Top Ten Lidos in Britain

Considering it has possibly one of the most temperamental climates in the world, it is surprising that Britainhas nurtured a century-long fascination with lidos, also known as public outdoor swimming pools. While, due to limited funding from councils, most of these historical outdoor spaces are in danger of dying out, there are still quite a few across the country keeping us cool and getting us tanned during the short and temperamental British summer.

We have brought you top beaches, top swimming pools around the world, and now we are taking you to out top British lidos. As summer draws to a close, make the most of the last few weeks of freedom to take a dip outdoors. Fear not, most of these beauties are heated.

Stonehaven open air pool

Stonehaven Open Air Pool, Aberdeen

Against the dramatic backdrop of Dunnottar Castle, this Olympic-size pool offers a warm swim with seawater heated to 29C. On Wednesday nights, when the pool is open till midnight, you can enjoy a dip under the stars too.


Sandford Parks Lido

Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham

One of the family-friendly lidos in the country offering not only a heated Olympic-size swimming pool for the more serious swimmers amongst us, but also a paddling pool, children’s pool, slides and table tennis.


clifton lido bristol

Clifton Lido, Bristol

Scandi-cool in Bristol? Yes, indeed; at Bristol Lido not only will you find a large outdoor pool but also a hot tub, sauna and steam room. It also comes with a restaurant attached where you can enjoy “swim and dine” packages.


Hinksey Pool Oxford


Hinksey Pool, Oxford

One of the local landmarks of the city, this heated pool has been a popular destination with swimmers since its launch in 1934. There is also a model boating lake as well as a play area for children, all set in park just a short walk south of the city centre.


Pells Pool

Pells Pool, Lewes, East Sussex

Having celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2011, Pells Pool is the oldest known freshwater pool in the country. You can take a dip in the spring-fed pool, soak up the sun on the terrace or have a picnic on the surrounding lawns.


tooting bec

Tooting Bec Lido, London

Open since 1906, at 90m x 30m, Tooting Bec is the largest outdoor swimming pool in the UK. Chlorine-free, it is also one of the largest freshwater pools in the UK. The bright red, yellow and green changing cubicle doors have become an iconic image.


tinside plymouth

Tinside Lido, Plymouth

This stripey, semi-circular pool was described as “one of the finest open-sea bathing centres in the country when it opened in 1935. Restored to its full Art Deco charms, it is still one of the most popular pools in the country.


Ilkley Lido

Ilkley Pool and Lido, West Yorkshire

Built to mark King George V’s Silver Jubilee in Wharfdale on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, Ilkley Pool and Lido offers an unexpected retreat north of the country where you can enjoy a dip either in the outdoor unheated freshwater pool or warm up your limbs in the indoor heated pool when it’s too cold outside for a swim. For the courageous, the lido also has on offer winter swimming sessions from September through to December.


Bourne Outdoor Pool

Bourne Outdoor Swimming Pool, South Lincolnshire

Originally the site of a monk’s fish pond, the near Olympic-size swimming pool was built at the end of the First World War. One of the largest outdoors pools in the country, it is also heated and conveniently situated in the lovely Abbey Lawns.


hampton pool

Hampton Pool, Bushy, Middlesex


Swimming all year around in a pool heated to a comforting 28C? Hampton Pool has just this, and what is more it is set within two acres of woodland next to Royal Bushy Park. In a recent article, The Sunday Times  described it as “one of Britain’s coolest, biggest, hippest pools.” This, we think, is reason enough to head to the Hampton Pool.