Water parks in the United Kingdom deliver a taste of the tropics to the British Isles. Families will find a perfect blend of thrills, places to chill, and surprises to make toddlers, kids and adults alike squeal in these wet wonderlands. As part of a Huffington Post Travel series on family-fun parks, here is our guide to all the key information visitors need to know about the United Kingdom's water parks.
Finding a tropical retreat in the U.K. can seem as unlikely as hitting a lottery jackpot, but WaterWorld provides excellent respite from the famously dreary U.K. climate. No matter what the weather is like outside, families can enjoy wet and wild fun at this indoor park, from spine-tingling adventure slides to soaks in the bubble pool.
Indoor Water CoasterThe Nucleus, WaterWorld's best thrill ride, is billed as "the world's first indoor water-coaster." Riders will experience 375 feet of fast moving water adventure as they twist and turn towards the pool below. It's great for older kids, but not recommended for riders less than 8 years old.
Action To RelaxationSpace Bowl, Twister, Super Flume, Python, the Rapids and the Black Hole keep the adrenaline pumping, while the Assault Course tests balance, strength and stamina. For some relaxation, try the Bubble Pool or go for a bob in the wave pool. Take the kids to the Aqua Splash Jungle House for some monkeying around, or race them down the multi-slide.
Food OptionsWaterWorld has two cafés that serve traditional park fare like hamburgers and pizza. In addition, they serve local specialties including fish & chips, curries, and cottage pies. There's a kids' menu at the cafés, too.
Safety RecordIn 2009 a 12-year-old boy cut himself on a metal bar near the wave pool. Our research revealed no other notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at WaterWorld.
Address: WaterWorld Stoke, Festival Park, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST1 5PU
Phone: 01782 205747
Hours: Open year-round. On weekends, bank holidays and school holidays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. During school term: Wednesday and Thursday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hours are subject to change. It is best to call the water park or consult their website before visiting.
Price: WaterWorld offers variety of special pricing, including family admission packages, "spectator" passes for folks who are just minding the kids, and discounts during the school year. General admission -- adjusted according to exchange rates at time of writing -- is about $16 during peak season (school holidays).
Located in northwest England's classic resort city, Blackpool, Sandcastle Waterpark is one of the region's leading tourist attractions. The park is filled with fun for the whole family, including waterslides, fun pools, a wave machine, the lazy river, and numerous water chutes.
Master BlasterThe Masterblaster is a water ride for thrill-seekers that has 820 feet of hilly twists and turns. At some points, riders are propelled uphill via water injection technology. Lines can get long during peak times, but it's worth the wait -- riders may be limited to one go on this popular ride.
Awesome Water SlidesAdditional thrills can be found on the Dueling Dragons, Sidewinder, and Thunderfalls water slides. Children will enjoy the water cannons and giant tipping coconut of the Caribbean Storm Treehouse, as well as the mini-slides in Fort Riptide. The H.M.S. Thundersplash, in the quiet lagoon of Shimmering Shallows, also caters to young ones. There's also a wave pool and a lazy river.
Food OptionsSandcastle Waterpark has a number of snack shacks that serve typical park fare, including hamburgers, wraps, as well as hot and cold drinks. Guests are not allowed to bring food into the park.
Safety RecordIn 2008, a 13-year-old girl collided with a lifeguard in the Sidewinder ride at the park and sustained a concussion. The park accepted full liability. Our research revealed no other notable news reports of accidents or safety issues at Sandcastle Water Park.
Address: South Beach, Blackpool, Lancashire FY4 1BB, United Kingdom
Phone: 01253 340700
Hours: Sandcastle Waterpark is open year-round, with varying daily hours. Check website for details.
Price: Based on exchange rates at time of writing, general admission is about $19 for adults, plus $6 for Hyperzone rides, which include the Masterblaster and Sidewinder. Children and seniors receive discounted admission.
Other Noteworthy Parks In The U.K.
What's your family's favorite U.K. water park?
Check out more WATER PARKS.
Photo: Flickrized; Flickr