddling pool.
Next to it was conveniently located a cafe where we sat to have some prawn cocktail, and fish and chips. Fresh and tasty. But the highlight is the paddling pool, where kids can dip their feet either before, during or after lunch! It’s also a good way to practice your local geography skills. You can tick off the towns you’ve visited during your summer holidays on the Isle of Wight. I think by the time we finished our time on Isle of Wight, we had ticked off most of them. Cara spent about 40 minutes there splashing around while we drank a coffee.
There was no real need to pop down to the beach in Ventnor, less sand to clean up! But that didn’t stop Cara! She still popped down to the beach for a splash.
End of the day…
Overall, it was a lovely day out with Cara and a great option to visit the south side of the Isle of Wight. We drove back to Newport for dinner at The Bargeman’s Rest before the England Euro’s Final. For families, in particular those with younger kids, both Blackgang Chine and Ventnor are places where they’ll be happy to explore and keep occupied for most of the day, especially when the sun’s out.
Our next stop (and post), Totland and Yarmouth…
Have you been to Blackgang Chine or Ventnor? What do you think of it? Still have the dodo birthday song in your head? Let us know in the comments section!
Be sure to check out the other posts of our 2021 summer holidays below:
And some other summer holidays ideas from previous years: