Opinion

Places We’d Love To See A Waterslide In London

By James FitzGerald Last edited 13 months ago
Places We’d Love To See A Waterslide In London

Ever heard the ancient Chinese proverb that anything can be improved with the addition of an absolutely bodacious waterslide? No? Perhaps that one was lost in translation.

But it’s true, and it’s time London realised it. Beyond some passable swimming pool flumes available from Archway to Woolwich, there’s little on offer in the water-based thrills department that isn’t short-lived — like those tantalisingly brief installations at Alexandra Palace and King’s Cross.

Apparently, Richmond was once home to the longest waterslide in Europe (few traces of which remain beyond this tourist’s home video from 1988). We say it’s time for that sort of ambition again.

The Barbican

This ride would originate in the upper reaches of the Barbican estate, giving the slider a tour of iconic brutalist architecture at the same time. Photo courtesy of Artee62 in the Londonist Flickr pool.

No water, no waterslide. Please don’t think we haven’t given this some serious consideration. The pond at the Barbican is doubtless one of the best in the capital, and we feel even more people could enjoy it if one of those new-fangled "watercoasters" was able to deliver them straight into it.

And it’d be an ideally located attraction: the City can be one of the warmest parts of London in summer, thanks to the high incidence of pointlessly shiny buildings, Bentleys, and bankers' watches.

Gallions Point Marina

Photo courtesy of Aleem Yousaf in the Londonist Flickr pool.

This enclosure alongside the London City Airport runway has the name of a pirate-themed waterpark ride, so there’s the branding sorted already.

Given that modern aeroplanes are fitted with slides for the express purpose of depositing passengers into water, it seems only sensible that these should be deployed into Gallions Point Marina in the hotter months – saving time on the tedious disembarking process, too.

Limehouse Basin

It's not difficult to see how the railway could be deployed more creatively here. Photo courtesy of Andrew Smith in the Londonist Flickr pool.

Another one for the Docklands to enjoy. The idea is that a simple re-routing of the nearby railway lines — as well as the use of new open-topped carriages — briefly dunks DLR passengers in the Limehouse Basin as they go about their journey. Obviously.    

London Wetland Centre

He won't mind sharing! Photo courtesy of Sloetry in the Londonist Flickr pool.

A natural fit. The wetland reserve at Barnes in south west London is home to all manner of wildlife, but shouldn’t it set aside a space for the most curious creature of all — the Homo sapiens who wants to recklessly propel themselves headlong into freezing cold wetness in the vain pursuit of “fun”?

The Orbit

The Orbit now has a slide. But why aren't we talking about upgrading it further? Photo courtesy of BB Ramone in the Londonist Flickr pool.

A non-water slide has just been fitted to Anish Kapoor’s sculpture in the Olympic Park, and you can go on it. But extra slipperiness always means extra fun in life, and this particular conduit could be upgraded with a simple addition of a bloke at the top with a watering can. The slide would then be extended into the River Lea.

River Fleet

The River Fleet is only used as a sewer at the moment. Photo courtesy of Me.Two in the Londonist Flickr pool.

It’s a national outrage that the course of London’s most famous buried river, the Fleet, has still not been lined with plastic and repurposed as a lengthy waterslide that precipitates you into the Thames.

All that needs to be added is an additional stretch of half-pipe at the river’s upper course - from the Fleet's source atop Hampstead Heath to the local bathing ponds. (Because our maths suggests that the small trickle there wouldn’t be enough to carry any reveller, even a child.)   

This intolerable stretch of tunnel at Green Park station

There's only one way to make this bearable. Photo courtesy of anna in the Londonist Flickr pool.

On your morning commute, this endless interchange seems to stretch before you like the many depressing decades of work you’ve got left before you can retire. And the post-Heathrow and Piccadilly line crowd make progress slow with their cumbersome wheelie suitcases.  

But if some slight slopes were added to the space, and some new plumbing too, a fun and crazy waterslide could be created in each direction. Simple — so why hasn’t it happened yet, Sadiq?

Any other sensible suggestions? Let us have them in the comments below.

Last Updated 06 August 2016