I was given free entry to Robin Hill, but the words are mine.
As previously discussed, Robin Hill holds a special place in my heart as it provided me with a job for three summers during long breaks from university. I sold buckets of mint choc chip ice cream and ran the Colossus many, many times.
It was also the time that Bestival arrived, leading to many excellent nights of world class music and bizarre juxtapositions. Basement Jaxx riding on the toboggan run was a highlight.
There was then a gap of about 10 years when I was forced to live as a grown up and Robin Hill carried on without me.
Thankfully, Robin Hill is now a regular day out for us and we headed off for our first visit of the season at Easter.
We managed to get my mother in half price as a guest. This is a new addition to the Frequent Visitor Passes. The downsides are that a) the price has gone up from last year b) you no longer get food vouchers with annual passes and c) it’s not available during May half term and the summer holidays. Still, it made for a good value trip for her, particularly as you can return for free within a week. Read our blog about whether Frequent Visitor Pass is worth the money.
Our usual trick at Robin Hill is to ignore the suggested route (turning left and walking in an anti-clockwise route). Instead we headed straight down the hill to the bottom of the park. This allows us to beat the queue for the toboggan run, which can be quite long at peak times. The toboggan run is also better at quiet times because there is less chance of getting caught behind a cautious rider.
The lower park
The bottom of the park is also home to the new attraction – The Ripple – which is a sort of giant water bed.
This new arrival caused some excitement, so we spent a good chunk of time having a wibble wobble.
Next up was the toboggan run, which is the only ride you pay extra for at Robin Hill. It’s also the only ride that closes when it rains.
Robin Hill's toboggan run is currently £1.50 if you are 8+ or 50p for 3-7 year olds. There’s also an option to buy a gold pass which will pay for itself after seven or more rides. On a busy day, you’ll spend a lot of time queueing if you ride the toboggan run seven times so I would just pay as you go.
Child one and child two are both an ideal age where they want to go on the ride with me, but are brave enough to let me go full speed. This meant that I had four rides on the toboggan run, whilst also appearing to be doing some parenting.
Next up, we headed back up the hill to the bouncy treetop nets. I’m aware that this is completely ignoring any logical route round the park, but that’s just the kind of free spirit that I am.
The bouncy nets weren’t in place when I worked at Robin Hill, although Squirrel Tower was. These are a great addition as they simultaneously provide good views and something for children for lark around on.
A few years back, child two lost her nerve half way up one of the narrow tunnels. I had to rescue her, which required me to carry her on my back whilst lying face down. It wasn’t a comfortable experience so it was a relief to see her racing round unattended on this occasion.
Another wild diversion
We continued to rebelliously ignore the suggested route and cut through the woodland to see the Japanese gardens. This pleased my mother greatly, who had come along for the adventure.
I also saw a red squirrel sitting on top of a bin at this point, which provided an added bit of excitement.
African playground and a quick slide
Next up was the safari themed playground, which was my opportunity to sit down whilst the children played on the swings and climbing frames.
This was followed by the wobbly bridges, which are designed to make sure that the children get wet feet and complain.
The children (and parents) were beginning to flag at this point so we had one last trip to the toboggan and a couple of rides on the Hillbilly Slide. Take a jumper to sit on for this one, or you won’t move very fast.
After that, we caught the tractor back to the top of the ride. This was rather lazy, but legs were getting weary by this point.
A few omissions
Regular visitors to Robin Hill will notice that there are several things we didn’t manage to do on our visit. That includes the swinging ship, the Cowes Express train ride, the falconry, the 4D Cinema and the disc golf.
I'm sure we will able to tick a few more off on our next visit.
If you are visiting the Isle of Wight for a week then my advice is to visit Robin Hill towards the start of your holiday. You get a free return within seven days, so you can come back if you run out of time or if it starts to rain five minutes after your arrival.
Check out our guide to getting the best value out of a trip to Robin Hill and Blackgang Chine.
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog