Many of the UK’s 100 plus lidos are seasonal, and in the depths of winter they hibernate under a silent blanket of leaves. We all miss them, but the colder months can be an ideal opportunity for a lido road trip to get your fix at a year round pool. The number of pools opening year round is growing, slowly but steadily, and for those of us who dread the winter retreat to the indoor fish tank this can only be a good thing.
If you want to keep the sky above you, even while the weather is raging, this round up of year round pools will help you get your fresh air fix: The weather outside is frightful, but the water stays quite delightful, says lido fan Emma Pusill. . Opening hours can vary wildly during the winter months, so refer to the websites for the latest news.
See this Collection of Winter Opening Pools on the wildswim.com map for pictures and extras. wildswim.com is a crowd sourced map - please do add images and descriptions to these pools and any other swim others might want to share.
EDITORS NOTE: Emma Pusill is currently crowd-funding to write her book The Lido Guide, a complete guide to all the UK’s publicly accessible open-air pools. You can pledge for a first edition of The Lido Guide at https://unbound.com/books/lidoguide
A glitzy, privately run oasis of blue in the heart of the city. Pricey, at £20 for a 3 hour session, but worth it for a winter treat. Heated to around 23c, and use of the sauna, steam room and hot tub are included.
A fabulous 50m pool in south London. Charlton will suit the serious swimmer and the splash-about dipper in equal measure.
A 25m pool that has recently been re-lined, and is now looking super smart. Worth indulging in some back-stroke in the hope of catching a glimpse of red kites circling overhead.
Open 365 days a year, and heated year round, Hampton represents 36m of unadulterated bliss in south west London. There is a varied programme of events and sessions, and a separate small pool for children; this pool has something for everyone.
Formerly derelict, this 50m pool is now a fine example of its kind. Floodlighting extends the winter hours, and this pool caters particularly well to lane swimmers. Due to close at some stage this winter, for some repairs, so definitely phone ahead if you’re making a trip.
A rooftop 25m pool in the heart of London, nestled between apartments and the sky. Often busy, but always worth it.
PARK ROAD POOLS
One or two sessions a day, depending on the day of the week. See the published timetable for this 33m lido; plenty on site to keep the whole family busy while you swim.
This 50m pool is new to year round opening and appears to be making a raging success of it. After dark the underwater lighting is breathtakingly beautiful.
This 50m pool is blessed with one of the best lido cafes there is, and a poolside sauna. Brockwell natives are fiercely passionate about their home pool, and it’s easy to see why. So make sure you plan in plenty of time when visiting.
BUCKFASTLEIGH OPEN AIR POOL
One of Devon’s gems, rescued against the odds by the local community. Cold water sessions on Saturday mornings, with excellent cake available. In 2016 there are heated session on Boxing Day. This pool runs on a financial knife edge, so show them a lot of love.
HILLINGDON / UXBRIDGE
Beautifully renovated to show off the clean and simple lines of the Grade II listed 50m pool and buildings. Call ahead if travelling as outdoor pool opens on restricted hours in winter.
PARLIAMENT HILL LIDO
A spectacular stainless steel liner puts this 66m pool in a leaguer of its own. In the depths of winter it feels like swimming in an iceberg. No frills changing area, but a good sized sauna more than makes up for that.
Image: Kate Rew by Dominick Tyler , for their book Wild Swim (see OSS Shop).
This 50m pool is heated. But only to 12 degrees; that’s cold enough to put it in the unheated section. Sadly the flumes aren’t open in winter but it’s still well worth a visit.
This beautiful pool in the Peak District has extended its heated season to the end of October, then gradually reduces the temperature becoming unheated in December. A great community run pool, with a smashing café.
New to winter opening for 2016, with weekend cold water sessions available. The situation after Christmas is unclear, so contact the pool if travelling. Hot showers and catering available, and sometimes a fire pit to warm your hands after a swim.
SEA POOLS & OCCASIONAL OPENERS
If you prefer your water salty sea pools are good news for the winter swimmer. Bude Sea Pool, Clevedon Marine Lake and Walpole Bay Sea Pool all open all year round. Tunnels Beaches in Ilfracombe has previously opened on New Years Day, but do call ahead to check if travelling.
Lidos opening occasionally in winter include Sandford Parks and Lido Ponty. Tooting Bec opens in winter on a members only basis, and this year Ilkely has done the same although those sessions have now ended. Portishead Open Air Pool was not able to run cold water sessions this winter, due to repairs, but will be back in action in 2017.
Emma Pusill, December 2016
- A complete guide to all the UK’s publicly accessible open-air pools is currently under production, and you can pledge for a first edition of The Lido Guide at https://unbound.com/books/lidoguide