It had been a while since I’d been to the seafront of Plymouth, probably about 18 months. Which seems ridiculous when I live here. So I thought I’d put that right and take the boys for an ice cream. I expected it to be busy and it was with plenty of cafe’s open selling the goods for takeaway. Its a very simple walk and an out and back in the main in some fine sunshine which was pretty warm. Plus we headed past the famous Plymouth Lido, there is a new book soon to come to shops showing lots of fine swimming spots in the UK, with Lido’s included. A piece written about the outdoor swimming guide is at the bottom of this post.
Salt Water Lidos
Salt lidos are an underrated outdoor swimming experience. With very few left available for visiting in the UK, they are a dying breed of outdoor swimming, but some are still present in a few fantastic and easily accessible locations. While they may be few in number, these spots are a truly unique experience for swimmers to have. You can enjoy salt water in a safe environment free from the risk of the open ocean, often suitable for younger children as well. This suggested list is intended to provide some great spots to head for to enjoy this unique salty experience.
- Gourock Outdoor Pool
Originally opened in 1909, Gourock Outdoor Pool is the oldest heated lido in Scotland. Maintained at a temperature of 29°C, the pool uses salt water taken from the Firth of Clyde. The lido itself is thirty-three metres long, fifteen metres wide, and slopes to a depth of three and a half metres. There is also a smaller/shallower pool for young children and toddlers. Thanks to a £1.8m renovation project, the lido offers modern changing facilities, improved disabled access, plus a terraced area and traditional patio with spectacular views of the Clyde Estuary.
- Stonehaven Open Air Pool
Famous for being the northernmost outdoor pool in the UK, Stonehaven Open Air Pool is a huge Olympic-sized lido that attracts approximately 30,000 visitors each year. Open from late May to early September, the pool is filled with clean seawater heated to a pleasant 29°C. A family friendly destination, the lido features a small shark-themed water slide and an inflatable swoopee. There is also a paddling pool for children under eight which features a dolphin water-splash. Meanwhile, adults can enjoy relaxing on seats and loungers in sheltered sun terraces.
- Woodup Pool
Woodup pool is a reed-fringed tidal pool, refilled with fresh sea water every ten days or so at the highest tides. There are concrete boundaries to this pool, which was built in 1924, and wooden steps into the water, although it can also be accessed from the sandy beach. There are few facilities here – no changing rooms or toilets (although the council provides portaloos in the busiest summer months), and no lifeguards, although there is a cafe across the road from the pool.
- Droitwich Spa Lido
Found near the centre of Droitwich Spa, Droitwich Spa Lido is one of the last of the UK’s open air saltwater inland lidos. This forty metre pool has a shallow end great for younger visitors and a deep end which is great for swimming. The pool is heated to twenty-four degrees making this an ideal spot to visit in cool weather, however it should be noted that this spot can become very busy in the summer months.
One fantastic positive about saltwater swimming is that much like swimming in most tarns, rivers, and lakes, the water is free from chlorine and other chemicals. The saltwater acts as a natural antiseptic and effectively keeps the water clean without needing to use anything else to make the water safe for swimming in. Salt water also has the added benefit of being incredibly healthy for your skin, although goggles are recommended to avoid any stinging eyes and, while there are plenty of safety precautions for these locations, be wary if entering with any papercuts as you might be surprised by a little stinging!
The Outdoor Swimming Guide by Vertebrate Publishing is now available for preorder on the Vertebrate Publishing Website. With 20% off and free shipping, don’t miss out on being among the first to get their hands on over 400 fantastic swimming location recommendations across the UK!