Attractions making waves


2018 saw the UK bask in good weather; with summer being the joint-hottest since records began and a sizzling high of 35.3°C recorded in Kent on July 26th.

This made it a bumper year for outdoor attractions and water-based activities in particular, as families flocked in their millions to cool off in the UK’s variety of splash pools, water parks, coastal spots and lidos.

Conversely, usually-popular indoor venues such as soft play, bowling and museums struggled for footfall as families made the most of sunshine, the likes of which their kids will have hardly experienced before.

This was reflected in our site queries; with outdoor pools seeing huge year-on-year rises of 720% during the heatwave.

Venues who saw spikes in footfall will have a job on their hands to match visitor numbers in 2019. One thing is for sure though – indoor attractions will be hoping for a cooler summer this time round.


Total views of water activities on Day Out With The Kids in 2018


Spike in views of water days out over the May bank holiday 2018, vs 2017


The rise in searches for outdoor pools in the 2018 summer holidays, vs 2017

Father and son on a waterslide
Top 10 Water Parks of 2018

In the know...

Emma Nixon from Alton Towers Waterpark

“Waterparks are something a family can enjoy together whatever the weather and all year round, making it a great option to spend quality time together. On a daily basis we find that the Waterpark attracts families of all ages with something for everyone to do, but the tropical environment of the Waterpark makes it particularly popular in the colder months, especially on rainier days.

Regular visits to waterparks and pools are a fantastic way to see a child’s confidence grow, both in the water and in their character. Swimming is also a fantastic way to exercise, so it’s a great option for keeping the whole family active.

Guest feedback is imperative to our decision making process, and has helped us to continually ensure we’re going above and beyond for our guests. The desire for more specific experiences has grown over time, encouraging new offerings such as dedicated ‘Parent and Toddler sessions’, which are available Monday-Friday out of school holidays.

Exploring innovative ways to boost interactivity in the Alton Towers Waterpark is also a key agenda for us. 2019 will see the introduction of a new interactive water ball feature in our Little Leaks pool. Packed full of interactive features, it’s a fantastic enhancement for our younger guests.

In the last 12 months our Rush slide, popular with pre-teens and up, was upgraded to be a fully interactive experience controlled by the rider. Guests can make a selection from five funky music and light themes before they speed down into the Splashdown Pool. The themes include a Caribbean ‘calypso’, pirate experience and tropical storm; each offering their own light show and music for the guest to enjoy. It means one slide can offer six totally unique experiences, and with the rider in control of their own experience, it’s been a fantastic new addition.”

Emma Nixon, Waterpark Manager at the Alton Towers Waterpark Tweet

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