2019 Charity of the Year Announced
Vectis Ventures are proud to announce the Isle of Wight Youth Trust as their nominated charity for 2019. The partnership ensures collection boxes for donations positioned at both Robin Hill, the home of adventure and entertainment, and Blackgang Chine, the Land of Imagination, throughout the 2019 season.
The team at Vectis Ventures will be carrying out additional fundraising initiatives, events and fundraising activities to help more young people on the Isle of Wight access the crucial work of the Trust.
James Crofts, Park Manager at Robin Hill said “We are proud to be supporting the Isle of Wight Youth Trust in 2019. We have lots of exciting plans across both Robin Hill and Blackgang Chine to raise vital funds needed to support our island’s young people. We are looking forward to making a real difference to the health and wellbeing of our young people on the Isle of Wight.”
The Isle of Wight Youth Trust is the largest independent organisation providing youth mental health services on the Isle of Wight and committed to improving the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people on our island.
“As an Island-based, Island–focused charity, the Youth Trust relies on the support of our community to deliver vital services to support young Islanders. Last year, we offered around 5,500 one-to-one counselling sessions to over 1,000 young people – we simply would not have been able to do this without the support of our community. Vectis Ventures has a long history of supporting local charities and we are thrilled to have been chosen as their Charity of the Year for 2019. We look forward to working together throughout the year to ensure that young people have access to support in their time of greatest need.” Mairead Healy, CEO, Isle of Wight Youth Trust.
Whilst they offer a range of support for children, young people and their families, the majority of their work is concerned with providing a professional one-to-one counselling service. The problems that children and young people are experiencing when they visit are wide–ranging and there are many reasons why a young person may need counselling. Whatever the issues, the Isle of Wight Youth Trust are here to help.
Please visit https://www.iowyouthtrust.co.uk/ or follow their social media channels for more information.
The 2018 season at Blackgang Chine has officially come to a close!
As for 3rd November, the park is closed and won’t be re-opening until 2019.
There’s no denying that 2018 has been an epic year for us – celebrating a whopping 175 years since the park first opened, 2018 has been a year of special nostalgia alongside the creation of many more memories for years to come! Here’s a little look back at our year.
An Easter full of eggs
The Easter Eggsplorers event saw visitors hunting alongside our intrepid Victorian explorers, and of course the delightful Lady Penelope and Raphus too, for long lost and sneakily hidden treasures. Plenty were found and many happy, chocolate covered faces followed! Keep your eyes peeled for news of a very sweet and egg-citing (we couldn’t resist) new event arriving for Easter 2019!
Bank Holiday Breakouts
May Bank Holiday saw our resident dinos make a break for it as they roamed the park. From ride-on-dinos to our beloved Shadow & Sheila baby T-Rexes, visitors were even able to catch a glimpse of a few friendly old faces as Darwin & the Triasic Club joined in for a weekend of dino-tastic fun!
Yeeeeeehaws and Howdys
Dastardly Rattlesnake Jake, the meanest outlaw in the history of the west, came rumbling into town on the lookout for the Lost Gold of Rockola but with some help from our visitors, Buffalo Bob & Sheriff TWIT were able to keep the gold out of Rattlesnake’s hands! Plenty of rootin’ tootin’ good times were had over the Whitsun holiday!
EPIC Birthday Bash!
Over six weeks of summer, we held the most epic birthday bashes to commemorate our 175th year! So many of you visited and helped us celebrate with Dodos cheekily popping out of cakes, people hunting for limited edition coins, fairies spreading fairy dust and so much more! We’ve got plans to keep the party vibes going in 2019…this time with a bit of a twist!
Spooky goings on at the Sawmill
We battled paranormal goings-on throughout autumn and came face-to-face with some pretty spooky characters during Wicked Nights. Turns out the Monk’s Curse is a force not to be reckoned with and we’re pretty certain there’s worse things to come for Wicked Nights 2019….
The team here at Blackgang would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who visited in 2018 and helped make our 175th year an extra special one!
Due to customer demand, we’ve made the decision to extend our opening hours for the final week of the year.
From the 20th October – 3rd November 2018, the park will now open from 10am – 10pm, with Wicked Nights still taking place from 6pm – 10pm. Visitors can now enjoy the park throughout the day for an extra week, as well as the NEW FOR 2018 event, Wicked Nights.
Tickets to Blackgang Chine throughout this time are inclusive of the Wicked Nights event, starting from 6pm.
Blackgang Chine, Britain’s oldest and most imaginative theme park has been selected for the Telegraph’s ‘Great British Business Campaign’ and recognised as one of the country’s most exciting growing businesses.
This immersive family amusement park, which turns 175 this year, is a British cultural treasure. Since opening in 1843 when the concept of tourism was in its infancy, Blackgang Chine has captured hearts and minds with exciting attractions that stimulate the senses and transport visitors to an unforgettable land of imagination. The ‘Great British Business Campaign’, organised by the Telegraph Media Group, celebrates small and medium enterprises from around the UK, who make up 99% of the 5.5m businesses in the UK. The campaign aims to showcase UK economic success stories and the diversity of ‘brand Britain’.
Alexander Dabell – current owner and a fifth-generation descendant of the park’s founder, with whom he shares his name – says the park is: “The Land of Imagination” and imagination is as relevant today as it was in 1843.
“Blackgang Chine is a facilitator of people’s creativity, and a place that allows you to let your imagination run wild. 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.”
“For 175 years Blackgang has created an environment in which visitors of all ages can create family memories and explore within our Lands of Imagination, from pirate ships and cowboy town to walking with dinosaurs.”
Find out how Blackgang Chine has been inspiring the imagination of children of all ages here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/great-british-business/blackgang-chine/
Our pick of the 20 top photo spots!
There’s no denying that Blackgang Chine is one of the most instagramable attractions on the Isle of Wight and we absolutely love seeing all our visitors’ selfies and imaginative photos. So we’ve pulled together a list of the top 20 photo opportunities within the park and created a check list for you to make sure you don’t miss out on that must-have shot! We’ve pulled out our 10 favourites and you can see the full checklist at the end of this post – why not print a copy and check them off during your next visit?
1. The Sizeable Smuggler
He’s arguably the most recognisable part of the park so is certainly deserving of his place at the top of this list! Whether you’re sitting on his giant boot or trying to balance him on your hand, a shot with our smuggler is an absolute must!
2. Terrified by the T-Rex
Our animatronic T-Rex is the largest in the country and his roar really does makes the ground shake beneath your feet! So those terrified faces everyone’s pulling in their selfies are perfectly justified!
3. The Timeless Toadstool
Our beloved toadstool was first installed back in 1974 and every year since, visitors have been posing for a photo with the friendly gnome who calls the toadstool home. It’s the perfect photo to commemorate the year of your visit!
4. Shell Style
A relatively new addition to the park, the Shell Seat in Underwater Kingdom has fast become one of the most popular photo ops in the whole park! Perch on the stylised marble seat and become the underwater goddess of your dreams!
5. Western Wagon Stories
The horse-drawn wagon at the centre of Cowboy Town is a classic favourite photo with kids young and old! Whether you’re perched on horseback or standing atop the wagon about to set off on a journey, you can create your own Cowboy story!
6. The Supreme Steggy
For generations, children (and adults) have been clambering up onto the back of our Stegosaurus to pose for a classic Blackgang Chine photo! We’ve even got a picture of our CEO up there somewhere…
7. Mystical Mirrors
We know that a mirror selfie is nothing new…but here at Blackgang Chine, it’s a selfie with a difference. Super long legs, a giant head and an obscured image are what you’ll get in our ever-popular Hall of Mirrors!
8. Fantastical Fairy Dreams
Who wouldn’t want to feel like a princess atop their very own castle? The balcony on the top floor of Fairy Castle in Fairyland is the perfect opportunity for a Romeo & Juliet moment! Stand down by the Fairy Houses for a great perspective shot!
9. This is the Priest all Shaven and Shorn
Part of the nursery rhyme ‘The House That Jack Built’, our beloved Priest is the perfect selfie companion – he won’t be worried about his hair not quite looking right!
10. The Unbelievable Underwater Whale
The majestic 60ft animatronic whale is the largest inhabitant of Underwater Kingdom and snapping a photo as he swims majestically above your head is a definite must! You’ll be amazed at the sense of scale when you see yourself photographed underneath his belly!
20 Top Photo Opportunities Checklist
Restricted Area Five
3. Dino Eggs
4. Wagon / Horseback
6. In Jail
7. Wanted Poster
9. Shell Seat
10. Giuseppe the crab
11. Commemorative Toadstool
12. The Priest
13. The Balcony on Fairy Castle
14. Sad Toadstool
15. Fairy House
17. Rumpus Donkey Mirror
18. Gnome Bench
19. Hall of Mirrors
20.Mouth of Hell
Here’s a little inspiration from Instagram!
There’s just 175 available!
As part of our 175th birthday celebrations, here at Blackgang Chine we’ve produced exclusive, limited edition gold coins!
These coins are a money-can’t-buy opportunity for you to keep a memento of your time at Blackgang Chine during our big birthday year! We’ll be giving them away throughout the year so keep your eyes peeled for in-park games, treasure hunts, competitions and lots of other ways to win!
There are only 175 of these gold coins available and they cannot be bought – so you’ll have to get involved to be in with a chance of bagging your own! However, there are silver versions available to purchase in the shop should you want to make sure you get hold of a souvenir coin. Both gold and silver coins will be provided in a Blackgang 175th presentation boxes.
19.7.18 – UPDATE
2018 Photo Competition
Capture the imagination of Blackgang Chine during your visit the year and enter our biggest photo competition ever to be in with a chance of winning. You can enter here.
18.7.18 – UPDATE
Throughout our Birthday Bash event days, Monday & Wednesday, there’ll be numerous opportunities to win coins…whether that’s by participating in a cowboy or fairy dance workshop, panning for gold or meeting our characters. Keep your eyes and ears open for a chance to win!
16.7.18 – UPDATE
Every Monday & Wednesday throughout the summer, there’ll be one character in the park who has a coin token. We’ll post a clue out each morning across our Facebook & Twitter pages and the first visitor in the park to find the character and state the word ‘Treasure’ will win!
26.6.18 – UPDATE
A Facebook photo memory competition has now launched! This is your first chance to get hold of a coin so head over to our Facebook page and get involved! All you need to do is share a photo memory of your time at the park! THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED.
Two of the UK’s most successful music acts, Pixie Lott and the Noisettes are heading to the Isle of Wight this September as the confirmed headline acts for the high-spirited music festival, Eklectica.
Popstar, Pixie Lott, and indie rock band, the Noisettes, are the latest artists to be confirmed for the festival which returns to the Isle of Wight’s enchanting Robin Hill Country Park on Friday 7th – Sunday 9th September.
The multi-award-winning artists will help close the festival over the weekend and perform to the thousands of festivalgoers expected to turn out for the music festival.
Rob Holgate, the Event Director for Eklectica said of Pixie and the Noisettes’ addition to the line-up: “Having these two acts headline this year’s festival is fantastic! They’re young, they’re cool, they’re current and most importantly they have amazing voices and stellar stage presence so both acts will add to the exciting atmosphere that will no doubt be buzzing around the woodlands.”
Pixie Lott and the Noisettes join a line-up of other industry-leading acts set to take to the stage at this year’s Eklectica festival. Friday will see a vibrant set from radio DJ and presenter, Reggie Yates and a bouncing performance from one of the music industry’s most talented rappers, Tinchy Stryder. Pop rock bands, Scouting for Girls and The Hoosiers will be stealing the show on Saturday and then helping to bring the festival to a close on Sunday is Scottish rock band, The Fratellis, and legendary alternative rock band, Toploader.
The go-to festival for an escapist weekend full of chart-topping acts and wellbeing activities, Eklectica is also committed to championing newcomers in the music industry and will welcome artists including dance/electric band, The Wolf Club, 5-piece indie/electro band, who hail from the Isle of Wight, Nakamarra, and blues-rock guitarist, Kris Barrass, who has just released a new album.
Eklectica is also providing an opportunity to showcase the region’s local independent food and retail outlets, from quirky stalls such as hand-made, small-batch gin, Mermaid Gin, to the Isle of Wight Ice Cream Company, who source all their milk from just 2 miles away!
A not-to-be-missed festival, tickets are available from £25 and include day, weekend and weekend camping tickets. With easy access from Southampton and Portsmouth, those that book their tickets through the Eklectica website can now claim 25% discounted ferry travel with Red Funnel ferries and 20% discounted ferry travel with Wightlink ferries!
For more information about Eklectica and to book tickets, visit: www.eklectica.live
For the safety and well-being of both our visitors and our staff, Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill will both remain closed until Saturday 24th March. This is to allow all the snow and ice currently covering the majority of our parks chance to thaw.
Visitors with 7 day return ticket will have their returns extended until Friday 30th March, to allow them to enjoy all that the park has to offer, and make the most out of their tickets.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused, however the safety of our team and visitors is paramount.
Visitors to Blackgang Chine, the oldest theme park in the country, are in for a real treat this season as the park celebrates its 175th anniversary with lots of exciting events and activities planned throughout the year, including a brand new adventure as the story of Blackgang Chine & the Curious Timeboat unfolds.
The celebrations start on Saturday 17 March when Blackgang Chine opens for the season and the first 175 visitors through the door will each receive a special celebration cup cake, each one numbered from 1 – 175!
Easter holidays are packed full of great entertainment, starting on Good Friday when our larger than life Dodos, Lady Penelope & Rafus, celebrate the opening of our NEW interpretation of ‘Lost Valley of the Dodos’ complete with NEW dodo characters for you to discover, including DJ dodos mixing your favourite party tunes. There are also two NEW bouncy net bridges to get you across the Dodo Valley ravine; guaranteed to put a spring in your step!
Plus join in the fun with our Easter Eggsplorers every Tuesday and Wednesday (3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th April). Become an explorer and see the park through new eyes! Join the quest around Blackgang to discover untold stories with Blackgang characters to help you on your way. Then dust off your magnifying glasses and make archaeological discoveries as you search the sand and uncover hidden critters in our fun Explorer Digs activity.
And if that’s not enough, take part in our new adventure, Blackgang & the Curious Timeboat. Join our characters, the mischievous pirate of the past and eccentric, scatty inventor as they embark on a journey of discovery, soaring through time on a mission to collect magical fuel for their enchanted time travelling vessel. This mis-matched duo and the curious timeboat are stuck in time at Blackgang and need your help to find the magic crystal which will power their timeboat and send them onto their next destination …..
You can follow the journey of our time travellers using our new online tracker at: http://tracker.blackgangchine.com/
Expect celebrations throughout the year to commemorate Blackgang’s 175th birthday: join our dinosaurs at a pre-historic dinner party during May Bank Holiday weekend, take part in cowboy hoedowns and shenanigans during May half term, and don’t miss our BIG 175th birthday parties every Monday and Wednesday evening throughout the summer holidays – PLUS discover what happens next when the final crystal that powers the curious timeboat is found at ‘Blackgang By Night’ in October!
Blackgang Chine opens on Saturday 17th March, 10am – 5pm, and all tickets include ‘unlimited FREE returns for 7 days! Save money by purchasing 2018 tickets at 2017 prices online. This event is included in Blackgang Chine and Joint Park Frequent Visitor Passes too.
FRIDAY NIGHT HEADLINERS ANNOUNCED
Tinchy Stryder and Reggie Yates have now been announced as the Friday night line-up for Eklectica, the boutique music festival @ Robin Hill Country Park taking place on 7th, 8th and 9th September. They join the line-up of Scouting for Girls and The Hoosiers who will be performing on the Saturday night and The Fratellis and Toploader performing on the Sunday night.
Eklectica is also pleased to invite back to Robin Hill, the Disco Shed who will be performing throughout the weekend, including Friday night. More weekend acts still to-be announced.
Tickets for Friday night’s line-up are limited and only available with Weekend Camping tickets (all include Friday night) and the Early Bird Weekend Non-Camping tickets which provide Friday night free, but these are selling out fast!
Weekend Camping tickets are just £75 per adult and £55 for a young person (10-17 years) – and provide a weekend of escapism! Relax in the safe, friendly environment of our two on-site campsites, situated in the most beautiful, scenic locations and with the creature comforts you’d expect from a well-run campsite. Enjoy live music until 1am in the stunning Woodland Ponds …. and for the early risers, a programme of activities to wake up to. What more could you ask for?
One of the most popular British rappers of his generation, Tinchy Stryder has a highly successful career in the entertainment industry, releasing four studio albums and achieving two number one singles to date. Originally a member of grime collective, Ruff Sqwad before working with Roll Deep, alongside the likes of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, Tinchy launched his solo career in 2006, with the release of his first studio album Star in the Hood which was an instant hit. He followed this up with his second album, Catch 22, which made it to number two in the UK album charts and gained BPI Gold certification as his career went from strength to strength.
In 2009, his track Number 1, featuring N-Dubz, stormed the UK charts going straight in at number one, closely followed by his single, Never Leave You. His music career has seen him go on to become a popular TV personality appearing on the likes of I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and Celebrity Juice. Tinchy continues to release new music and perform at some of the UK’s biggest events and festivals, as well as this he has founded his own independent label Cloud 9 and has several other high-profile business ventures.
Reggie Yates has developed into one of the most versatile broadcasters currently in the UK. He has an impressive body of documentary work, from COMIC RELIEF IN KIBERIA, to AUTISTIC SUPERSTARS and TOURETTES: LET ME ENTERTAIN YOU for BBC Three. His second series of THE INSIDER was split in to three standalone documentaries which premiered on BBC 3 and BBC One – and most recently announced is REGGIE YATES: SEARCHING FOR GRENFELL’S HIDDEN VICTIMS(w/t) for BBC Two, the special documentary will go behind the headlines to explore the lives of some of Grenfell Tower’s residents who have been lost, and whose personal stories and experiences remain little known.
Reggie’s passion for music soon came to fore early in his career cementing his place as a core part of the BBC’s new Black music station, 1Xtra aged just 18. Alongside Dev, he hosted a show for 2 years. It wasn’t long before Reggie was asked to guest on Radio 1 and as if to prove his credentials as a huge music fan, his first specialist show saw some of the very first plays on Radio 1 being Adele and Mr. Hudson. Reunited with Fearne Cotton, the duo took to the air on Weekend Breakfast before heading to the afternoon slot with both the Request Show and the all-important Chart Show. Alongside Fearne Cotton, Reggie hosted Glastonbury, Reading, T in the Park and the Big Weekend for BBC3 in 2010 and 2011 and moved into primetime entertainment presenting The Voice UK alongside Holly Willoughby in 2012/13. Reggie plays a multi genre DJ set including Hip-Hop, House and Pop.
In 2005, Count Skylarkin had a house party. The decks went in the shed, the speakers on the roof and Peepshow Paddy said let’s take it on the road. The rest, as they say, is a mystery … since then, the Disco Shed has become a must-have accessory for any self-respecting festival, from the bigger (Reading, Lattitude) to the middler (Big Chill, Cornbury) to the tiddler (Truck, Festinho). Reknowned for creating a uniquely shedonistic atmosphere, with its kitsch allotment of garden games, vibes and visuals, plus party pummelling sound system playing beats as eclectic as the contents of your average shed. Disco Shed DJs seamlessly spin everything from funk to punk, hip hop to house, rock & roll to reggae, and drum & bass to dubstep, then drink the bar dry and moan about getting splinters!
Tickets cost: Weekend Non-Camping tickets (Saturday & Sunday) are £60 per adult and £50 per young person (10-17 years). A very limited number of early bird Weekend Non-Camping tickets including Friday night are available. Day tickets for Saturday or Sunday are £30 per adult and £25 per young person (10-17 years). Children under 9 are FREE. For details and to purchase tickets visit: www.eklectica.live
Being just 2 hours from London with easy access by road, rail and sea, the Isle of Wight and Eklectica, is a great place to escape to. For cross Solent travel visit : www.redfunnel.co.uk / www.wightlink.co.uk www.hovertravel.co.uk