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Dive in… the water’s lovely

Feeling hot hot hot? No need to become a sweaty mess, here's our pick of the best pools, river spots and watery fun to cool down this summer. Just add sun lotion.

Bit hot, innit? Ideally, we’d like someone to move Berkshire 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…



Liquid Leisure, Windsor

Liquid Leaisure Datchet Windsor Berkshire Water Sports Inflatable course Ninja Warrior Course

Home to Europe’s largest aqua park and the first Ninja Warrior UK Aqua Park, Liquid Leisure in Datchet, has long been the place to slide, bounce, jump, climb and get dumped into the water. And this year, they’ve gone all out, adding an Aqua Jungle and a junior course for ages 4+. As a mum of two boys aged 13 and five, the little man has always had to sit this one, but not any more. Inflatable obstacles not your thing? There’s more – try wake boarding, paddle boarding, the banana boat, ringo rides, open swimming or chill on the beach. It’s a whole day out of H2O fun, add it to your list.

Lagoona Aqua Park, Reading

Not to be outdone, Reading also also has a water park for you to get wet and wild. Set on a 25-acre lake just off J11 of the M4, Lagoona Aqua Park, has an inflatable obstacle course (ages 8+), jet bikes (16+ to drive, 8+ passenger) and, new for 2019, dirt buggies to bezz around the perimeter of lake (must be 16+).



Thames Lido, King’s Meadow Reading

Thames Lido Reaing Berkshire outdoor infinity pool hot tub glass fronted restaurant and first floor treatment rooms

It’s old school glamour personified. The newly refurbished Edwardian Thames Lido in King’s Meadow Reading is seriously fancy schmancy. Open to members and non-members (kids can use the pool Mon-Fri, 2pm-4pm). When it’s this scorchio, the lido is super busy so it’s worth booking a Swim Package which includes a meal in the seriously. No balls or bombing, but a quality pool for a dip with very low levels of chlorine.

Northcroft Lido, Newbury

Love a lido but want to keep the costs down, head to Newbury’s Northcroft Leisure Centre to take a dip in its 71.8 m outdoor pool. It is mahooosive! As you would expect when it’s hot, the crowds swarm to Northcroft to hang out poolside, so get there early and claim you turf. Adults £4.10, kids £3.10 and family tickets, £13.35. Let’s hope the sunshine lasts long enough for us to use it.

Wycombe Rye Lido, High Wycombe

For peeps living in Maidenhead and Windsor, Wycombe Rye Lido is probably your closest al fresco outdoor pool. The lido, a 33m x 12.5m pool, is a popular summer swimming spot loved by adults and kids for its all year round heating and underwater lights. Refuel at the cafe, assume the position by the pool and cool off in the water. It’s got it all.

Cliveden Spa, Cliveden  House Hotel, Taplow

For a bit more refinement sans the offspring, strip like a Sixties show girl and loaf in luxury at Cliveden Spa. The Grade II listed pool is a stunner and the scene of Christine Keeler and John Profumo’s scandalous heavy petting. Enjoy the pretty garden from Your sun lounger and a sedate dip to cool off when you’re feeling hot hot hot.



Bray Lake Watersports Bray Berkshire willow tree lined lake paddle boarding sailing wind surfing and more

Bray Lake Watersports, Bray

Bray Lake has it all going on – beautiful location and the largest independent water sports club in the country offering kids clubs and more water sports than you can paddle at. Learn to windsurf, sail, paddleboard or enjoy open swimming. They also run brilliant kids holidays courses. Drag them away from the tech and sign ’em up during the summer break. They’ll learn a brilliant skill and love the outdoors.

Dinton Activity Centre, Wokingham

Always wanted to join the Boaty McBoatfaces of Berkshire, messing about on the water? You don’t need a Lotto win, just the ability to have a laugh. Throughout the summer, Dinton Activity Centre’s running taster sessions in kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing. The taster sesh costs £20, pre-booking is essential and  it’s suitable for adults, families and over 8s.



Wellington Country Park play area with splash zone

Wellington Country Park, Riseley

Pitch up at Wellington Country Park and let the kids run wild. There’s 350 acres to explore, hiding dinosaurs, train rides, epic slides and a splash zone. It’s particularly great for little ones, but I think if you’re hot enough the big kids and adults won’t mind a drenching. There’s always loads going on from fair, pixie and pirate weekends plus the big inflatable takeover. Great place to go in the summer hols.

California Country Park, Wokingham

A supersized paddling pool that beats your teeny tiny garden inflatable any day of the week. California Country Park has plenty to keep everyone entertained for a day out. There’s a small extra charge for this, but it’s not expensive. Situated next to the pool is a shady woodland play area, there’s also a café and a larger playground too. Picnic, go for a wander. It’s a place to chill and keep your cool.

Beale Park, Pangbourne

If you have young children with the attention span of a goldfish (comes with the teeny territory), Beale Park is perfect. Animals, a train, large adventure playground, sandpit and a big paddling pool. Happy kids, happy parents – gin consumption could be kept to a minimum on this day (just a suggestion) – as this is a day out that always ends on a high. Whilst the animal offering isn’t huge, there’s also a deer park and some lovely gardens to wander round.



row of canoes on green lake

Cherwell Boathouse punts

No need to over exert yourself. Hire a boat from Kris Cruisers in Datchet and pootle down the Thames or head to the spires of Oxford and punt from Magdalen Boat HouseFolly Bridge or Cherwell Boathouse – the riverside restaurant at the latter is lovely, plus it’s slightly cheaper and less touristy. Wild swimmers, meanwhile, should head to Pangbourne a stretch of the Thames so magical it inspired Wind In The Willows and Three Men In A Boat or Colne Brook in Wraysbury. Then there’s Bucklebury Ford, a favourite with my kids, for a paddle. No frills, outdoorsy fun when the sun shines.

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