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tried & tested

When there are so many places to choose from it's hard to know where to visit! In good or bad weather, with very young children or older teens, activity venues or quiet walks, every venue will offer something different with a variety of facilites available. We will add our thoughts on places that we have Tried & Tested so that you are well-informed before you make your decision to leave the house!

Fantastic water fun at Box End Aqua Park


The summer holidays have started and the lovely weather has remained!  Who would have believed it?  In fact it is dry, sunny and hot.  Really, really hot!  So hot that on the first day of the summer holidays I was already wondering what we could do to keep cool.  We’ve had the paddling pool out, we’ve had water fights and we’ve paddled (and in some cases virtually swum) in Batford Springs.  The next activity I decided to try was one that I have been wanting to try since last summer – an Aqua Park.  So yesterday we headed to Box End Aqua Park.  

At only a 35 minutes drive from Harpenden (up the M1) it was very easy to get to, and can also be accessed by train to Bedford and a short taxi ride.  There was plenty of parking – always one of my main concerns. 

We checked in and watched the safety video before hitting the water.  I had thought wetsuits would be a necessity, but actually the water was warm and a very welcome relief from the 30 degree heat.  Even I managed without the wetsuit – if you ask my children they would agree that is very rare indeed!   

Any children 10 and over can be signed up to do it without an adult, but under 10’s must have an adult with them in the water.  But in this weather who would want to miss out on some cooling fun anyway?!

The Aqua Park is amazing!  Actually quite tricky, but when you realise that the worst that is going to happen is that you fall in the water you quickly start taking a lot more risks.  My 8 year old started off crawling around the course, trying desperately not to fall in, but soon realised that running round was much more fun.  And I was on hand to help haul him out of the water and back on to the obstacles when he did take a tumble.  But for those without adults to assist them there are lifeguards dotted around the entire course and everyone helps each other as well.

There are places to jump in from a height, to be catapulted off a bouncy bag, to slide gracefully into the water and even an amazing vertical slide (which I wanted to chicken out of once I reached the top, but didn’t feel I could!).  It really is an hour of pure fun for all.

My 11 year old’s take on it was:

‘I thought it was going to be really hard but once you got the hang of it you could just run everywhere.  And even though there were lots of people there weren’t queues because everyone was spread out.  It was super fun!’

Once our time was up we got changed in the changing rooms on site and settled down beside the lake to eat our packed lunch and watch the wake boarders and knee boarders do their stuff.  An ice cream from the lakeside café completed the day perfectly.

It really is a wonderfully fun activity for the holidays, and the place and staff were excellent – friendly, helpful and very welcoming.  Definitely the place to go in weather like this!         

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