Rare sea eagle joins the falconry team...
After months of waiting, 10-month-old Chief, a rare White-tailed Sea Eagle, has finally arrived on the Island for what we hope will be an incredible opportunity to educate visitors on the species that became extinct nearly 200 years ago, and provide a major draw to attract people back to the Island after the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief will join a team of over 30 birds looked after by 22-year-old Charlie Rolle, one of the Isle of Wight’s youngest qualified falconers. He will train Chief to fly and express his natural behaviours, so that the magnificent eagle will be ready to educate visitors upon re-opening on 19th May in the park’s spectacular falconry displays.
Charlie Rolle, Head Falconer at Robin Hill said, “It has been my childhood dream to train a White-tailed Sea Eagle. It’s been a slow and steady journey to build a bond of trust with Chief, with his welfare of the upmost importance. It is my passion that time spent with animals and learning from them will help our visitors become more aware of the conservation of our fellow inhabitants and the environmental challenges they face. There is nothing more awe-inspiring than to see a bird of prey in action.”
Why the name Chief?
We believed as such a large, majestic bird, he needed a name worthy of his sense of seniority & superiority. One that was easily recognisable while still characterful. A single syllable is also preferential from a falconer’s perspective, so the bird recognises its name quickly during training and displays.
Where did he come from?
Chief arrived on the Isle of Wight with Charlie after a long journey from the Scottish Eagle Centre. Thanks to Wightlink for providing ferry travel across the Solent to ensure both Chief & Charlie arrived home safely.
Chief weighs in at 9.5lb and has a whopping 7.5ft wingspan. He doesn’t yet have his ‘white tail’, as those feathers grow as he gets older.
Is predominantly fish, provided by the local Ventnor Haven Fishery, but he also loved quail.
Is a 1-to-1 process for Charlie and Chief to build a trusted bond, where Chief is slowly becoming accustomed to Charlie’s voice.
James Crofts, Park Manager at Robin Hill, said, “We are so excited to be reopening with a brand-new arrival that enhances our ability to educate and enthral visitors on rare and wild birds. Chief signifies our ongoing development of quality falconry experiences on site, and we hope that by getting up close and personal people will have more appreciation for the species overall.”
He continues: “We hope Chief will not only see a bumper reopening season for the attraction, but also support the Island’s post COVID recovery by providing a big draw for visitors this year.”
WE'RE RE-OPENING FROM 19TH MAY!
We’re absolutely delighted that both Robin Hill and our sister park, Blackgang Chine, will be re-opening from Wednesday, 19th May.
In line with the proposed lifting of lockdown across the country, we’re taking steps to ensure all our guests are able to return to the parks for a safe, comfortable experience and will be following government guidance at all times. We’re sad to be missing out on Easter this year; but all our teams will be working hard over the coming months to ensure both parks are ready to welcome you all back for more exploration, adventure and entertainment!
We’re planning an exciting kick off to the 2021 season with the return of our most popular event ever! Sky High will float back into the park with a full programme of hot air balloon activity, culminating in spectacular Night Glow performances on our picturesque, open-air Lower Valley. Last year’s event sold out and Sky High 2021 will also be a limited capacity event. Tickets will sell quickly, so booking online in advance is essential! Find out more about Sky High here.
To make re-opening even more special, we’re bringing some elements from our Chinese New Year celebrations into this event too. Keep an eye on our website and social media for all the latest updates.
GUEST INFORMATION UPDATE
In response to the Coronavirus situation, we’ve taken the tough decision to postpone the planned opening for February half term.
In celebration of Chinese New Year, Spirit of the Orient was set to take place in February. However, due to the current national lockdown, this is no longer possible, so our teams are working on plans to bring the illuminated experience back later in the year. Further details of when you’ll be able to enjoy the Chinese-themed festivities will be announced in due course.
Both Robin Hill and our sister park Blackgang Chine remain closed until the planned re-opening in the Spring. We’ll keep you as updated as possible over the coming weeks so keep an eye on our websites and social media pages.
We thank all our guests and suppliers for your cooperation and understanding during this time.
Frequent Visitor Passes
We appreciate the ongoing support of our Frequent Visitor Pass holders and can’t wait to see you all back in the park as soon as possible. If you have a valid 2020 or 2021 FVP and would like to be kept up to date with the latest news surrounding our 2021 opening plans, please make sure you’ve signed up to our FVP newsletter. (You’ll need your unique FVP code to do this!) Simply follow this link: https://robin-hill.com/fvp-signup/
2021 park tickets will be launched as soon as we’re able to confirm our opening dates and times for 2021. In the meantime, digital Gift Vouchers are still available to purchase online. These are redeemable both online and in-park against any admission ticket or Frequent Visitor Pass and valid for 12 months! Find out more here: https://tickets.robin-hill.com/product/robin-hill-gift-voucher/
WIN the Black Friday Upgrade:
meals for your group + £100 to spend!
That’s right! We’re spreading even more Christmas cheer this year and are giving everyone who’s booked their POLAR experience online by 11:59 this Friday, 27th November, the chance to WIN our epic Black Friday Upgrade!
Not only will the upgrade include meal vouchers for your group, but also a whopping £100 to spend in the Robin Hill shop – perfect for stocking up on those last-minute Christmas treats and gifts!
One lucky winner will have their booking upgraded to include:
❄ Meal vouchers for their group
❄ £100 to spend in the Robin Hill shop
Remember, POLAR will go ahead in accordance with Government guidelines and the park’s exemplary COVID-safe measures will remain in-place. In the event of the government or local authority requiring the event to be cancelled, a full refund will be issued to all ticket holders.
POLAR returns to Robin Hill this Christmas…
Join Robin Hill for the second instalment of their winter woodland experience this December. The festive POLAR story continues on selected dates from 12th – 23rd with an evening of magical Christmas delight.
From beautifully illuminated woodland and immersive walk-throughs to wreath-making, a local market and delicious food, the event promises to provide festive cheer this year. Plus, for the first time, the star of the show, Pippa the polar bear, will be joined by a few very special guests from sister park, Blackgang Chine.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of our guests this year and simply couldn’t let Christmas go by without celebration. 2020 has been difficult for everyone and given that POLAR is about the magic of imagination, it seemed right to bring a few Blackgang Chine characters over too. From all of us at Vectis Ventures, we’d like to wish our guests, staff, suppliers and partners a very Merry Christmas!” – Alec Dabell, Managing Director.
As you step into the open air, you’ll wander through glistening woodland and encounter a whole series of wonderful experiences along your POLAR journey. Support local traders and crafters at the POLAR Market, where you’ll find a selection of festive delights; perfect for gift ideas and stocking fillers.
Continue through the triumphal marble arch and into the POLAR Village where the Woodland Ponds area is transformed into a true winter wonderland. Enjoy heart-warming tastes of Christmas, finished with a mulled drink or decadent hot chocolate; all accompanied by music from the Christmas Carolettes.
For your chance to meet Pippa the polar bear, head into the POLAR Hollow where you’ll be invited into a young boy’s dream world. All is not as it seems in this immersive, interactive walkthrough; toys come to life and you never know who you could meet along the way. Dodos? Dinosaurs? Fairies? Anything can happen when dreams really do come true.
This year’s event will also see the return of the popular Decoration Workshops and Robin Hill’s beloved outdoor rides will remain open throughout the evening after undergoing their winter makeover.
POLAR will go ahead in accordance with Government guidelines and the park’s exemplary COVID-safe measures will remain in-place.
There’s limited availability and tickets are available online now for just £17.00 per person; with an exclusive 20% discount for Frequent Visitor Pass holders available until 6th November.
Our incredible team have joined forces with two other Isle of Wight businesses to provide desperately-needed clothing to the Island’s care sector. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, local care homes and community carers are needing more scrubs than ever and we’ve stepped in to help!
Reuben Loake, Managing Director of Ryde based company Isle of Wight Jobs, got in touch with clothing manufacturer Rapanui in Freshwater to see if they had any spare material of clothing available to use as scrubs.
“In a highly generous gesture, Rapanui immediately agreed to release a container full of high-quality clothing to any healthcare provider that needed it.” – Reuben, Isle of Wight Jobs
After posting on the Isle of Wight Jobs Facebook group that there was clothing available, Reuben received a high number of calls from care providers desperately needing disposable garments such as t-shirts as well as over 100 local people offering to help sew the garments into scrub trousers, scrub bags and head bands.
Reuben Loake says, “It soon became clear there was urgent need for disposable clothing in the care sector and we needed to act fast. If a care worker comes into contact with someone displaying symptoms, they should ideally be able to change their clothes before visiting another client.”
We then offered to become the distribution centre for the operation, as well as some of our wonderful team volunteering their time to sort through the items and transport over 100 boxes of garments from Rapanui in Freshwater to the park.
Reuben says, “The response so far has been overwhelming with over 20 care providers getting in touch after we posted our campaign on social media. We now need more homes and agencies to contact us with their requirements for tops. We have a range of sizes available as well as hoodies for those self-isolating in the care homes themselves and away from home.”
Robin Hill will be open for collections from Monday April 27th. Care staff can order garments and then access the car park where their order will be ready to pick up.
To find out more or to make an order please call Isle of Wight Jobs on 01983 475110 or send a message to the Isle of Wight Jobs Facebook page
Help Pippa’s Christmas dream come true & WIN an exclusive family VIP prize package to POLAR!
There must be magic in the air this festive season as the star of Robin Hill’s brand-new Christmas event spectacular, POLAR, comes to life! Archie and his family have travelled across the Solent with his favourite teddy, Pippa the polar bear, for an exciting Christmas holiday on the Isle of Wight. However, disaster has struck as Pippa was left on-board the ferry!
How will Pippa get back to Archie?
Pippa is looking for your help! She knows that Archie was very excited to go to POLAR at Robin Hill, so she needs your help to get there! Polar bears aren’t very good at navigating in the south and she’s already been spotted in Wightlink’s Ticket Office in Yarmouth, but it looks like she’s heading the wrong way; there’s been reports of her travelling towards Blackgang Chine.
“She’s heading to the land of wacky,
imaginative fun, teetering on a cliff
in the westward sun.”
The team over at Blackgang Chine want to help Pippa find Archie so they’ve decided to offer FREE ENTRY on Saturday 2nd November to anyone that has already purchased a POLAR ticket! Will Archie appear? Will we see Pippa? You’ll have to come along to find out…
“We’ve heard that Pippa is heading our way, to celebrate her arrival we’ll be offering FREE entry to anyone who’s already purchased a POLAR ticket! Simply bring your order confirmation to the admissions desk and you can enjoy the park totally free on our last day of 2020, Saturday 2nd November. Maybe we’ll see Archie too…”
– Dominic Wray, Blackgang Chine Park Manger
On her journey to find Archie at Robin Hill in time for the POLAR launch on 29th November, Pippa will appear at five locations across the Island. At each of these locations, she will leave behind a paw print poster with a clue to where she’s heading next. Each paw print will display a letter so all you have to do is find the five letters, solve the anagram and send your answers into iwradio.co.uk/POLAR for your chance to win the GRAND PRIZE!
The grand prize will grow as Pippa appears at new locations and collects more treats from her journey! As it stands, the incredible prize so far is an exclusive Family VIP experience to POLAR at Robin Hill this winter, giving you and your family the chance to meet Pippa face-to-face, enjoy some delicious festive treats and of course, experience the magical finale show!
For more information, follow #PippaToPOLAR on social and visit: iwradio.co.uk/POLAR
Sky High 2019 sees record visitor numbers
Following our first-ever Sky High hot air balloon event, we’d like to say a big thank you to all our visitors & partners…
“What a whirl wind few days we’ve had at Robin Hill Sky High 2019! Testing weather put paid to free flight, but 2 fantastic Night Glow shows have punctuated a challenging, yet very exciting inaugural event.
The team and I extend our sincerest thanks to all our visitors for being so flexible and understanding with the programming changes – we know a lot of you were disappointed (as were we!) with the cancellation of all launches. Thank you to those who came out in record numbers to support our ambitious vision.
Great moments of the event include our human image record attempt, sunrise photoshoot, a visit from ITV Meridian and an incredible photo of the event by the talented Sienna Anderson published in the Telegraph – not to mention 2 visually stunning Night Glow shows!
A massive thanks to our event partners Red Funnel Ferries, Isle of Wight Distillery, Island Photo Centre and to the crews and pilots who, although grounded indefinitely, pushed through some very adverse conditions to deliver the balloon activity that could be achieved.
We will be reviewing the event programme and all the feedback received with a view to planning the next Sky High for you, fingers crossed bigger, better and less windy in the future!” – James Crofts, Robin Hill Park Manager
The park is open 10.00 until 18.00 for the rest of the week so pop back and make the most of your Frequent Visitor Passes or 7 day return ticket. If you haven’t already, sign up to our mailing list via our website www.robin-hill.com to keep up to date with all park news and future events.
The weather may not have been fully on our side this week but that hasn’t stopped our visiting photographers from capturing some incredible images of the event!
We want to say a big thank you to the thousands of visitors so far this week for their support whilst Sky High finds its feet in 2019 and a special thank you to all the photographers who have shared their images with us. Here’s a selection of some of our favourites!
Header image: David Rutherford
Photographers in order of appearance:
Graham Hendy | Jack Charge | Elizabeth Miller | Luke Meads | Robert Williams | Oliver Howells | Sam Winterbottom | Simon Teague | Sam Phillips | Nick Lowe | Jodie Hope | Chris Cockroft | Antony Winch | Sienna Anderson | John Robert
Don’t forget to enter our #ShootSkyHigh competition for your chance to WIN a Fuji Finepix 130!
This morning (12th April 2019), we teamed up with our friends at Red Funnel (include Ted Funnel, to Red Funnel bear) to take a hot air balloon ‘sky high’ from Mayflower Park, Southampton, just meters away from the Red Funnel Ferry Terminal.
Guests joined the team to enjoy this exciting new aerial spectacular. They had the opportunity to meet the pilots and experience one of the remarkable hot air balloons, which tethered from Southampton’s coastline.
James Crofts, Park Manager of Robin Hill said:
‘It was a fantastic morning; the weather was perfect! We are really excited to be bringing a brand-new event, Sky High to the Isle of Wight this May. Huge thank you to the team from Robin Hill, Red Funnel and Bloon for delivering a fantastic experience for the guests that attended. Tune in to ITV Meridian tonight at 6pm to watch it all unfold.’
Sky High will take place at Robin Hill on the Isle of Wight from 27th – 30th May (10am – 10pm). In partnership with Red Funnel Ferries, visitors can set sail to the Isle of Wight from Southampton and marvel at the sight of over 40 hot air balloons of all shapes and sizes, taking flight from and tethered in the Lower Valley of Robin Hill Country Park.
Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the pilots, walk inside the balloons and possibly even win the chance to take flight*. There will also be kite making and flying workshops for the kids.
A special twilight event, Night Glow will also take place on the 27th May and 29th May, where visitors will have the opportunity to see the balloons at nightfall, lit up in all their glory, together with incredible sound and light production. Refreshments and live music will also be available throughout the evening.
Save 20% off ferry travel when you book Sky High tickets with Red Funnel. Simply add your Robin Hill admission tickets for Sky High, then add a ferry booking to your basket before you checkout!