The best lidos & splash parks
Get a good dose of Vitamin D and splashy fun with our top picks for outdoor lidos, aqua parks and splash pools in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
Heatwave? Hurrah! Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are blessed with miles of fabulous shoreline and beaches to cool us off.
If you’re not right by the coast or feeling the whole ouchy shingly walk to the waves – or the thought of sand getting EVERYWHERE is filling you with dread – relax. We’ve also got some amazing outdoor lidos and splash parks* for some water-based fun. Without the whole beach… thing.
Grab that beach towel, slap on some sunscreen, get out there and ditch the supermarket paddling pool for a fab weekend or after-school splash around.
Starting off with outdoor pools, we head first to Aldershot Lido. One of the most impressive in Hampshire (and possibly the country), it’s less lido and more waterpark with no less than three water flumes, fountains and a big old sandpit for the toddlers. It’s open at weekends in June, then daily from Fri 1 July 2022.
Over in Petersfield, the 25m heated Petersfield Open Air Pool has a big local fan club. Open daily until Autumn, the trustees that run it keep it in brilliant condition and organise lots of BBQs and other events. They also offer swimming lessons and inflatable sessions. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for all the latest.
Lymington Seawater Baths
Down in Lymington, the awesome Lymington Sea Water Baths have been open since 1833. The 110m pool is filled with seawater and has an incredible inflatable obstacle course, standup paddle boarding sessions and even aqua jousting (whatever that is!). Being in a prime Summer tourist spot it gets super busy, so pre-book on the website to make sure you get in.
New Forest Water Park
If you can’t get into the Lymington spot then just down the road is the New Forest Water Park in Fordingbridge with its 4,000 square metre aqua park. As well as taking a punt on the water inflatable obstacle course, you can also book in to try out some cable wakeboarding and stand up paddle boarding as well. It’s also home to the Hampshire Open Water Swim Centre for some wild swimming adventures.
More welcome investment was recently announced for this volunteer-run pool with a wonderfully nostalgic 60s charm. It hasn’t reopened yet for the summer because of repair work but keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates. If you can’t get in, or don’t fancy going “full” swimming, there’s a great kid’s splash park outside which is free to enter.
Tapnell Farm Park Aquapark,
Ryde Waterside Pool
Also on the Island, there’s the Ryde Waterside Pool which is a 25-metre pool with a retractable roof. It’s open year round – so perfect for summer showers and any random heatwaves we might have in April or September…
Super splash pools
If you’re looking for smaller splash parks for the little ones there are a huge amount across the area. Basingstoke has the recently refurbished Chineham Splash Pad at Chineham Park in Popley, and the centrally located paddling pool at Eastrop Park.
Portsmouth has a few splash parks – all free to use – including one located by Canoe Lake on Southsea Seafront, just to east of South Parade Pier. There’s another one slightly further along outside the D-Day Museum (and located right by Watkins & Faux cafe, who do a pretty good lunch). And Gosport also has its own on the seafront at Stokes Bay.
Over in the Totton and Eling areas, there is Testwood Paddling Pool and Hanger Farm Pool – though these tend to rotate between which is open and can be closed at short notice.
Hedge End also has its own paddling pool at the St Johns Recreation Ground and there’s a bit of free parking and an ice-cream stand there as well (I’ll have a Cornetto, please!). And Eastleigh has Fleming Park Paddling Pool (above), just off Passfield Avenue.
The East Cowes Paddling Pool on the north of the Isle of Wight has reopened for 2022. And further south there’s the Ventnor Paddling Pool with a giant replica model of the Isle of Wight in the middle, located at the foot of the cascade.
*Info correct at the time of writing but do check websites and Facebook pages where possible for latest updates. Missed a good lido or splash pool near you? Comment below and let us know!