Cornwall to Clyde – enjoy the best of Britain's lidos this summer

WE’VE all spent so much time indoors during lockdowns that even when we fancy a swim we want to splash around outdoors. So It’s no surprise that lidos have never been so popular.

TRISHA HARBORD dives in to bring you a selection of destinations where you can take a dip in the open.


YOU have a choice of dipping into cold or hot water at Jubilee Pool in Penzance.

The art deco saltwater lido was opened in May 1935 to mark King George V’s Silver Jubilee, on a traditional swimming spot at Battery Rocks near the harbour.

Enjoy the views across to St Michael’s Mount and the fishing village of Newlyn. More recently, after a local money-raising campaign, a new geothermal pool heated to 30C was added plus changing facilities and café.

SPLASH: From 9.30am, main pool adults £4.25, children £3, under-4s free. Geothermal £11.75, £8.20. See

WHAT ELSE? At low tide, you can walk across to the island of St Michael’s Mount to visit the castle. Wander around the National Trust’s Trengwainton Gardens and take a trip to ­Mousehole, described by Dylan Thomas as “the loveliest village in England”. See


READY for a chilly dip? Tooting Bec Lido is the largest freshwater pool in Britain, holding a million gallons of water, heated just by the sun.

The south London pool, measuring 91×30 metres, opened as a bathing lake in 1906 and mixed bathing wasn’t brought in until 25 years later.

It has stylish changing rooms with red, yellow and green doors and is often used as a filming location, including Brad Pitt’s pool scene in the crime-thriller Snatch.

SPLASH: From 6am, £8. See

WHAT ELSE? Tooting Broadway ­Market, set up in 1936, is one of south London’s oldest, with more than 100 stalls selling food, drinks, clothes, electronics and jewellery. The Northern Line tube will have you into central London in 30 minutes. See


IF you like your water warm, then Gourock Pool on the Clyde is the one for you – it’s heated to 29C. And with those temperatures, you wouldn’t mind taking a dip on one of its evening “starlight swims”.

The 33-metre saltwater pool – the oldest in Scotland, dating from 1909 – offers superb views over the Clyde estuary. There are diving boards, children’s pool and a gym.

SPLASH: Times vary from 7.30am. A swim costs £4. See

WHAT ELSE? Don’t miss a favourite landmark in the ferry port town, 6ft Granny Kempock’s Stone, said to bring good luck to newlyweds and sailors who walk round it seven times. Visit Castle Levan and St John’s Church, too. Gourock is just 28 miles west of Glasgow and trains run from the station at the Pierhead. See


THE charity running Sandford Parks lido in the heart of Cheltenham has just secured a new 35-year lease to ensure the treasured pool is safe.

It was first opened in 1935, bringing joy to Gloucestershire families during a time of financial depression and mass unemployment. Besides the 50-metre lido, there’s a children’s pool and slides, and aqua fitness, yoga and Pilates classes are available.

SPLASH: Weekdays from 6.30am, weekend times vary. Adults £5, children £2.70. See

WHAT ELSE? If you want to shop and eat, explore Montpellier for chic boutiques, bars and restaurants. Hop on a steam train at Cheltenham racecourse for a 28-mile round trip through the beautiful Cotswolds countryside. See


TINSIDE Lido enjoys a spectacular setting overlooking the sea in Plymouth harbour. The semi-circular art deco-style pool has a ­fountain in the middle and a sun deck with stunning views.

Built in 1935 and Grade II listed, it has been voted among the top ten of Europe’s outdoor pools. With a shallow and deep end, the lido in the Devon port is full of salt water which is great for relaxation and detoxifying.

SPLASH: Monday to Friday from 12.30pm, weekends from 10am. A swim is £5. See

WHAT ELSE? See more than 4,000 creatures at the National Marine Aquarium and pay a visit to The Box Plymouth – the city’s new museum, art gallery and cultural centre. One of the world’s most exciting high-speed sailing events, SailGP, is being held on July 17-18. See


BANG in the middle of the city, Peterborough Lido is a family favourite day out. There’s a 50-metre main pool and training and paddling pools, all heated, a large lawn with play facilities, a balcony for sunbathing and a café.

Look out for special events; the lido recently held an evening event with the British Naturism organisation.

SPLASH: From 9am-7pm, adults £5.90, children £4.30, under-5s free. See

WHAT ELSE? Visit the 900-year-old Norman cathedral and be transported back in time at the city’s museum. Shop in the Queensgate centre and market which serves food from all over the world. Peterborough loves festivals too; the UK’s biggest food, drink and music festival – the Sausage & Cider – is on August 13. See

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