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BEST PLACES TO COOL DOWN

Wonderful weather we're having (!) but are you slowly melting away too? Make a big splash in one of these outdoor water destinations for kids and big kids alike! Just don't forget your towel!

Not much beats the refreshing thrill of an open-air plunge, so here’s the Muddy-approved lowdown on all the best local spots for al fresco water fun. Sunscreen. Towels. Drinking water. Salty snacks. Go!

ALL ACTION AQUA

First up, is Rutland’s fabulously fun Aqua Park, for children over 6 – and big kids of any age. Woo- hoo! The floating inflatable obstacle course is pretty much It’s a Knockout! with more water. Expect climbing walls, trampolines, balance bars, rockers, rollers, blast bags and the UK’s tallest obstacle, The Rutland Mammoth. If that’s not enough excitement, there’s even a special corner for adrenaline junkies. The park is open every day in July and August and is weekends only in September. It doesn’t close when it rains, either, but guess there wouldn’t be much point.

Cossie on for watery thrills and spills a go go in the Au Guang Dragon Zone Outdoor Waterpark at the Twin Lakes theme park in Melton Mowbray. With slides for all ages (yes, that includes you) there’s a log flume, the susanoo splash play, as well as Canada Quays, where you can burn off a Cornetto’s- worth of calories in a pedalo. Elsewhere, watch out for the giant bucket that tips and spills water onto the kids below. Yeeeow! Be sure to book your slot during the holidays.

Heading to Twycross Zoo? Did you know there’s a wee outdoor water play area for little ones there too? After getting better acquainted with the chimps and giraffes, visit the penguins, and the play area is just next door. Follow the squeals and you’re there.

GO WILD

Stoney Cove

Thirsty for your alfresco swim fix? Roll up your towel and head to Stoney Cove. If the thought of what might be lurking in murky open water makes you twitchy, relaaaaax, this venue covers 13 acres and offers a 1000 metre perimeter course in Leicestershire’s cleanest, spring-fed water. It’s open all year round for swimmers and is fully manned with a rescue boat and qualified first aiders – handy if you’re no Alice Dearing! One hour open water swimming sessions cost £5 and they even offer sunset swims every first and third Weds from 6-9pm. Combine your swim with a bite to eat on-site at Nemo’s Bar and Restaurant. Meanwhile, Race Hub at Six Hills, Melton Mowbray is open to NOWCA members and is a fantastic swimming venue that’s used by local triathlon clubs – yep, the ones in the spray on wetsuits – and common and garden swimmers of all abilities.

LOVE A LIDO?

Dive into the only lido this neck of the woods at Hood Park Leisure Centre in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. The pool, which was first opened in 1929, recently underwent a massive £1.2 million glow up and is now a shiny, family-friendly affair. There’s actually two outdoor pools that make up the Lido – a 30m by 10m main pool and a smaller 10m by 6m pool and both can be hired for private parties. I feel a pool party coming on! Plus, there’s a new Ashby-by-the-Sea sandpit which will keep junior happy for hours. Just don’t forget the bucket and spade. 

SAILING OR WINDSURFING?

:Pic via Rutland Sailing Club

If the kids want to combine cooling down with some water-based sports, book them in for a session at the Leicester Outdoor Pursuits Centre (clue’s in the name). You can send them for the whole day or book in for individual activities in advance, choosing from the likes of canoeing and paddle boarding. Suitable for kids 5 years and over. Meanwhile, at Rutland Water, lockdown favourite stand-up paddle boarding, aka SUP, is available for beginners through to experts, (along with canoeing and kayaking), and you can hire all the gear from the Watersports Centre at Whitwell. Meanwhile, ahoy there, Rutland Sailing Club, currently offering sailing courses for kids and adults in 3000 acres of safe, non-tidal water. 

& BEYOND

The Wave, Coventry

While it’s not technically outdoors – okay it’s not outdoors at all – Coventry’s award-winning £36.7m waterpark, spa and gym has been making waves since it first opened in 2019 and is still worth a visit. There’s six bonkers high-octane slides with light and sound features, from the Torrent – which drops riders 20 metres – yikes – to roller coaster rides like the Cyclone, which ends up in the plunge pool. For younger swimmers there’s the Reef; a splash pad area with jets, tipping buckets and smaller, accessible slides for toddlers, along with the lazy river and churning wave pool. Make sure that bikini is firmly strapped!

Wheelgate Park Wet and Wild, Notts

Bucket loads of splashtastic fun’s to be had at Twin Lakes’ sister theme park, Wheelgate Park, which features the Wet and Wild Water Park. It’s the largest all-inclusive outdoor park in the UK and features five fast and furious water slides for different ages. Go on, take the plunge.

Peterborough Lido

Just a short drive from Rutland, this lido has three outdoor heated – hallelujah! – swimming pools, plus ample space to lounge around on deck chairs to top up your tan. There’s even a play area for the littlies. Book a family ticket and make a day it.

If we’ve missed anywhere good, let us know in the comment box below please.

​For more outdoor fun check out:

Best outdoor theatre shows
Best outdoor cinema events

Find more ideas here

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