Since Tiny Daughter was about 6 months old I have been bringing her to Baby Splash at Grand Central Swimming Baths in Stockport. If, like me, you remember Grand Central for teenaged evenings lurking outside the Cinema chucking popcorn at whatever lad you fancied that week then it’s quite a shock to be coming here as a responsible parent. The tacky nightclub (sleep deprivation has chased the name from my memory) is no more, neither is the Quazar, but the cinema is still just about hanging on and the rest of the area has begun a slow rise into redevelopment.
For obvious reasons there are no photos of my own with this post, so thanks to LifeLeisure, the company which manages the Leisure Centre for these. LifeLeisure have done an admirable job in shoring up the Centre, it is well-resourced, friendly and most importantly for me, clean. The huge pool (the only 50m swimming pool in Stockport) is home to Stockport Metros and the slides and children’s pools are as popular as ever with the younger ones.
Baby Splash is on daily, even in the summer holidays which is a blessing when most things seem to stop for the 6 weeks you need them most. We start in the very warm, very shallow Oasis Pool. Tiny Daughter loves the array of floating balls, the jets which squirt at random and the toddler-sized slide. She does not love having her swim nappy put on, but we all have our troubles.
After a time spent orientating ourselves and splashing merrily it is time to go through to the splash-pool of the water slide. Here we find floating noodles and enough rubber-ducks to keep even my duck-obsessed toddler happy. We practise floating the babies on their fronts and backs and mine is very keen to sit on the edge of the water slide and leap in.
The last part of the session is spent sharing wriggly cuddles in the Jacuzzi trying to eat the bubbles and chatting with the other parents.
We’ve found that the early Sunday session isn’t too busy and it’s nice for us to be able to go as a family. The weekday sessions are popular but it’s never over-crowded. The children’s pools are lovely and warm which makes the notoriously chilly adult pool seem even worse if you want to dash off for an adult swim by yourself.
Baby Splash takes place at all the Leisure Centres around Stockport although they do, in my experience vary in quality and warmth. Grand Central is by far our favourite due to its layout and the super instructor but we also like Cheadle. You can find the Baby Splash timetable for your nearest pool here. It’s worth checking as timetables do change to make way for holiday activities during the school holidays, which we are in the throws of right now
Baby Change – There are family changing rooms right beside the children’s pool with changing tables and big lockers.
Café – There isn’t a café but there are vending machines or McDonalds to ward off those post-swimming hungerpangs, or you can pop into Stockport, the café at Staircase House is nearby and will feature in a future post.
Parking – there is parking right next door and it is only £1 for 3 hours. Be careful though, after 3 hours it goes up to £10.
Cost – Babysplash is £4.45 for parent and child, £6.25 for 2 parents with child.