UK's first theme park opens at Blackgang Chine

UK's first theme park opens | 1843 | Period: Victorian

Blackgang Chine was built by Alexander Dabell as a scenic and curiosity park on a spectacularly steep ravine, overlooking Chale Bay; an area famous for smuggling.

The theme park capitalised on the Victorian trend for healthy holidays by the sea and people travelled from far and wide to see the breathtaking views and walk down the Chine to the beach.

Alexander knew this alone would not hold the public's attention for long and began his acquisition of a series of fascinating attractions and additions to the Chine.

The very first, and perhaps the most bizarre, was the skeleton of a whale, which had been washed up on a nearby beach. He bought the creature, sold off the blubber, bleached the bones and then set about displaying it at the Chine for the morbid curiosity of all the visitors. Although the pathways to the sea have long since washed away, the skeleton still exists in the park as the oldest attraction.

Admission tickets to Blackgang Chine are available from the Ships Stores onboard or when making a ferry booking online.