Outdoor swimming: The best pools and lidos to visit in the UK during the heatwave

Sarah Young
·10-min read
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PA

This week, the Met Office has warned that a heatwave is set to sweep over parts of the UK, with temperatures expected to soar as high as 36C in the south-east on Friday.

With the arrival of warmer weather and many still anxious to plan trips abroad, it is welcome news that outdoor swimming pools were allowed to reopen in England from Saturday 11 July as part of the government’s ongoing plan to ease lockdown restrictions.

Whether you’re a lover of alfresco dips, are looking for an alternative way to get fit or want to fill your summer with some family-friendly activities, a trip to one of the UK’s many outdoor pools should feature highly on your to-do list.

But, as pools begin to reopen, guests should expect some changes, including varied opening times and the need to pre-book. So be sure to check with the venue before visiting.

From Brighton to Cornwall and South London, The Independent has put together a list of some of the country’s best outdoor swimming spots that will guarantee you the best of British summer.

So, all that’s left for you to do is strip off, jump in and enjoy some alfresco fun.

Saltdean Lido

Saltdean, Brighton

Opened in 1938, Saltdean is the only Grade II-listed coastal lido in the country and has even been described as one of the seven wonders of the English seaside by Historic England.

After undergoing restoration, the heated pool re-opened in 2017 when it successfully welcomed over 40,000 visitors and picked up two Brighton & Hove Business Awards - Best New Kid on the Block & Best Hospitality Leisure & Tourism.

The venue is currently open to guests with social distancing in place to ensure visitors have a safe and enjoyable visit. Visitors must pre-book online a 50-minute slot with the FUSION APP, which will enable the pool to comply with the government's test and trace service and ensure there is plenty of space with no more than the permitted number of users.

When booking, swimmers will be given an arrival time which will enable access within a 10-minute time period. Visitors must arrive with swimming costumes already on and with any equipment such as floats or goggles as changing rooms will be closed. There will also be a reduced number of showers available for use.

Opening times are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and weekends from 7am-7pm and tickets cost £8 for an adult swim or £150 for a season ticket option up until Sunday 13th September.

Admission: Adult £8.00

Visit the website here

Bude Sea Pool

Bude, Cornwall

A semi-natural amenity that was built in the 1930s to provide a safe environment for people to swim in, the Bude Sea Pool lies under the curve of the cliffs in a picturesque conservation area near the civil parish of Bude-Stratton.

Almost 50,000 people visit Bude Sea Pool every year, making it the number one visitor attraction in the town. Access to the pool is unrestricted and free of any admission charge.

The pool is currently managed by the Friends of Bude Sea Pool (FoBSP), a local charity that aims to preserve, improve and enhance the site for the benefit of the local community and thousands of people who visit the town every year.

Visitors do not need to book slots to visit the pool, however they are asked to respect the venue's social distancing signage around the pool areas.

Admission: Free

Visit the website here

Brockwell Lido

Herne Hill, South London

One of London's most attractive heated pools the art deco lido built in 1937 celebrated its 80th birthday in 2017.

The much-loved local landmark boasts an award-winning cafe, ivy-covered brick and sundecks, making the whole place feel like an oasis amid the urban chaos.

The Grade II-listed location was the focus of Lucy Blakstad's documentary Lido, which was first broadcast on BBC Two in 1995, and was the setting for a Libby Page's book called The Lido that was a bestseller in 2018.

Visitors are required to pre-book slots for 50 minute swim sessions and will be given a 10 minute entry window. Changing rooms and lockers are currently out of use and they ask that swimmers arrive pre-changed, using the designated areas for towels and bags. There will be an accessible toilet which will be cleaned regularly.

Currently, the sessions are for adults only (aged 16+). Under 16's will not be allowed access to the pool, regardless of swimming ability.

Admission: Adult £8

Visit the website here

Droitwich Spa Lido

Droitwich Spa, Worcestershire

The Droitwich Spa Lido, like so many others, went through a period of decline in the 20th century, until a massive refurbishment over the period of two years meant it opened its doors once more in the summer of 2007.

Now it is one of Britain’s last remaining inland, open air saltwater pools and is heated to a Mediterranean 23C.

The lido also boasts a sun terrace, café and children’s wet play area with water cannons and fountains.

The venue will be re-opening from 1 August 2020 and will open for a six week period up to 13 September. During this time, the pool will only be allowing a reduced number of swimmers at any one time and sessions will be limited to two hours. Visitors will be able to book up to two days in advance and make all payments online.

Admission: Adult £5.50, Child £4

Visit the website here

Hathersage Swimming Pool

Hathersage, Derbyshire

An open-air swimming pool nestled in the hills of the Peak District, Hathersage Swimming Pool first opened way back in 1936.

With water heated to 28C, hot poolside showers, lawns and views of Stanage Edge and Hathersage Church, the spot continues to be a popular tourist attraction.

Over the last few years the Parish Council and local people have raised over £100,000 to replace the old fashioned changing facilities and install disabled toilets, with further refurbishment planned for the future.

The pool is now open and all tickets must be pre-booked online. Guests must arrive ready to swim and to shower post-swim at home to minimise time spent in the changing rooms. Lockers will be available for use and sterilised once a day.

Admission: Adult £7, Child £4

Visit the website here

Jubilee Pool

Penzance, Cornwall

Battered by storms in 2014, and following two years of closure and a £3 million restoration, the Jubilee Pool opened its doors wide again in 2016.

This spectacularly sited lido down on the foreshore is currently undergoing construction to build a geothermal pool, new all-weather changing room and treatment rooms. Open every day from late May until October.

Jubilee Pool is now open to guests but all bookings must be made in advance and no walk-in tickets will be available.

Only changing rooms without doors will be available for use this season and there will not be any showers available at the pool. Visitors are asked to arrive at the pool wearing their swimming kit under their clothes.

Admission: Adult £5, Child £3.50

Visit the website here

Parliament Hill Fields Lido

Gospel Oak, North London

Built in 1938 and Grade II-listed, the Parliament Hill Fields Lido is the only stainless steel lined outdoor pool in the country which gives the water a metallic shimmer.

The lido is unheated, but wetsuits are permitted at the lifeguard’s discretion. There are two sessions a day (7-9am and 10am-6pm) with an additional adults-only evening session on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. It also boasts a paddling pool for under-fives and a cafe.

The venue re-opened to guests on Saturday 18 July and is operating with a pre-booking system online. There is also a phone booking system available for those with additional access requirements or who cannot book online.

Each swim session will last 60 minutes and will have a limited number of swimmers.

Admission: Adult £4, Child £2.40

Visit the website here

Bristol Lido

Clifton, Bristol

Grade II-listed, and the oldest heated outdoor swimming pool in Britain, Bristol's lido has good reason to feel proud of its heritage.

A secluded oasis tucked within a charming courtyard of Georgian terraces, it's a positively chic hang-out, with a restaurant and spa making it feel more like a luxury hotel than your average council pool. It's open daily year-round and is heated to 20-24 degrees.

The lido has been open to members only in recent weeks however it has just started taking non-member adult swims.

Guests have been pre-booking 40 minute swim and hot tub sessions with a maximum capacity of nine people at a time.

Any non-members should call up from 9am and check if there are spaces and pay £10 for a 40 minute session.

In the current climate, the venue is not yet allowing children's access to the pool.

Admission: Adult £20, Child £7.50

Visit the website here

London Fields Lido

Hackney, East London

London Fields Lido in Hackney boasts a 50m Olympic size, heated outdoor pool that’s open all year round.

The swimming pool offers lane swimming all day, while swimming lessons for children and adults, and one-to-one swimming lessons are available during its dedicated swimfit sessions.

Facilities also include a café as well as a large sundeck and sunbathing area.

The pool is open to visitors seven days a week. However, its owners have warned guests that activities and facilities offered at the location may experience temporary closures or changes to opening hours and/or services provided during the ongoing pandemic.

Admission: Adult £5.10, Child £3

Visit the website here

Stonehaven Open Air Pool

Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Stonehaven might have an average summer daytime temperature of 15 degrees, but who cares when the water in this pool – which was built in 1934 – is heated to a balmy 29 degrees?

Britain's most northerly lido, the Olympic-sized 50m pool offers fun sessions for children, lane swimming and even midnight swims that mean you can take a dip beneath the stars to disco music.

Unfortunately, the pool will remain closed for the remainder of the 2020 season. However, its owners have said they will update customers on their website with any updates and news of 2021 opening times.

Admission: Adult £5.60, Child £3.45

Visit the website here