Beijing's best pools and water parks for families

Beat the heat at one of these great pools and water parks

Water Cube

Chaoyang Park Water Park

For a swim in the heart of Beijing with the kids, visit the man-made beach and swimming pool at Chaoyang Park. If the children are too young to safely enjoy the pool, there’s still plenty to do. There are basketball and football pitches, an amusement park and a boating lake as well as seal performances and beach volleyball games. Another perk is that you’re allowed on the grass, providing opportunities for a spontaneous frisbee tournament or picnic under the trees. Chaoyang Gongyuan Lu. Open July 1. Price tbc.

National Aquatics Center (Water Cube)

The National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, was built alongside Beijing National Stadium for the swimming competitions of the 2008 Summer Olympics. After the Olympics, the National Aquatics Centre was turned into a water park and today it features a number of slides and rides, a shallow pool area for little ones (complete with a small wave machine) and a lazy river. The Olympic training pool remains for those who prefer swimming laps. Tianchen Dong Lu. (8437 8966/8963)

The Emperor Beijing Qianmen

This high-end boutique hotel features a rooftop terrace with a pool overlooking the Forbidden City and the low rooves of the surrounding hutong neighbourhood. If you’re looking for a relaxed dip with a view – and you don’t mind paying the price for it – this is the place to go. Compared to the city’s big public water parks, The Emperor hotel’s glass-edged outdoor pool is free of crowds. The admission price includes towels and a locker. Xinyukou Jie. Open now. 258RMB (three hours)

Tuanjiehu Water Park

This centrally-located water park is walking distance from Sanlitun and includes a large sea wave pool, a swimming pool, a water slide and Beijing’s first artificial beach. Thewater park is a great way to escape bustling urban life and play around with the kids without leaving the city. This water park can become very busy during the weekends so consider going on a weekday if you can. Additional kids activities at the park include boating and roller skating. Tuanjiehu Park, Tuanjiehu Lu. Open June 1. Price tbc.

Water World at Quingnianhu Park

Well-equipped Qingnianhu Pool (the ‘lake of youth’) can accommodate more than 3,000 visitors. Enjoy water slides in different shapes that will keep most young visitors happy. Good value entry prices and a downtown location attract many local as well as expat families. Off Andingmenwai Dajie. Open June 1. Entry 30-40 RMB.

The Splash Recreation Club

This lovely outdoor pool is part of the CITIC Hotel Beijing Airport in Shunyi and non- guests can pay a fee to access the club. Relax, resort-style, by the pool while the kids swim or play on a small grassy area nearby. 9 Xiao Tianzhu Road, Shunyi district. Entry 30-130 RMB.

Crab Island (Xiedao Resort)

Crab Island is a favourite destination in summer and well-known for its manmade beach and wide range of activities. The park is situated just off Beijing’s Airport Expressway and features a wave pool, waterslides and a large sandy beach as well as a wave pool and amusement park. Nangao Lu. Open late May. Entry 58-128 RMB.

Liulang Natatorium

Located near the south gate of the Summer Palace, this swimming area accessible and well-priced. Swim in four pool areas: a shallow section for kids, two deeper swimming areas and a pool for dedicated swimmers. In addition to the pools, small bridges and an accessible green island give Liulang a pleasant atmosphere. Kunming Dong Lu. Open June 1. 30RMB.

Happy Magic Water Cube

Not to be confused with its Olympic namesake, this Fengtai favourite is worth the trip for its large range of rides and manageable queues. There is a wave pool and lazy river but the real draw are the wilder rides that will have older kids racing down pipes and flumes for exhilarating action. 11 Xiaotun Lu, Fengtai district. Open June. Price tbc.

Commune by the Great Wall

Make a weekend of it at this boutique hotel complex close to the Shuiguan section of the Great Wall. Stay in architecturally- designed rooms or villas with a lovely outdoor pool. There is a kids’ club too as well as tennis and private access to Great Wall hiking. Exit 53, Shuiguan G6 Jingzang Highway. Pool open May. Reservations (8118 1888)