It has finally happened: outdoor and indoor pools in England are officially open again. Make the most of the warm temperatures sweeping the country and dive straight in – whether that's an exclusive and slinky rooftop pool, or a beautiful clifftop natural pond for a dip with an ocean view. Make a splash in enormous creations on country house estates, or paddle about in family-friendly spots. From Cornwall to the Cotswolds and Hampshire to Hertfordshire, discover the best hotel pools for this summer.
It's not too often a swimming pool can be partially blamed for bringing down the government. This pool can. In 1963 on a hot summer's day, 19-year-old model Christine Keeler peeled off her clothes and went for a dip. John Profumo (the then Secretary of State for War) spied her naked body, and so began their subsequent affair – resulting in his resignation and further political turmoil. Today, the listed pool is equally as refreshing, and it reopened on Saturday 11 July for residents. The indoor pools are open for residents and members, and will open to day guests from September.
Read the full review: Cliveden
Rudds Lulworth Cove, Dorset
Talk about a special spot. The outdoor pool at this charming b&b with just 11 rooms is perched on a cliff above Lulworth Cove, and so benefits from expansive blue views. Nearby you can amble along the Jurassic Coast to oggle at Durdle Door (just a 20-minute walk away), brace yourself for an afternoon of adrenaline-packed coasteering, or scavenge for fossils down at the water's edge. But for a chilled-out day, you're best to simply pitch up poolside. The pool reopened to guests on July 11.
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
Framed by trimmed hedges, lush trees and lavender-filled urns, the courtyard pool at Chewton Glen has a chilled-out and exclusive feel, and reopened to residents on July 11. The greenery seems apt given the New Forest location and provides natural shade when it gets hot, but there's plenty of parasols should you require them too. The hotel's spa has a 17-metre indoor pool with views of the garden for days when the weather simply won't cooperate (reopened on July 25 for residents and members). Day guests will be able to use the pools from September.
Read the full review: Chewton Glen
The Scarlet, Cornwall
This clifftop freshwater pool is naturally filtered by reeds and offers excellent vistas along the Cornish coast and out to sea. Fringed in by granite rocks as well as the reeds, it feels more like a wild swimming spot than a glossy hotel pool. Log-fired hot tubs further along the cliff are just the ticket for warming up after a cold plunge. Both pools reopened on July 11 with focus on hygiene and cleanliness. They are not planning a booking service as of yet, but relying on guests to swim at a safe distance to each other (the pools rarely get too busy as there's so much to see and do in the immediate area).
Read the full review: The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall
St Enodoc Hotel, Cornwall
Originally built in 1924 as a private house, St Enodoc was transformed in 1999 into one of Cornwall’s first seaside-chic boutique hotels. It's a modern coastal retreat flooded with light, delivering a fresh and contemporary style with an emphasis on brightly coloured furnishings and fabrics. With its elevated position, St Enodoc boasts sweeping views over the Camel estuary, and the hotel has been designed to make the most of its stunning surrounds, with large terrace areas leading onto well-manicured lawns with ample seating. Here you can find an outdoor pool.
Read the full review: St Enodoc Hotel
Polurrian on The Lizard
In the most southerly point on the UK's mainland, this luxury coastal hotel is perched on the clifftops of the Lizard Peninsula, above a private beach. The hotel is a backdrop for family adventures, designed to make the most of the outdoors. A large terrace leads out from the Vista lounge, surrounded by pretty clifftop gardens with a children's play area, home to snakes and ladders and hopscotch, an outdoor pool and tennis court. The outdoor pool reopened on July 11 with bookable time slots, and the indoor pool from July 25.
Read the full review: Polurrian on The Lizard
Burgh Island Hotel
The beach connecting Burgh Island to the mainland sits just beneath the hotel, but not only does it disappear twice a day, rendering the island accessible by sea tractor only, the water can also be pretty chilly without a wetsuit. Noticeably warmer and much more secluded is the truly spectacular Mermaid's Pool. This natural seawater pool was secured during the Second World War by a sluice gate and is surrounded by rocks. The vista is magnificent simply to survey from a deckchair on the hotel's back lawn; but swimming in it feels really quite magical. A wooden podium in the middle accessed somewhat inelegantly by hauling oneself up on a rope offers prime tanning opportunity.
Read the full review: Burgh Island Hotel
Ellenborough Park, Gloucestershire
The golden Cotswolds stone buildings bordering the 15-metre pool make for a chic countryside setting. The pool, which has been available to use since the hotel reopened on July 16, is toasty year-round (heated to 30 degrees Centigrade in all seasons), but summer is the time it's in its prime – when you can relax on the stone-paved terrace and snack on truffle and parmesan chips post swim. Signs will remind guests to keep social distancing when swimming, and only five guests will be allowed in at any one time. Loungers will also be placed a safe distance to each other.
Read the full review: Ellenborough Park
The Nare Hotel, Cornwall
The bay-side outdoor pool is heated to a balmy 30 degrees Centigrade, usually open from May to October. This year the pool reopened on July 11, with no more than four guests allowed in at any one time. From the water, guests can see across the hotel's gardens down to the beach and out to sea. Purple and pink hydrangeas bring a nice pop of colour to the view. Afterwards, don't miss a session in the adjoining, ocean-view hot tub.
Read the full review: The Nare Hotel
Hambleton Hall, Rutland
This is a magnificent example of a luxurious and beautifully run country house hotel. The house exudes a feeling of controlled and carefully orchestrated wellbeing without ever feeling unnatural or overly theatrical. Its good looks are matched by the surrounding gardens and the beautiful view of Rutland Water from the lovely flower-filled terrace and parterre. The outside pool is a highlight, and with eight well placed loungers cleaned between each use, it's perfectly set up for social distancing rules. Note that the changing area will be locked until restrictions ease, with guests requested to use their bedrooms instead.
Read the full review: Hambleton Hall
Calcot Manor, Cotswolds
With a wall of lush greenery on one side, Calcot Manor's outdoor pool is a lovely place for a dip in the summer months. It's usually open from May to September, which is the best time to visit anyway, when the surrounding 220 acres of meadowland and gardens are in full bloom. This year the indoor and outdoor pools reopened on July 25, bookable each day from 8am-8pm. Guests will be asked to shower and get changed in their rooms before using the pool.
Read the full review: Calcot Manor
Maison Talbooth, Essex
The swimming pool at Maison Talbooth gets extra points for its adjoining pool house that's kitted out with a log fire that burns all day. During July and August, Maison Talbooth will only be available for a minimum stay of three nights to minimise any risk of spreading the virus. A maximum of 24 guests will be able to stay in the hotel's 12 rooms at any one time and in the pool area the sunbeds will be generously spaced in pairs. Regular cleaning regimes and hand sanitisers will be in place, and a large towel will be supplied every day to cover the cushion on the sunbed.
Read the full review: Maison Talbooth
Thurlestone Hotel, Devon
Thurlestone's heated outdoor pool, surrounded by verdant gardens, also includes an adjacent children's paddling area. There's plenty of space for splashing around, and the dolphins and fish painted onto the floor of the pool fit in with the family-friendly atmosphere. Numbers are currently restricted with possible booking times at busy periods and changing rooms are closed (robes are provided in bedrooms).
Read the full review: Thurlestone Hotel
Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa, West Sussex
The pool at this beamed, ivy-clad hotel is part of the more contemporary spa building and has swim-through access to the outdoors. It reopened on July 15 with measures in place from its ‘Be together, safely space. Enjoy yourselves and respect others.’ plan. The indoor pool reopened on July 27, and the spa will reopen in September. In terms of rooms, choose between traditional rooms in the historic manor or modern spa suites above the pool.
Read the full review: Ockenden Manor Hotel & Spa
Park House Hotel & Spa, West Sussex
The modern PH² O spa at Park House has both indoor and outdoor heated pools which reopen for guests and members on July 11, and non-residents in August. Additional cleaning procedures and social distancing measures will be in place, and guests will need to book time slots when using the pool outside.
Read the full review: Park House Hotel & Spa
New Park Manor, New Forest
This family-friendly bolthole in the New Forest may be small in size but it’s big on facilities. Contemporary details blend seamlessly with 17th-century features like fireplaces, stained-glass windows, a coat of arms, and acorn and oak-leaf patterned doors. As well as an outdoor swimming pool, the spa includes hydrotherapy pools, thermal rooms, a foot spa, 'experience' shower and outdoor hot tub, plus relaxation areas.
Read the full review: New Park Manor
Woolley Grange, Wiltshire
This 17th-century home with extensive gardens is a firm favourite with families visiting Bath and the Wiltshire countryside. Inside, its two lounges are inviting, allowing parents to monitor play with a drink by the fireside. Outside, the gardens are home to a static tractor, a pig, chickens, a scarecrow, a giant tree swing and a fairy garden. A modern, attractive Elemis spa overlooks the hotel's walled vegetable garden, and the outdoor pool is heated. From July 25, the indoor pools are open to guests.
Read the full review: Woolley Grange
Please note, our writers reviewed these hotels prior to the coronavirus pandemic. While all have July, August or September reopening dates, always check the hotel's website before booking.