There’s something about visiting an outdoor pool in the UK that evokes feelings of nostalgia. As spring is definitely upon us, I have started to think about trips out with the children, taking advantage of our beautiful outdoors. It’s probably because so many of us learned to swim in outdoor pools or remember visiting them as children. Now, many of them have closed down as more and more of us head to warmer foreign climes for our holidays. But, the ones that still remain are perfect for splashing about in with your little ones. Here are just some of the best:
Haltwhistle swimming pool in Northumberland
The complex in Haltwhistle, the town said to be at the geographical heart of Britain, has three heated outdoor pools and has been known to open at the start of the season in April even when it was snowing. There’s a twisty waterslide which splashes out into the big pool, a smaller slide and a series of inflatable sessions where your children can pretend to be pirates on the floating boat.
Bude Sea Pool in Cornwall
A unique part-natural, part man-made pool, Bude Sea Pool in Cornwall looks like it has come straight out of Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers, the boarding school story which depicted the girls swimming in a pool filled with seawater by the tides. Bude Bay is topped up twice a day by the waves of the Atlantic. The pool is facing an uncertain future but last year proved to be its busiest yet, so it’s hoped it is here to stay.
Cherry Tree holiday park in Norfolk
The heated outdoor swimming pool at Parkdean’s Cherry Tree site is perfect for little ones on hot days. There’s a separate toddler section so you don’t have to worry about younger children getting out of their depth and there are fountains to splash in. It’s also heated, so you shouldn’t get too cold, even if the weather outside isn’t exactly tropical. There are loungers around the sides so you can relax and keep an eye on your children if they’re old enough to swim themselves.
Shap swimming pool in Cumbria
While the pool itself is a fairly standard 20-metre rectangle, its location means it is something out of the ordinary. At just under 1,000 ft, it is England’s highest heated open air swimming pool. There’s also a small paddling pool for little ones along with a refreshment kiosk. Because the pool sits high above the Lake District, you can take in beautiful views while having a dip.
Chagford in Dartmoor
Remarkable because of the way it is fed, taking the plunge into Chagford Swimming Pool is a great way to cool off after a walk in Dartmoor National Park. The water comes from a river, but it’s filtered and a little chlorine is added to make sure it’s clean. The pool is generally only open in the afternoon to make sure it warms up through the covers before they are taken off. With consistent good weather, the water can get up to around 25C. There’s also a toddler pool with toy boats and watering cans to keep little ones occupied.
Wherever you live, or wherever you’re visiting, in the UK, you’ll probably be surprised to find an outdoor pool closer than you think, even if the one you used to swim in as a child has closed down.