Enjoy the unique tranquillity of Shanklin Chine, the Isle of Wight’s oldest tourist attraction, which first opened in 1817.
This famous leafy gorge is much loved by poets, artists and writers. The winding woodland, with its steep sides is a magical place for rare plants, wildlife and enchanting waterfalls.
‘What is a Chine’? is the question we are most frequently asked – Chine is a word used only in the Isle of Wight and Dorset and means a deep narrow ravine with water running down to the sea. You can also think of an animal’s backbone or Chine of a boat, a deep, narrow scooped out cup, as in the Saxon for Shanklin – Scenc-hlinc, cup in the rising ground.
The Chine spring rises in the Downs and can be spectacular in heavy rain, especially at night with the lights. There are many mineral springs (chalybeate) all over the Chine and Shanklin, discovered by Dr Fraser, Charles II’s physician. Shanklin briefly became a Spa in Victorian times and the treatment rooms are still there on the site of the Royal Spa Hotel. Over the centuries, the Chine was used mainly for smuggling, so prevalent in the 18th Century, that the Customs and Excise officers had to be stationed in the Old Village. It had already started to attract increasing interest for its beauty and became a favourite with artists, writers, poets which our Exhibition highlights.
Enjoy the “original” Isle of Wight cream tea enjoyed by Isle of Wight visitors for nearly 200 years. Stop, relax and take in the beauty of Shanklin Chine, only a stone’s throw yet a world away from the bustling sandy beach. It’s the perfect place to escape crowds below and indulge in fresh home-made cakes, scones and perfectly brewed tea… all served to perfection while you enjoy the stunning natural surroundings. Light lunches and refreshments available all day regardless of the weather, with indoor and outdoor seating.
The gift shop is well stocked with a variety of books, gifts, cards and souvenirs.