Read this guide to getting value for money at Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill before you book!
There's an ongoing debate in our house over whether Blackgang Chine or Robin Hill is better. They are both popular Isle of Wight attractions but you may only have the time or budget for one during your holiday.
Here's my summary - Robin Hill and Blackgang Chine cost about the same and get nearly identical reviews. They appeal to similar ages, both put on great events and have a similar number of rides. Blackgang Chine is better if you prefer fantasy theme parks and it also wins for views and nostalgia. Robin Hill is more spread out, more focused on nature and has more space for running around, with more playgrounds and more green space.
Similar reviews and prices
Customer reviews of Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill are exceedingly similar. Blackgang Chine scores 4.4/5 on Google reviews or 4/5 on Trip Advisor. Robin hill scores 4.5/5 on Google reviews or 4/5 on Trip Advisor. That gives Blackgang Chine an overall score of 8.4/10 and Robin Hill a score of 8.5/10. Honestly, I wouldn't make decisions based on a 1% difference.
Both Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill are owned by the same family business and they cost about the same (see our guide for money saving tips). Robin Hill is usually a couple of pounds cheaper but you pay extra for the toboggan run so the difference is wiped out.
Rides at Blackgang Chine and Robin Hill
Blackgang Chine has the scariest ride (Extinction) but Robin hill has the toboggan run, which is my favourite of the lot. The total number of rides is similar but Blackgang's rides are slightly more intense (only relatively speaker - neither are white-knuckle attractions).
Robin Hill has a 4D cinema, a swinging pirate ship, a mini train ride and the toboggan run. There's also a tractor ride, which carries you round the park.
Blackgang Chine has a water slide, a pendulum ride (Extinction), a rising platform ride (Evolution), pirate barrels and a magic carpet ride (Shipwrecked).
Both parks are best for junior school aged children. Older children will enjoy one or two rides at each park but you might feel it wasn't the best use of your money if they spend the time sitting on a bench staring at their phone. See our guides to days out for teenagers for alternatives.
Visiting time and views
I would say that Robin hill takes us a little longer to visit but a lot depends on whether you stay and watch shows or just race round. The main difference is because Robin Hill is more spread out.
Both have good views of the Island to entertain parents but Blackgang Chine wins on views for me. The sea views are really terrific. Robin Hill has nice rolling hills to look at from the observation tower but it's not quite the same.
Theme and atmosphere
Robin Hill is on a larger site, so it's better for running around. The bottom of the park has space for kicking a football or playing disc golf. There are three playgrounds plus a bouncy nets area at Robin Hill whilst Blackgang Chine just has one smallish adventure playground and a couple of bouncy nets.
Robin Hill has lovely woodland gardens and more of a natural vibe with red squirrels (subject to availability) and falconry. Grandma will probably prefer Robin Hill because of the gardens and the roaming peacocks.
Both parks put on summer shows and stay open late on some evenings. The Blackgang Chine evening shows I've been to have involved foam parties, loud music and fireworks, whereas Robin Hill does things like amphitheatre shows and hot air balloon events. If I had to choose, I would probably say that Robin Hill edges it on events but I did have a great time at the fireworks and foam party in 2023.
Blackgang Chine has more of a fantasy vibe, with cowboys, dinosaurs, fairies, goblins, singing pets, pirate ships and so on. It's great if you like a parade of noise and excitement. In the 1970s, the park was split into themed lands with similar names to one of the Disney theme parks. That vibe has continued, albeit on a much smaller scale than Disneyland.
Robin Hill is calmer, greener and more spread out. If you or your children struggle with crowds, I would go for Robin Hill as it's easier to find your own space.
The appeal of nostalgia
Finally, there's the value of nostalgia. Blackgang Chine has been going for much longer so you probably visited when you were on a school trip. Some of the vintage attractions still survive, including the maze, the giant smuggler, some of the cowboys and dinosaurs and the fairy castle. See our history of Blackgang Chine for more information.
You may find that the nostalgia is too hard to resist.
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog