It may not seem like it, but we do a lot of swimming and are always on the look out for a good pool. Sadly cameras and Gravel don’t tend to like pools, so instead you get the G-man in a bathing suit, huzzah!
Barring the terrible food, the prevalent whiff of chips and the weird 80’s uniforms, Coral Reef in Bracknell is just about perfect and Weasel screams with delight whenever we pull up.
Awesome bits: Ginormous pirate ship with water cannons, 2 (yes 2!) lazy rivers, an exploding volcano, a swim-thru outdoor bit, flumes, 2 slides for toddlers (long queues on weekends for those though), a toddler splash area, giant squirty snakes and 2 big bubble pools. In addition there are free arm bands dotted around everywhere. We’re not keen on them (worried about stopping Weasel from properly swimming), but being able to walk off the side keeps her amused until her arms go blue anyways (so about 10 minutes).
Slightly less shiny bits: The toddler area is strangely at adult height so we don’t spend much time there, some older kids have issues with all the spray jets, the middle of the pool is quite deep (I almost have to swim, but I am practically a midget) and the columns around the volcano are a wee bit over the top.
Costs: Under 4’s are free, adult peak prices are almost double, off-peak £4.60.
Changing Facilities: The best I’ve seen – loads of family changing rooms, with tables, clean-ish. We’ve never had a problem walking straight into one even on the weekends.
Food: Just don’t. We tried lunch at the upper ‘restaurant’ thinking it would be slightly more up-market from the Beach Cafe, but it was the same food just accompanied by more of a smell of chips than chlorine. The only healthy option (i.e. not defrosted chicken nuggets or greasy burger with chips) was macaroni & cheese. Weirdly they gave Weasel a whole extra plate of chips with it (theme of this pool – chips), it tasted of nothing and had completely raw onion in it. Unsurprisingly she ate zilch since I have the one child totally unimpressed with chips. The canteen was clearly built in about 1988 and the menu choices and weird teal uniforms still linger from opening day I reckon. Oh well. Everywhere has to have a downside.