The New Forest Water Park near Fordingbridge in Hampshire offers a range of water based family friendly activities. We spent the weekend exploring what they had on offer.
Wakeboarding at the New Forest Water Park
Me and a friend have been dying to give wakeboarding a go. As keen snowboarders, it seems like the perfect alternative summer sport for when you are missing the snow!
As complete beginners we booked ourselves on a 15 minute one-to-one session on the system 2.0 straight line cable. This two tower system allows riders to wakeboard 150m under the constant control and instruction from a coach. It’s not cheap, a 15 minute one-to-one session is £35, but this does include equipment hire and I was amazed at the progression you can make in a quarter of an hour!
After being given a quick demo of the equipment, it’s a case of sliding into the water and giving it a go! I was amazed how similar it felt to snowboarding, everything from initially standing up, to the edge control and turns. By the end of the 15 minutes I was confidently making left and right turns plus switching edges.
We were both signed off to try the main cable on our next visit – and start hitting some of the wake park features, maybe!
Alongside the wake boarding there are two large aqua parks. Aqua parks are basically like soft play on water! Full of trampolines, monkey bars, flippers, slides, hurdles, springboard, rockers, rollers, an overhang climbing wall, swings and much more.
A 1 hour session is £20 per person, and is for everyone aged 6+. Buoyancy aids are mandatory so you don’t need to be an amazing swimmer to join it, but it being confident in the water is a good idea.
My nine year old had the time of his life, and needless to say the adults couldn’t keep up. The six year old took some time to find his feet. He found being in a lake, rather then a swimming pool a bit scary to start with. By the end he was also having a great time, but did need quite a bit of adult help in places.
The aqua park is great fun for all ages and when you have finished there is an on-site cafe you can grab some food or a drink from. A bit of a negative is that there is no picnics allowed, but we discreetly ate ours away from the cafe.
Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle boards are available to hire by the hour. You can enjoy a paddle around the lake at a slower pace!
Where to stay
Camping is available on-site at the New Forest Water Park. We chose to stay at a lovely little campsite about 10 minutes away. Leat Farm is a small, basic site on the edge of the New Forest just outside the town of Fordingbridge. It has a friendly, laid back vibe surrounded by open fields. The owner is very helpful and there is a stream for the kids to play in. Fire pits are allowed, although you need to buy the logs from the campsite. Compared to other campsites in the New Forest, Leat Farm is very good value for money and one I would recommend for short weekend trips.