Splash! Top waterparks, flumes and ringo rides
Where to cool off when the heat is on, from wonderful water parks with flume rides, water-coasters and bumper boats, to super-safe splash zones for for toddlers.
Splashdown Quay West, Goodrington Sands, Paignton
Let’s kick off with the biggie: Quay West is the largest waterpark in the UK. There are eight flume rides, and three rides not for the faint-hearted, including The Devil’s Drop, a 65ft near-vertical drop, and The Screamer, ideal for speed freaks. Kids must be at least 1m tall to ride but there are a few activities for the less confident swimmers, including inflatable tyres rides and a toddler pool. Here’s practically on the beach, so expect spectacular sea views as you scream down the flumes, and as each session is limed to two hours, somewhere to decamp and continue the fun. £15.50pp.
North Devon Wake Park, Clovelly
After an adrenaline-fuelled day on the water? North Devon Wake Park (at The Milky Way) has a huge water park with inflatable Ringo rides, knee-boarding (10+), wake boarding (like skateboarding except on water) with special slow speed sessions with their coaches and loads of child-oriented fun.
There’s also an It’s a Knockout-style (remember that?) Aquapark range of inflatable slides, climbing frames and a variety of obstacles, suitable for 6+. Aquapark £15pp per session; half day package including three different activities, wetsuits and equipment hire, £35.
Finlake Falls, Chudleigh
A leafy holiday resort with a 20m heated indoor pool and an outdoor pool with a twisty flume slide open seven days a week during the summer holidays. Booking is online, and it’s members/holiday makers only during busy periods.
River Dart Country Park, Ashburton
Filled with natural greenery, this 90-acre holiday park is an oasis on a hot day, with a lake and Pirate Ship for kids to colonise, rope swings and a mini beach for toddlers to paddle. Outdoor activities abound here, from high ropes, canoeing and kayaking to climbing and caving, and a 150m long high wire to zip down. Daredevils might well be tempted to book a camping stay, or you can just go for the day. From £39.60 for one adult with two kids.
Slip ‘n Slide, Croyde
Just up from Croyde Bay, this huge inflatable water slide is open every day through summer. Bring your own inflatables (or borrow one of theirs) and slip, slide away. Book online or just turn up. One-hour sliding, £10.
Crealy Theme Park & Resort, near Exeter
If you want other rollercoaster options and prefer not to be fully immersed, the South-West’s largest theme park has loads of water-based rides and activities, including Aqua Blaster Bumper Boats (excellent for settling family scores) Vortex Waterslides (above) and a Tidal Wave Log Flume, a bit like a rollercoaster ride except with a 40ft drop into the pool below. You have been warned! There’s also the Soak Zone Water Playground, ideal for little ones to splash about safely in the jets.
Watermouth Castle & Family Theme Park, Berrynarbor
This traditional theme park is more sedate than the likes of Crealy, with a 100m long Big River Ride where you can jump in a boat and glide through their jungle world, spotting singing ducks, dancing monkeys and a mischievous bear armed with a water pistol en route. Or for when the kids are getting annoying, a game of Water Wars where you can blast them with water balloons. Ideal. Adults and Children 92cm and above, £17, Children Under 92cm, FREE.
Woodlands Family Theme Park, Dartmouth
Best-known for Vertigo, a drop ride which blasts you into the air while spinning *fans face*, this 100-acre former dairy farm has 11 mammoth play zones, with three water-coasters, including the 450ft Twister Ride; the Rapids Water Coaster which *eek* tips you over a 45ft cliff edge; and The Sidewinder Water Coaster, a twisty tunnel of splishy-splashy fun. There’s also a lake with dodgem-like Bumper Boats and less aggressive Pedal Boats on Monks Pool.
Mount Wise, Plymouth
With a 25-metre main pool, a fun pool with fountains, stepping stones, a whirlpool, and a bubble pool, as well as a small pool for children to paddle in, here’s a great place to build young ‘uns water confidence.
Decoy Country Park, Newton Abbot
Loved by locals with young kids and buggies, this Green Flag-winning park and nature reserve on the edge of Newton Abbot has a lovely lake with wildlife to spot and ducks to feed, and you can do a SUP, kayak or canoe taster session here. There’s a play park and for hot days, there’s a popular splash zone with water fountains. Don’t forget the picnic!
Rain stopped play? Try these family-friendly day trips for size:
- Man the forts! Devon’s best castles
- 15 Family-Friendly things to do this summer
- 25 fab things to do with kids
- Devon’s regattas and sailing events 2022