Splash Parks, Aqua Parks and Outdoor Pools in (and around) Essex and East London

Updated for 2023. In summer it is great to be outdoors with your children, but sometimes you need to cool off. There are loads of places locally in Essex and East London where you can have a splash from paddling pools to inflatable aqua parks and water based activity centres so whether you are looking to entertain a toddler or a teen this summer this post will help. If you just fancy a swim then check out these indoor pools in Essex, but if you fancy an outdoor water activity then there is lots to choose from below. 

Scroll to the end for a map to find your nearest.

Victoria park splash park in London is great for children
Splash parks are great to visit on sunny days with children

Please note most locations are weather dependent and some of them require tickets. There are a combination of free and paid for activities in this post. Check their websites for entry criteria and to confirm opening hours.

Splash Parks, Paddling Pools, Lidos and Aqua Parks in Essex

King George’s Park Splash Pad, Brentwood

Website £
1-3 Hartswood Pavilion, King George’s Playing Fields, Ingrave Road, Brentwood Essex CM13 2FD
The all new splash pad (opened 2022) has water jets, fountains and more. You have to book sessions which are 25 minutes long. Only open if 15 degrees or warmer.
Under 1s are free. £3.50 for everyone else. Bookings currently between 10am and 5pm
King Georges Park also has soft play, an over 8’s adventure play area and a sensory room. All of which have to be booked via the Everyone Active website.

Maldon Splash Park, Maldon

Website - £
Maldon Promenade Park, Park Drive, Maldon, CM9 5JQ
Resurfaced for 2022 it is described as a selection of interactive and accessible play equipment. Sessions are 25 minutes long and must be booked in advance via the Places website. Located in Promenade Park next to the car park and alongside the pirate ship playground areas. Surface water only with no paddling areas.
It works out as £2.75 for children and 50p for adults but the booking options look like they are set up so that you can’t book a ticket for an adult or child over 8 without a ticket for a child under 8. It also looks like a maximum of 3 under 8s per booking (but there might be different options after you register).
There are 250 tickets available per session and sessions are available to start every half hour between 10am and 5pm.
The Splash Park opened for May half term, but the next confirmed opening times are in the Summer holidays. If you are hoping to visit before then check the website.

Lakeside, Grays

West Thurrock Way, Grays, RM20 2ZP
Fountains, free.
In the quay area outside Lakeside shopping centre there are a few water fountains which children love to play in out weather. Whilst there is free parking at Lakeside there isn’t enough fountains to head there just for that, but it is worth bringing suitable clothing if you are also visiting Nickelodeon Adventure, the cinema or Hollywood Bowl.

Boat Hire, £
While it doesn’t involve getting wet there is also the option of Hiring small electric boats on the lake via MiniPort.

Aqua Park, £

Close by there is also Aqua Park with over 40 inflatables on the lake. Suitable for children aged 6 plus (and over 1.2m). You also need to be able to swim 25m unaided. Children 6 and 7 need and adult on the aqua park with them, 8 to 15 can be supervised from shore (if very water confident). Open from June at weekends and more days in the summer holidays.

Electric boats to hire at miniport lakeside Essex
Hire a boat at the MiniPort at Lakeside Shopping Centre

Grays Beach Riverside Park, Grays

Website, £ 
Grays Beach Riverside Park, Thames Road, Grays, RM17 6JP
There is a small splash park with fountains and surface water only (opened 2021 and you pay for entry via The Lightship Cafe) next to a great playground with a castle and ship in a sand pit in a location next to the river Thames. Open 8am to dusk.
Local 'pay and display' street parking is available in Thames Road. There is also an off-street 'pay and display' car park on Thames Road. 
Expected to open once the weather is "consistently good".

Aqua Splash, Chigwell and Sawbridgeworth

Aqua Splash has two locations:
Redricks Lane, Sawbridgeworth CM21 ORL
Luxborough Lake, Luxborough Lane, Chigwell, IG7 5DF

Both have inflatable courses in the lake and prebooking is required.  Children must be 6 or older and under 12s must be directly supervised at all times. I can’t see it on the site, but would expect (and recommend) that everyone is a confident swimmer.
Open weekends from June and every day in the summer holidays.

Clacton Pavilion Waterpark, Clacton

Website, £
Marine Parade West, Clacton, Essex, CO15 1QX 
This is a fun little water park with fountains, paddling and small slides. It costs £6.99 at weekends and during holidays, £3.99 off peak. Open May to October, but check their Facebook page because they aren't open every day.

Brightlingsea Lido, Brightlingsea

Website, £
Promenade Way, Brightlingsea, Essex CO7 0HH 
The main lido is a 50 metre unheated pool, but there is a smaller pool for toddlers (requires supervision). There are changing facilities and a cafe on site. Open end of May to September. Book your session online

Festwake, Basildon

Website, £
Festival Leisure Park, Waterfront Walk, Basildon, Essex, SS14 3WB
Try wakeboarding (minimum age 8) or cool off at the inflatable Aqua Park. The Aqua Park is suitable for age 6 and up (6 to 8 should be accompanied by a paying adult). There is also a little beach and paddling area. Open weekends in June and everyday in July and August.

Harlow Paddling Pools

Website, FREE

Harlow has 5 paddling pools and a Splash Parks which are managed by the council and open from mid July. You can check whether they are open on the website (linked above). They are located at: 

Bush Fair Paddling pool off Tilwicks Road CM18 6LU
Harlow Town Park Paddling Pool near the Leah Manning Centre off Park Lane, CM20 2QJ
Norman Booth Paddling Pool, By the Norman Booth Recreation Centre, Old Harlow CM17 0EF
Potter Street off Southern Way CM17 9EJ
Staple Tye  by the Great Parndon Community Association off Abercrombie Way CM18 6YJ
Sumners by the Sumners Recreation Centre off Broadley Road CM19 5SJ

They have no toilets/ changing facilities or life guards.

Ashlyns Soft play and Farm Park, Tylers Green (near Epping)

Instagram, £ 
Epping Road, Epping, CM16 6RZ
There is a small splash pad at Ashlyns playbarn which is bookable on 01992523118 or online. Website says it will be open in May. Last year access to the splash pad was a £5 add on to the farm admission. 
Find out more in our review.
Free parking

Stay and Splash, Canvey Island 

Website, £  CLOSED,  possibly permanently
Stay and Splash, Paddocks Lido, Canvey Island SS8 0JA
A sandpit and small splash pool

water fountains outside the west ham and former olympic stadium in Stratford
Water fountains in Stratford at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Splash Parks, Paddling Pools, Lidos and Aqua Parks in East London

Splash Park, Barking  

Website, £ 
Barking Park. Longbridge Road, Barking, Essex, IG11 8SS
This is a good size splash park with plenty of paddling space and extras. Open 10am to 6pm on weekends, public and school holidays and “sunny days during term time from May to August”.
Sessions are 90 minutes starting at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm, prebooking recommended. Tickets £7 for children (under 15), £4 adults and £18 for a family of 2 adults and 2 children. Maximum ration 5 children per 1 adult and 2 adults per 1 child.
You can purchase tokens for extra activities: walk on water balls 5 tokens, pedal boats 3 tokens. Tokens £1 each or 10 for £8. Minimum age 5 years.
All users must wear swimwear, but there are changing rooms and toilets on site.

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Stratford

Website, FREE
There are two areas in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where children can cool off:
Tumbling Bay Playground. This play area next to the Timber Lodge Cafe (where there are toilets) has a sand pit at one then “rock pools” and then continues in a straight line do a a large climbing frame with a number of slides and other play equipment hidden amongst the landscaping. There are water pumps and damns so they will get wet and sandy. 
Waterworks Fountains: Outside the Olympic Stadium (now home to West Ham Utd) there are 195 jets of water that snake around and encourage children to jump across. They operate during the day during March and October, but can be switched off on match days and other major events. There are toilets a short walk away.

Victoria Park Splash Park, Tower Hamlets

Website, FREE (It has had regular problems the last couple of years so check their website or Facebook page before visiting)
Victoria Park, Grove Road, Bow, E3 5TB
The splash park is located in the middle of the East Park with the easiest gates to the park probably Gunmakers Gate ooff Old Ford Road on the south and queens gate (Victoria Park Road) on the North side of the park.
It has rivers with gates that can be opened and closed to control the flow of water.
Theoretically it is open everyday from June 11am to 5pm, but has had regular closures due to engineering problems, their Facebook page may be the best place to check if it's open. If the splash park is closed there is a playground nearby and a great one for younger children and a sand pit on the other end of the park.

Splash at the Play Pavilion, Mile End

Website, £
Mile End Park, Locksley Street E14 7EJ
The Play Pavillion in Mile End park has a playground including sand pit and climbing frames. Last year the interactive water feature was open until end of August 12 til 5pm (playground open from 10am) however currently it is saying "dry riverbed" so I have been unable to confirm if it is open this year.

a young child playing with a water pump at a playground
Play with sand at water at Tumbling Bay playground in Stratford

London Fields Lido, Hackney

Website, £
London Fields West Side, Hackney, London, E8 3EU
A 50m heated outdoor pool open all year round for lane swimming. On some days in the summer holidays they have some inflatable sessions in the afternoon, but children are expected to be able to swim.
Prices vary depending on peak/ off peak and if a member of Better, but expect to pay £3.25 (2 to 15 years), £5.40 adults or less.

Royal Victoria Dock, Docklands

Website, FREE
Royal Victoria Dock, E16 1AG

The Summer Splash Season for 2023 is open from 31st July to 20th August 10am to 6pm. This is a temporary Lido which is created by sectioning off some of the dock. There is a shallow end for children and a sand pit too. 

Greenwich Park Playground, Greenwich

Website, FREE
Greenwich Park, London, SE10 8XG
Since the playground was updated in 2019 there are numerous water areas children can play in, including water pumps in the sand pit. While it’s not a full on splash park there is plenty to keep children cool and it’s a great playground. 

Fellowship Square Fountains, Walthamstow 

Website, FREE
Walthamstow Town Hall, Forest Road, London, E17 4JF
Outside the Town Hall on Forest Road is a circle of fountains installed in July 2021. As well as being decorative they are fun to run through and splash in. They are on every hour during the day during the summer months (weather dependent), but they don’t promise to be on continuously.

Stubbers Adventure Centre, Upminster 

Website, £
Ockendon Road, Upminster, RM14 2TY
General admission (£3 per person over 5) includes access to sand play and paddle beach as well as their adventure play areas and woodland discovery trail. You can also enjoy prebookable water activities including kayaking and paddle boarding (5 years plus with participating adult, 9 + if supervising on the lakeside). They also do multi-activity days and week long camps in the school holidays.

Gauging Square, Wapping

Gauging Square, 150 Vaughan Way, London, E1W 2AH
At Gauging Square there are 130 jet fountains, some of which can go up to 6m high and they are illuminated. They are designed as more of a landscape feature than play area they will never the less attract children and get them soaking wet. As it’s not managed as a play area there is no reliable source of information about when they fountains are operational.

Clissold Park, Stoke Newington

Website, Free but prebooking required
Off Church Street/ Green Lanes, N16 9HJ
The new splash pad which replaced the paddling pool opened in 2022. It features water fountains, a tipping buckets and sprays etc with no paddling areas. It is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 6pm until 23 September 2023. Half the space is reserved for prebookings so for best chance of entry book here. 

Stratford Park, Stratford

West Ham Lane, London, E15 4PT
Not to be confused with the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park over the other side of Stratford, Stratford Park is a much older, small park off West Ham Lane. There is a rectangular, shallow paddling pool next to a small playground, but it appears to currently be closed.

Park of the Olympic white water rafting course at Lee valley
Children aged 8 plus can try water based activities at Lee Valley White Water Centre

Nearby and Notable

Splashlands, Welwyn

Website, FREE but ticketed.
Stanborough Park, North Welwyn AL8 6WW
This 600m squared splash park has a paddling river and 3 different areas of play. The splash pad water play areas including 67 water jets that are activated by jumping on pads. surrounded by an adventure play area including a pirate ship. Entry is free but booking recommended via Better UK app. 200 spaces are bookable for each 1 hour session, with an additional 100 on the gate. You can book up to a week in advance and slots are released every evening. You can book for up to 6 people per session which start on the hour. 
Toilets and changing facilities nearby open 9am til 6pm and the splash park is open 10am to 6pm every day from April until last Sunday in September. Parking (payable) gets busy at peak times and they recommend arriving 15 minutes before your session. 

Lee Valley White Water Centre, Waltham Cross 

Website, £
Station Road, Waltham Cross, EN9 1AB
There is a sand pit and small playground you can enjoy while watching people taking on the white water course which is entertaining, but young children won’t be able to get in the water themselves. (Note you can get free parking if you spend money in the cafe and leave your number plate on the tablets).
The centre has two white water routes: a main one used during the 2012 Olympic games and a smaller one as well as an open lake for activities.
Book onto activities including canoeing, paddle boarding and family rafting which are suitable for 8 years and up, the rest of the rafting and water activities are at least 12 years plus.
There is also a water wipe out course (think inflatables you try and get round as quickly as possible) for children 8 plus, but under 12s must have an adult on the course with them.

If you are still looking for ideas of what to do this summer with your children then check out my suggestions of the best playgrounds in London and Essex or my guides of places to go in Essex with children. You might also find inspiration here for outdoor activities for kids.

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