The Alpamare Waterpark opened its doors in the summer of 2016 and given that we are regular travellers to the North Yorkshire Coast (Here is a link to all the posts made about the area https://leedsdad.com/category/north-yorks-coast/ ) we finally went down on May Day weekend to see what it was actually like.
Alpamare has 2 outdoor, heated swimming pools (one of which is an Iodine pool, which apparently is really good for you – who knew?!) one indoor swimming area, which doubles up as a wave pool, 4 big slides, as well as a toddler wet play area with slide. Also inside is a restaurant and throughout are sun loungers in case you have had enough of the swimming.
The “wet side” is entirely cashless so as you go in, you get a wristband which you can use to use a locker and pay for your food/drinks. All you have to do is settle the bill at the end of the session. This means you don’t have to worry about having a £1 coin, and it is really easy to use.
As you would expect, the changing rooms are really clean and modern, as are the lockers. One really good thing is the fact it is really warm throughout and so you don’t feel as though you’re going to freeze when you finish swimming and get changed! They enforce a strict “no outdoor shoes” policy, which was really good to see – even the electrician fixing an outside bulb up a ladder had to have shoe covers on!!
As the slides are only for those 6 and over, those with little ones are obviously limited in what they can do (5’s and under are free however) but despite that, we were in there for 4 ½ hours!! The wave machine comes on every half an hour and so I thought that would be our main attraction, but it was the heated outdoor pools which were the big pull for Heidi!
The pools are toasty warm and the patterns of bubbles means that it is such a relaxing experience. Because of the way that the pools are designed, you can’t jump in, which might limit some play for the little ones, but it just gives some scope for imaginative play instead. (we played mermaids for over an hour!!) However, the main reason for these pools is for a relaxing experience – Heidi was enamoured by the warmth of the pools that she seemingly spent an hour floating on her back saying how lovely and relaxing it was – and I had to agree!!
In terms of food, the menu is what you would expect at an attraction like this – Hot Dog and chips (pictured) was £4.50, and the drink was just under £2. They do children’s lunch boxes, but to be honest, the better value might be a pizza or similar.
A couple of good things about eating there is the view (pictured below) but also the fact that you can pop to the lockers for your towel and because it is so comfortably warm, you don’t need to get dressed.
Now, the elephant in the room – the price. If you’ve done any type of research on Alpamare, you’ll know that there are complaints about the price. £19 an adult is expensive (you have to pay even if you’re just going to watch) but you’re not going to your local council swimming pool – this is different. You can’t swim lengths at Alpamare and you can’t swim outside in a heated pool at the council swimming pool.
If £19 each (small reductions for children aged 6+) for 4 hours entertainment is above your price point, that is fine and I completely understand. However, this isn’t about swimming; this is about relaxation for some and the slides and excitement for others. Compare the adult price to Blizzard Beach in Florida (£50-ish) and Sea Life Centre (£18) and it doesn’t look too bad then. Also, there is plenty of free parking on site. (UPDATE July 2017: There is no longer free parking on site!)
(Full disclosure: I received a free ticket for this blog post, but my views are my own)
However, I am sure that we will come back again, even before Heidi is old enough to go on the slides!!
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