Indoor water parks around the UK make summer-style family fun a real possibility throughout the year. Peaceful indoor heated pools at hotels and health clubs may be lovely for adults, but kids - from young children to teenagers - love the more uninhibited action and excitement of splashing around in moving water. Let's face it, so do a lot of grown - ups.
You could, of course, jet off for winter break on a tropical ocean beach. But in-between those flights of fancy, a break at a water park resort or near a water theme park can be a great winter alternative. And if you are taking advantage of low season rates for a more economical family vacation, adding a water park visit could make the reluctant adolescents in your party a bit more enthusiastic.
These water parks, both year round resorts, are among the best in the United Kingdom. Each has a wide range of activities and facilities and each has something special to recommend it.
The Blue Lagoon
Part of the Bluestone Resort in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, The Blue Lagoon has giant slides, a wave pool, water cannon and all the usual water park attractions, plus After Dark parties with music and live entertainment, suitable for adults and older children. Imagine a mosh pit in a wave pool and you've got the idea.
What makes it special? Besides proximity to the beautiful heritage coast of Pembrokeshire in Wales, a vacation at the Blue Lagoon is one of the greenest holidays in the UK. All the water it uses is heated by a biomass fuel driven system. It's believed to be the only facility of its kind anywhere in the world to be heated in this way and is also the biggest biomass system in Wales. The computer-controlled, remotely-monitored onsite energy center is hidden under a turf roof. It uses wood chips made from "top,lop and brash" from local, naturally felled woodland, as well as Miscanthus, a sterile hybrid of several African grasses grown by local farmers on land that might otherwise be unused.
- Visit their website to find out more
- See what other travelers think about the Blue Lagoon at the Bluestone Resort
Alton Towers Waterpark
Before Disney came to Paris, a trip to Alton Towers in Staffordshire, not far from Stoke-on-Trent, was the biggest treat most kids in the UK could imagine. It's still one of the UK's top family attractions, with several hotels near imaginative thrill rides and themed experiences. The Alton Tower Waterpark, formerly known as Cariba Creek, is an indoor, "tropical" lagoon with water slides, water cannons and a steaming volcanic hot spring. Splash Landings Hotel, designed to give guests a "Caribbean experience," adjoins the water park. Admission is separately priced though packages that bundle family hotel stays with water park and theme park admissions are available. The Water Park is open year round but the Theme Park is only open from March to early November.
What makes it special? Master Blaster is a water coaster that surprises with sudden blasts of water. Adventurous visitors can try the hot Bubbly Wubbly Pool, outdoors amid clouds of rising steam, or opt for the quieter, indoor Volcano Springs. There's an interactive "Waterworks Treehouse with 70 different things to do, and every now and then a bell rings before the "Tipping Bucket" releases a deluge of 1000 gallons of water.