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Riviera International Centre (Torquay)

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Address: Chestnut Avenue / Torquay / Devon TQ2 5LZ / United Kingdom / Tel: 01803 299 992

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      11.05.2010 20:38
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      Make a splash!

      On a recent weekend trip to Devon to visit my parents, we wanted to take our daughters swimming and particularly wanted somewhere a bit more exciting than the local swimming baths. This is how we ended up at the Riviera International Conference Centre and in particular at the Waves Leisure Pool. There are many facilities at the centre such as a gym, restaurant and conference rooms, but we were there for the swimming which is why this review is going to focus on the swimming pool and adjacent areas.

      The centre which is on Chestnut Avenue in Torquay is reasonably well signposted so it was pretty easy to find. There is a huge car park. You do have to pay for the parking which is a bit of a pain but you do get the money back when you pay your entrance admission. Prices for swimming vary depending whether you are a member or not. As we were not members we ended up paying a family ticket price of £12.90. This was for two adults and up to three children which I thought was quite good value. However, had we been members we would have only paid £8.90 for the same ticket.

      I did think that the entrance foyer was a bit dark and drab when we first entered. However the receptionist was friendly and we quickly worked out what ticket we needed and paid our money. You then go down some stairs and along a corridor to get to the changing rooms and they are easy to find. Everywhere does look a little in need of brightening up though, although the pool itself was great. The changing rooms were pretty basic but there were some curtained cubicles. Also there were plenty of lockable lockers. I did have a slight problem after my swim though when I went to use the showers as the only ones I could locate seemed to be child size ones. This meant that I had to crouch down in a very awkward position in order to shampoo and rinse my hair and it was not easy. I can't believe that there are no adult sized showers there but I could not find them and believe me I did look!

      The actual swimming pool itself though was fabulous and seemed very clean. The main attraction is the wave machine that is operated every half an hour during the family fun sessions. The top of the pool is roped off for safety and the waves last quite a while and seem quite high. This was the first time my daughters had experienced a wave machine at a swimming pool and they loved it. It was great family fun and although not busy when we went, there were lots of families with very young children thoroughly enjoying themselves.

      The other big attraction is the giant flume. This goes up high and is a good length and my six year old really loved it and must have gone down it at least twenty times. We are used to the flume at our local pool which does not flow very well and I often get stuck going down. By comparison, this flume was great and we managed to get up a good speed before plunging into the designated pool with a big splash! There are lots of lifeguards around making sure that no one comes down the flume before the previous swimmer has cleared the area. They are also there making sure that everything is sensible when the waves are rolling too.

      If you don't fancy swimming but want to be a spectator there is a small coffee shop overlooking the pool. This is great for being able to keep an eye on what's going on whilst relaxing with a drink and reading a complimentary paper. My sister did this as her son was swimming with us but it is worth noting that under eight year olds need to be with an adult. I'll have to wait a couple of years until I can put my feet up and watch!

      So overall the Riviera centre Waves Leisure Pool is a great place to visit when you are in Torquay especially when the weather is not quite as good as you might hope. And, let's face it! That's a real possibility with the typical English summer!

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