11 best outdoor swimming pools in the UK: take a dip, now you can, at our favourite lidos

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  • Lidos, outdoor swimming pools and sports centres are open again. Grab your swimming costume...

    Lockdown is finally easing, which means that restaurants, bars and pubs are opening their outdoor terraces and rooftop bars again, gyms are reopening, and lidos are flinging open their doors once more.

    Just like home workouts and Joe Wicks YouTube videos, swimming can be a great workout, with one Swim England study finding the sport not only improves both physical and mental fitness, but lowers your risk of early death by 28%.

    Save you missing out on a spot, we’ve been busy rounding up the best outdoor swimming pools in the UK for you.

    Opening dates will vary from venue to venue, but we’ve indicated under each when you can book. From glorious open air spots on the coast in Cornwall to central London pools that’ll help you forget the hustle and bustle of the big City, there’s an outdoor swimming pool for everyone and every budget.

    Now all you need is your swimming costume, goggles, cap and, well, to actually manage to get a booking… which is shaping up to be pretty hard, as everyone and their Mother seems as excited to get back in the pool as we are. Top tip: make a note of when your pool allows you to make bookings and try to be online or by the phone then.

    11 best outdoor swimming pools in the UK

    1. Tinside Lido, Plymouth

    Overlooking the sea and decked out with a cafe and spacious terrace, Tinside Lido can be found at the tip of Plymouth Hoe and is the ideal spot for swimming.

    Opening? Saturday 1st May

    Entry fee: £5

    Best outdoor swimming pools in the UK: Plymouth's lido

    2. Ilkley Pool and Lido, Ilkley

    Enjoy views of Ilkley Moor as you take a refreshing dip in the lido. Although, do note here, if you’re a fair weather swimmer, that it’s not heated – one for those who love a bit of cold water therapy.

    Opening? Monday 12th April

    Entry fee: £4.80

    Outdoor swimming pools in the UK: Ilkley Lido

    3. Thames Lido, Reading

    Definitely not your standard lido, this one is set by the river Thames in King’s Meadow park and is the result of an intensive three-year restoration project. The original pool was built in 1902 with a budget just under £5,000. It includes a restaurant, tapas bar and spa – we’re talking hot-stone massages, saunas and hot tub, the lot.

    Opening? Monday 12th April

    Entry fee: £20

    4. Lido Ponty, Pontypridd

    With three swimming areas (admittedly, one of these is a splash pool), the Lido Ponty has come a long way since it was first built in 1927.

    Opening? Monday 10th August

    Entry fee: £2

    5. Gourock Pool, Gourock

    A dip in this 33-metre saltwater lido comes with spectacular views of the Holy Loch. Gourock Pool, located on the banks of the River Clyde, is the oldest heated swimming pool in Scotland and includes a gorgeous waterfront gym that’ll make you want to follow up your laps with a session on the treadmill.

    Opening? Friday 7th May

    Entry fee: £4.30

    6. Brockwell Lido

    Head to Herne Hill in London and you’ll find Brockwell Lido, an outdoor swimming pool first opened in July 1937. Since then, it’s closed once, but after a petition from local campaigners, re-opened once more four years later.

    Opening? Already open.

    Price: £8

    7. London Fields Lido

    Over in East London, you’ll find London Fields Lido, a hackney-based outdoor swimming pool best known for its rainbow coloured changing room doors. It’s 50m long, heated to 25 degrees c, and normally open year round no matter the weather. Find it in the north-west corner of London Fields Park.

    Opening? Already opened.

    Price: £5.10

    8. Jubilee Pool 

    Fun fact: Jubilee pool is the UK’s largest and, according to its website, most celebrated, art deco sea water lido. Situated in Penzance, Cornwall, it’s a real beauty – like something out of a Wes Anderson movie. A bucket list open air swimming pool, for sure.

    Opening? Monday 13th April

    Price: £4.25

    9. Cowley Manor, Cotswolds

    Now this is what you call a hotel with an amazing outdoor pool. Surrounded by 55 acres of manicured gardens, the outdoor pool is large enough for serious swimmers, and ideal if you fancy switching between perfecting your breaststroke and enjoying the treatments at the C-Side Spa.

    Opening? Monday 12th April

    Price: Rates start from £205 per room per night.

    10. The Mondarin, London

    Planned for completion next year, the soon-to-be-opened Mondarin will mark the brands return to London. The Curtain Members’ Club will continue to operate alongside the re-branded hotel, providing a world-class offering to members and an amazing lido on the rooftop. Not one to miss.

    Opening? Soon.

    Price: Rates still to be announced with the relaunch.

    11. Sidmouth Harbour Hotel, Devon

    With a gorgeous seafront pool, this hotel is a great option if you fancy dipping your toes in the water while enjoying the beautiful red cliffs of the Jurassic Coast in East Devon.

    Opening? Monday 17th May

    Price: Rates start from £190 per room per night.

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