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16 Paddle & plunge spots in Glos & Worcs

Melting in the heatwave? If you're dreaming of cooling off we have just the thing. From lovely lidos and splashing in the surf to aqua parks and wild swimming in glistening Cotswold brooks, here are the coolest places to get wet in our counties. Cossies on, let's go!

From wild swimming and watersports to splash pools and lidos, Glos and Worcs are awash with fabulous places to get some H20 happiness into your life. Read on for the 16 best places to keep cool and keep the kids entertained.

Let’s dive in …

For paddling on a beach…. The Cotswold Country Park and Beach, South Cerney, Glos

Fancy whiling away the day on a sandy beach beside a beautiful swimming lagoon? Of course you do. The Cotswold Country Park & Beach is the UK’s largest inland paddling beach. It currently has a capacity of 350 cars on site so make sure to pre-book or you won’t get in! There is a main beach, a separate paddling beach, funky pedalos and boats to hire (all cleaned in between users) and lots of green spaces. We highly recommend bringing your own delicious picnic.

For inflatable hijinks … AquaPark, Upton Warren in Worcs

This super-fun Aqua Park at Aztec Adventure in Upton Warren has new structures for 2022 making it bigger and better than ever before! Enjoy some top class slip and slide action in the lake. It costs £20 per person for one hour (which includes a wetsuit) and is open until 25 Sept but make sure to prebook on their site. And if they’re not worn out after that you can also hire single and double kayaks and stand up paddleboards from £12 an hour too. Wetsuits for Boat Hire and Launch can be hired for an additional £5.

If you are Glos based and want some inflatable action head for the Cotswold Country Park & Beach’s new Aquaventure Pod. A brilliant inflatable obstacle course on a lake. Costs £120 for up to 6 people (includes wetsuit hire).

For wild swimming … try the Tudor Farmhouse Wild Swimming Trail, Clearwell, Forest of Dean.

The Wye Valley is a water-lover’s wonderland. There are tons of things to do from a paddle on a riverside beach to challenging yourself with a 2km swim. Tudor Farmhouse has you covered with the expert help of Daniel Start at Wild Swimming who’s put together a special map sharing the best access points and what to expect at each location. You can even order one of their delicious picnic hampers for the trip, pack your swimmies and a towel and you are set. Don’t forget river shoes are really useful at many of the locations.

Also great for wild swimming is The River Teme, Powick Bridge, Worcs.

Can we tempt you with the Teme?

The Teme meanders through Worcs and has loads of great ‘plunge points’ for wild swimming or picturesque paddling. We love the off-the-beaten track swim near Powick Bridge. Use the car-park off the roundabout then take the path over the bridge onto a little beach. The water isn’t deep but can be fast flowing – so one for confident swimmers. Or head a bit further afield to Ashford Carbonel. Try standing in the shallows and see how long it takes for little Sticklebacks to come along and nibble your toes (hello, free pedi!)

And did we mention Lacock Abbey in Chippenham?

Lacock swimming (photo:

Using the glorious Lacock Abbey as your landmark, head east and you’ll find a 2m deep pool just upstream of some rapids. There are a few rope swings hanging from a tree on the east bank and there’s a small cliff to jump in from too. Head further downstream there is a small natural beach (but keep eyes peeled for any roaming cows as they frequent the bank!) – a lovely quiet spot for some paddling or dipping.

For surfing…. The Wave in Easter Compton, South Gloucestershire

Get gnarly at The Wave, an incredible £25m artificial surfing lake near Bristol. Pumping out 1000 waves per hour using the latest WaveGarden technology it’s a cracking way to spend the day on the water (aka falling in a lot). Book a 1.5 hour Beginners Lesson for £50 and learn the basics with a surf teacher on hand, or rock up and surf away if you are a bit of a pro. The Clubhouse has a stunning terrace to watch the action from and a delicious menu. I recently went down to road test the riptide – see my review here.

For a splash pool…. Cattle Country Farm Park in Berkeley

This alluring splash pool will keep them cool and entertained for hours, find it at the Cattle Country Farm Park in Glos. Entry is free when you buy a ticket to the park itself.

For kayaking …. Lake 32, Waterland Outdoor Pursuits, Somerford Keynes, Glos

Head to the naturally-fed Lake 32 if you want to kayak. Approximately 6ft in depth, it’s assessed annually by the Environmental Agency. There’s a self launch pontoon, but make sure to book on 01285 861202. There is a cafe here too for a snack or ice-cream to pick up after your session.

Also try Lake 86 nearby, which hires out kayaks and boats for hours of fun on the water.

For stand-up paddleboarding … try SUP Stroud in Slimbridge, Glos

Whether you’re a pro-paddler or a wobbly beginner, book in for a session with SUP Stroud. Take in the rivers and canals of the area with expert instructor Fraser Withey. Based at the Black Shed Cafe in Slimbridge, groups of up to 8 can book but a parent or guardian is needed for any child under 16. To book message SUP Stroud via the website.

Over in Worcs head for the well-regarded Wittering SUP School, based on the pretty River Avon between Malvern and Evesham. An ASI accredited SUP School and fully Covid audited.

For outdoor swimming pool fun …. lidos in Glos & Worcs

Scoop your bikini and towel into a bag and head to one of Glos & Worc’s glorious lidos , you’ll find the heated Cirencester Open Air Pool is now open for for pre-booked swims or head to Cheltenham’s Sandford Lido to book in for one of the hour long sessions. Over in Worcs the lovely 40m long Droitwich Lido is opening and pre-booked tickets can be found here. Take a hop over the border to go to Chippy’s art deco 25m Lido too.

And lastly, some wild paddling (it’s a thing you know) at Bourton-on-the-Water. Dip your toes in and experience some deep heat relief. The stunning river is super shallow and perfect for paddling, ice-cream in hand.

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