Splashingly good fun, our New Forest Waterparks
Water parks have undergone something of a renaissance in Hampshire in the last few years. Water play is always a great fast track to letting your hair down. These three places offer a great mix of play options, all with top notch safety consideration, and plenty of creativity. We're sure that most adrenalin-seekers will be happy. Importantly they're all well run and, as far as we've found, clean with good water quality.
Here's our guide to a splash-tastic summer 3 days out... .
The Lymington Sea Water Baths, the most eccentric and the most seaside, our favourite....
This hugely popular Sea Water Baths are big on fun and low on prices. Just BYO wetsuit. (Or hire one for a fiver). The locals really support this business and there is much pride in the renovation and energy at this fabulous place. It's become a real teenage hangout - but not in the grungey sense... rather young-un's having a laugh, trying out ever-more creative water sports, and families playing with all the age groups they come with.
The baths also happen to be the oldest open air sea water baths in the UK. They go back to 1833 and are well documented in sketches and prints since then.
Here you'll find 120 metres of inflatable obstacle courses, water zorbs (like frogspawn but with air inside...), stand up paddle boards, kayaks, aqua jousting (this appears to be like something the producers of Top Gear would invent to create much hilarity and absolutely guarantee everyone gets soaked). There's also a children’s splash pool & sandpit.
There are good showers, and disabled access & facilities.
The charges for an all day adult swim £2.50 and child is ( under 14) £1.50. If you want a swim and inflatables for all day then it's £6.50 for an adult and a child is £5.00.
It's well worth the spend and particularly good value since the tickets are for all day rather than for a session.
Back to the 1800's and here's a lovely drawing of "Mrs Beeston’s baths" (it's the building on the right) in 1784.
In l825, it was known as Beeston’s Baths with another nearby called Legge's Baths.
Beestons advertised “a warm bath for 3/6, shower 2/6, a cold bath with a guide 1/-, without a guide 6d”. The guide was a man who held you up with a rope.
I don't think they offer that service anymore but they have life guards instead and it's great fun.
The New Forest Water Park, fantastic family fun for a high adrenalin day out.
The park is set in 50 acres of beautiful New Forest countryside and lakes near Fordingbridge on the north western side fo the National Park. Unlike it's smaller Lymington cousin, this water park is built in a large freshwater lake.
This whole place is fabulous. New for 2017 they have an Aqua Park that has been specifically designed for children.
1. The adults course and sports...
They have masses of floating play kit including a 40 metre long 'Total Wipeout' style inflatable obstacle with trampolines, slides and a climbing wall. The kit is pretty big and some of the jump offs are a decent height for most people (unless you're Tom Daly perhaps). You can also paddle board and kayak here too so give yourself a day to enjoy the place and make sure you book in well in advance.
Sessions for the aqua park are one hour long and it can get busy so book ahead. Wakeboarding and paddle boarding are booked in slots. Look at the site for pricing info.
2. Water play for children...
This is a purpose built Aqua Park designed specifically for the younger generation. There are all sorts of floaty, colourful shapes to jump on, balance off and fall in from. You'll find hurdles, slides, stepping stones, balance beams and a roundabout (yes really). Your youngsters will run out of puff pretty quickly, so have a plan to refuel! The lovely design team here have also put in easier exit points to help small people out onto dry land.
A one hour session is £10 and wet suit hire is £5.
Everybody here has to be able to swim 50m with a buoyancy aid on, so take that into account when you're planning your day.