Review: Sandcastle Waterpark in Blackpool with a Toddler
As soon as my 2.5 year old saw the slides on the outside of Sandcastle Waterpark he started yelling “water! water! water!”. This was a little inconvenient as we walked past this a few times on previous days, leading to an epic tantrum at one point that we weren’t going in. So I was definitely looking forward to spending the day at Sandcastle Waterpark, if nothing else, to stop him yelling at me! My husband, who is an adrenaline junkie, was particularly keen as well because of the amount of thrill slides. As for me, I just wanted a relaxing day, so it was time to see if this was a water park that could keep everyone in the family happy!
Blackpool’s Sandcastle Waterpark Review
Sandcastle Waterpark is located right on the beach next to the South Pier at Blackpool, opposite Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which we’d visited the previous day. It’s really unmissable due to the shape and the slides that go around the outside, and is apparently the UK’s largest indoor waterpark – certainly the biggest we’ve been to. We visited as part of our Resort Pass Plus trip, which gave us entry into the park and a Hyperzone wristband, but if you don’t have a pass, then prices range from £10.25 to £16.75 for entry, plus £2.75 to £6.75 for the Hyperzone wristband. The wristband gives access to the four thrill seeking slides. I was pleased that children under three years old are free, helping the budget if you’ve got little ones.
When you walk into Sandcastle Waterpark you’re immediately immersed into a tropical environment, as the aesthetics are very well integrated. Palm trees, water features and higher temperatures immediately make you think of a tropical cabana. We arrived at 10:30am which was opening time, off peak and mid-week as we prefer the quieter life and want to make the most of having a pre-schooler and there were about 10 people queuing for entry. The queue moved quickly and getting our Resort Pass Plus cards scanned just took a few minutes. We then pre-loaded our locker key with £30 cash to spend on food so we wouldn’t have to heat back to the locker. More on how much cash you’ll need for this later.
Like most pools in the UK, you can’t take a camera in without getting special permission so I couldn’t take any photos of the pool itself, but have provided this YouTube video from Sandcastle Waterpark that accurately portrays it.
The Changing Rooms
As it was off peak mid week, only the family changing rooms were open. At busier times they have separate male, female and family to choose from, but even with just the one open it was very quiet. There was a pushchair park just outside the changing rooms, next to the lift, and you could even rent a wheel lock from the shop if you were worried about leaving it unattended. The family changing rooms were spacious and clean with large shower blocks, free hair dryers and chargeable full body dryers (£1 for 3 minutes). The lockers were an above average size as well, which was nice. We’d got two locker wristbands (you pay a refundable deposit on these but no cost if you return them) but actually only needed one locker for the three of us. Then we were off to the pool!
The Swimming Pools
There are two swimming pools in Sandcastle Waterpark, one is the wave pool “Typhoon Lagoon” which seemed to have waves every 30 minutes or so and was pretty empty when the waves weren’t on, so quite relaxing for a bit of swimming, and then the main pool. The main pool has the toddler area with small slides and a pirate ship / fort and connects to the river, which is very small, but quite fun! We spent most of our time in this pool and must have gone around the river 20 times.
The Family Slides
At 2.5 William is at a bit of an awkward age for water parks. I think he’s quite confident in the water for someone his age, happy to wear armbands and hold onto floats as long as someone is next to him. He’ll walk into water happily, jump from the side to waiting arms, and has no problem splashing around and getting water on his face. What he isn’t super confident about is slides. He loves slides when he takes the plunge, but often takes a lot of encouragement to go down them and will back out at the last minute.
I was really impressed by the amount of family slides that we could do with William. On one end of the main pool there are the water chutes, these are three slides next to each other that are the perfect size for two+. Three people can use them next to each other, or you can sit a toddler on your lap. The setup really gives a lot of confidence to younger children and builds them up to the bigger slides, but I saw plenty of adults enjoying them too!
There are two tall, winding slides called “Thunderfalls”, which were perhaps gentle by the hyperzone standards, but certainly a thrilling experience for children. You could ride these in tandem with a child (non swimmers have to be wearing armbands), so William went down the slides with daddy and these were the biggest slides he’d ever gone on. He absolutely loved it and immediately climbed out and wanted to go again and again! My husband got tired way before he did…
Then there are “Duelling Dragons”, two very fast flowing water slides side by side. My husband did these first, and felt they were too fast paced for a two year old, but would be suitable for perhaps 5+ or very confident pre-schoolers, but my husband enjoyed these slides!
Four slides make up the Hyperzone and you do require an additional pass for these and there are height and weight restrictions, so double check the website if unsure. Each of these four slides was definitely a thrilling experience and very unique – something we hadn’t experienced in other waterparks. These will definitely give adrenaline junkies a rush and are suitable for those who are looking for something thrilling from a waterpark. In conjunction with all the family attractions, this really means Sandcastle Waterpark caters well for all types of people.
As it was off peak, there were no queues on ANY of the slides at all! If you want to go on the slides again and again and again then we’d definitely recommend a mid-week term time visit.
Food & Facilities at Sandcastle Waterpark
And if you’re like me, and you just want a relaxing day and to watch people have fun, there is absolutely loads of seating around the pool across three levels so you can chill, take breaks and grab some food. As previously mentioned, you can pre-load your locker key with cash, or you can go back to the changing rooms, grab a towel and your bag whilst you eat lunch. We loaded up £30 and spent about £20 on two gourmet burger meals and an extra drink.
I was a bit disappointed with the lack of snacks for younger children. I couldn’t find any ice lollies, ice creams, children’s drinks, crisps, fruit, healthy snacks, anything on sale poolside. You could go out to the front cafe to buy them, but this requires getting dressed again. The cafe in the restaurant itself was very quiet, just one staff member making burgers and everything else seemed closed. This is one of the few downsides of visiting off season, and really the only criticism I have of the park. William had no problem tucking into fries and a slush puppy. Not exactly healthy, but ah well, we’re on holiday!
There were multiple sets of toilets poolside as well as in the changing room and everything was absolutely spotless. The lifeguards watched every attraction and manned all the slides as well as poolside and seemed friendly and attentive – I certainly felt my toddler was very safe here.
There’s also an adults only spa which is additional cost – we didn’t go in here as it was all about the family for us.
We spent around 5 hours here and got through the day without a single tear or tantrum! Wow!
Our previous favourite swimming pool in the UK was the pool at Center Parcs Woburn Forest, but that one has been knocked into second place as Sandcastle Waterpark was our favourite thing about Blackpool and an attraction everyone in the family would be happy to visit again and again and again.