Winters in the U.K. can be tough. The sun is an infrequent visitor, and the weather discourages outdoor pursuits. Struggling to adapt, especially after all the holiday excitement is long gone, can take its toll on mental health.

One solution is to visit indoor water parks. They offer a place for family and friends to burn energy, play and laugh.

In the UK, local leisure center pools will sometimes have a slide or two and a splash play area. These smaller fun pools are great for an afternoon or evening out. For those willing to go further afield, big indoor water parks are ideal for day or weekend trips.

Local Fitness Centers with Fun Pools

These smaller pools are located within a community leisure center and offer fitness classes, gym memberships and team sports in addition to swimming. While the pool isn’t the primary focus of the facility, all the pools listed have a small water park feel.

In addition, many of these pools offer membership discounts that make it easy and affordable to keep your family happily swimming all year.

  • Breckland Leisure Centre and Waterworld near RAF Lakenheath in Thetford has one big water slide, a wave machine and splash area, plus a large lap pool. They also offer swimming lessons, monthly family memberships and a full-service gym.

  • Crown Pools, roughly an hour southeast of RAF Lakenheath in Ipswich, has a large leisure pool with a wave machine, a lap pool, a small splash play area and a baby pool. There is also a gym and sauna.

  • Parkside Pools is a half-hour south of RAF Alconbury in Cambridge. It has 2 large flume slides, a large lap pool, a teaching pool, a toddler pool, and a hot tub.

  • Leisure World about an hour south in Colchester has two long tube slides, a big splash play area, a small lazy river, and a bubble jet pool. The facility also has an extensive gym, climbing area and separate spa.

Large Water Parks

  • Centerparcs Subtropical Swimming Paradise is only 15 minutes away from both RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in the Elveden Forest Resort. This medium-sized water park features a large wave pool, a lagoon pool, numerous hot tubs, four slides, and a big splash playground. There is a catch, however; the water park is only available to guests of the resort. The Centerparcs company has five different resorts across England, all with their own unique indoor water park.

  • The Wave Coventry is a medium-sized indoor water park about 2 hours west of RAF Mildenhall in Coventry. It features six large slides, a wave pool, lazy river with massage jets and a large splash play area. There is also an attached spa and gym. 

  • Waterworld in Stoke-on-Trent is about 2 hours west of RAF Alconbury. This is a large tropical-themed waterpark with 13 big unique water slides, numerous smaller slides, a huge splash play area, a wave pool, a calm pool with massagers and a lazy river.

  • BONUS: Sandcastle Waterpark is the U.K.’s largest waterpark and a destination of its own about 4 hours northwest of East Anglia on the Blackpool promenade. This large tropical-themed and tropically heated indoor waterpark boasts 18 big slides, a large wave pool, multiple splash play areas, a lazy river, and a spa.  In the winter, it is primarily open on weekends only. Book ahead via the website to guarantee space.

author picture
Kat is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Kaiserslautern, Germany with a special interest in anything outdoorsy or ancient. She has a bachelor’s degree in geography from Penn State University and has been a travel writer for about 10 years. Currently, she is in the depths of dissertation research for an archaeology degree at the University of the Highlands and Islands. 

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