* Prices may differ from that shown
After a holiday to the wonderful Isle of Wight, a destination which holds a special place in my heart I felt it was only right to share some of the great places in reviews so that others may go and enjoy the places we enjoy. On our last trip, we stayed in the wonderful town of Shanklin which held one of the most tranquil shines on the island, Shanklin Chine.
A 'Shine' is a name given to a deep narrow ravine which is formed by the water from the sea cutting through the soft sandstone cliffs and creating a deep path back down towards the sea. It is not known exactly when Shanklin Chine was created, though it is thought to reach back at least 10,000 year, making it a wonderful historical place as well as a present day, peaceful escape from every day life. The Shine itself covers approximately three acres, so it is somewhere you can not really go to for a ten minute wander.
Shanklin Chine is situated in the main old town of Shanklin which was once a simple fishing village. It has kept its historical feel to it, though, which makes the day trip into the old town and to the shine a perfect step back into history.
My first thought when walking up to the gates of the shine was a simple 'wow'. Its tranquil setting and calm nature noise hit reality and you were immediately put at ease, leaving all your troubles behind you. Once through the gates, the vastness of this chine amazes you. Not only does this particular shine hold an immense walk of nature, yet it also has remains of historical buildings spotted around. Not too far from the main high level entrance was the remains of some kind of water building, beautifully preserved with beautiful flowers and shrubs growing around it, all well trimmed and well preserved.
As you move further into the Chine, you are greeted by the lovely peaceful sound of the running water from the delightful stream which cascades down the Cliffside and through the Chine. You are able to walk down past most of this stream on sets of stone steps and slopes. Some of the slopes are quite steep, as are the steps, making it difficult for wheelchair bound people as well as those who are not used to climbing steep slopes. It might be cheeky to do so, though, but one idea is to get someone to meet you with transport at one entrance and so you only have to walk through the chine one way!
There are two main waterfalls within the chine, one being approximately 45ft. This one is one of the most spectacular waterfalls I have ever seen, and looked wonderful after the recent rainfall on the island. The only way to describe it is as a glittering masterpiece. It was difficult to take my eyes off of it.
The waterfalls lead both into the deep Chine and also fill spectacular water gardens which you are able to walk around at your leisure. In the midst of these water gardens are also bird sanctuaries complete with bird houses as well as small animal shelters such as chipmunks. This breaks into the Shine perfectly and seem to be a hit with all ages.
Sloping upwards from a forked path, you are lead to a look-out point which is one of the most amazing look-outs on the island. From here you are able to view the coastline and can see loads of tiny holes in the cliffs - I later found out these are made by wasps, which made me shudder slightly, yet nonetheless, it was a completely different experience. There are also a few seats and shelters up here, (as well as many dotted around the rest of the Chine), and a pay-view telescope for those who wish to see further out over the coastline and cliffs.
The Shine also acts as a perfect nature walk with small signs dotted all over informing you of both the nature parts as well as the historical parts of the Chine. This, personally, did not interest me as I am not into learning about nature, yet even so, I was thoroughly enjoying the experience. Unfortunately, it did begin to rain as we were half way through, though we were quite sheltered that it simply made the experience even better. Probably not the best place to go in a full rain storm though!
The chine itself is actually home to over 200 different species of flower and plant, which even to me is amazing. It creates a spectacular view and such a peaceful world that you tend to forget where you actually are. I don't think I have ever been to another place quite like Shankin Chine.
******Evening at the Chine******
The chine is open until 10pm most nights and is transformed once again into something completely different and spectacular. Although it can become slightly 'spooky' it also gives a wonderful feel, different to that of the day visit. Lights are lit throughout the chine, most hidden, which create what I can only describe as a magical world.
******The Heritage Center******
Otherwise known as the Chine Lodge, this amazing building now hosts the Heritage center. At one point throughout history it was both a school for fisherman's children, as well as a guest house (which, in my opinion would have been wonderful to stay in). It is perfectly maintained and sits wonderfully among the flora and fawna, not out of place at all.
The Lodge also holds a Victorian tea garden as well as the gift shop. The tea garden is a traditional tea and cake garden, allowing generous seating both inside the conservatory as well as outside in the small and tranquil garden. It is an amazing feel when sipping your tea and listening to the sounds of nature from the rest of the Chine.
Prices in both the café and the gift shop are reasonable, though slightly expensive, yet this is to be expected from a place such as this.
The actual Heritage Center part of the Lodge holds a vast amount of historical documents and old photos covering the history of the chine right back to when it was simply a fisherman's retreat. There are many exhibitions which are constantly changing and being added to, including various artifacts from the chine and island. It is quite interesting to wander around, though after a while I was eager to go back outside to the chine. The Heritage center can be found on the other path of the fork from the look-out point.
Nearby the Heritage Center is a small memorial which is perfectly preserved and has a slight feeling of sadness surrounding it.
******Entrances and Exits******
There are now three entrances/exits to the Shine, each holding a small ticket booth. (For entrance fees please see below under the prices category).
The main entrance leads directly into the lovely town of Old Shanklin and is at high level to the Shine. This appears to be the most popular entrance and the one we used. From this entrance it is all downhill!
The second entrance leads onto the seafront. We did not walk all the way down here as it was a daunting thought of walking all the way back up!
The third entrance is on the esplanade and is to the lower left of the Chine near to the Lodge House.
Please note: If you enter one entrance and exit another, you will not be allowed to go back into the Chine without paying again and face a long walk back to where you started around the Chine. There is no hand stamping here!
******Opening Times and Prices******
Unfortunately, Shanklin Chine is another attraction which has been brought into the modern day world and asks for an admission price instead of allowing you to wander at leisure. This is a good thing in a way, though, as it stops local youngsters with nothing much to do, ruining the beautiful atmosphere of the Chine. The admission prices, however, are not too high. The prices are as follows;
Senior Citizens: £2.75
Family Tickets available at £9 (Based on two adults and two children)
The Shine is open between April to October and opens from 10am until 10pm for the first months, and from 10am - 5pm late September to October closing.
12 Pomona Road, Shanklin
Isle of Wight. PO37 6PF.
Tel: 01983 866432
Shanklin Chine does not have its own car park, though approximately five minute walk down the road from the main high level entrance is a mid-sized car park. The rates are not cheap, though, and it is perhaps better to catch a coach into the town. This, however, restricts your traveling if you wish to go somewhere else, though it does save on car parking tickets. At the time of visiting, the car park was £2.00 for a one hour stay, and baring in mind that you will probably wish to stay for quite a while in the old town and the Shine, the cost of parking will soon add up.
I really enjoyed my visit to Shanklin Chine. It was a perfect way to complete a holiday, so relaxed and tranquil. My younger brother and sister would not have enjoyed this, though, which is why myself and my husband went without my parents and siblings as they would have been quite bored. Saying this, though, it will not be the same for all children, though there is not much for children to do and it can be quite worrying with th really young with the steep slopes and steps. Also, for this same reason, Wheelchair bound people may not feel able to go here due to the numerous steps and steep slopes, which is a shame.
The costs are average and the experience as a whole is something magical and something I will remember for years to come. I would certainly recommend this to everyone visiting the Isle of Wight, especially those who love to take some time out of the hustle and bustle of every day life.
Our visit to Shanklin Chine was one of my favourite afternoons spent on the Isle of Wight. Situated between Shanklin Village and beach, it's a real tranquil spot, like being in another world. We stumbled across it almost by accident. Walking from the beach along the cliff top to the town we came across the opening and I remembered my mum telling me in we stay in Shanklin it's a must see. We went on a Monday afternoon, and whilst there were a few people it was quiet enough to hold onto it's peaceful atmosphere.
The Isle of Wight has many chines, Shanklin being the second largest and Blackgang being the largest and probably most famous has become something of a theme park. The word 'chine' is now only used on the Isle of Wight and in Dorset. It is of Saxon origin and means a deep narrow ravine, formed by water cutting through soft sandstone leading to the sea.
It's very hard to explain exactly what this place is like, and the magical atmosphere contained within it. I know that seems like a bit of a cop out, but if you have been there you will now exactly what I mean. It's a little like being in a enchanted forest from another world. When you first enter, it feels like walking into tropical gardens, then the path twists and turns following up steep hills and over bridges until you get to the top looking out of the chine, with beautiful views over the sea, and inside the chine, 2 waterfalls, the larger is 45ft high and I could have watched it for hours.
There is a huge range of plant life for those garden fanatics out there, for me though I loved the wildlife it attracts. There are many species of wild birds flying about, they seemed quite used to people wandering through and we got some really good views of a Jay who seemed to follow us as we walked around. Famously, the Isle of Wight is one of the few places left to find Red Squirrels and we were told that they are regularly spotted in the Chine, though unfortunately we didn't see any the day we visited.
In addition to the wildlife, there are some aviaries dotted around the lower parts of the chine, housing Rosellas, cockatiels, budgies and phesants among others. There was even a cage of chipmunks.
Aside from the sheer beauty of the place, there is some very interesting history to this attraction. The guide book I bought here was unusual to most in that I read it from cover to cover. There are stories of it being used during the French invasion of the island when Henry VIII's ship the Mary Rose sank and the galley captain was killed here, though this is more myth that fact. It also has stories of being an old smugglers haunt as a tunnel linked the chine and the old village. Wandering around it, I could imagine all those sort of goings on. The chine wasn't opened to the public, however until 1817 and has provided great inspiration to visitors such as Jane Austen and Keats to name a few.
Apart from the natural beauty and stories I have already mentioned there is another interest from history lovers here. Some of the 'Pipeline under the Ocean' or P.L.U.T.O can still be seen at the Chine. P..L.U.T.O was an undersea pipeline laid across the bed of the channel to send petrol to Cherbourg during the Second World War. It is considered as one of the great successes of the war as it was never detected.
Shanklin chine is very reasonable to get into, £3.80 for adults and £2.00 for kids. It provides a good hours gentle amble or make it a longer stay if you want to watch the birds or visit the gorgeously situated tea rooms.
I wish we had time to go back again in the evening as they open the place after dark and light it up. I can imagine this would be very pretty and want to go back sometime to do the chine by night!
Overall, I really do recommend this a place to visit if you are on the island and fancy a little bit of peace and quiet.