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Finchley Lido, north London
Photograph: Wikimedia Commons / Grim23

This popular north London lido is getting knocked down

Known for its wave machine, the beloved Finchley Lido opened in 1931

Written by
Sophie Humphrey
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North London lovers of swimming and wave machines, we come bearing very sad news. Finchley Lido Leisure Centre is set to close, several years after Barnet Council deemed the place unfit for purpose. And it isn’t just the lido that is being done away with: the wider Great North Leisure Park, which includes a bowling alley and cinema, is being redeveloped, too. 

In more positive news, the lido is being replaced with another leisure centre – as well as a development boasting 1,500 new homes and 2,000 square metres of new commercial space. The cinema and bowling alley, meanwhile, will be moved about a mile away to North Finchley town centre. 

And plenty will be sad to see the lido go. Local charity the Young Barnet Foundation hailed Finchley Lido as a ‘cherished hub within the Barnet community’. Ed Cunningham, Time Out news editor and born-and-bred north Londoner, recalled his childhood there: 

‘Anyone who grew up in North London knows and loves the Finchley Lido. A few hours in the wave pool followed by a bit of bowling over at the Hollywood Bowl and Pizza Hut’s ice cream factory... kids’ birthday parties didn’t get much better.’

Even so, it’s about time Finchley Lido had a makeover. Young Barnet Foundation praised the council for its ‘commitment to revitalising [the] landmark’, encouraging locals to contribute to Regal’s consultation in an online post: ‘By actively engaging in the conversation, you can contribute to creating a leisure centre  that fosters health, well-being, and a sense of community for everyone.’

According to Ham & Highdeveloper Regal is expected to submit the plans for Finchley Lido and Great North Leisure Park this autumn, as well as hold a public conference to discuss them. Watch this space for updates.

Take a dip and visit London’s best swimming spots.

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