10 of the best lesser-known UK lidos, recommended by readers

Beccles, Suffolk

This is such a handsome pool it’s little wonder adam hayton described it as “definitely one of the best”. There are two pools: the 30-metre main tank, complete with springboard, and the baby pool. There is also a play area, a good mix of shade and open sun for those who like to bask on a sun lounger, and a kiosk serving a surprisingly wide range of hot and cold food. The traditional poolside changing cubicles are supplemented by recently upgraded modern facilities. This is a pretty pool in a pretty spot – and one could easily fall in love with it.

Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire

Julie Adams and Colinowl both raved about this “brilliant” pool, which sits right on the beach and is one of the most northerly in the UK. It offers the unusual opportunity of a bracing dip in the sea followed by scampering across the road in your togs then sinking into the warm embrace of the heated, filtered seawater. The pool has plenty of vintage charm and the yellow colour scheme brightens up even the dullest of British summer days. It is also a first-class example of what can be achieved when a community group works closely with a local authority to save and sustain a community asset like this. The super-fast metal water slide and excellent cheesy chips at the smart little cafe are the cherries on a very fine cake.

Bathurst, Gloucestershire

Bathurst is a riot of colour, from the bright and cheerful murals that smarten up the otherwise austere brick walls to the vibrant sunshades that fly like flags over the picnic area. We agree with poppypoppy that this charming community run pool, with its well-stocked kiosk and heated water, shouldn’t be overlooked.

Lymington Sea Water Baths, Hampshire

Lymington is well-known for sailing, but the glorious sea water baths that lie on the foreshore are worthy of more attention than they receive. Kimmi851 put in a bid for the baths’ recognition and it’s impossible to disagree. The large pool is cleverly divided to accommodate swimmers, paddlers, a giant inflatable obstacle course and other activities beside. And you only pay for what you want to do, so it’s very good value. The sun loungers and wide range of ice-cream flavours will please less energetic bathers.

The Strand, Kent

Strand delivers the wow factor the minute you step through the turnstiles. 24beforemylove recommends this Medway marvel, and quite rightly too. The gleaming white pool surrounds are accented with the brightly coloured bridges, walkways and big pink elephant slides that are a hallmark of this pool. The young, and young at heart, will enjoy zipping down the elephants trunk into the filtered and treated river water below. The freeform pool has a rectangular tank at its heart, which keeps serious swimmers happy, and the whole thing is encircled by the largest lazy river at a UK lido.

Wiveliscombe, Somerset

Fondly known as Wivey Pool by FiGreen and other lovers of this rural gem, this is a community-run pool whose charm lies in simplicity. The pleasing timber buildings that house the changing and plant facilities are basic, but they blend perfectly into the soft, green countryside that surrounds the pool. It sits at the edge of this pretty village’s recreation ground, and in recent years has opened for a brief spell of heated swimming around Christmas. That is a rare treat outside of London, and is to be savoured.

Clevedon Marine Lake, Somerset

Since it was refurbished a couple of years ago this 250-metre salt-water leviathan can rightly claim to be the UK’s largest infinity pool, described by eliska2 as “a slightly left-field, not-quite-lido experience”. Swimming alongside the wall on the seaward side, taking in the view to Clevedon’s historic pier and the south Wales hills on the other side of the Bristol Channel is a seaside treat. The marine lake is free to use and a safe haven from the Bristol Channel itself, a dangerous stretch of water for swimmers with a huge tidal range and strong currents.

Stanhope, County Durham

Madamadams recommended this little slice of volunteer-run heaven. Stanhope pool is an oasis in the centre of the village in this beautiful part of the country. It has a slide and plenty of space to sit and relax around the pool. It feels a little like a secret world, and on sunny days the trees cast pleasing puddles of shade.

Abbey Meadows, Oxfordshire

Radleyman pointed out the extensive recent refurbishment of Abbey Meadows. The future of this much loved pool was under threat for a time, so to see new life being breathed into it, bucking the trend of lido closures, is a real pleasure. It reopened last month after a £1.3m refurbishment, and this gorgeous L-shaped heated pool is definitely worth a visit. The beach-style entry will be popular with families, and the lawns are a lovely spot to laze away an afternoon.

Askham, Cumbria

Askham is a charming, heated 20-metre pool with a toddler pool alongside it. It is surrounded by grass that cries out to be picnicked on, and benches are available for bathers who prefer to picnic at a table. If you plan on showering after your swim, make sure you buy a token from reception to operate the showers. There is a little cluster of great pools in this area, including Shap, which was recommended alongside Askham by q321gg8cla.

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