New Forest Paddling Pools & Splash Parks

Although we have the beach on our doorstep, sometimes when the weather is scorching and the kids are hot and bothered, a splash park or paddling pool is the best solution. Especially when you can’t be bothered with washing sand out of every crevasse and carting a multitude of shells and rocks around all day.

Here is my pick of our favourite paddling pools and splash parks in and around the New Forest.

The Quomps Splashpark, Christchurch


This is without a doubt my kids’ favourite splash park in the New Forest area. Not only are there plenty of sprinklers, jet sprays, water pumps and a small paddling pool to explore, there’s also a quirky, pirate-themed playground next door.

The splash park is situated on the quaint quayside. Add in the beautiful backdrop of the river and a huge green field to run around on and  it’s impossible for kids to be bored here. And the best part for parents? It’s all free.

A kiosk selling ice creams and other refreshments is open at peak times and there is often a small ride and bouncy castle (which costs £2 per child at the time of writing) on the green. There is a toilet block nearby.

You can park right next to the splash park in the Mayors Mead pay and display car park.

Christchurch itself has a wide variety of cafes, shops and restaurants as well as the famous Priory, meaning a trip to the Quomps can be extended into an enjoyable day out for the whole family.

Opening times and more information available here.

Cost: Free

Littledown Park & Paddling Pool

Situated behind Bournemouth’s Littledown Centre, you will find acres of parkland and, more importantly, a playground complete with paddling pool.

The paddling pool is open during the summer months and is a popular spot for families. There are toilets and a refreshment kiosk nearby and you can park in the pay and display Littledown Centre car park.

Opening times and more information available here.

Cost: Free

Testwood Paddling Pool, Totten

There is a small paddling pool located within the grounds of Testwood Recreation Ground. It’s not the nicest pool in the area, but it does the trick on a hot summer’s day. Kids can also have a play in the playground and run around the surrounding fields.

Opening times and more information available here.

Cost: Free

Water Play Areas At Paulton’s Park

Included in the admission price, you will find two fabulous splash parks at Paulton’s Park – Water Kingdom and Muddy Puddles.

Water Kingdom is as vast as it is diverse, consisting of tipping buckets, jets, fountains and pumps. Muddy Puddles is slightly more tame (it’s located within Peppa Pig World after all) but is still great fun for children of all ages.

If you’re planning to visit Paulton’s on a hot day, don’t forget your cossies, swimming nappies and towels (unless you want to spend a small fortune on purchasing them from one of the on-site shops).

Opening times and more information here.

Cost: £31.75 for anyone over one metre tall (at  time of writing). Concessions and family tickets are also available. The price includes full access to the theme park. You can obtain a discount by booking online.

Lymington Sea Water Baths

Try something a bit different with a visit to the New Forest’s only sea water pool. There’s plenty more to do than just swim – you can have a go at the inflatable obstacle course or kayak and paddle board your way round the 110 metre pool. For younger kids there is a sand pit and splash pool.

Beware –  it is cold! I’d recommend you take your wet suits, although plenty of people don’t bother.

Bath Road pay and display car park is next to the pool and changing rooms, toilets and refreshments are available on site. The pool is fully staffed.

Opening times and more information here.

Cost: Swim only: Adult £3, Child £2 Inflatables: Adult £7, Child £5.50 (prices correct at time of writing).

The New Forest Water Park

No write up on water play in the New Forest is complete without mentioning the New Forest Water Park. Set in the heart of the Forest within 50 acres of lakes and  countryside, this park is a must for anyone who loves water.

The list of activities available is a long one, but includes wake boarding, kayaking and a giant inflatable aqua park. You can stay for a few days if you so desire, as the water park also has camping facilities.

Opening times, prices and more information here.

Wootton Bridge

Wooton Bridge New Forest

If your kids fancy a paddle, why not visit one of the New Forest’s finest natural pools? The stream at Wootton Bridge is a very popular location for paddling and picnics as well as a great starting point for a long walk in stunning scenery.

Make sure you bring beach shoes as the bed of the stream is quite rocky and paddling with bare feet is not recommended.

There is a free car park by the stream, but get there early because it will be packed on hot days with locals and holiday makers alike. And lots of thirsty ponies of course.

Location: Bashley Common Road, Wootton, BH25 5TZ 

Cost: Free

And of course, the beauty of the New Forest is in the fact you’re never too far from the sea! If all else fails head to Milford on Sea, Barton, Lepe, Highcliffe or Avon Beach for a splash and a paddle.


(If you’re looking for more New Forest family ideas, there are 101 of them contained within this post).


(I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post and do not accept liability for any errors or omission. I do not accept any liability for the outcome of any visit).


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