Blackgang Chine on the Isle of Wight celebrates 175 years

One of the Isle of Wight’s iconic attractions and Britain’s oldest theme park Blackgang Chine is marking 175 years of making magical memories.

Having operated through the Crimean War, two World Wars and attracted a host of famous visitors, from Queen Victoria to Harry Potter’s Ron Weasley, the park, near Ventnor, is still going strong.

“Imagination is still as relevant today as it has always been”, said Alexander Dabell, Blackgang’s chief executive.

He added: “We recognise that much of our appeal is that we have preserved our history whilst changing with the times. Our challenge is to maintain the tradition of the park, to conserve what people love about it but to keep making improvements and looking to the future.”

Dabell’s entrepreneurial great, great grandfather, with whom he shares his name, established the park in 1843, as the concept of tourism was in its infancy.

It began as a series of coastal pathways and landscaped gardens, designed to attract the first waves of Victorian visitors. Its first exhibit, a huge Fin Whale skeleton, washed up on the island, is still on display today.

Over the decades, the theme park has had a range of new attractions, from one of the first hall of mirrors in 1933 to the creation of ‘Dinosaur Land’ in 1972.

Some of the current attractions

•    Cliffhanger rollercoaster: Perched near the edge of vertical cliffs, this thrilling ride climbs 400 feet above the sea before dropping nearly 40 feet in twists and turns, reaching speeds of up to 35mph.

•    Giant Snakes & Ladders Slides: Play the classic game but with a twist. Spin the wheel to decide whether to slide down the snakes or climb up the ladders in this family favourite.

•    Restricted – Area 5: Get up close and personal with dinosaurs of all types including an Argentinosaurus ¬- bigger than a double decker bus - and the biggest animatronic T-Rex in the country.

•    Crooked House: Take a pitch black tour of the craziest house in England, the original from 1986, where the floor is tilted and everything is not quite as it appears.

•    Blue Whale: Marvel at the giant seven tonne animatronic sea creature that hangs from the sky.

Fascinating facts about Blackgang Chine

The park was founded by Alexander Dabell in 1843 at the spectacular gorge cut 500-feet deep into the cliff face. Victorians travelled far and wide to experience its breathtaking views – even Queen Victoria visited in 1853.

The Dabell family were at the forefront of tourism on the Isle of Wight in 1843 and today the park is still owned and run by the descendants of Alexander Dabell.

Tickets and opening times

Blackgang Chine is open daily from 10am-5pm until 3rd November 2018.

For information about group bookings call 01983-730330, or for discounted tickets and online booking go to