The Big Six: Waterpark holidays
Saturday 23 July 2011
Alton Towers, Staffordshire
If Walt Disney World Florida feels, well, a world away, then stay closer to home at Splash Landings, located within Alton Towers theme park. It has a Caribbean motif and contains its own waterpark, with lazy river, "Bubbly Wubbly Pool" and the Master Blaster wet rollercoaster. During the summer holidays, the waterpark runs two sessions per day, from 10am-3pm and from 4pm-9pm, so an overnight stay means you'll make the most of it.
Alton Towers Resort, Staffordshire ST10 4DB (0871 222 1100; altontowers.com). B&B rooms from £29.75 per person (based on four sharing). Waterpark tickets cost £12.50 each.
Fancy a wet weekend in Wales? Bluestone, with its selection of 268 self-catering wooden lodges, may have the answer. Its Blue Lagoon waterpark boasts flumes, a lazy river and a wave pool. There are plenty of other on-site distractions, including an Adventure Centre with a high-ropes course, soft play area and Lego room. For really wild water, you should head for the Irish Sea: Bluestone lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park.
Bluestone, Pembrokeshire SA67 8DE (01834 862 400; bluestonewales.com) has four-night breaks from £399 (based on a family of four sharing a Caldey Lodge).
Coral Sea Splash Resort, Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt
Water – the Red Sea, the Nile, the Mediterranean – forms a vital component of any family holiday in Egypt. The newest addition to First Choice's "Splash Collection" of rooms with flumes is the Coral Sea Splash Resort in Sharm el Sheikh. Swim-up accommodation is available, plus a lazy river and a water-slide called "Boomerango".
First Choice (0871 200 4455; firstchoice.co.uk) offers a seven-night, all-inclusive stay at the Coral Sea Splash Resort from £1,624 for a family of three, including return flights from Manchester (departing 23 October).
Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest
Ah, the "Subtropical Swimming Paradise". In the world of short breaks for families, Center Parcs' water features – complete with rapids, flumes and lazy rivers – are iconic, and your swish self-catering villa will offer respite from the waves. If Robin Hood country is an adventure too far, Center Parcs has three other UK branches.
Center Parcs Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire NG22 9DN (08448 267 723; centerparcs.co.uk). Three-night short breaks start at £599 for a two-bedroom villa in August.
Atlantis The Palm, Dubai
Atlantis The Palm is a statistician's dream: a luxury 1,539-room resort that cost $1.5bn (£1bn) to create and takes up land equivalent to 64 football pitches. Located on Dubai's man-made Palm Jumeirah island, the hotel also contains a vast fish tank filled with 11 million litres of water. Guests have free access to the adjacent Aquaventure waterpark. Try the "Leap of Faith", a 27.5m near-vertical drop, which ends by blasting you through a clear tunnel in a lagoon full of sharks. Relaxation has never been weirder.
Destinology (0800 634 2866; destinology.co.uk) offers three nights' half board at Atlantis The Palm from £769 per person (two sharing), including return flights from Heathrow or Gatwick. Book by 15 August for travel until 31 August.
Caretta Beach Hotel Zante, Greece
Aquamania. Oh, my goodness, that sounds wet. Thomas Cook's waterpark programme offers kids' clubs and entertainment alongside the pools and flumes. New this summer is the revamped Caretta Beach Hotel on Zante in the Ionian Islands. Take your pick from six adventure slides, a wave pool, lazy river and splash play area.
Thomas Cook (0844 412 5970; thomascook.com) offers a seven-night all-inclusive stay at the Caretta Beach Hotel from £2,081 for a family of three, including return flights from Gatwick (departing 18 August).
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