Wet 'n' Wild waterpark in North Shields will not reopen and is up for sale, owners confirm

Wet n Wild indoor water park has been closed for the last five years, much to visitors' dismay
-Credit: (Image: Mirrorpix)

A much-loved North East waterpark has been put on the market, giving hopes it could reopen under new ownership.

Wet ‘n’ Wild has remained closed for almost five years, despite being bought by its tenants Serco Leisure four years ago in a £3.2m deal. The leisure operators had said its future remained “under review”, after deciding to acquire the building from its landlords in the 2020 deal. When the pandemic struck, endless lockdowns extended the closure and it has lain empty ever since.

Now a spokesman for the company has confirmed it has no plans to reopen the site – but it said it is also searching for a buyer, raising hopes that a new operator might take over the site and invest in reopening the family attraction. It has not been revealed who the property agent is, the guide price or who might buy the site, meaning a property developer could use the plot for something completely different, however.

In a short statement a spokesman said: “Serco have no plans to reopen the facility. They are currently trying to find a buyer for the site.”

In its heyday, Wet ‘n’ Wild was Britain’s largest waterpark, home to the UK’s biggest water slide – the 165 metre long Black Hole – as well as pools and slides including the Kamikaze, Abyss and the Lazy River. Opening in 1993, the Royal Quays indoor water park welcomed hundreds and thousands of visitors every year, and became a popular venue for birthday parties, family activities and even marriage proposals.

Jet, one of the original Gladiators, opens Wet n Wild in North Shields in July 1993
Jet, one of the original Gladiators, opens Wet n Wild in North Shields in July 1993 -Credit:Mirrorpix

In 2001 the pool was also the first to set the individual world speed record for flume riding down the Tornado corkscrew double twister, and in 2013, the Geordie Shore cast also filmed part of an episode there. The attraction closed for less than a year in October 2013 when the previous operator went into administration, reopening when Moirai Capital Investments took on the site.

Serco took on the lease in 2014 and invested in the venue to try to change the park’s fortunes, re-opening to the public in July 2014. The attraction struggled for a number of years, but was then acquired by London based investment vehicle Alternative Income REIT PLC.

As tenants, Serco bought the waterpark from the investors in 2020, paying £300,000 more than their landlords had paid for it three years earlier. Even after acquiring the attraction, Serco said its future was still in doubt, highlighting how it had incurred substantial financial losses in each year of operation, and it has never reopened.