Coventry’s new waterpark The Wave runs special, reduced-price sessions for those coming with kids. From Parent & Toddler and Under 5 sessions to Family Fun slots and even a Quiet Time for those with sensory needs… they offer a number of different options, all available outside of ‘normal’ operating hours.
At a time when some swimming pools are only just beginning to open up to visitors, it’s been hard to find places locally to swim with children, as many leisure centres have lane-swimming options only at the moment. I was excited to hear that The Wave ran, not just sessions for toddlers, but other family slots throughout the week, on a variety of different days. We managed to grab a slot for the Under 5s Session which runs on a Saturday at 8am.
Don’t forget to enter your reg. on the screens in the actual waterpark when you leave [to] qualify for the special swimmers’ parking rate.
Parking was really easy and cheap. Head to the Salt Lane Car Park (note: the postcode took us round to the exit of the car park, so be sure to take that first right to go down Salt Lane and not the second by the waterpark… if coming from the A46 / South Warwickshire). It’s coin free and ticket free – the barriers scan your vehicle registration on your way in and you then use card-payment to pay at the machines when you leave. Don’t forget to enter your reg. on the screens in the actual waterpark (separate building) when you leave, so you qualify for the special swimmers’ parking rate (we were there for 1.5 hours and it cost just £1.50). Also, the good thing about going out with tiny humans at 8am on a Saturday – quiet roads and no traffic! It took us 30 minutes to travel from Stratford-upon-Avon.
The centre itself was also nicely quiet, with entry being limited to encourage social distancing. We didn’t bump into any other members of the public when walking in at 8am and heading to the changing rooms. The changing areas themselves are big and open, with huge cubicles, lots of lockers and loads of signage and floor markers along the way to direct you through their one-way system. We were encouraged to wear masks through the foyer areas and not to stall around the shower areas, but with such a wide building design, keeping at a distance from others wasn’t an issue at all.
We loved being in our little water bubble, away from the troubles of the world, even if just for a little while!
As for the attractions themselves, they were too amazing for words! The toddler area, The Reef, complete with jets, climbing areas and slides, is really spacious, and very impressive! We got to relax in the Lazy River and even spend time on The Cascade Slide which is a great introduction to waterpark slides for toddlers (they can go down on your knee, it’s quite a substantial and exciting ‘grown-up-looking’ slide, but feels perfectly appropriate and lands you in a very shallow area of water).
As a family obsessed with swimming and the water, being able to enjoy the slides and pools at a leisurely pace, in a quiet and well-managed environment was really special. Plus, built in 2019, everything is still brand-spanking new. We loved being in our little water bubble, away from the troubles of the world, even if just for a little while! There were also a nice number of people booked onto the session, not too many, meaning we didn’t queue for anything, or have any problems socially distancing.
exiting the session was as stress-free as joining it.
Having a good hour to enjoy the pool, with parents and families leaving at their own pace, meant that exiting the session was as stress-free as joining it. Again, with no bumping into people at all as we were leaving. I’m often (with a toddler that loves exploring) struggling with the challenges of social distancing and one-way-systems, but our day at The Wave was an example of how visitor experience has, in some places, vastly benefited from the Coronavirus-enforced staggered entry and limited ticket availability. You feel like you have the whole place to yourself rather than navigating horrendous crowds!
Having been open for only a year, The Wave has all the tools to ensure a you have a contact-free experience and feel as safe as you can in our COVID-19 landscape: lots of space in the corridors, wristband QR code lockers (no fumbling with coins and locks!), paper-free admittance (just give your name or electronic reference when you arrive), amongst other things.
Thumbs up from us. The Wave, we will be back!
Visit The Wave’s weekday sessions page for more details, but also follow them on social media to hear about things happening over the weekend as well as one-off special slots for families. In terms of planning your visit, they have a page for visitors and also a blog with safety information. You may not get an email confirmation if you book for a session over the phone so worth heading to these pages for up-to-date guidance the day before you go. Photography: The Wave.