Make a splash this summer at these 6 water-based activities in Hertfordshire

Kayaking on the lake at Lee Valley White Water Centre. Picture: Eleanor Bentall.

Kayaking on the lake at Lee Valley White Water Centre. - Credit: Eleanor Bentall

With summer on the way and better weather (hopefully) just around the corner, it's time to head outdoors and enjoy what Hertfordshire has to offer.

If you are looking to make a splash this year, here are 6 water-based ideas for things to do and places to visit in the county in 2021.

1. Lee Valley White Water Centre

Lee Valley White Water Centre. Picture: Mark Sims Photography

Lee Valley White Water Centre. - Credit: Mark Sims

It's time to splash back and hit the rapids for a fun day out at the Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Hertfordshire's Olympic venue is a legacy of the London 2012 Games.

Located within the 10,000 acre Lee Valley Regional Park, Lee Valley White Water Centre is a world leading destination offering a host of exciting sport and leisure activities.

The paddleboarding sessions at Lee Valley White Water Centre are fun for all the family.

Suitable for those aged eight and over, the paddleboarding sessions at Lee Valley White Water Centre are fun for all the family. - Credit: Eleanor Bentall

If you love an adrenaline rush, you will find gallons of fun at centre, from white water rafting on the Olympic course to paddleboarding on the lake.

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Then there's canoeing, kayaking, Hot Dog sessions in inflatable two person kayaks, Hydrospeeding – which is a mix between a float and a bodyboard – and the Water Wipeout inflatable obstacle course on the lake.

Michael Portillo at Lee Valley White Water Centre during series 12 of Great British Railway Journeys.

Michael Portillo at Lee Valley White Water Centre during series 12 of Great British Railway Journeys. - Credit: BBC/Naked West/Fremantle

If it's good enough for Michael Portillo to have a go during a recent series of BBC's Great British Railway Journeys, unleash your inner thrill seeker and enjoy an exhilarating activity on water at Lee Valley.

Book your trip to the Waltham Cross facility at https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/whitewater

You can still watch Michael Portillo's visit in series 12 of Great British Railway Journeys on BBC iPlayer.


2. Hitchin and Letchworth Outdoor Pools

Outdoor pools in Hitchin (pictured) and Letchworth will reopen this Saturday (May 29)

The outdoor pool in Hitchin. - Credit: NHDC

Make a splash this summer at the outdoor pools in Hitchin and Letchworth.

The two open-air pools officially open their doors for the 2021 season on Saturday, May 29 – just in time for the start of the late May school half-term holiday. 

Stevenage Leisure Limited (SLL), which manages the pools on behalf of North Herts District Council (NHDC), is following the government roadmap out of lockdown, which means some restrictions will be in place including pre-booking and limited numbers initially.

Both outdoor pools are heated and benefit from having smaller heated pools for toddlers and younger children, grassed areas for sunbathing, and cafés that provide refreshments and snacks.

A range of concessions are available for families, multi-swim tickets and swim memberships.

Hitchin outdoor pool will be open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6.30pm, and at weekends from 8am until 6pm.

Hitchin and Letchworth outdoor pools (pictured), will reopen this Saturday as May half term begins in North Herts

The outdoor pool in Letchworth. - Credit: NHDC

The pool in Letchworth will be opening from 7am to 6.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and will open at the slightly later time of 8am to 6.30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

At weekends, the pool will be open from 8.30am until 6pm.

Both pools will stay open until mid-September.

 Swimming sessions will be bookable online via www.sll.co.uk


3. Stanborough Park

Stanborough Lakes. Picture: WHBC

Stanborough Lakes in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: WHBC

Also known locally as Stanborough Lakes, this Welwyn Garden City park is open all year round.

The countryside park boasts two lakes and covers an area of 126 acres.

It is also the home of Stanborough Park Water Sports Centre, where you can experience sailing and open water swimming. Check with the venue which activities are currently available and when.

There are also rowing boats and pedal boats available for hire on the North Lake. Again, check with the Better website www.better.org.uk/leisure-centre/welwyn-hatfield/stanborough-park-water-sports-centre

Stanborough Park. Picture: DANNY LOO

Stanborough Park, Welwyn Garden City - Credit: Danny Loo

Alternatively, take a gentle stroll, picnic or just laze away an afternoon relaxing in the award-winning parklands watching the wildlife on the lakes.


4. Splashlands

Splashlands in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Kevin Lines

Splashlands in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Kevin Lines - Credit: Archant

While at Stanborough Park, the kids can enjoy Splashlands, a purpose-built wet play facility on the north side of the beauty spot.

The splash park area is 600m2 and has a paddling river meandering through the centre and includes three different areas of inclusive play for children of all ages and abilities.

The splash pad combines flowing, misting, spraying, jetting and splashing water.

Splashlands at Stanborough in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Kevin Lines

Splashlands at Stanborough in Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Kevin Lines - Credit: Archant

Subject to government guidance and weather conditions, Splashlands is open every day from 10am to 6pm or dusk if earlier, through to the last Sunday in September. 

For more about Splashlands, visit one.welhat.gov.uk/FAQs


5. Cassiobury Park

There's water fun for all the family at Cassiobury Park in Watford.

Suitable for kids of all ages, youngsters can have a splashing time at the water play park featuring 30 state-of-the-art splash pads, water jets and fountains. 

Kids can enjoy water splash fountains and paddling pools. 

Watford Borough Council is managing the number of people using the reopened facilities, and is allowing a maximum of 100 people – including parents and guardians – within the area at any one time.

Working on the ‘one in / one out’ principle, people will be allowed within the gated area in two-hour slots as space becomes available. The paddling pools are also being deep-cleaned for 30 minutes every two hours.

For more on activities at Cassiobury Park and the COVID measures in place, visit www.watford.gov.uk/info/20290/cassiobury_park


6. Fairlands Valley Park

Situated in the heart of Stevenage, Fairlands Valley Park offers a wide range of water sports facilities, including a sailing centre.

The park has over 20 acres of open water across a series of linked lakes.  

Situated by the splash park, the Millennium Lake hosts a fleet of pedalos and rowing boats that are available for hire from this weekend - May 29 - onwards.

For more on the Fairlands Valley Outdoor Activities Centre, visit www.sll.co.uk/fairlands or check the Fairlands Valley Outdoor Activities Centre Facebook page.

For more of Fairlands Valley Park, visit www.stevenage.gov.uk/leisure-culture-and-wellbeing/parks-and-open-spaces/fairlands-valley-park


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