The Year of the Lido 2018

With all this talk of the upcoming Sea Lanes Brighton, an open water (OW) swimming pool scheduled to open in November 2018 in Brighton, it's got us in the mood for OW swimming!! Can't wait until November either? Below are a list of the Top 10 Sussex and London based open water swimming pools. Enjoy looking at the lovely pictures!

10. Pavillions in the Park

Hurst Road, Horsham Park, Horsham RH12 2DF

Tel 01403 219200

Merely a 45 minute drive out of Brighton, Pavillions in the Park is a beautiful heated open water swimming pool in Horsham Park, Sussex. They're open 7 days a week but there are a lot of classes so make sure you check before you turn up for a swim. Facilities include a gym, health suite, multi-purpose hall, children's indoor adventure play area, creche and refreshment facilities. The centre is managed by Places for People Ltd on behalf of Horsham District Council.

9. Arundel Lido

Arundel Lido, Queen Street, Arundel, West Sussex BN18 9JG

Tel 01903 884 772

Home of the Arundel Lido Tri, taking place this year on the 20th May 2018, this heated pool is also about 45 minutes out of Brighton by car. Their facilities boast picnic tables, loungers and parasols for pool gazing and relaxing. There is also a grass field for children’s play activities which includes a play boat and an adventure play park. Complete with a cafe for post swim eats, this one should be on your local list. Their brochure for this year can be downloaded here.

8. Lymington Sea Water Baths

Bath Rd, Lymington SO41 3SE

Tel 01590 678882

This one might be a bit far to travel for the day at 2h15 away from Brighton, but it's worth a special mention because it's one of the oldest pools on the list (c. 1830s) and because it's HUGE. As you can see in the image above, they don't just do swimming, but that's a good place to start from just £3 per day (adult). Check out their entry charges and facilities here.

7. Serpentine Lido

Hyde Park, S Carriage Dr, London W2 2UH

Tel 020 7706 3422

Open during the weekends from May and everyday from 10am - 6pm from June through to August, the 100m Serpentine Lido is home to the famous Serpentine Running and Swimming clubs, and also a home away from home to half of London's triathletes. Expect big crowds and don't try to drive (they have something called the tube). Facilities include a sun terrace, children's play area, including swings, slide, climbing frame and paddling pool. The Lido is fed from the Serpentine lake, which occasionally suffers from bouts of Blue-Green Algae, so check the conditions before you travel.

6. London Fields

London Fields West Side, Hackney, London, E8 3EU

Tel 020 7254 9038

Run by Better Leisure, who also manage Charlton Lido, this 50m, 8 lane, heated pool is open all year round. The classic art deco style, found in so many of these London lidos, will make you forget you're deep in East London - you can even hear birds singing. A bit of a trek from Brighton - 1h45 - but worth it if you're working in or visiting the area. It had another refurb in 2017 so it's looking pretty swanky too, with a cafe and sunbathing terrace. Well worth a visit.

5. Tooting Beck

Tooting Bec Rd, London SW16 1RU

Tel 020 8871 7198

Tooting Beck Lido, first opened in 1906, is run by the same leisure operator who manages Pavillions in the Park. As its age might suggest, it is unheated, and it is also the largest fresh water swimming pool by surface area in the UK, at 100 x 33 yards. Open from May to September 6am-7.45pm, except for a few dates such as the Total Motion Aquathlon on 19th May. In the winter the opening hours are only slightly shorter and mercifully there is a sauna.

4. Brockwell Lido

Dulwich Rd, London SE24 0PA

Tel 020 7274 3088

Another unheated London pool, this time run by the same operator as the Saltdean Lido (Fusion Leisure). It's worth supporting Fusion, they know how to run Lidos, and fingers crossed they'll stick with Saldean for years to come. Brockwell is beautifully kept and you can swim in it during the winter months too (you lucky things). In February you'll find most swimmers hiding in the tiny sauna to the left of the pool, but close the door quickly or you'll let the cold in! Of course in the summer it's an issue of space in the pool, and they're not open all day so check before you set off. Their timetable is here.

3. Charlton Lido

Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Rd, London SE18 4LX

Tel 020 8856 7389

This one is special for me because it's where I grew up. Not in the pool itself, sadly. It was closed for years of refurbishment but it's been opened again and heated now, with the beautiful art deco style buildings and pool back and smarter than ever. Better leisure also offer lots of free entries to local residents to encourage people to use the pool, and the swim prices are reasonable at £6 for an adult. It's about 1h20 out of Brighton so make sure you check their opening hours before turning up.

2. Pells Pool

Brook Street, Lewes, East Sussex, BN7 2BA

Tel 01273 472334

This open water pool should need no introduction. Pells Pool in Lewes Recreation ground has had record numbers of visitors over the last few weekends with some queues stretching down the road. All of their season tickets (which allow the bearer to jump the queue) have sold out, except for early morning slots, so be prepared to join the back of the queue. It's well worth it though. Check out their timetable here.

There is also a GOTRI Aquathlon series taking place here organised by Brighton Tri Club on the 27th June, 18th July, 8th and 29th August. Book tickets here.

1. Saltdean Lido

The Oval Park, Saltdean Park Rd, Saltdean, Brighton BN2 8SP

Tel 01273 069984

It could be no other pool for our number 1 slot. Saltdean is the closest to Brighton city center by miles and the only pool on the list within Brighton and Hove Council limits. It's also an endangered gem and the only grade II listed seaside lido in the country. The 1930s pool and building is a treasure local campaigners should be really proud of. After a successful fundraising campaign to save the pool itself, the community interest company (the charity) who own the 60 year lease to operate the site, are now trying to raise £104,000 to refurbish the lido building.

If you'd like to get involved, why not attend one of their 3 Charity Days? These are organised fundraising events which, so far include a Late Swim Night and DJ, a Dog Swim and Beach Boy Day . Buy your tickets here to support this great cause. If you've never been, or even if you have, just head over there for a beautiful swim in lovely surroundings. They're planning to open this year on 26th May (for the Bank Holiday), expect queues, and check Fusion's website for opening times for the rest of the year.

Happy Swimming!

Brighton & Hove Triathlon

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