The 10 best water parks in the UK for escaping the heatwave

Cool down with a fun day out for all the family
Cool down with a fun day out for all the family - Imgorthand/E+

As temperatures soar, water has become a must-have ingredient for a family day out. The school summer holidays might have ended, but spending the weekends out of the sun and at the pool is the perfect antidote to the heat.

We’ve rounded up 11 of the UK’s best water parks, covering everything from wave machines to waterborne obstacle courses.

1. Waterworld, Stoke, Staffordshire

Whether you want to lie back and relax or are looking for high-octane rides, there’s something to suit your needs at Waterworld. Take a rubber ring down The Nucleus, a water roller coaster that offers up 375 feet of thrills; or try a dip in the outdoor pool or bubble pool, for ultimate relaxation. Children of all ages are catered for here. Toddlers can tackle pint-sized slides while teens brave the rapids. There’s a whole selection of flumes, plus a wave pool.

Opening times: Vary in the week, open 10am to 5pm on weekends
Prices: £22 for family tickets; £23 for adults and children over 1.1 metres; £20 for children under

2. Splashdown, Poole, Dorset

Become a waterslide connoisseur with Splashdown’s 13 slides, which come in varying degrees of difficulty – easy to “severe”. There are indoor and outdoor options here. Even visitors under five can choose from a host of water-based options; a 3D reef pool, a water play area (complete with water cannons) and a splash pool. Older visitors can get started on the tamest flume, the red river roller (91 metres of slow twists and turns) and work their way up to Baron’s Revenge, a near-vertical eight-metre drop in total darkness. For adults looking to relax, there are sun terraces, a Jacuzzi and a cafe. There’s another Splashdown branch in Quaywest, Devon.

Opening times: throughout September, open from 10am to 7pm on weekends
Prices: A three-hour session costs £19.50 per person; £9 for under 5s; £6 for spectators

Keep little ones cool
Keep little ones cool - FamVeld/iStockphoto

3. New Forest Water Park, Fordingbridge, Hampshire

One for older children, teenagers or young-at-heart adults, the New Forest Water Park boasts a floating, inflatable sports aqua park with trampolines, monkey bars, climbing walls and more. Sign up as a family and race each other to beat the obstacles – imagine you’re on Total Wipeout – for an hour-long session. After conquering the aqua park, there’s wakeboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding to sample. You could even make a weekend of it, as there’s an option to camp overnight. Sustenance can be found at the Shred Shed, with simple fare including burgers, jacket potatoes and pancakes.

Opening times: Wednesday to Friday, 2pm to dusk; weekends open 10am to dusk. Times vary for watersports.
Prices: £20 per person for a one-hour session

kid in waterpark
It's hard to beat a waterpark when the temperatures rises

4. Let’s Go Hydro, Carryduff, Belfast

At Let’s Go Hydro, you’ll find another aqua obstacle course, this one featuring a large tower, a slide and climbing wall, wiggle disks and a floating trampoline. There’s also a giant paddling pool on site, as well as a spa and open water swimming in Knockbracken reservoir. For something more adventurous, try tubing, wakeboarding, kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding.

Opening times: 9am to 6pm 
Prices: £23 per person for the Aquapark; prices for other activities vary

5. The Time Capsule Waterpark, Coatbridge, Scotland

There’s plenty to try at The Time Capsule Waterpark. A novelty among its water flumes is the Tornado Tantrum – four people can ride together. Test out the twin, twisting, Storm Chaser flumes – ‘thunder’ and ‘lightning’ are a combined 100 metres long and take between 10 and 30 seconds to complete, depending on the rider’s weight.

Opening times: weekdays in term time open 4pm to 8pm; 10am to 8pm on weekends
Prices: £6.50 for adults; £4.50 children over 5; £3.40 for ages 3-4. Tickets must be booked in advance online.

6. Sandcastle waterpark, Blackpool, Lancashire

Take some time out from the sun (but still with a tropical 29C climate) in the UK’s largest indoor water park. Try the Masterblaster, billed as both the world’s longest indoor roller coaster/water slide (with 250m of thrills) and the world’s first uphill water roller coaster. It’s one of four white knuckle rides at Sandcastle water park. Next, meander your way along Ushi-Gushi river creek or go for a family slide down the Treetops Water Chutes. There’s plenty of reason to visit without children, too. Over 18s can head for the sea breeze spa, which includes sauna, steam room, aromatherapy and salt inhalation rooms. Or set yourself up for the day in the VIP Tiki Cabana, which comes with a stocked fridge, a TV, a private hot-tub and lunch.

Opening times: Vary throughout the week; open 9am to 6pm weekends
Pricing: £24 for over 12s; £20 for ages 8-11; £15 for ages 3-11; under threes go free

Sandcastle waterpark
The UK’s largest indoor waterpark - Sandcastle waterpark/Sandcastle waterpark

7. Thorpe Lakes, Surrey

Heading for Thorpe Park? Thorpe Lakes are right next door and offer water-based fun for anyone over six. Children can try out their obstacle course skills in the aqua park – there are sessions for under 13s and under 18s throughout the day. Plenty of water sports are on offer, too. Sign up for wakeboarding or water skiing, with lessons available for anyone over six. It specialises in training up beginners.

Opening times: 11am to 6pm daily for the aquapark
Pricing: £20 per person for a 55-minute session

8. LC Swansea, Wales

The perfect stop for budding adrenaline junkies, LC Swansea’s Masterblaster, a white water roller coaster water slide, is a must-do attraction. There’s also a trusty wave pool and a river to float around. Little ones aren’t left out, either – they can hang out in the interactive pool, with slides, tipping buckets and fountains to keep them occupied.

Opening times: 9am to 8pm
Pricing: £8.80 for adults; £7.10 for 4-15 year olds; £2.85 for 1-3 year olds (under ones go free)

The Time Capsule Waterpark
Options galore - The Time Capsule Waterpark/The Time Capsule Waterpark

9. Wicksteed Park, Kettering, Northamptonshire

When the temperatures rise at Wicksteed, there’s plenty of water-based entertainment on offer. The park’s large lake underwent a £3million revamp in 2014. Head there to try one of the rowing boats, pedalos, canoes or stand-up paddle boards. Then, of course, there are the fairground rides with added water, try the Rocky River Falls or the Water Chute – built in 1926, it’s the world’s oldest. There’s also a sand and water park play area.

Opening times: 9:30am to 8:30pm, weekends only; ‘Time for Tots’ sessions run 10am to 3pm in the week
Pricing: A standard wristband for rides is £22 for children; individual ride tickets are £3. Family tickets start at £54.50. Access to the beach and lake is free

10. Alpamere, Scarborough

The ever-popular Alpamere combines high octane rides with grown-up areas to relax in. Four slides – the twisting Snow Storm, frightening Black Run, double-tube Olympic Run and thrilling Cresta Run –  will keep the family entertained for hours. As will the wave pool, which erupts every 30 minutes. But if all that gets too much, the infinity pool, looking out of the bay, is a breathtaking place to swim.

Opening times: 10am to 9pm
Pricing: £19 for over 16s; £15 for 6-15 year olds, £9 for children 1-9 (under ones go free)