Robin Hill Country Park
Robin Hill, on the Isle of Wight, is set in 88 acres of gorgeous countryside and there is something for everyone, whatever your age. The park is mostly a big circuit that you walk around so it is easy to navigate,
the park map shows the arrows working in a clockwise direction but for some reason we tend to start going anti-clockwise! As you walk down the hill there are treetop nets which the children will love running through, the surrounding woodland is really peaceful and if you don't like heights or you have a buggy or a wheelchair then you can always go down the paths which run underneath. Little ones will enjoy the Pine Cone Construction which is a selection of diggers for them to climb in and play with. As you carry on walking you will come out in a huge wide-open space which is perfect for having a kick-about, having a picnic or simply relaxing while the children play. Robin Hill hosts many events during the year such as their Eklectica Festival and the Festival of Light which use this amazing space.
I think one reason we start walking the wrong way round is so that we can use the toboggan run before it gets busy! The toboggan run is a quarter of a mile long and is incredibly popular. I do have to give a special mention to the staff members that were running it when we visited as I went on with my daughter and three times we got stuck behind people that were going too slowly so we caught them up and couldn't finish the run. Without any fuss they were happy to let us stay on again (and again) and the last time they let the girl in front of us finish completely before we went on - so a big thank you to them as they were really helpful and friendly. Next to the toboggan run are slides, a toddler playground, a cafe, and another adventure playground for older children.
Carry on walking and you will cross the pond, which has a special walkway in the middle putting you level with the water. You continue your walk through more woodland which has themed areas like the Chinese Temple and a brasserie that is open during peak season. African Adventure is the next stop which is a huge wooden playground, it has areas suitable for nearly every age and also includes a zip wire and animal sculptures alongside a refreshments and barbecue area. We spent a long time here and it's so big that it never feels like it's too busy.
Robin Hill was also home to the Summer Slide this year; a crazy 150m long inflatable water slide situated on a hill in one of the many open areas overlooking miles of countryside. We didn't go on this (mainly due to not having our swimming stuff with us) but if it is there the next time we visit then we will be having a go, we watched plenty of people go down it and it looked like great fun!
Another play area meets you as you walk up the hill and we then stopped to watch a falconry display. This was held by South Coast Falconry and was brilliant. You get to see the birds really well and many of them swooped very low to the crowd and almost touched heads. It was informative and entertaining so we would definitely recommend stopping for one of their
As you head up to the top of the hill, the view is outstanding on a clear day, and here you will find Duck Down Play Village which is lots of little play houses which include a school house, shop and pub! These remind me of the type of play houses they have at Blackgang Chine. You can then try and find your way around the big wooden maze, or give yourself some peace and send the children in!
Colossus Swinging Galleon is a little further on and is a large swinging ship, for younger thrill seekers there is Cows Express which is suitable for all ages and has some 'amoosingly' named cows dotted around the track! Back on the path is a cafe and just around the corner is a 4D Motion Cinema experience, we didn't get a chance to go and see this as our two little ones were in the buggy and it was getting a bit late for them.
During the summer of 2018 Robin Hill presented Jungle Fever; every Tuesday and Thursday the park is brought to life with incredible life-size animal puppets, a special Jungle Fever live show and evening fireworks. We couldn't wait for this show and headed down to the woodland amphitheatre for the performance, the children were mesmerised by the dancing and the music, the animals are slowly introduced in to the performance and it really was quite spectacular to watch. During a break the animal puppets were taken outside so that you could meet them and have your photo taken, close up they were very clever and we appreciated being able to see them in detail. The performance was exceptionally popular and the park suddenly got very busy but it was well worth making your way through the crowds for it.
After this there was just enough time to try out the new Jungle Heights experience which comprises of net mazes, tunnels and a trampoline. You can use it if you are 4 and over and certain ages must be supervised by an adult, so it was nice to see staff at the entrances making sure there were no unruly children running around unaccompanied.
If all the walking seems too much for you then you can catch the Big Red Tractor Train which has stops dotted around the park. Toilets and cafes are well spaced throughout the park and there is a gift shop at the entrance/exit. We love this place, it is perfect for all the family, young and old and the special event days make it really memorable, we would highly recommend a visit and if you are just visiting the Island, make sure it is down on your list of places to go.
Robin Hill is a full day out so it represents good value for money. You can buy a joint park ticket which gives a discount if you buy for Robin Hill and their sister park, Blackgang Chine. For current prices see the Robin Hill website. The Festival of Light, inspired by Diwali, is being held at Robin Hill between September 29th and November 4th 2018, to book tickets click here.