Thinking of taking a ride on South Devon’s (and the UK’s, for that matter), premier water park?
With eight water slides, Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark promises a fun day for all the family.
But is it worth visiting while you’re in Paignton?
This Splashdown Quaywest details my (Claire, Go South West England editor) experience there. And it was mixed!
At the time of writing, the UK is in the grip of a heatwave, with temperatures climbing to nearly 30 degrees in Devon (which is virtually unheard of!).
Ice lollies in the garden and cold showers weren’t quite cutting it, so my partner and I decided to check out Splashdown Quaywest, the largest waterpark in the UK.
Located in Goodrington Sands Beach near Paignton, its website promises to enthrall guests with “8 adrenaline-pumping slides” with names like “Devil’s Drop” (the highest and steepest in the UK) and “Wild Kamikaze”. Plus, there are two easy slides and three medium slides, for people who aren’t as thrill-seeking!
Our experience at Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark
First up: my confirmation email didn’t come through.
The money left my account, but I never received any kind of e-ticket in my spam folder or main email.
Luckily, I’d taken a screenshot of the confirmation previously, and had a number that I reeled out to the woman checking us in. She nodded and motioned for us to go through.
So, if you do book tickets for Splashdown Quaywest, make sure that you take a screenshot of your confirmation or note your IN number down!
We traipsed into the dark changing rooms, which looked like they were stuck in the 90s with lockers that we had to pay 20p for each time that we opened them.
After getting changed, we wandered out to the main park, where the fun promised to begin!
It was all a little underwhelming. Now, I’m sure it is the largest all-outdoor water park in the UK. But that’s because all-outdoor waterparks in the UK are quite rare.
We don’t really have the weather for it, but the South Devon coastline is one of the warmest parts of the UK, and also somewhere where people like to come on holiday.
Hence Splashdown Quaywest waterpark!
The collection of flumes is quite small and closely bundled together, and there’s nothing in the way of other amusements, save for a (very crowded) small pool and a balcony area with a café.
The first flume we tried was Surf Lagoon, one of two inflatable ring slides. On it, you slide through multiple splash pools, hauling yourself toward the next one.
A somewhat strange addition which meant that there was a bit of traffic mid-flume, but it did at least extend the ride a little!
Next up was Raging Rapids, which was similar to Surf Lagoon, although it felt slightly speedier. We also tried Sidewinder, a moderately scary ride with a few twists and turns, and the more leisurely Corkscrew and Wet and Wild.
I didn’t fancy the most thrill-seeking rides: Devil’s Drop, Wild Kamikaze and The Screamer which is a black hole slide, but they looked substantially steeper and higher, and I definitely heard a few adrenalin-fueled squeals as I passed!
I had quite mixed feelings about this park, but let’s start with the good.
It is what it says on the tin; eight fairly enjoyable slides with varying scariness, and there’s something for everyone who is over a metre tall.
I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for anyone with kids less than a metre tall, as the kids’ pool is tiny.
The views from the slides, over the spectacular sandstone cliffs of Torbay and the beach huts of Goodrington Sands are incredible.
The water is warm, and although it was slightly cooler than on previous days when we visited, we didn’t feel cold at all. I imagine that the water is pleasant even on the cooler days of the summer.
Also, this was very random, but they had a very affordable gift shop where we bought two new mugs!
So what’s bad about it? We did find the park as a whole quite underwhelming. While there was a mixture of slides, the same number that was advertised on the website, we thought the vibe was off.
For me, it echoed the leisure centre that I used to swim in as a child, just with more slides and no roof.
Perhaps part of the reason that it did this was the crowds. It’s completely understandable that you need to wait sometimes at these attractions, but it got to the point when there were queues of people wanting to get rubber rings, before even tackling the slide queues!
Plus, the “swimming pool” was absolutely rammed with people, so much so that it wasn’t even worth entering.
This wasn’t at a weekend or school holidays – it was a Tuesday morning (granted, a quite warm Tuesday morning but still!).
When you book a ticket for Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark, you need to reserve a timed slot – we opted for a three hour session. We were thinking that this meant there would be limited people queuing for the slides, but apparently not!
The entire park could do with a facelift, it looked quite run down in parts and we even noticed rubbish (sandwich wrappers and ice lolly sticks) in the flumes themselves.
Plus, the lights that indicate when people can go weren’t working – and in some cases, one “flume guard” seemed to be in charge of telling people when they could go on up to four flumes, which didn’t feel completely safe.
Plus, the changing rooms were a little drab, and there was no hot shower available.
Cost of Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark
We paid £18.00 for a three hour time slot; you can pay less for two hours. Unless you’re going to want to go on flumes time and time again, I’d definitely only recommend a couple of hours.
Where to park for Splashdown Quaywest
There’s a “quaywest” car park with plenty of space; although it’s council-run and costs around a pound per hour.
You can pay for the car park with cash or by using the RingGo app.
Would I recommend Splashdown Quaywest Paignton?
We had a rather odd experience at Splashdown Quaywest Waterpark, but it does have good guest reviews and if you’re looking for a bunch of flumes with great views over Goodrington Sands Beach, it offers that.
It could be great for a family holiday if you’re looking for some fun water slides where the kids can blow off some steam. For adult groups, I’d say it’s a tad underwhelming – but if you go in only expecting a few outdoor waterslides, you’ll be less disappointed!
Just don’t measure it up to any other waterparks outside of the UK – Splashdown Quaywest may be the biggest, but waterparks are definitely not something that we as a nation excel in!
Things to do near Splashdown Quaywest
Goodrington Beach is a long stretch of sand hugging this area of coastline, and is perfect for sunbathing, sea swimming or building sandcastles – it’s the ideal holiday beach!
If you want more water-based activities, bumper boats and pedaloes are available at the nearby boating lake.
You can also walk over Roundham Head to Paignton Sands, one of the most popular places to visit in Devon, where there’s the world-famous pier and other tourist attractions.