The top spots for open-air swimming in Bristol.
As the temperature rises, it’s getting harder to resist the urge to throw ourselves into the nearest body of water. Unfortunately, the one thing missing from the city centre is an outdoor pool. Thankfully, our neighbours across Bristol and beyond have more than enough outdoor swimming areas, whether it be lidos or lakes, for us to take a dip in…
1. Portishead Open Air Pool
Portishead Open Air Pool is a 33m heated pool which boasts views of the Bristol Channel from its sun terraces. Quite the suntrap, you can swap a holiday abroad for this coastal open-air pool on a hot summer’s day where you’ll witness the sun sparkling on the pool and channel beyond. Portishead Open Air Pool also features a paddling pool, a separate lane suited specifically for serious swimmers, as well as a community-run café selling coffees and snacks to enjoy post-swim. Click here for more information.
Portishead Open Air Pool, The Esplanade, Portishead, BS20 7HD
2. Farleigh & District Swimming Club
Founded in 1933, Farleigh & District Swimming Club is one of the oldest wild swimming clubs in the country. It offers swimming in the silky waters of the River Frome at Farleigh Hungerford, with entry to the water just above an old stone weir. The swimming area might be rather chilly in contrast to lidos but it features a wooden diving platform with ropes, parking by the meadows, plus an open-air changing stall and Portaloo. Membership required and can be paid online and costs only £12 for adults for the year. Click here for more information.
Farleigh & District Swimming Club, four miles west of Trowbridge at BA2 7RS
3. Clifton Lido
Just a stone’s throw away from the city centre, Bristol is blessed with its own fancy lido for outdoor swimming, tucked away in the heart of Clifton. The refurbished Victorian outdoor pool features a sauna, outdoor hot tub, steam room, spa treatments, bar and restaurant, plus a glass frontage, so you can have a nosey at the peaceful pool action. It’s open throughout the year, with the water heated to 22-25°C – so not too shudder-worthy but certainly enough to wake you up. Click here for more information.
Clifton Lido, Oakfield Place, Clifton, BS8 2BJ
4. Wotton Outdoor Pool
Located on the border of The Cotswolds, Wotton Outdoor Pool is 18m long by 6m wide, and the depths go from 1m to just over 2m. With the water heated to 28-30°C, we cannot complain as it makes for a very pleasant swim. In colder weather, a retractable roof is pulled over the pool and then drawn back for open-air swimming when the sun decides to make an appearance. There are separate male and female changing rooms, toilets and hot showers and a car park nearby. Click here for more information.
Wotton Outdoor Pool, Symm Lane, Wotton under Edge, GL12 7BD
5. Shepton Mallet Lido
For those who don’t fancy roughing it in a lake, Shepton Mallet Lido offers swimming in its open-air heated pool usually between May and September, and hopes to be back open soon. Nestled south towards Wells, the pool is just less than an hour’s drive from Bristol, but offers the comfort of swimming in chlorinated water and plenty of fun with a bunting-clad pool and beach hut designs. Click here for more information.
Shepton Mallet Lido, Shaftsgate Avenue, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5YA