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Underwater etiquette: lido dos and don'ts

Sonya Barber

Heading for a dip in a lido today? It's not as simple as showing up and jumping in the pool. 

Lido dos

1. Remember where you are

Sure, ‘lido’ is Italian for ‘beach’, but this is not a Continental experience. Red cheeks and a brisk towelling are the order of the day, not peacocking by the pool. Keep that upper lip stiff.

2. Shower first

Especially if you have been basting yourself poolside to make the most of the weak English sunshine. No one wants to languish in your oil slick like some kind of suburban cormorant.

3. Marshal your minors

Teaching children a healthy way of life and how to comport themselves among their olders and betters is laudable in this day and age. So actually do it. It’s no fun getting hit in the head with a float before work.

Lido don'ts

1. Attempt the butterfly

There is no excuse for doing the butterfly in any public pool. It’s a swimming stroke for show-offs and professionals, neither of whom has any place at a lido.

2. Randomly splash about

That said, you’re in a swimming pool, not a paddling pool. The giant size of a lido, and the arching firmament above you, lend themselves to a meditative backstroke, something not improved by people mucking around in your lane.

3. Pet heavily

Along with the inherent Englishness of the lido experience is a very proper horror of public touching. This is ‘Brief Encounter’, not ‘Spring Breakers’.

Got it? Take a look at London's best lidos.

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