8 of the best outdoor swimming spots and lidos in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 14:27 03 June 2019

Sandford Parks Lido (c) Callum Drummond

Sandford Parks Lido (c) Callum Drummond


On a sunny day there’s nothing quite like making a splash at the pool. From community-run lidos to luxury outdoor pools, we pick 8 places in the Cotswolds to enjoy an al fresco dip

1. Chippy Norton Lido, Chipping Norton

The much-loved Chippy Norton Lido has been run by locals as a charity since 2004, and it's clear to see that a lot of care and consideration goes into ensuring its preservation for generations to come. Boasting a heated 25 metre pool, toddler pool and slide, and a well-tended grassy area for picnics, means it's a perfect for an afternoon out for the family.

Need to know: The summer season runs from April 18. Click here to see the full list of opening times, admission prices and timetable.

2. Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham

Neighbouring the pretty gardens of Sandford Park in Cheltenham, there has been a lido in this very spot since 1935. The pool is extremely popular with residents, especially families, and enjoys a lot of visitors during the summer months. There are plenty of events organised at the Lido throughout the year as well, from open air theatre and cinema screenings, to the popular Dog Swim which takes place once the swim season has finished.

Need to know: Open throughout the summer from March 30. Click here to see the full list of opening times and timetable. Day rates are £5 for adults, £2.70 for concessions and special deals on admission for families.

3. Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool

Positioned on the edge of Cirencester Park, Cirencester Open Air Swimming Pool offers visitors the chance to swim in a 28 metre pool with slide, as well as a sunbathing patio to soak in some rays (weather permitting of course). There's also a separate children's paddling pool for little ones and hot and cold refreshments available.

Need to know: Visit the website for a full list of opening times and timetable.

4. Stratford Park Leisure Centre, Stroud

The well-equipped Stratford Park Leisure Centre in Stroud has everything an avid gym bunny would require from a group exercise studio to tennis courts. There are also two swimming pools, one indoor and one outdoor, and a sauna and steam room.

Need to know: Click here to see the full list of opening times, admission prices and timetable.

5. Ellenborough Park, Cheltenham

Although it's only a short drive away from the thriving Cheltenham town centre, you'll feel a million miles away when relaxing poolside in Ellenborough Park's stunning grounds. The hotel is well-known for its luxury accommodation and excellent spa facilities, and the outdoor pool is no exception.

Need to know: For more information, or to book your spa day or breakaway, visit the Ellenborough Park website or call 01242 545454.

6. Cotswold Country Park and Beach, Cirencester

Cotswold Country Park and Beach offers families the chance to visit the beach without leaving the region. Children can build sandcastles on the gently sloped golden stretch and there's a grassy area to enjoy a picnic before cooling off in the lake. Thrill-seekers can have a go on the Aquaventure: an action-packed inflatable obstacle course on top of the lake. It does get extremely busy so ensure to book your admission before you go.

Need to know: Opening from April 1, admission during peak season (July 20 - September 3) is £16 for a car of up to five people. To ensure entry for the park, beach and/or Aquaventure, booking is advised. Click here to see the full list of opening times, admission prices and what's on.

7. Cowley Manor Hotel, near Cheltenham

The stylish Cowley Manor, set upon 55 acres of Grade II listed gardens, is the perfect spot for an al fresco swim with its 15 metre outdoor pool, accompanied by rows of sun loungers for topping up a tan. The spa is renowned for its beautifully kept facilities and holistic treatments, including its therapeutic massages and facials.

Need to know: For more information, or to book your spa day or breakaway, visit the Cowley Manor website or call 01242 870900.

8. Wotton Pool, Wotton-under-Edge

Open daily throughout the summer to the public, come rain or shine, Wotton Pool's retractable roof ensures that swimmers can bask in the sunshine or shelter from the rain while they swim. Wotton Pool may be small but it boasts a lovely community feel where staff are friendly and welcoming.

Need to know: Wotton Pool will be reopening for the summer season from April 20. Click here to see the full list of opening times and timetable. Admission is £3 for adults, £2 for children and a family ticket costs £8.

Just outside the region...

Wild swimming trail at Tudor Farmhouse, Clearwell

Tudor Farmhouse in the Forest of Dean is once again offering its guests access to its wild swimming trail and private lessons this summer. Those well-versed in wild swimming can simply pick up one of the hotel's illustrated maps (detailing its favourite swimming spots) and explore the forest by themselves, whilst those that need a little hand-holding can opt for a private guided lesson with expert swimmer Edward Rose. All guests will also receive a picnic to enjoy post-swim, packed full of local produce including Wye Valley Smoked Salmon and Single Gloucester Cheese, and champagne if you're feeling fancy! There are plenty of wild swimming breaks available - visit the website or call 01594 833046 for more details.


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