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Home » The Best Swimming Pools, Lidos, Splashpads And Water Parks Less Than An Hour Away From Cardiff Or Swansea

The Best Swimming Pools, Lidos, Splashpads And Water Parks Less Than An Hour Away From Cardiff Or Swansea

Wales is home to a plethora of fantastic water parks, lidos and swimming pools that will surely be a Godsend when the weather gets hot this summer and little ones want to take a dip and cool-off. As well as several pools and waterparks in Cardiff and Swansea, there’s many others just a short drive away from either city, and a handful that are a slightly-longer drive away but well worth the effort to visit.

Some feature slides and diving boards and some are home to fun attractions to keep little ones entertained, whilst others are a bit more basic: centred around a swimming pool for ‘proper’ swimming. But no matter what kind of waterpark, lido or pool you visit, you’re sure to have a great time and will make loads of lovely memories.

Scroll down for our top picks of the best swimming pools, lidos and water parks within an hour from Cardiff or Swansea.

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Aqua Park Cardiff

Cardiff Bay Aqua Park is now open for the 2024 season

Get ready for a thrilling family adventure at Cardiff Bay’s Aqua Park. This inflatable water park, set against the stunning backdrop of the bay, offers an array of fun-filled obstacles including climbing walls, trampolines, slides and monkey bars and is suitable for small and large groups.

The 2024 season began on June 8 and is expected to run until September 15, business-owners say. In June, the Park is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and from July 3, the Park will be open seven days a week.

Who? Aqua Park Cardiff is open to adults and children aged 8+ (minimum height 1.2m and everyone “must be able to swim 25m unaided and be confident in the water”) More on that here

Where? Aqua Park Cardiff It’s located on the Cardiff Bay Barrage and is accessible by foot or bike, but there’s no parking on site. The nearest car parks are at Mermaid Quay (CF10 5BS) or Penarth Barrage (CF64 1TP).

How much? Pre-book online: £20pp for one-hour session or two hours for £30 (£35 during peak hours). Buy on the day: £25pp for one hour or two hours for £35. Groups of 10+ receive discounts.

You can find more information about booking, timings, wetsuit hire, waivers and more on the official website here.

Lido Ponty – National Lido of Wales (Pontypridd)

Lido Ponty [archive photo]

This lovely outdoor complex in Pontypridd offers a fun-filled day out for the entire family. Lido Ponty houses three pools; a main pool, an activity pool and a splash pool, all providing excellent swimming opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. During the season (Easter to September), the pools are heated to 28C.

Who? Lido Ponty is open to all – but visitors are reminded that they must bring enough adults to meet the Lido’s adult to child ratios (children aged four and under: one adult for every child, children aged five to seven: one adult for every two children).

Where? Ynysangharad War Memorial Park, Pontypridd CF37 4PE

How much? Tickets can be booked online ahead of your visit. Session times are varied but there’s typically two one-hour sessions in the mornings, and a 75-minute family fun session and a 45-minute cold water session in the afternoons.

Adults aged 16+ are £3 plus 25p booking fee, children under 5 and aged 5 to 7 are just 25p each (booking fee), whilst it’s an additional 25p each (booking fee) for a child’s ‘activity ticket’ and an additional £2.50 for an adult’s activity ticket. Spectator tickets, which can only be purchased alongside a swimming ticket, are £3 each

Visit the Lido Ponty website for further details

Victoria Park Splashpad (Cardiff)

Youngsters enjoy Victoria Park Splashpad [archive pic]

The Splashpad at Victoria Park in Canton, Cardiff reopened for the 2024 season on Saturday, May 25 and is expected to close on September 1, 2024. The attraction is a hit with kids of all ages and has 33 exciting features, including water sprays, jets, a tipping water bucket and a tunnel, across three zones designed for toddlers, juniors and families. The Grade II-listed park also boasts a children’s playground, games area and plenty of space for little ones to run around.

Who? The Splashpad at Victoria Park is open to all but is perhaps best suited to younger children

Where? Victoria Park Road East, Canton, Cardiff CF5 1EG [what3words: moons.sports.trip]

When? Weekends: 10am to 7pm, Weekdays (term time): 12pm to 7pm, Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays (school holidays): 10am to 7pm, Wednesdays (school holidays): 11am to 7pm

Relaxed sessions for children with additional needs: weekdays (termtime): 11am to 12pm, Wednesdays (school holidays): 10am to 11am

How much? FREE

You can read more about the Victoria Park Splashpad in a previous article here

Blackpill Lido (Swansea/Mumbles)

A child plays at Blackpill Lido

Blackpill Lido is a lovely splashpark for children located just next to Swansea Promenade and just a few metres from Swansea Bay beach in the Swansea suburb of Blackpill (between Swansea and Mumbles). There’s also a children’s play area, climbing rock and picnic tables in the area – and deckchairs are available to hire from £2.75.

Whilst the Lido may not keep children occupied all day, it’s very near to Swansea Bay beach, as mentioned, and also to beautiful Clyne Gardens which has lovely attractions that seem to have come out of a fairy-tale!

Who? Blackpill Lido splashpark is open to all but is perhaps best suited to younger children

Where? 1927 Mumbles Road, Mayals, Swansea SA3 5AS (nearest parking is the council car park at Clyne Gardens, 266 Derwen Fawr Road, Sketty, SA3 5AT at £2.50 for an hour, £4.50 for up to two hours, £5.50 for up to three hours, £9 up to 12 hours. There are also a handful of car parking spaces opposite the nearby The Woodman pub, however restrictions are in place for the car parking spaces at the pub itself.

When? Open May 4 until September 22, 2024 from 9am to 5pm (including bank holidays)

How much? FREE

For more information about Blackpill Lido, contact: [email protected] or read our previous article here

Aberavon Aqua Splash (Aberavon, Neath Port Talbot)

Aberavon Aqua Splash boasts more than 30 water features including fountains, jets, waterfalls and a giant, tipping water bucket

Aberavon Aqua Splash is a splashpad with more than 30 water features including fountains and jets and has been designed for children, with plenty of space for parents and guardians to relax nearby.

Who? Aberavon Aqua Splash is aimed at children. There is no need to book in advance for the Aqua Splash – however there is a maximum number of people allowed within the park area at any one time. Entry is first-come, first-served.

Where? just off Aberavon beach, The Princess Margaret Way, Port Talbot SA12 7NX

When? Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays: 10am to 7pm, Wednesdays: 11.30am to 7pm (10am to 11am Inclusive Session), Sundays: 11.30am to 7pm (10am to 11am Inclusive Session) (Inclusive Sessions set to be extended soon)

How much? FREE

Aquadare Splashpad (Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf)

Aquadare splashpad

The ‘Friends of Aberdare Park’ and the local community have crowdfunded a splash pad that’s sure to be a hit with the kids on hot summer days! This free-to-use facility adds to the existing attractions at Aberdare Park, which include a play area, boating lake and cafe.

The Aquadare Splashpad features a range of aquatic play elements such as tall sprays – Trilly Lilly, Wavy Wand, Spin Splasher, Sneaky Soakers, and ground sprays – Misty Mountain, Solo Spurt and Soft Tulip.

Who? Open to all

Where? Land at the former Aberdare Paddling Pool, Aberdare Park, Glan Road, Aberdare, Rhondda Cynon Taf, CF44 8BN

When? Open from 10am to 6pm

How much? FREE

LC Swansea

LC Swansea, 2020

Wales’ largest indoor water park is a popular attraction all year round, but especially in the school holidays. Alongsid the wave pool there’s a lazy river and several slides – plus a tranquil spa with jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, aromatherapy room and treatment room for the grownups.

Freedom Leisure, which operates LC Swansea and five other pools in the city, explains: “The LC Swansea is home to Wales’ biggest indoor waterpark featuring a variety of exciting attractions such as slides, waves, lazy river and even an indoor surf machine! For our younger visitors, splash around in our interactive pool with a mini slide, tipping buckets and water fountains, or have slip-sliding fun on our Volcano Bay slide!”

The LC is also home to a coffee shop, children’s play area, full-size climbing wall, gym and several studios for exercise classes.

Who? Open to all

Where? Oystermouth Road, Swansea, SA1 3ST

When? LC Swansea is open weekdays 6am – 10pm, weekeds 7am to 8.30pm

How much? ‘Full Feature’ ticket: Children (aged one to three): £2.90, Juniors (4+) £7.30, Adults (16+) £9. ‘General Splash’ (termtime Wednesday to Friday): children (aged one to three): £2.90, Juniors (4+) £5.10, adults (16+) £5.10

Cardiff International Pool

Cardiff International Pool [archive photo]

Cardiff International Pool is a modern facility boasting a 50m Olympic swimming pool, a leisure pool, gym and a variety of fun features. It caters to serious swimmers with its large pool, while also offering a fun pool equipped with slides and a space bowl.

Prices at this pool in Cardiff Bay vary depending on ages and swim times – visit Cardiff International Pool’s website for more in more information and to book online.

Who? Open to all

Where? Olympian Drive, Grangetown, Cardiff, CF11 0JS

When? Leisure pool ‘full features’ (with all slides) (term time): Wednesdays and Fridays 4pm to 8pm, weekends 11.30am to 5.30pm (closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays)

Leisure pool ‘full features’ (with all slides) (Welsh school holidays): weekdays and bank holidays 10am to 4pm, weekends 11.30am to 5.30pm.

Leisure pool ‘splash only’ (no slides) (term time): Tuesdays and Thursdays 10am to 2pm (closed other days)

How much? Adults (16+) (leisure pool): £8.25, Seniors (60+): £6.50, Adults (lane swimming): £7.20, Seniors (60+) (lane swimming) £5.15, Max Card holders (lane swimming): £5, Carer (with ID) FREE with person being cared for, Child (3 and under): Free (Child age 3-15 price not listed online – enquire with the pool for further pricing)

Wales National Pool (Swansea)

Wales National Pool, 2021

Another impressive 50m pool, this one has a movable floor offering various depths and angles which can be perfect for both serious or family swimming. It’s part of the Swansea Bay Sports Park, which houses a range of other sporting facilities.

At the pool you can also find junior fitness sessions along with splash and play sessions. Make sure to download the Sports Park app to pre-book swim, gym and athletics sessions and to find out more information about their facilities.

Who? Open to all

Where? Swansea Bay Sports Park, Sketty Lane, Swansea, SA2 8QG

When? Wales National Pool recreational/family splash: Tuesdays 3.40pm to 5pm (recreational swimming), Thursdays 3.50pm to 5pm (recreational swimming), Saturdays 2pm to 3pm (family splash, Under 16s free, booking advisable) and 3pm to 4.30pm (recreational, no lane ropes, under 16s free), Sundays 1.45pm to 3pm (recreational swim, no lane ropes), 3pm to 4pm (family splash, booking advisable)

How much? Swim, Pay As You Go: public £6.50, concession £4.50, Passport to Leisure holder £3.50, under 5s Free, Swim Splash & Play sessions adults £6.50, concession £4.50, Passport to Leisure holder £3.50, under 5s Free. Some ‘Splash’ and ‘Holiday Splash’ sessions are FREE for under 16s (enquire directly with Wales National Pool, register at reception).

Afan Valley swimming pool (Cymmer, Neath Port Talbot)

Afan Valley Swimming Pool

Found near Afan Forest Park, this pool has plenty on offer to keep little ones entertained. Here you’ll find lane swimming, swim clubs and even a scuba dive session! They also host splash parties and swimming lessons, along with aqua fitness and early morning sessions for adults.

Who? Open to all

Where? Golwg-Y-Mynydd, School Road, Cymmer, Port Talbot, Neath Port Talbot SA13 3EL

When? Mondays 2.30pm to 3.30pm (lane swimming), 4pm to 6pm (aqua academy), 6.15pm to 8.15pm (Afan Valley Swimming Club), 8.30pm to 9.30pm (fortnightly) Scuba, Tuesdays 11.30am to 12.30pm (lane swimming), 4pm to 7pm (1:1 lessons), 7pm to 8pm (lane swimming), Wednesdays 2.45pm to 3.45pm (lane swimming), 4pm to 6pm (Aqua Academy), 6.15pm to 9.15pm (Afan Valley Swimming Club), Thursday 8am to 9am (lane swimming), 10am to 10.30am (song & splash), 2.45pm to 3.45pm (lane swimming), 4pm to 6pm (aqua academy) Friday 3.45pm to 4.30pm (family fun), 4.30pm to 7pm (Afan Valley Swimming Club), Saturday 7am to 9am (Afan Valley Swimming Club), 9am to 10am (lane swimming), 10am to 12pm (aqua academy), Sunday 9am to 12.30pm (aqua academy), 1.30pm to 3pm (pool parties)

How much? Pay as you go: adult swim (16+) £4.50, concession £3.50, junior swim (3+) £2.80, family swim (two adults/two children) £10

Bridgend Life Centre

Bridgend Life Centr

Fondly referred to as The Rec, this leisure centre run by Halo Leisure has a range of features including wave machines and slides. The centre also offers swimming lessons.

Who? Open to all

Where? Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4AH (what3words: deed.longer.blend)

When? Timings vary week-on-week, visit the Bridgend Life Centre website to see the timings for when you’re looking to visit

How much? Standard £5.15, concession £2.75, young person £2.75, Access to Leisure holders £2. Concessions, young persons and Access to Leisure holders are Free at certain times (enquire with Bridgend Life Centre directly)

The centre is situated at Angel Street, Bridgend CF31 4AH.

Lido Bristol

Lido Bristol

Just a short journey over the bridge, Bristol has a lovely, relaxing lido. The outdoor swimming pool, heated to between 20 and 24 degrees each day, is housed in a Victorian building located in the upscale area of Clifton.

As well as the pool, there’s also a sauna, steam room, hot tub and spa treatments available to book. Purchase a package and take advantage of the pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub. Children can join their parents/guardians for swimming sessions at specific times.

Who? Visitors (ie. non-members) to Lido Bristol are welcome seven days a week – but children are only permitted from 2pm to 4pm and must be accompanied by an adult at a ratio of 1:1. Children are not permitted in the sauna, steam room or hot tub.

Where? Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2BJ

When? Lido Bristol is open to members from 7am to 10pm each day, and for non-members at select times (check on the website ahead of booking)

How much? Two-hour sessions (swim, sauna, steam room, hot tub) are £25 per person and available from 10am, on the hour every hour until 3pm (maximum of four people per time slot). Children’s access is restricted to the 2pm until 4pm slot and each child must be accompanied by an adult for one to one supervision in the pool only, children cost £7.50 (paid on arrival).