When the weather’s warm, most of us will agree, there’s no better way to spend your day than swimming. Basking beneath a Summer sun, surrounded by fresh air and fresher water, it’s about as close as you can get to the perfect day. Best of all, you don’t have to leave the UK to do it!
Our remarkable nation is home to an absolutely astounding range of open-air swimming pools, each offering their own unique character and whimsical charm. What’s more, because we want you to have the best holiday possible, we’ve scoured the country to find the very best of them, and provide you with a list of the finest lidos in the UK.
So read on, to find your next UK swimming trip now. If you see anywhere you like, why not make a trip of it, with one of the best holiday cottages in the UK. If you’re left everything a little late but are still dreaming of a UK getaway, worry not! Just check out the best last-minute cottages in the UK.
Sandford Parks Lido
Contact details: 01242 524430
Best for: Pleasing the entire family
Set inside the beautifully landscaped gardens of Sandford Park, this premiere collection of outdoor pools is arguably the best in the country. Home to a 50-metre main pool, separate children’s pool, and a paddling pool for the littlest ones, there’s a place for every member of the family, whatever their age.
First opened in 1935, this lovely lido exudes the classiness that only an early 20th-century structure can. Best of all, the main pool is heated to a gorgeous 26 degrees, while the children’s pool is kept at a comfortable 30, meaning no one has to be nervous of diving into the icy water. The pool opens between March and October each year; there are few better places to spend the UK’s sunniest months.
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Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds
Location: Camden, London
Contact details: 020 7332 3322
Best for: A rustic swimming experience
Easily the most famous swimming spot in north and south London, these iconic outdoor ponds are worth visiting just to say you have. Nestled inside the gorgeous Hampstead Heath (one of the best places in the city for a picnic), the famous ponds are made up of three separate and secluded pools: one for men, one for women, and one for mixed groups including children over eight.
Rather than a tiled tub, each pond is a clay pit dug directly into the earth, giving you real rustic swimming experience. But don’t think for a moment that this means ponds are any less hygienic, each one is kept to the highest possible standard by the City of London Corporation. While the mixed ponds are closed during the winter season, the men’s and ladies are open all year round.
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Droitwich Spa Lido
Contact details: 01905 799342
Best for: Cleansing your skin
Hands down the greatest swimming spot in Worcestershire, this lido is home to a 40-metre pool, wet play area, and a brilliant on-site cafe, serving all the best daytime treats. The best thing about this alluring lido, however, is that it’s one of the UK’s last inland, open-air, saltwater swimming spots.
Not only is a dip in a saltwater pool great for your skin, cleansing your pores, and not leaving you itchy in the way chlorine can, it’s even been shown to reduce stress. Saltwater assists the body’s natural relaxation process, meaning however trying the kids are being, you’ll be able to stay calm and cool.
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Contact details: 01273 472334
Best for: A fascinating history
Nestled in the beautiful East Sussex town of Lewes, this picturesque pool’s tree-lined lawns, sun terrace, and exercise lane make it look like it was plucked from an English postcard.
Believed to be the oldest freshwater swimming pool in the UK, this iconic site dates back an incredible 154 years. Used for military training by troops stationed in Lewes during WWII, it’s as much of a historical attraction as a top swimming spot, drenched in a rich and fascinating past.
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Bude Sea Pool
Contact details: 01288 488118
Best for: A unique swimming experience
Another Cornish treasure to make our list, this partially human-made swimming spot blends the artificial with the natural. Its innovative design isolates a small portion of the Celtic Sea, creating a lido with the safety of swimming in a pool but the raw, natural beauty of swimming in the ocean. Not to mention, an atmosphere that no swimming session at an indoor pool can rival.
Open year-round and 24 hours a day, at 90-metres long, there’s plenty of space to play even during the busier months. Best of all, the fresh, salty sea-water is rich with health benefits, and, unlike chlorine, will leave your skin healthier than when you went in.
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Contact details: 01736 369224
Best for: A swim with a view
Opened in 1935, this appealing art deco lido was named after the year’s biggest celebration, King George V’s Silver Jubilee. Sat near Penzance Harbour, atop Cornwall’s beautiful Battery Rocks, it serves up simply staggering shots out across the Celtic Sea. The perfect place for a dip with a view, even the pool itself is easy on the eye.
Unusual, interesting, and very aesthetically pleasing, you’ll definitely be reaching for the camera at least once when you’re here. High streamlined seawalls protect swimmers from chilly winds but take nothing away from the incredible sights.
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Contact details: 01752 261915
Best for: A stunning sunset swim
The Hoe is Plymouth’s most beautiful spot, with panoramic views across the golden South West sand, and out across the Celtic Sea. Pride of place on this picturesque point is Tinside Lido, a stunning Grade II-listed outdoor swimming spot and premier tourist attraction.
The beautiful, art deco, saltwater swimming pool really is a sight to behold. With a gorgeous fountain in its centre, and the Plymouth coast to its side, it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing places in the country at any time of day, but at sunset, it’s unbeatable. As the day’s last light kisses the Celtic Sea, the pool is bathed in an orange glow, guaranteed to make yours a swim to remember.
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