Often dubbed the ultimate exercise, swimming is a fantastic treat for both mind and body. Not only does it ensure an excellent aerobic workout, it offers some useful psychological benefits too. And what better way to enjoy swimming than at one of the UK’s top outdoor pools?
A splash of sunlight, a nice fresh breeze and a well-maintained outdoor pool is a real recipe for success. While the hey day for open air swimming pools in coastal towns may be drifting into the past overall, there has been a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Not only are many historic pools kept in operation with teams of volunteers, but a series of new lido have opened around the country too. Pack your swimming things and explore the UK’s best spots for swimming in-land and outdoors.
Hampstead Heath Ponds, London, England
If you’re willing to share your swimming space with the local ducks and swans, the Hampstead Heath Ponds offer a real treat. There are three separate ponds set aside for swimmers – one for men, one for ladies and one for mixed swimmers – and each has it’s own charms. While most popular during the summer months, the ponds are open throughout winter too.
The Trinkie Outdoor Swimming Pool, Wick, Scotland
This natural, seawater pool is located on the scenic Wick coast and offers a charming setting for your daily dip. The Trinkie Swimming Pool is a tidal pool that was created from part of a quarry more than 70 years ago. It’s painted and kept clean and visitor-friendly by a team of volunteers. The pool is also used as a Cold Dip during winter and draws plenty of sun-seekers during the summer.
Bourne Outdoor Swimming Pool, Lincolnshire, England
For an outdoor swim that’s guaranteed to avoid cold splashes, you could try out the Bourne Outdoor Swimming Pool in Lincolnshire. This heated pool is also one of the largest outdoor pools to be found in the UK, at 50 yards long. Built on the site of what was once a monk’s fishpond, the Bourne pool offers a spacious swimming experience but it’s only open between May and September.
Outdoor pools near you
For swimmers north of the border, the Welcome to Scotland website has a useful list of pools both outdoor and in while Gourock Pool has recently been redeveloped and offers bathers some lovely facilities.
Making the most of outdoor swimming
A good, water-resistant sunscreen is essential if you’re planning on enjoying a few hours in an outdoor pool. Delicate skin is in danger of being burnt even on overcast days and it’s best to be protected when you’re planning time outside. Don’t be shy if you’re not the strongest swimmer, just stick to the shallow end. If you’d like to improve your skills or you’re on the hunt for a new pool to enjoy, head along to World of Swimming for everything you could possibly need to know.