Splashdown Poole
Photograph: Splashdown Poole

The most splashtastic waterparks in and near London

From massive flumes, to floating trampolines, these are the best water parks for a good drenching.

India Lawrence
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It's getting hot in London, almost too hot. And what better time is there to strip down to your skivvies for a good old splash about, or better yet, to fling yourself down a massive water slide? They may be retro (and we never quite recovered from that rumour about razor blades), but waterparks are pure, joyous fun. 

You might not realise, but there are plenty of places where you can go to get a good drenching, and adrenaline rush, in the capital, or just a short train ride away. Whether you're looking for a place to take your overheating kids, or just a silly day out with your mates, from water trampolines, to splashparks, we've rounded up the very best water parks in or near London here. Get ready to get soaked. 

Best waterparks in and near London

  • Sport and fitness
  • Leisure centres
  • Berkshire

Home to Europe’s largest aqua park and the first official ‘Ninja Warrior’ UK Aqua Park, this massive floating assault course is the perfect place for daredevils who's toxic trait is that they think they'd ‘definitely win Total Wipeout’. If this sounds daunting to you, there's a diddier course for little ones too. 

Good for: Fitness junkies and wannabe Ninja Warriors. 

  • Sport and fitness
  • Leisure centres
  • Surrey

Promising to be London's ‘ultimate water park’,  this is another fabulous water-based assault course. It's got slides, it's got a water trampoline, it's got everything you could want for a day of mucking about on the water. With wakeboarding, water skiing, wake surfing and cable skiing as well, a day out here won't disappoint. 

Good for: A big group of mates. 

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  • Attractions
  • Theme parks
  • South-West England

Rubber ring slides, almost-vertical watery demon drops, whirlpools and river rapids, this mostly outdoor waterpark has the lot. There's even one slide, ‘Infinity’, that has music and disco lights. It may be the furthest on the list from London, but Splashdown in Dorset is worth making the journey to. 

Good for: Adrenaline junkies.  

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Elephant & Castle

I know what you might be thinking, Elephant and Castle doesn't sound like the most scenic or relaxing place to cool off from the heat. BUT, hidden away in the new Elephant Park development is a charming oasis. With an abundance of greenery, spurting fountains, ponds designed to look like rock pools, and even a mini beach with hammocks, Elephant Springs could be the closest you're gonna get to the real deal without having to leave the metropolis.  

Good for: Tranquil central London splashing.

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  • Attractions
  • Borough of Redbridge

This corner of green is the largest park of its kind in the borough of Redbridge and holds a collection of three lakes. Outdoor adventurers can get stuck into windsurfing, sailing and angling on the waters. There’s also a high-ropes course and a climbing wall for adrenaline junkies. Or those who fancy a more sedate day out can take a look around the largest boulder park in the UK, or take a tranquil stroll around the lakes and forest.

Good for: Intrepid outdoorsy types. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Barking

Found inside Barking Park in Essex, Splash Park Barking is London's biggest outdoor splashing spot. With soft, flat ground and plenty of spurting fountains, you'll be able to cool off in no time. After getting soaked through, you can also take a break from the splashing at the gigantic outdoor bouncy land Bounsea, or pay a visit to the Magical Unicorn Lake. And ;ook out for Splashy, the cuddly blue water-loving mascot. 

Good for: Taking the little ones. 

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Leisure centres
  • Berkshire

From a massive pirate ship, to an erupting volcano, to a light-up rubber ring slide, Coral Reef Waterworld in Bracknell offers a pretty foolproof day out in the water. With a large variety of slides of different steepness, Coral Reef has options for daredevils and more timid sliders. 

Good for: Kids of all ages.

  • Sport and fitness
  • Leisure centres
  • Woolwich

This indoor leisure centre in Woolwich has a 25m pool plus a leisure pool with slides and a wave machine. Don't miss taking a ride on the terrifying-sounding ‘Anaconda’, a humongous slide that will whoosh you all the way from the building’s ceiling to the pool below.

There's also a gym, sports hall and football pitches if the sliding gets too much. 

Good for: A well-rounded leisure centre with huge slides thrown in for good measure. 

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Olympic Park

The impressive Aquatics Centre, one of the 2012 Olympic Games’ iconic venues, is now open to the public.When it's not being used as a training ground for Olympic swimmers and divers (Tom Daley, that you?), on some days they put up a thrilling inflatable water park. With slides, an obstacle course, and a huge balloon that will catapult you into the air, a day at Aqua Splash is a right laugh. 

Good for: Thrill seekers who don't want to travel too far. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Watford

Recently voted one of the UK's top ten parks, this popular green space in Watford has state of the art paddling pools with water features, and its own nature reserve. If you get bored of sploshing, in the summer months you can check out free jazz, ukulele and brass band shows at the bandstand.

Good for: Getting back to nature. 

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  • Sport and fitness
  • Leisure centres
  • Trafalgar Square

Ok, this is foremost a leisure centre (a very good one, at that), but it also has a long, winding flume, which we think makes it a water park too. If you don't fancy the slide, enjoy swimming in the sloping beach-style pool, or relaxing in the two spa pools and sauna. 

Good for: Doing some lengths before whizzing round and round on the slide, as a treat. 

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