Make a Splash!
Hey hot stuff! Bit sweaty? Break out the Muddy bikini, we’re diving in. Read on for the best outdoor water fun in our 'hood.
Here in Warwickshire you can’t get much further from the sea. But there’s still plenty of choice for al fresco aqua fun on sultry summer days. So, for those times when the garden paddling pool isn’t quite cutting it, here’s the Muddy guide to watery wonders, all of which work if you have nippers in tow. Just make sure those bikini straps are firmly secured before you cannonball in…
LOVE A LIDO?
Cool off at Warwickshire’s Abbey Fields Outdoor Lido in Kenilworth. It’s now open until September with Swim 4 Everyone sessions running daily from 10am – 6.30pm during the week (5pm on weekends). Not too far away, Droitwich Spa Lido over in Worcs, remains one of the UK’s few open-air saltwater swimming pools. It’s open from 10am – 7pm on weekdays (& 6pm at weekends). Features include a ‘Wet Play Area’ full of water cannons and fountains and shallow beach entry for younger children. A couple of years ago we enjoyed an overnighter at Alton Towers Waterpark which was loads of fun with outdoor flumes and a tropical pool.
If you’re pretty close to the Cotswolds there’s the Chippy Lido in Chipping Norton, run by locals as a charity. Woodstock in West Oxfordshire near Blenheim Palace also has an open-air pool, as does Chesham, not forgetting the Woodgreen Leisure Centre in Banbury. Do carefully check their websites and call up before you travel though, as sometimes public sessions are limited.
ALL ACTION AQUA
Spot-On Wake is a new Aquapark at Wootton Park, Wootton Wawen near Henley-in-Arden with 3 1.5hr sessions running daily (£15pp including wetsuit hire). Children under 8 need to be accompanied by an adult. Stay in a luxury treepod with hot tub too. Cliff Lakes in Tamworth, Warwickshire, not only has an open-air Aqua Park obstacle course, Water-ski & Wakeboarding schools, three open water swim courses and a Waterfront Bar for sunset beers but camping. On the Glos/Wilts border – there’s more even water-y fun at Cotswold Water Park which has a huge inflatable village, water-skiing, speed rides on inflatable doughnuts and bananas, sailing, swimming and wakeboarding.
Oxford Wet ‘N’ Wild aqua park in Berinsfield has been spruced up by its new owners and now has a decent café (note – no picnics allowed). The inflatable obstacle courses are suitable for children aged 6+ who can swim 50m. Advanced booking is recommended – and cheaper, £15 per person as opposed to £20 for walk-ins. Head to Willen Lake in Milton Keynes for an enormous splash park, Splash’n’Play with 60 water features (including tunnels and cannons). There’s a dedicated toddler area but it’s suitable for children up to the age of 13.
SAILING OR WINDSURFING?
Draycote Water Reservoir near Dunchurch, Rugby has a Sailing Club offering Windsurfing Taster sessions and Youth Windsurfing training, as well as RYA Youth Summer Sailing courses. Bosworth Water Park near Market Bosworth, Nuneaton runs a variety of water sports on the lake including dinghy, canoe, kayaking and powerboat courses. You can also hire new state-of-the-art pedalos, play on the Blue Lagoon Beach and camp overnight. At Kingsbury Water Park there are 15 lakes over 600 acres of country park, The Pedal Boat Company operates boats on Mitchells Pond (07950 146 740).
MESSING ABOUT ON THE RIVER
Prefer to survey the scene from the relative dryness of a boat? (Assuming you don’t fall in, obvs). Head to Stratford and hire a rowing boat, punt or canoe from Avon Boating or go on a cruise with Bancroft Cruises, or how about sailing passed Warwick Castle in a red dragon or giant swan from Warwick Boats. Leam Boat Centre also offer family paddling experiences, canoes, kayaks and pedalos for sailing up the river Leam.
If you’re visiting Oxford, you can hire a punt from Magdalen Boat House or Cherwell Boathouse – the riverside restaurant at the latter is lovely, plus it’s slightly cheaper and less touristy. You can also hire punts from Folly Bridge or take a boat trip – or even charter one – from the historic Salters Steamers, who’ve been messing around on the river since 1858.