Park Review

7

 
Black Gang Chine
Cliffhanger
Crooked House
Musical Pet Shop
Rumpus Mansion
Sailor's Return
Smuggler's Cave
Weather Wizard
Wight Experience

This park makes the bold claim of being the world's oldest theme park, opening back in 1843. You could debate this fact based on the attractions on offer, as even today it's borderline that is has enough non exhibit based attractions to be what I'd traditionally call a theme park. I don't know what rides it had in 1843, so I can't say if I would have called it a theme park back then. If you base your assessment just on the fact it opened in 1843 you would say Alton Towers is older, as that first opened to the public in 1839. Thank you Wickipedia.

 

You may think the lack of mechanical rides would make this a forgettable park. Far from it. Although it lacks much to appeal to the thrill seeker, there's a lot to please the family fun seeker. The only comparison to another park I could think of was the last Friday of a week we spent at Disneyland Paris, when the queues got really bad, so rather than spend 90 minutes queuing for rides we'd already done a few times we spent most of the day looking around some of the themed areas. There's quite a bit of stuff you could miss in the upper floors of buildings, and around Adventure Land. We had quite a nice time just looking around this stuff. Here you spend the day doing a similar thing, exploring areas themed around dinosaurs, or cowboys, or giant bugs, or fairy tales or nursery rhymes.

Most of the attractions match the spend the day exploring without queues approach. Most of them are walkthrough style that you can just step strait in to without having to queue. Once inside you can walk around looking at the models.

The quality of the theming is generally good. A few feel a little shabby and dated, but those are the exception, and don't spoil you enjoyment of the good ones. One thing I was impressed with was how well the models blended together. When you consider some are over 40 years old, and some only a few years old you'd expect some bad clashes. Instead everything fitted together well. There wasn't anything I'd call modern and exciting, but the whole place had a fun nostalgic charm.

It's a shame really this park isn't in a more accessible location. It's location on the South coast of the Isle of Wight, which you need a ferry to get to, makes a day trip with a car more hassle than most parks, and a big logistical undertaking if you plan to use public transport. If it was in a more accessible area it would be worth visiting just for the curiosity value. As it stands it's not quite worth making the trip just to do this, but it's well worth a visit if your planning a visit to the Isle of Wight.