The Lidos and outdoor swimming pools in and around Essex that are set to reopen for summer

Outdoor swimming pools are gearing up to reopen for the summer season - with one in Essex and two just a short drive away set to launch at the end of this month. Brightlingsea Lido, near Colchester, will open on Saturday, May 25, with two other lidos a short way across the border in Hertfordshire also opening on the same day.

The Brighlingsea Lido is a 50m outdoor pool with an on-site cafe that is run by a charity and volunteers. The pool and smaller pool for younger swimmers are unheated. The cafe will be open from Thursday to Sunday, 8am until 3pm. Swimming sessions can be booked in advance on the charity's website.

The Hertfordshire pools - less than an hour's drive from Essex - are Hitchin Lido and Letchworth Lido. These pools are run by Everyone Active in partnership with North Herts Council, and have been closed for the winter break since September 2023, but are set to reopen on Saturday, May 25.

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New for this year are morning and afternoon sessions, to ensure more people can enjoy the Lidos. Whilst visitors are still welcome to turn up on the day, a new booking system has been introduced this season to help the local community plan their summer activities. Just download the Everyone Active app or visit their website.

As the new operator of the sites, Everyone Active has also invested in a number of new sun loungers available for hire at each facility, as well as Public Wi-Fi across both Lidos. Planned additions to the Lidos include table tennis tables.

Part of Hitchin Swimming and Fitness Centre, Hitchin Lido features a heated 50m outdoor pool which is ideal for both leisure and lane swimming. The facility also boasts a smaller, shallower pool and play area ideal for children and a large sunbathing terrace.

Nestled in Letchworth’s Norton Common sits Letchworth Lido. Also complete with a heated 50m pool, the facility features a smaller teaching pool to act as the perfect stepping stone for younger children as they discover swimming and other water-based activities, whilst having fun during weekends and school holidays.

One of the Lidos in Hertfordshire
One of the Lidos in Hertfordshire -Credit:Everyone Active

Richard MacSweeney, well-known and highly regarded Duty Manager at the Lido, said: “We are thrilled to be opening the doors once again for the local community to come and enjoy our wonderful facilities here at Letchworth Lido.

“Offering the use of the pool to people of all ages and abilities – from young children learning to swim to seniors who reunite every summer – is something that makes me very proud. I learnt to swim in this very pool, so ensuring local children have the same opportunity I did is really important to me.

“Having worked at this centre for over 20 years, I know just how much of an integral part of the summer season the Lido is to the people of North Herts. I am confident this year we will see even more young people and families enjoy our pool in the sunshine thanks to extra hands on board and the continued community feel of the space.”