Beat the Heat: take the plunge into a lido

Charlton Lido Swim UK

Beat the Heat and take the plunge into one of England’s top lidos

With temperatures soaring across Britain this week and the mercury looking set to hit a sweaty 35c where better to cool off, top up your tan or tighten your abs than at your local lido?

With many outdoor pools offering sunbathing terraces and continental style cafes, British lidos have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Following their heyday during the 1920s a number of art deco buildings have been restored and re-opened to the public, enabling another generation to enjoy the pleasures of open air swimming.

For anyone planning a staycation this summer or looking to keep cool and work on their tan this week, Mark Sesnan Managing Director a Better Leisure centres, the UK’s largest operators of lidos and outdoor pools, gives his choice of the nation’s top ten spots for open air swimming.

Charlton Lido – Greenwich, London
A 50 metre, outdoor heated pool Charlton Lido reopened in 2013 following a massive £2 million refurbishment. Also featured on site are a gym and exercise studio, café alongside seating and sunbathing areas.

Jesus Green Lido – Cambridge
Situated on Jesus Green in Cambridge, it first opened in 1923. Unusually, the pool is significantly longer than it is wide and was designed to mimic swimming in the nearby river Cam. It is one of the longest outdoor swimming pools in Europe.

Woodstock Lido – Oxfordshire
A popular community facility, Woodstock Lido consists of a main 25m swimming pool with diving board and a toddlers’ paddling pool. The pools are heated to a very comfortable 29C. There are indoor changing rooms and hot showers. Also on site is a café and a large grassed picnic area.

Oasis Outdoor Pool – Holborn, London
One of London’s best kept and best hidden secrets the Oasis pool is screen by office blocks in the heart of the Capital’s theatre land. A 27.5m expanse of blue the pool has an unrivalled history. It was first recorded as a bathing destination in the form of a Turkish Bath in 1728

London Fields Lido – Hackney, London
London Fields Lido is a 50m Olympic size, heated outdoor swimming pool open all year round. The swimming pool has lane swimming available at all day, swimming lessons for children and adults. Facilities also include a café as well as a large sundeck and sunbathing area.

Riverside Open Air Pool – Oxfordshire
Although it’s one of the smaller pools at only 20 metres it is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque lidos around, being situated on a river bank, on the Crowmarsh Gifford side of Wallingford. In addition to the swimming pool there is a free paddling pool, a kiosk selling ice creams and drinks, a large car park and for those who want to stay longer a campsite.

Finchley Lido – Barnet, London
Finchley Lido is part of a larger leisure complex that includes a leisure centre, cinema, several food restaurants and bowling facilities.

Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool – Oxfordshire
The Abbey Meadow Lido is a heated 40m outdoor pool is situated in scenic surrounds on the bank of the river Thames, accessible by boat if you happen to have one, with moorings adjacent. There is also tennis, mini golf and a children’s playground on site.

Lammas Land Paddling Pool – Cambridge
Lidos come in many shapes and sizes, this is one of the biggest paddling pools in Europe. At 50 metres long and 17 metres wide, Lammas Land is the Olympic-standard in paddling pools. One of the most popular places in Cambridge on a warm day, to enjoy splashing about and having fun with the kids.

West Reservoir – Hackney London
A lido but not as you know it. West Reservoir is a vast expanse of manmade lake in the heart of Stoke Newington. It’s also London’s foremost Open Water Swimming venue. While wetsuits are compulsory, there is a stunning waterside café situated in what was once a pumping house – the ideal location to soak up the sun’s rays.

Mark Sesnan comments: “Open air swimming is one of the joys of summer. There’s nothing better than warm water, a leisurely swim or the opportunity to top up the tan poolside. And the great thing is, you don’t have to leave the country to do so. When the weather’s good, our open air pools can rival anything found on the continent and you don’t have to deal with the stress or expense of long distance travel to visit them.”

For further information on any of the lidos mentioned above visit

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