northcortf.jpgAnyone who loves an outdoor pool will know that we are blessed with an absolute stonker of a lido here in Newbury. And the good news is, it’s set to open in the next couple of weeks!  It’s been fixed and is being filled with water, ready for a few weeks of glorious swimming.

There is no finer place to be on a hot summer’s day, but personally, it’s those duller days, and even when it’s pouring with big fat drops of rain that I love. You’re going to get wet anyway, so why not head down there when it’s quiet and enjoy the gentle splashing and birds warning each other that there’s a crazy person in the pool?

The pool is one of the longest in the country, at 71m and dates back to the 1870s.  There’s plenty of spectator space and free parking for three hours. It is a gem!

If you can’t wait until early July when the pool is scheduled to open, then the nearest outdoor pools to Newbury are:

Thames Lido in Reading,    The Rolls Royce of pools with restaurant and massage treatments onsite. A pure 25m of heaven, but consequently pricier than your normal swim.

Hincksey   Another beautifully-refurbished pool – this one’s in Oxford, so limited parking, but worth the drive! Slightly funny shape for swimming laps, but definitely worth a visit and taking part in one of their lovely special events. I got up at 4am for their early morning swim and it was one of the best sunrises I’ve ever seen.

Woodstock   a bit of a drive from Newbury, but something of a hidden gem. Diving board!

Aldershot   This one is just like loading the Ford Anglia and heading back to the 1960s to a holiday at Butlins. Massive water slides, and unusually, a DIVING board!  Lots of space to sit and picnic and changing rooms that have defied history.

Petersfield Again, a bit of a trek from West Berkshire, but a gorgeous community-run pool with plenty of events.

Guildford A gorgeous pool in a beautiful setting. A bit of a drive and the toilets are ….hmmmm.

Cheltenham       Sandford Parks Lido has two fabulous slides, and is a beauty to behold.

and last but not least, Abingdon, which is on the banks of the River Thames and has opened this week after a million pound refurbishment.

Sign up for the Lido Guide for a proper guide to all of the UK’s outdoor pools!

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