Splashing Fun at Lee Valley White Water Centre
What I loved about it:
Lee Valley White Water Centre has a great choice of activities suitable for all abilities and levels of confidence.
You are extremely well looked after from the point of booking to getting on the water and the staff go above and beyond to ensure that everyone has a fantastic time.
Value for money (out of 10):
Lee Valley White Water Centre is a white-water slalom centre, that was constructed to host the canoe slalom events of the London 2012 Olympic Games, and has expended to now include a number of exhilarating water activities set on both the lake and the white water course. There include:
• Water Wipe Out (Water Assault course)
• Explore Kayak
• Explore paddleboarding
• Family Rafting
• Hotdogs (two person inflatable kayaks)
• Rodeo Rafting
• Rafting Unleashed
All the above are currently available until 1st October but I spoke to the team that run the activities and they are in discussions about the possibility of keeping them open until November, dependent on demand, so hopefully it might be an option for half term.
They have public padding sessions and paddling courses available for the majority of the year and will also be introducing open water swimming soon.
The centre is located in Waltham Cross which is on the south eastern point of Hertfordshire, bordering the London Borough of Enfield and Waltham Abbey in Essex. Whilst I am not a huge water sports fan, Freddie and Arthur, my two nephews are so I sent them, and my brother (kids under the age of 12 need an adult in the water with them) to try out some of the activities available. They chose to do Stand Up Paddleboard and also Water Wipeout- the inflatable obstacle course.
Those that don’t want to take part can watch from the side, or from the comfort of the lovely on-site Terrace Bar & Café which serves a variety of savoury or sweet snacks as well as hot and cold drinks, plus it’s licenced so whoever’s not taking part can enjoy a nice glass of something whilst watching the others splashing about on the water, sitting either inside or on the lovely decking area.
Price: £15 per person, Age: 8+ years
A huge inflatable obstacle course is set up on the lake which includes slides, obstacles and jumps, great for competitive kids (and adults) to race around seeing who can complete the course in the fastest time, and falling in the least number of times!
Lots of smiling faces and thumbs up tell me this was a huge hit and both boys are very keen to return with a group of friends to extend the challenge, especially now they have the advantage of previous practice.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
Price: £15 per person, Age 8+ years
The paddleboarding sessions last for an hour which is the perfect amount of time to master the activity, whilst not getting bored. Not surprisingly the kids loved watching others, especially their Dad, fall in.
This is great for an introduction to water activities as no previous experience is necessary and it is pretty straightforward and easy, I’ve done it before and if I can do it anyone can.
The boys were racing each other and even trying their own ‘stunts’ by the end of the session, I’m looking forward to be able to bring my eldest son when he is old enough in a couple of years.
Maybe in the heat of the summer we’ve just had you can get away with doing these activities in shorts and a tshirt (the minimum requirement) however I would suggest either bringing your own, or renting one of the centres wet suits (£5 fee).
Arthur said, “It was so much fun, especially going on the big water jumps which make you jump into the air. I also loved the paddleboards, Freddie fell off lots of times, I had a lovely time”
Freddie said, “My best part was pushing Daddy into the water, the assault course was also loads of fun, I loved all of it.”
The staff, who are young and enthusiastic about water sports, are fantastic. They were great at dealing with the anxiety of young people on the water and both Freddie and Arthur quickly gained confidence through both sessions. Also the office staff were fantastic, being very helpful and flexible when we needed to make last minute changes.
It’s worth noting that you can buy gift vouchers for the activities here which I think would make a fantastic present for any adrenaline junkie.