When I was a child, I remember going to the old outdoor pool at Stanborough Lakes with my dad and younger brother. Sadly it shut down, I think after a safety incident if I recall correctly, and never reopened. So, needless to say, the brand new Splashlands water splash park (at Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire) has been a very long time coming! It opened at the end of last month (July 2020); a decision considered controversial by some, given Covid-19 restrictions, but immensely welcomed by others, especially us, as an exciting and happy boost to a difficult year.
Splashlands at Stanborough Park, Hertfordshire
We visited Splashlands for the third time last week (techincally 4th, but I will get onto that later) and it is such an asset to Hertfordshire! Our first time was on opening day, which was understandably packed; meaning long queues and a lengthy 1.5 hour wait time for entry (due to maximum capacity). Squiggle really struggles with queues and tires easily too, so this was really difficult for her. Plus it was a long time to be out in the sun on a hot day with no shade too. But she really enjoyed it once we got in! (Although only managed a brief while).
By the second time, a few days later, they had organised the queuing system better by marking out social distancing, which was an improvement. We arrived very early to make sure we got into the first slot, and were at the head of the queue; Squiggle was excited to be first in the splash park!
Shortly after our second visit, an online booking system was implemtented; allowing the majority of places to be reserved in advance, with a small number of spaces remaining for walk-ins. These hourly slots are booked via Better website or app.
Technical Issues at Splashlands
The third time we had booked in for a Sunday morning slot. Unfortunately there had been storms the night before, causing a power failure, and the splash pad was therefore unexpectedly closed. Squiggle was disappointed by this, but we made up for it by paddling in the river at Stanborough Park instead, which she enjoyed. (This is now known to us as the massive paddling pool!)
The Stanborough Park river ‘paddling pool’ also turned out to be a fun starting point while we were waiting for Splashlands splash park to open for the day a couple of days later, when we returned for another go! The splash pad was working this time though and also less busy than previous visits; Squiggle really appreciated having abit of extra space and she felt able to manage slightly longer (about half an hour or so) which was lovely!
As a side note, I gather from the Stanborough Park facebook page that there have been a few technical issues with the splash pad, causing unexpected closures. This could be problematic for children who don’t react well to last second changes, or find it hard to cope with the disappointment of a trip not going as expected. Of course, such issues can’t be helped, but it is worth keeping an eye on their facebook page if you are planning a visit. Hopefully these are just teething issues with it being new though anyway! (I recall Cassiobury paddling pool/ splash park had similar problems during the first summer that opened too).
Current Covid Rules
Due to Covid, the current maximum number allowed in Splashlands is 160 people. Hourly slots are allocated (from 10am-6pm) with 130 spaces bookable in advance, and 30 remaining places available for people to turn up on the day. Both children and adults are included in the entry numbers, so be sure to book for all ages, including infants. Staff give time warnings when the session is coming to an end then manage the changeover as swiftly as possible.
More About Splashlands
The splashpark area is situated at the centre of the Splashlands area; it is large with a variety of different water fountains and a little dipped ‘stream’ running through it too. It is suitable for a wide range of ages. The playground surrounds the splash pad and is largely nautical themed. It offers choices of equipment for varied ages and abilities. There are also grass areas with shelter to sit too.
The staff (Better Leisure) I have come across have been very helpful and friendly. If you need to speak to them they are usually found easily enough nearby, including one member of staff stationed by the gate.
Key Information about Splashlands (Splash Park, Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City, Herts)
• Splashlands is open daily 10am-6pm from Good Friday until last Sunday of September (weather permitting).
• One hour sessions are available; places are bookable in advance, or just turn up and wait.
• Keep an eye on the Stanborough Park facebook page for operational updates.
• Splashlands is managed by Better. It is useful to download their app to book sessions.
Have you visited this new attraction at Stanborough Park yet?
Let me know in comments what you thought if so!
You might also like to check latest info on paddling pools and splash parks in Herts.