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It’s getting hot in here…

Hey hot stuff! Bit sweaty? What you need is our pick of the best pools and river spots to cool down in. Just add sun lotion and...are you ready to chill?

Bit hot, innit? Ideally, we’d like someone to move Wiltshire a bit closer to the seaside right now but, failing that, here’s the Muddy-approved lowdown on all the best local spots for al fresco water fun. (If we’ve missed anywhere good, let us know in the comment box below please). Just make sure those bikini straps are firmly secured before you cannonball in…

Who doesn’t love an inflatable aqua park? On water. In the sunshine. Yeah, baby. My favourite of all the waterparks in the country (yep, I’ve seen a few) is bang slap in our county – the Cotswolds Water Park not only has a huge inflatable village but waterskiing, speed rides on inflatable doughnuts and bananas, sailing, swimming and wakeboarding. Fancy a trip a little further afield and you’ve got Dorset Water Park with jumps, trampolines, bridges, flip bags and ladders on this awesome floating inflatable obstacle course. The location is idyllic, too, set on two lakes surrounded by woodland at the foot of Corfe Castle on the Isle of Purbeck – check out our review here. The New Forest Water Park isn’t far either – at 80m long and 40m wide this inflatable park has 2 trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, rockers, rollers, an overhang climbing wall, a swing and giant iceberg. Hopefully no cruise liners around, then.

Check out the brand new Oxford Aqua Park in Berinsfield which opened this weekend, with its inflatable obstacle course, suitable for competent swimmers age 6 and upwards. Also on site is the Oxford Wakeboard & Ski Club, which offers water-skiing, wakeboarding and wild swimming for hardcore swimmers and triathletes-in-training.

Looking for a lido? There’s a fantastic one in Tisbury, or Sandford Parks Lido in Cheltenham will blow your mind – it’s one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the UK, set in landscaped gardens in Cheltenham and not only boasts a 50-metre main pool but also has a children’s pool and paddling pool. The Bristol Lido, hidden in amongst the pastel coloured houses of Clifton is the closest you’ll get to the Med in the city – check out our review here.

Head for some art deco swimming at the Greenbank Heated Outdoor Pool in Street. Built by the philanthropic Clarks family, it opened in 1937 for local women and children to swim in while the men – oo er – swam naked in the river Brue. It’s still got that retro feel – there’s a 30m main pool with a deep end for diving, a  children’s pool with a slide and a splash area for younger kids.

Further afield, Muddy loves Lymington Sea Water Baths in Hampshire. One of the oldest in the country, this lido has a pedigree stretching back to the late 18th century when the therapeutic benefits of bathing in salt water were beginning to be recognised. Or try Thermae Spa in Bath. Not strictly a lido but still a pretty cool place to soak up the sun and take in the gorgeous surrounding buildings. When you’re tired of lounging about in the water in this rooftop pool retreat downstairs to the spa for some more Muddy mellowness.

Hinksey Lido in central Oxford is also worth a visit (check out our review here), and there’s also ones in Chipping Norton and at Woodgreen Leisure Centre in Banbury. Woodstock also has an open-air pool, as does Chesham. Do check their websites before you travel though, as sometimes public sessions are limited and you don’t want to turn up with the kids all sweaty in their swimmers only to find you can’t dive in (can you imagine the meltdowns?)

The Cotswold Water Park would also make for a great day trip to try every kind of water sport going, or just drift around on a pedalo – the Beach is now open for business, with some great new attractions such as the fabulous Wibit Aquapark, an inflatable watery playground on Lake 31, plus a new gelateria and coming soon….a new pizzeria.

And if all else fails: tip a bag of ice into the kids’ paddling pool,  jump in and make sure someone is on hand to bring you Cornettos and waft you with palm leaves. I knew the kids would come in handy one day.

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Wiltshire