The Lido Guide

By Janet Wilkinson and Emma Pusill

A practical, beautiful, inspiring guide to the outdoor pools of the UK

Friday, 20 April 2018

Feast follows famine

After what has felt like the longest, hardest winter for some time I sit here bathed in sunshine that is actually warm. Just a month or so ago we were in the grip of Storm Emma here in the UK but now we're in the grip of an undoubtedly brief, but nevertheless very welcome, harbinger of summer. I can feel my bones relaxing under skin no longer swaddled against the elements. 

It's timely, then, that this weekend will see an increasing number of lidos opening for the season. Some of the seasonal pools have already pulled back the covers, with opening fanfares coming in spits and spots. I had a smashing swim at Petersfield on their opening day a few weeks ago, not least as they'd laid on some sunshine. I like an opening day swim, the fanfare that breaks the hibernation adds to the sense of promise and expectation; it presses a shoulder to winter and shoves it out the back door with a cheery, but menacing, wave and a warning not to come back too soon.

This coming Saturday the fanfare gathers momentum, with pools opening for the season including Portishead, Bovey Tracey and Kingsteignton. It feels a  bit like the warm up act for what is undoubtedly the big weekend in the lido calendar, the late May bank holiday weekend, when so many pools throw open the doors that it will be hard to keep track of them all and the choice of where to swim will be a tough one. 

This Saturday, however, I'll be seeing in the season at Portishead. It's my home pool... how could I not. 

Do keep an eye out for your local pool's opening day, and try and get along to join the party. Perhaps more importantly keep an eye out for their requests for help with pre-season preparations. Extra pairs of hands in the working party are always welcome and you don't need any special skills; a willingness to wield a damp cloth and broom, while smiling all the while, is all that is needed. I popped in to Bovey Tracey last weekend, to lend them a few hours en route to swim at Topsham. It's a fun way to spend a little time. You meet some new people, get an interesting behind the scenes look into all the work that goes into keeping these pools afloat and, best of all, you give a little something back and help to safeguard thier futures. And very often there is tea and biscuits. Sometimes even a bacon sandwich. Truly a win win situation.

Don't forget to tell us about your swims, you'll find us on social media as @lidoguide and the #lidoroadtrip hashtag brings us all together. 

I'll leave you with some pictures of Bovey Tracey pool, basking in the glorious sunshine when I swam there in 2016


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