Water, water everywhere - top UK water theme parks
We’ll always be big fans of the beach . But it has to be said that, beaut though most British beaches are, they’re not the best at waterslides, water rollercoasters and clinging to tyres in in one’s swimsuit. All hols should involve at least one visit to among our favourite things to do on holiday, the water theme park. Have a goggle at our top five UK water parks, all with details of splashy stays nearby for August and September:
Not that we would dream of implying our weather sometimes means you could get as soaked on a walk without as in a water park within, but well, indoor water parks. Which brings us to Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire ’s Waterworld, billing itself as ‘the UK’s No 1 tropical aqua park’. We’re not quite sure what a tropical aqua park is – although we see there are lily pads – but we’re putting Waterworld firmly on our top five list for having Nucleus, the UK’s first water rollercoaster, Friday night ‘wave raves’ and a mascot called Splash Harry. Gurgle.
And as you’re in Staffordshire anyway, you may as well take a detour to Alton Towers, which has hundreds of watery attractions in its water park, with separate entry from the main theme park.
To make the kids practically spontaneously combust with excitement, announce that you’re combining a water park holiday with a horse-riding one and take them to Beaver Hall Equestrian Centre at Leek, ten miles from Waterworld, eight from Alton Towers and with pony rides and riding lessons both available on site. Pitches at Beaver Hall start from £18 a night.
Also close to both water parks is Derbyshire ’s award-winning Callow Top Holiday Park , which has potential for lots more watery shenanigans in its heated outdoor swimming pool and paddling pools; the park also has children’s playgrounds, a fishing lake, amusement arcades and football and cricket pitches. Non-electric grass tent pitches start from £48 in August for two nights and from £17 for two nights (bargain alert!) in September.
Sandcastle Waterpark, Blackpool, Lancashire
Taking ‘tropical’ out of the title, Sandcastle says it’s the ‘UK’s largest indoor waterpark’ and has 18 slides and attractions including a wave machine, river creek, a duelling dragons ride (we think this should be in water parks and indeed swimming pools everywhere) and the all-abilities Caribbean Storm Treehouse. There’s also a swim shop, burger bar, café and Monkey Island for monkeyish parties.
Sandcastle Waterpark is opposite Blackpool’s Pleasure Beach, so we’re sure we don’t need to point out there’ll be plenty of other water and rollercoaster based loopiness once everyone’s off the slides and out into the town.
Pitch up less than three miles from Sandcastle at Marton Mere Holiday Village , so close to Blackpool you can see the Blackpool Tower from the park and with a heated indoor pool with SplashZone, Space Bowl flume, kids’ clubs with the Seaside Squad and an outdoor SplashZone for the kids during summer. Tourer and motorhome pitches start from £176 for a minimum three-night stay in August and £77 in September.
If you’d prefer room in the car boot for rubber rings and water wings rather than tents, hire the Boland caravan at Beacon Fell View at Preston, sleeping up to eight from £655 for seven nights this month and from £455 for a week in September.
Splashdown Quaywest, Paignton, Devon
Not the biggest tropical indoor water park in the UK or the biggest one indoors but the very biggest full stop, Splashdown Quaywest is just opposite Paignton ’s Goodrington Beach and has quite the coastal views from its highest ride points (aka The Devil’s Drop). We also want to try with immediate immediacy the Raging Rapids, one of the ‘tumbling tyre rides’ the Splashdown staff promise will have you hanging on to tyre’s edge. We think this will pump us up immensely.
Splashdown has a sister park in Bournemouth, Splashdown Poole , which has very much more of the same (plummeting and screaming) as well as a Little Buccaneers SplashZone for tiny tots and the Buccaneer Beach for hot summer days.
Beverley Park will keep your happy feelings flowing: it’s less than a mile from Splashdown Quaywest and from Broadsands and Goodrington beaches, and has heated indoor and outdoor pools, playground, kids’ room and a solarium. A two-bedroom holiday home starts from £945 for seven nights from 23 August and from £479 for a week in September.
Three miles away at Brixham, Riviera Bay Holiday Park has chalets available in August from £161 for three nights in August and £116 in September, and has an indoor heated pool, kids’ clubs and views over St Mary’s Bay.
For Splashdown Poole, Merley Court Touring Par k just over three miles away at Wimborne has an outdoor pool and access for guests to its sister park Oakdene, with indoor pool, sauna and steam room. Serviced grass pitches start from £30.50 a night this month and from £13 in September.
Electric tent pitches are available six miles from Splashdown at St Leonards Farm Caravan and Camping Park from £85 for five nights in August and September; a two-bedroom holiday home is available in September from £225 for five nights.
Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Another indoor park – and in Pembrokeshire, home of over 50 Blue Flag beaches to splash around at afterwards. Hurrah! The Blue Lagoon is open all year and has four flumes (we’re eyeing up the fastest, The Torpedo), wave pool (with seat – ahh), lazy river, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, and the Nippers Cove for little nippers. And fish and chips for sale, of course.
If your little squirts can handle being near a pub without donning false moustaches and trying to order pints of foamy ale, a stay at the Snooty Fox should hit the spot – it’s only a mile from the Blue Lagoon and has non-electric grass pitches from £10 a night.
Or roll up to Hungerford Farm Touring Park a couple of miles away at Kilgetty off the A4075, which has hardstanding electric pitches for tourers and motorhomes from £16 a night. Travelling light? Book a static caravan and dip in the heated outdoor pool at Amroth Bay Holidays , less than seven miles from the Blue Lagoon and a mile from Amroth beach, from £550 for seven nights in August and £360 in September.
Wet n Wild, North Shields
And there was us thinking Wet N Wild was a brand of makeup. We are pleased to announce it is also a water park in North Shields, especially as it only reopened this week after going into administration last year . Another hurrah! The revamped rides include a 60ft drop in the Kamikaze, racing in the two lanes of The Torpedo and trying to see what’s what in The Black Hole. There’s also a pool/waterslide area for under-tens, and a soft play area for toddlers opening in September.
Keep the holiday wet and wild with a stay at Village Green Caravan Park within driving distance in Co Durham, which has the sailing, watersports and angling for trout of Derwent Reservoir on the doorstep. Static caravans sleeping up to six start from £199 for three nights this month and £126 next. For tent time, Edmundbyers Youth Hostel a minute or two away from Village Green Caravan Park isn’t just for yoof and has non-electric pitches from £20.
A little closer to Wet n Wild at 12 miles away, Sandy Bay Holiday Park over the border in Northumberland is a Park Resorts site with an indoor heated pool, hydrodomes, snorkelling, kids’ clubs and a beach showbar. Electric grass pitches for tourers and motorhomes start from £14 in August, which includes four entertainment passes and pool access.
And coo, we haven’t even parle-d yet about water parks in France, or Spain, or Italy… we think there’ll be more watery info coming soon.