Outdoor swimming

Lidos: A dip with a difference

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28 Feb
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For anyone who’s keen for a change from doing laps of their local pool, but can’t face taking the plunge into a natural pond, there’s a way you can get all of the thrills of swimming in the great outdoors without going fully ‘wild’.

Popular in the heyday of the 1930s, lidos (meaning ‘shore’ in Italian) are outdoor pools, celebrating the joys of swimming in the fresh air. With many of these open-air venues being unheated, it can be a shock to the system - but an invigorating one - to take a splash in some of the oldest public swimming spots in the country.

So, as the warmer weather tempts us to venture beyond our regular pools, it’s time to dive a bit deeper into outdoor swimming, and see what a few of Britain’s lidos have to offer.

Parliament Hill Lido, London

Head to leafy north London and you’ll find a huge (about 60m) expanse of water, just waiting for you to take a dip. With cool art-deco styling and plenty of space, Parliament Hill pool is lined with stainless steel, giving the water a little shimmer as you swim.

Outdoor swimming - Lidos: A dip with a difference - Tinside Lido Plymouth

Tinside Lido, Plymouth

Built in 1935, Tinside Lido is a salt-water pool open between May and September - which means it’s great for soaking up the summer sunshine on the sun deck, or making a splash with an amazing view of Plymouth’s coastline.

Saltdean Lido, Brighton

Not far from the city of Brighton, swim in the warm (yes, this one’s heated!) blue waters of Saltdean Lido, or sunbathe on its landscaped lawns when arms get tired. Built in the ‘30s, in an era of British seaside holidays, it’s recently renovated pools make it a top place for a summer dip.

Jubilee Pool, Penzance

With art-deco features and a perfect spot on Penzance’s promenade, swimming in Jubilee Pool’s salt water is just another way to enjoy all that the Cornish coast has to offer. It’s a great way of enjoying the feeling of swimming in fresh seawater without having to battle the waves when the weather gets rough.

Bude sea pool

About as natural as a lido gets, Bude sea pool is filled from the tides straight from the ocean. It’s good to be mindful that the depth can vary, and the sea can wash in sand and stones, but the natural beauty of this sea pool makes it a great place for easy-going days out by the ocean. For more info see: https://www.budeseapool.org/frequently-asked-questions/

Make a splash this summer and venture into the world of outdoor swimming.

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