10 best lidos and outdoor pools in the UK

·8-min read

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 34C in the south-west on Friday.

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.

Yet, as pools can get quite busy, it’s always a good idea to check the pool’s website to see if you need to pre-book.

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

Where? 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.

Opening times are Mondays to Fridays, 7am to 3.30pm, and weekends, 7am to 5pm. Tickets cost £6 for an adult swim or £160 for a season ticket.

Admission: Adult £6.

Visit the website here.

Bude Sea Pool

Where? 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, and admission is free.

Admission: free.

Visit the website here.

Brockwell Lido

Where? Herne Hill, South London.

One of London's most attractive heated pools, the art deco lido built in 1937 is celebrating its 85th birthday in 2022.

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.

Pool sessions are available to adults for £8, and children over five years old for £5, and sessions should be booked online before arriving. Opening hours are from 6.30am to 9pm, Monday to Thursday; 6.30am to 7pm on Fridays; and 7.30am to 6.30pm on weekends.

Admission: Adult £8, child £5.

Visit the website here.

Droitwich Spa Lido

Where? 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.

All lido sessions must be pre-booked before visiting, and can be done so on the pool’s app or online.

Admission: Adult from £4, child (over 4) from £3.50. Memberships begin at £38 per month.

Visit the website here.

Hathersage Swimming Pool

Where? 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.

Tickets for non-members are released every Friday to book for the week ahead (Monday to Sunday), and the lido holds monthly night swims to live music.

Admission: Adult £7, child £4, and under-4s free. Season passes start from £177.

Visit the website here.

Jubilee Pool

Where? 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 has a main pool, a geothermal pool, an all-weather changing room, and treatment rooms.

The Jubilee Pool Café sits on the site’s top terrace and offers a seasonal takeaway menue including local tray bakes from St Ives Bakery.

It will be open seven days a week from July, and season memberships start from £28 per month or £176.40 up front.

Admission: Adult £6 for the main pool, £11.75 for the heated geothermal pool. Child £4.50 for the main pool, £8.20 for the heated pool. Under-4s free.

Visit the website here.

Parliament Hill Fields Lido

Where? 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 60m open-air lido is unheated, but wetsuits are permitted at the lifeguard’s discretion. Lane swimming is available between 7am to 10am, and 6pm and 8.30pm most days, with the evening session unavailable on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Open swimming sessions are available from 10.30am to 1.30pm, and 2.30pm to 5.30pm every day.

Morning and evening sessions do not require bookings, but the open swimming sessions do. Tickets are released on Monday at midday for the week ahead.

It also boasts a paddling pool for under-fives and a cafe.

Admission: Adult £7.45, Child £2.25.

Visit the website here.

Bristol Lido

Where? 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 spa boasts a sauna, steam room, and hot tub, while the chlorine levels in the pool are kept as low as possible thanks to the lido’s “wash naked” policy.

Non-members can pre-book a two-hour session which includes access to the pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub for £20. Slots are available from 10am to 3pm daily. Children’s access is restricted to between 2pm and 4pm, but these do not need to be pre-booked.

Memberships start from £69 per month, and includes access to the pool and spa facilities from 7am to 10pm daily.

Admission: Adult £20, Child £7.50

Visit the website here.

London Fields Lido

Where? 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, and opening hours are 6.30am to 9pm.

Admission: Adult £5.40, Child £3.15.

Visit the website here.

Stonehaven Open Air Pool

Where? 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.

The pool is open from July to September each year, with admissions from 10am to 7.30pm most days, but it is open until midnight on Wednesdays.

Admission: Adult £6.20 (£8.30 for the midnight swim), Child £3.90 (£5.55 for the midnight swim).

Visit the website here.

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