This August sees the very first European Championships hosted jointly between Glasgow and Berlin – with the inaugural Open Water Swimming events taking place on Loch Lomond. In celebration of this fantastic occasion, we’ve put together a list of our top watersport locations, giving the whole family the chance to get active and make a splash.
You don’t have to be a top athlete to enjoy water sports, with plenty of choice of activities for all abilities. Here are some of our favourites:
The Open Water Swimming Events will be taking place on 8, 9, 11 and 12 of August on Loch Lomond. If you’re staying at Ardgartan Argyll or Strathyre, you’re within easy reach of a loch-side view.
There are plenty of other water sports you can try on the lochs, including canoeing, waterskiing and paddle boarding. However, if you’re looking for wet and wild, try shooting down river rapids, dropping into pools, and surfing waves on a river sledging adventure.
Along the east coast of the North York Moors, not far from Cropton or Keldy, you’ll find beautiful beaches, mysterious coves, and windsurfing lessons for the whole family at Whitby Surf School. You’re never too young to start!
Head inland to the North Yorkshire Water Park, and enjoy a different type of challenge. The AquaPark is just bursting with family fun – a huge, floating inflatable assault course. How long can you stay dry?
Located in the heart of the country, as far from the sea as we can get in the UK, is the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham. If you’re a bit of a thrill seeker, then you’ll find a raft full of challenges on the rapids; white water rafting, in fact. The perfect group activity for large families, the rafts can take up to 8 people at once, working together to keep your heads above water.
But, if you’re looking for something for your teenagers to do whilst you watch, then let them go solo on a white water tube. After a day of adrenaline-fuelled water sports, sliding into the hot tub at your cabin at Sherwood Forest will seem even more relaxing.
Think about Norfolk and of course you would think about the Broads as the place to find water sports. Hire your own boat and enjoy a leisurely cruise through the waterways of this splendid natural park.
But you don’t have to go quite so far to get wet, right along the edge of the beautiful Thorpe Forest is a natural river, where you can hire canoes and explore at your own pace. It’s a lovely way to see the woodland from a totally new perspective and learn more about the wildlife that makes their home on the river’s edge.
You’re spoilt for choice near our cabins in Blackwood Forest. Head north to Lagoona Park for fun on the inflatable assault course, or to get some speed up on the jet bikes, with some three seaters’ available for families.
Head south to the coast and discover the Southampton Water Activities Centre. Try paddle boards or windsurfing, or feel the wind in your face as you set out on one of a variety of sailboats, from dinghies to yachts.
Just a step away from Deerpark is the picturesque harbour town of Polperro. Sail out for a day at sea and return with a basket full of freshly caught fish, or just enjoy a pleasure cruise. It’s a lovely, calm way to spend the day, and you’ll return to your cabin completely relaxed - unlike those who went coasteering at nearby Whitsand Bay.
Washed in and out of gullies, leaping from the 35ft tower or swept around the rocks by the waves, coasteering is a new way to explore the sea. A fabulous day out for older children – and you may just find yourself swimming alongside a seal at the same time.
What is the difference between a kayak and a canoe? If you’re not sure, now is your chance to find out, as you choose your preferred mode of transport for a trip down the River Wye in near our cabins at Forest of Dean.
The slow-running river makes a good learning ground for beginners, and when you’re ready, travel on to the rapids at Symonds Yat. The view of the magnificent valley from the river is worth the effort.
High in the mountains, surrounded by crevices and rock formations, you’ll discover some of the most exciting water sports you can enjoy on two feet, and on all fours, and even lying down. We’re talking about gorge walking – climbing, scrambling, and sliding up and down the mountain rivers as they thunder into lakes. Slide down waterfalls, leap into plunge pools, and navigate the rapids; there are plenty of courses for younger adventurers as well as teens.
Once you’ve conquered the mountains, you’ll have more than earned your dinner delivered from The Bakehouse at Beddgelert.
With the summer sun out in force, now’s the time to be planning a water-filled holiday. Make sure you book your aquatic family adventure now.
We’d love to hear from you if you’ve tried any of the above, let us know which ones are your favourites in the comments below!