The New Forest has 2 fantastic proper water parks. Both are superb and have consistently excellent reviews. There is a good ‘splash pad’ at Peppa Pig World – great for smaller children.
These two activity ‘centres’ offer a great mix of play options, have good management, excellent water quality, top notch safety consideration, and offer plenty of creativity for getting silly. You’ll need at least a full day at each place….
If you want more swimming, read our Wild Swim Guide here.
Here’s our guide to letting your hair down….
The Lymington Sea Water Baths, the most eccentric, seaside activity in Lymington (and one of our favourite places)…
This hugely popular Sea Water Baths are big on fun and low on prices. The site is the largest ‘lido’ in Britain and has been totally refurbished in the last 2 years by a local entrepreneur and dad of 3 boys.
The water quality is well managed, the kit safe and well cared for, the lifeguard team are very professional. When visiting in early June I hired a wetsuit and wished I hadn’t – the water was very warm. The floor is pebbles and varies in depths. There is a roped off area with mini inflatables for under 8’s and another separate pool, only 8″ deep for toddlers.
On the bigger courses (4 now this year) there are over 150 metres of inflatable obstacle courses.
In other areas you’ll find water zorbs (a bit like human frogspawn), 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).
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.
There are good showers, and disabled access & facilities. You can hire wetsuits there, but the water in summer is so warm, you’ll get too hot – I did!
The charges are reasonable, it’s well worth the spend. There is a little cafe (ice cream, tea/coffee) on site.
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…)
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 anyone young at heart …
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.
For wild play on the Beaulieu River…. Visit New Forest Activities
They are an extremely well respected local company who provide a broad range of water based activities on the coast and rivers here.
For very little people…. There is a good splash pad at Peppa Pig World….
We love a good a good ‘splash pad. There is no deep water or swimming or even deep enough for paddling, it’s purpose made very very shallow water, fountains and puddles for playing in. Kids love it. On a hot day – it’s a winner.
Also try the Quomps splash pad at Christchurch Harbour.
Our team have been and tried with their children and in (summer 2019) found it in good condition and well run. If you’ve come this far, then try Mudeford Spit and the beaches nearby too – read our beach guide here.
More info on the splash pad here.