After two days of travelling and adventure we started day three a little more slowly, taking in the beauty of the New Forest and the relative quiet of the campsite we’d stumbled into late last evening! We’d been told in no uncertain terms to make sure no food got left out as it could lead to the wild horses trying to get into tents to get at it. Because of the late hour, last night’s pasta pan & plates had been locked in the car boot meaning the first job after breakfast was to wash up and air the car!
We also decided at this point that, having found such a nice base, it would be silly to move on again later and we went off to pay for two more nights at Ocknell. All of this done, it was time to head out in search of one of the key reasons for ending up in this region: Splashdown Water Park in Poole. One of only a very small handful of fully fledged water parks in the UK, for the boys this was the main attraction on our tour.
First things first, I used local knowledge gained a generation earlier to extricate us from the Friday lunchtime traffic heading into Poole itself and managed to find Ashley Road in Parkstone where my Gran & Granddad had lived and where I’d spent my own childhood holibobs. We needed to dry our swimmies and so we got another car park picnic down us whilst the launderette dryers did their job.
And then, at last, we headed off to Splashdown and six hours of non stop waterslides. The boys went on every single slide at least once riding their favourite ones countless times. The Space Bowl is a short, fast tube that comes out into a giant bowl which you spin around and around until your momentum wears off and you are unceremoniously dropped out of the hole at the bottom into a plunge pool. Easily our outright favourite we all rode this one at least six times despite it being by far the longest queue. Hint for future visitors: things quieten off quickly after 4pm and the queues shrink dramatically.
See the picture gallery for the effect of six hours flume riding on LittleBear’s back!
We left Splashdown tired & hungry and quickly made our way to the buffet restaurant a few doors down where we refuelled on a selection of foods from all over the world. LB and I were all about the curries and sauces whilst BB consumed his own body weight in sweets and puddings of all description!
If you’ve ever visited this bit of Dorset in the summertime then you’ll know about the fireworks on Bournemouth pier every Friday evening and so off we headed. One of my favourite pics from our tour is the one of my bears leaning on each other with the pier in the background that I took as we arrived that evening. There was a live band playing at Pier Head as we arrived, and, still tired after our daytime exertions, we lay out to listen and rest and tried to take a selfie of the three of us making a ‘P’ shape!
The Bournemouth Friday Fireworks are a genuine spectacular and we had a fabulous spot to watch them from up above the main beach in front of the BiC. We were most impressed by the ones that not only seemed to dance on the water itself but then relaunched themselves from it!
With the fireworks not having started until 10pm as they waited for full darkness, it was well after driving curfew by the time we made it back to Ocknell but this time we’d gone prepared and parked safely by the gates and made our way back to camp by torchlight, ready for a very good night’s sleep…