Britain may not be the first place that springs to mind when thinking about sunbathing by the pool and outdoor swimming, but it should be. Although our weather can be unpredictable, there are lots of amazing lidos and open-air swimming pools that are just waiting to be discovered. With British holidays on the increase, we’ve scoured the country for some of the UK’s best outdoor pools and these were our favourites…
1. Jubilee Pool, Penzance
Just under 45 minutes from Lizard Point Holiday Park and located on the picturesque coastline of Cornwall, Penzance’s Jubilee Pool is one of Cornwall’s top attractions. With magnificent Art Deco architecture dating back to its opening in 1935, the pool has recently been restored and is now grander than ever, with its unique Cubist style changing rooms and streamlined pool structure. With a licensed café for adults, a baby pool for the little ones and a giant inflatable to play on, Jubilee Pool is a great place for the whole family.
Whilst you’re in the area, visit The Bay Restaurant, which offers delicious local seafood and stunning views stretching across the beautiful Mount’s Bay.
2. Hathersage Swimming Pool, Peak District
Swim with the beautiful surrounding views of the Peak District at Hathersage Swimming Pool. At home in a quaint village, the pool has been around since the 1930s when philanthropist Mr George Lawrennce donated a number of gifts to the area. Set to give local residents and visitors the wonderful opportunity to experience a heated outdoor swimming pool, a trip to Hathersage is incredible in almost all weather conditions.
After recent renovations, the pool will bring joy to outdoor swimmers and visiting families for years to come. The adjoining cafe is ready to refuel you afterwards, but if you fancy bringing your own snacks or picnic there is a lawned seating area with breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. If a heated outdoor pool doesn’t take your fancy, visit in October and November for an invigorating cold splash!
3. Ilkley Pool and Lido, Yorkshire
With the famous moorland providing a beautiful backdrop, Ilkley Lido is certainly a pool with a view. Under 45 minutes from Todber Valley Holiday Park, the lido is known as one of the best outdoor pools in the North of England.
There’s an indoor and outdoor pool, so whatever the weather you can enjoy a splash amongst this scenic setting. Although swimming is the most popular activity, you can also relax at a yoga class, or enjoy a game of tennis with the family.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are plenty of places to enjoy a bite to eat. Take a seat at the lido’s popular Art Deco style café, or set up a picnic on the lawns. Alternatively, for a more sophisticated option, check out the iconic Bettys Café Tea Room in Ilkley town, famously known as “The Home of Afternoon Tea.”
4. Shap Swimming Pool, Cumbria
Just half an hour from Gatebeck Holiday Park and 45 minutes from Fallbarrow Holiday Park , Shap open-air swimming pool is one of the most visited outdoor pools in the UK. At 900 ft above sea level, the Lake District wonder is the highest heated pool in the entire country. Swim in the 20-metre pool or enjoy the smaller paddling pool which is perfect for little ones.
Shap pool opened in the 1980s and is still open today thanks to a team of amazing volunteers. They’ve kept the open-air pool around for generations to come but also run a small shop for refreshments and make sure the picnic tables and benches are up to standard for amazing family days out.
5. Gourock Outdoor Pool, Renfrewshire
Just 20 minutes from Wemyss Bay Holiday Park is Gourock Outdoor Pool, Scotland’s oldest lido. Whether you want to be daring on the diving boards or take in the beautiful views of the River Clyde, there’s endless fun to be had. As an alternative to swimming, popular aqua classes are held here too, and the newly refurbished gym offers a contemporary and modern space to exercise.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head off for a delicious meal. There are plenty of places nearby, including cafes, coffee shops and restaurants, serving up the traditional seaside cuisine of fish and chips.
Scotland also boasts some of the darkest skies in Europe, making it one of the best places to stargaze. Visit the pool by night for a midnight swim under the stars, the perfect activity for a warm summer evening.
6. Stonehaven Open Air Pool, Aberdeen
The epic Olympic-size pool that is the Stonehaven Open Air Pool in Aberdeen is a beautiful heated pool filled with filtered seawater. At home in a listed Art Deco building, Stonehaven opened in the 1930s and is now funded by the local community group, Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Pool. The group works in close partnership with the council to run, maintain and enhance the amazing attraction for the area. Stonehaven also has an amazing paddling pool for under 8s, making it more popular than ever with families, tourists and locals alike.
Once all that swimming has got your belly rumbling, you can enjoy hot food, drinks and snacks at The Splash Cafe, with a takeaway window for swimmers or a sit-in service for those who have dried off. However, they only take cash so don’t forget to bring your wallet or purse!
7. Tinside Lido, Plymouth
Just under an hour from both Challaborough Bay Holiday Park and Torquay Holiday Park, Tinside Lideo is an iconic Art Deco inspired round pool has great views overlooking The Sound, one of Plymouth’s most popular bays. From small fishing boats to huge ferries, enjoy watching a vast array of boats glide into the harbour as you relax by the pool.
Three fancy fountains and regular inflatable fun sessions make this salt water pool a great day out for the kids this summer. While the children have fun, you can soak up the sun on the terrace and look out onto the sparkling sea. Visit the lido by night, and watch a film at one of the many open-air cinema events hosted at the pool.
8. Saltdean Lido, Brighton
Saltdean Lido is a beautiful coastal spot which reopened in 2017. Originally constructed in the 1930s with an iconic new Hollywood Modernist design, Saltdean was unlike anything Britain had ever seen before. Currently, the Art Deco building is not accessible, with local residents working with Brighton and Hove City Council to start the restoration. But with the rest of the pool truly back to life, it has become a hub of the community once again.
With an outdoor and indoor pool, a day at the Saltdean Lido will be a great family trip out. You can also make use of the badminton facilities on-site and work up a sweat before enjoying the bar and cafe. Serving freshly ground coffee, healthy snacks and an extensive range of drinks, there is something for all the family.
9. Nantwich Outdoor Brine Pool, Cheshire
One of the few remaining brine pools in the UK, Nantwich Outdoor Brine Pool is a popular spot for families. Everyone should get to enjoy the amazing experience of swimming outdoors, especially as Nantwich is a heated pool! However, at 30 metres instead of the typical 25, a lane swim in Nantwich might feel a little longer than normal.
There is also an indoor pool available too if it is a bit too chilly, or if the outdoor pool is busy. At Nantwich Outdoor Brine Pool refreshments are available on warm sunny days, but you are permitted to bring your own snacks if you wish, just not glass or alcohol, please!
10. Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham
The amazing 50-metre pool that is the Sandford Parks Lido was built in the 1930s and renovated in 2007 so it can be enjoyed for decades to come. At home within the gardens of Sandford Park, the facility hosts a children’s pool and paddling pool as well as the main attraction. The family-friendly pools are all heated within the season.
Host to basketball, volleyball courts and table tennis, a trip to Sandford Park is a day out for the entire family. Light refreshments are available at the poolside cafe, but if you venture further into Cheltenham you are sure to find a delectable dinner.
Has this got you ready for an outdoor swim? Find your next holiday location with our top 10 Parkdean Resorts with outdoor pools.