I remember looking longingly at the Jubilee Pool in Penzance, one early morning while rushing to catch the boat over to the Isles of Scilly.
While it’s long been on our list of things to do, plans to visit the pool were thwarted when it was severely damaged in storms in 2014. Previously threatened with closure in the early 1990s, the pool was saved by Friends of the Jubilee Pool who dived in to the rescue and raised more than £100,000 for an extensive renovation.
The pool re-opened earlier this year and we’d been itching to make a pilgrimage down. We were very excited to turn up on a hot summer’s day ready to find it full. While parking is a bit of an issue, the actual pool is so vast that it can absorb lots of bathers, so there’s plenty of space for swimming, sunbathing and splashing!
The pool is stunning and blends beautifully into the sea. Built in the 1930s on a former bathing spot at the Battery Rocks near the harbour, it is elegant and reminiscent of being on board an ocean liner. You can really feel the history too – there’s something quite raw and authentic about this pool. Not only can you feel the seaweed on the walls and the rough concrete floor, but there are simple changing rooms (some doorless) that put you in mind of the long bathing suits and hats of those early swimmers in the 1930s.
Being seawater, it’s refreshingly cold and you can’t help but freestyle across it with a massive smile on your face. We spoke to a couple of ladies who told us they’d learned to swim here and they kept coming back decades later. The two little boys we brought with us loved it too – particularly the children’s pool tucked away in the corner.
It’s a very reasonable £4.75 to swim and you can stay all day. With lidos disappearing all over the UK and many under threat, it’s well worth a visit to see how it can work economically and more importantly, the happy memories that are being made.