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The best waterparks in the UK and their accessibility

13th November 2023


Waterparks can be fantastic attractions for grandparents and grandchildren, providing plenty of fun amid the slides, pools, and waves. They are a chance for children to let loose and an exciting change from the local swimming pool. There are a number of fantastic waterparks in the UK you can visit, and this guide will look at some of the very best, letting you know what to expect and how accessible they are for those with limited mobility.

10 great UK waterparks

Sandcastle Waterpark (Blackpool) 

The UK’s largest indoor waterpark, Sandcastle Waterpark is located in Blackpool and boasts a fantastic collection of fun things to do. There are 18 slides and attractions to be found at the waterpark including some of the biggest waterslides in the UK. The park has a fun tropical vibe, generating a warm 84°F (28°C) climate.

Typhoon Lagoon, their wave pool, is one of Sandcastle’s premier attractions, and the park provides entertainment for visitors of all ages. For more daring visitors, there are the thrills of 300ft of twisting waterslides to enjoy, while younger children can have fun amongst the cascading water of the interactive play area. There are even two eateries at the park to grab some food and drink during your visit.  

Christy from the family blog, Welsh Mum of One, has been to Sandcastle Waterpark with her child. She calls it her favourite waterpark in the UK and offers this insight for young and old visitors: “All ages are welcome at Sandcastle Waterpark. We visited with a toddler, who went free as he was under three. There are areas that are suitable for everyone, from babies to thrill-seeking adults, to those wanting to relax with the family. Sandcastle Waterpark is definitely suitable for all ages and the whole family.”

Accessibility at Sandcastle Waterpark

  • Level access throughout the park
  • Changing places facility
  • Free water-accessible wheelchairs
  • Accessible toilets
  • Staff with disability training
  • Accessibility evenings
  • Queue by-pass policy

You can find more accessibility information for Sandcastle Waterpark here.

ALSO READ: Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Blackpool

Alton Towers Waterpark (Staffordshire) 

Alton Towers is best known for its thrilling rollercoasters and rides, but the resort is also home to one of the most popular waterparks in the UK.

The Alton Towers Waterpark is great to visit, whatever the weather, because the attraction is both indoors and outdoors, and it is open all year round. From drifting along lazy rivers and splashing away in interactive play areas to braving jaw-dropping water coasters and high-speed water slides, there are attractions for people of all ages.

The outdoor areas of the Alton Towers waterpark are open in the summertime, and here visitors can float under the sun, relax in the Bubbly Wubbly pool or experience the Flash Floods flume ride.

The waterpark is home to three slides (Master Blaster, Rush ‘N’ Rampage, and Flash Floods), but some of the other top attractions at the park include Wacky Waterworks, Lagoona Bay, and the Little Leak pool that is perfect for children.

Michelle, the lifestyle and travel blogger at Playdays and Runways, spoke about her experience of Alton Towers Waterpark: “We have been visiting the Alton Towers Water Park since it first opened and was known as Cariba Creek. There have been no changes to the actual waterpark over that time; however, it still feels current and fresh.

“There is a lift which takes you down to the waterpark from inside Splash Landing Hotel, and there are changing rooms to suit all needs.

“The waterpark itself is accessible except for those who want to enjoy the attractions within the waterpark such as the indoor and outdoor slides as they have to been accessed via steps. You also have to carry a rubber ring up those steps too. 

“The indoor pool is fully accessible offering you the chance to enjoy the lazy river and the outdoor pool has two or three steps down and leads to the outdoor jacuzzi.”

Kaz, who writes about her family adventures with her daughter Lily on The 3am Diary blog, also loved her visit to the Alton Towers Waterpark.

She said: “Lily's favourite slide was the Rush & Rampage, where you could press different buttons for different lights/sounds. There was also no real queue for this one, which was great! We also really enjoyed the Flash Floods slides, where you can go both indoors and outdoors. The outdoor spa pools are also heated, which makes them lovely to sit in!

“Some of the rides do have strobes, so for those sensitive to strobe lighting, or loud noises, it may be worth checking with the ride attendant first, particularly on Rush & Rampage. The water around Calypso Creek is quite strong, especially if you're trying to exit via the pool area, so keep hold of smaller kids or those who may not have the strength to do so. Lockers were also 20p, which is refundable, so you can put a packed lunch or anything you need in your locker, and easily pop in/out throughout the day - that can help with costs too if you want to bring your own food, or money to buy food inside. Rings for the rides are at the bottom of the rides - this wasn't clear on our first visit, so we weren't sure where to go to get the rings for the slides. Lily is also quite small, so I went on the Master Blaster with her, even though she was at the right height - it was quite fast, so I'm glad we did... it was great fun!”

Accessibility at Alton Towers Waterpark

  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible entrances
  • A fully accessible shower area and toilet facilities
  • One free carer ticket
  • Lagoona Bay pool area, Little Leak children’s pool, and Wacky Water Works are all wheelchair-accessible
  • There is a hoist available for the Bubbly Wubbly, and the Bottom Flash Flood attractions

You can find more accessibility information for Alton Towers Waterpark here.

READ MORE: Grandparents' guide to Alton Towers

Waterworld (Stoke) 

Located in Stoke-on-Trent, Waterworld is a very popular waterpark that attracts over 400,000 visitors per year. The park is built around a fun wave pool that provides plenty of laughs for visitors of all ages. You can also look forward to an assortment of rides and flumes, such as Thunderbolt – the UK’s first trap door drop waterslide.

There’s also a range of toddler rides and activities for younger children, including an outdoor pool, an interactive jungle house, and bubble pools which are a great way to relax away from the thrills and spills of the rides. There’s also a poolside restaurant to replenish your energy, as well as a sweet treats bar and an outlet of the sandwich chain Subway.

Lex, from the blog, Yeah Lifestyle, has visited Waterworld with her family and shares a personal highlight: “Our family love the thrill slides, and there are certainly plenty of them. In particular, the Cyclone, which felt as though you were a sweet in a giant sweet jar travelling down a magical, colourful path – this one for me was the craziest slide and involved a rubber ring – I always think slides with rubber rings are such fun. This is one of their newest slides and goes outside and can be seen from major roads around Stoke!”

Accessibility at Waterworld

  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible entrance
  • Wheelchair-accessible changing rooms
  • Step-free entrance and exit to the wave pool
  • Water-accessible wheelchair
  • Accessible events for guests with limited mobility and their families (rides can be modified during events to be slower if required)

You can find more accessibility information for Waterworld here.

Splashdown (Poole) 

Splashdown Waterpark in Poole is an all-action attraction located in the leisure complex of Tower Park and is home to 13 thrilling indoor and outdoor flume rides and three under 5's splash zones. Some of the rides at the waterpark are seasonal, but they are all open from the beginning of May until the end of the October half-term.

Splashdown in Poole offers a great day out for the entire family, and there is a toddler pool that offers children a safe environment to play. With Splashdown located at Tower Park, visitors can make a real day of it and visit Cineworld, Lemur Landings and Hollywood Bowl or one of the area's restaurants.

Kara Guppy, the writer behind the Chelsea Mamma blog, has visited Splashdown regularly, and she speaks about what she loves about the waterpark: “We love Splashdown as a fun, family day out. When they were younger, the kids loved the splash area, the small pool and the lazy river, but as they have got older, they prefer the slides and the faster, the better. We love the Infinity Space Bowl, Screamer, Dragon's Lair and Velocity.”

Kara also shares a top tip if you are planning to visit the waterpark: “Visit during quieter times to get the most out of your visit - I would suggest opening time, or their sunset splash and their outside slides are only open during the warmer summer months.”

Accessibility at Splashdown

  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible entrance
  • Accessible toilets
  • Wheelchair-accessible changing areas
  • Accessible spectating areas

You can find more accessibility information for Splashworld here.

ALSO READ: 5 National Trust locations to visit in Dorset

The Wave (Coventry)

The Wave is an award-winning waterpark in Coventry that is known for having the largest wave pool in the UK. Its wave pool has a capacity of twenty million litres, providing plenty of room to splash around. There are six high-speed rides to enjoy and lots of options for younger children; the Reef splash zone features mini slides, splash buckets, jets, and fountains.

There is also the Lazy River – a relaxing stream of bubbles and water jets that provides a calming alternative to the excitement of the slides. Further still, a swim school and spa are available, rounding out the experience. Those seeking a refreshment after their fun at The Wave can sit down at their café for a selection of snacks and drinks.

Accessibility at The Wave

  • Disabled pool lift, hoist, or pod
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible changing rooms
  • Discounted disabled and carer tickets
  • Accessible parking
  • Quiet time sessions

You can find more accessibility information for The Wave here.

Let’s Go Hydro (Belfast) 

Let’s Go Hydro is regarded as the number one waterpark in Belfast and Northern Ireland, and it is a water paradise of giant floating inflatables that attracts swimmers, dare-devils and thrill-seekers.

From climbing walls and seven-foot slides to wakeboarding and other water sports, there are so many attractions and activities that visitors of all ages can enjoy.

Sarah, the author behind the Travel Expert blog, says she loved visiting the water park: “Let's Go Hydro is a thrilling resort that combines land and water-based activities over 55 acres. Its inflatable waterpark is a big hit with children, and thrill seekers can try their hand at wakeboarding too.

“You can also stay at Let’s Go Hydro. There are many accommodation options, including tents, glamping pods, Viking huts and even houseboats.”

Accessibility at Let’s Go Hydro

  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible entrances
  • Accessible toilets
  • Ramps into the wetsuit collection depot
  • Attractions are not suitable for wheelchair-users

Let’s Go Hydro doesn’t include an accessibility page on their website.

ALSO READ: Great accessible UK weekend breaks: Belfast

Alpamare Scarborough

Located in Scarborough ­­– one of the UK’s oldest seaside resorts – is the fun-filled and relaxing water park experience known as Alpamare Scarborough. With pools, slides, a wellness spa, a café, a poolside eatery, and indoor and outdoor areas, there’s plenty to look forward to for visitors of all ages.

You can jump on an exhilarating water slide, splash around with the grandkids in the water playground, and relax in the patio gardens. If the sun is out, visitors will love the outdoor infinity pool – providing great views of the bay. If it's not so pleasant out or you want to enjoy some thrills and spills, the huge indoor wave pool erupts every 30 minutes with metre-high waves.

Erin, from Yorkshire Tots to Teens, has been to Alpamare Scarborough with her family and says that even though she doesn’t “generally enjoy indoor swimming”, she had a lovely time. Erin also advises that those planning a visit arrive promptly: “You book your visit for three-hour time slots and won’t be allowed entry before your allocated time. You will be given a coloured band for your time slot upon entry. Announcements are made regularly, reminding everyone which coloured bands should now be exiting the pool.”

Accessibility at Alpamare Scarborough

  • Step-free access to the waterpark
  • Lowered reception desk
  • Mobile hoist to allow wheelchair users to access pools
  • Pools are accessed via steps
  • Slides are accessed via stairs
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible changing facilities
  • Carers permitted

You can find more accessibility information for Alpamare Scarborough here.

Splashdown Quaywest (Devon) 

Splashdown Quaywest is the UK's biggest outdoor waterpark and is idyllically located on the English Riviera, offering spectacular views of the surrounding countryside and coastline. There are eight flume rides, and visitors can brave rides like The Screamer, Devil’s Drop, and Wild Kamikaze.

Although there are eight rides perfect for the thrill-seekers in your family, there is also a swimming area and sun terraces, which are ideal for people who would prefer to relax. The Sunrise Beach and Snack Shop sell a variety of refreshments and anything from inflatables for the pool and a bucket and spade to other essential items like sun cream.

Accessibility at Splashdown Quaywest

  • Accessible entrances
  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible restaurant
  • Inform the reception team about any disability, and staff will support your visit

You can find more accessibility information for Splashdown Quaywest here.

ALSO READ: 5 National Trust locations to visit in Devon

Coral Reef Waterworld (Bracknell) 

Coral Reef Waterworld is one of the largest water parks in England, and what makes it such a popular destination is the huge range of ways you can enjoy the water, as well as the variety of activities available.

There are thrilling waterslides, a pirate ship, pool areas, and even an erupting volcano that will entertain children for the entire day. There is a selection of five interactive special effects water slides which range from the gentler Aqua Splash to the more extreme Cannon, Storm Chaser and Maelstrom slides.

But Coral Reef Waterworld caters for adults too, as the adults-only Coral Spa area allows you to get away from it all and relax. There is a café that serves a variety of food and drink.

Accessibility at Coral Reef Waterworld

  • Accessible entrances
  • Accessible parking
  • Low-level reception desk
  • Assistance animals welcome
  • Hearing induction loop
  • Lift access to all floors
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible changing facilities
  • Hoist/pod to support access into pool and spa area
  • Steps leading into the pool with handrails
  • Accessible café

You can find more accessibility information for Coral Reef Waterworld here.

Calypso Cove (Barnsley) 

The Calypso Cove is home to some of the fastest flumes in the UK and a selection of slides and wave pools, making it a popular destination for families. Being located just five minutes from the Barnsley Interchange makes it an attraction which is easily accessible for drivers and other visitors.

There are five slides at Calypso Cove that visitors can look forward to:

  • Terror Torrent – one of the UK’s fastest indoor flumes that will give you an adrenalin rush.
  • Eruption – you will slide down into the volcano’s belly before spilling out into the pool below.
  • Kraken – a family-friendly flume where you can choose your own music before sliding down this gentler slide.
  • Sunken Galleon – Slide into the pool's shallow end or fire water at people from the ship’s water canons, but watch out for the tipping bucket.
  • Splash Ahoy – A fantastic and fun four-lane open slide.

The Hideout is the café at Calypso Cove and is a perfect place to relax and refuel during a visit to the waterpark. The menu includes a selection of drinks and food; there is even a special menu that children can choose from.

Accessibility at Calypso Cove

  • Accessible entrances
  • Accessible parking
  • Accessible toilets
  • Accessible changing facilities
  • Lift access to all floors
  • There is a ramped entrance into the water
  • There are wet side chairs available

You can find more accessibility information for Calypso Cove here.

ALSO READ: What to do with grandchildren in Yorkshire and Humber

As you can see, some fantastic waterparks are located in the UK, making for wonderful days out for families of all ages, including grandparents and grandchildren. These parks also offer a range of accessibility facilities, helping to make the parks welcoming to those with limited mobility and other disabilities.

This article was brought to you by Handicare, working with Age Co, who provide a range of home mobility products such as stair liftshomelifts and bathing solutions. For more information about how they can help make your home more accessible please get in touch.

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This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.