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Jubilee Pool in Penzance
Photograph: Clare McEwen / Shutterstock.com

10 of the best (and most beautiful) heated outdoor pools in the UK

From city sports centres to countryside lidos, take a dip with our pick of the most scenic heated outdoor pools in the UK

Written by Grace Dawes
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Ever since the pandemic (sorry to bring it up), outdoor swimming in the UK has really taken off, with heaps of people falling in love with this fun and scenic way of exercising. But it’s safe to say that not all of us are quite brave enough to take the plunge into piercing cold open waters.

Luckily, though, there’s a whole bunch of heated outdoor pools and lidos on offer throughout the UK for you to take a dip in. Count your lengths, catch up with a pal or simply bubble away in the shallow end and relax under a starry sky. We’ve rounded up the best spa pools, lidos and swimming pools to cater to your nautical needs – and all of them are heated to perfection. Go on, dive in: here are the best heated outdoor pools in the UK.

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Best heated outdoor pools in the UK

Since opening in 1957, Wycombe Lido has become a firm local favourite. And after it was refurbished for a grand reopening in 2011, it’s become even better – with both a heated main pool and a heated children’s pool. On site, you’ll also find a gym where you can take part in exercise classes, indoor cycling, football and tennis, and there’s also a café where you can unwind after all of the fun. And the best part? It’s open all year long, so come rain or shine, you can take a quick dip whenever you please.

You’ll find this Olympic-sized outdoor pool in Charlton, just outside central LondonThe lido was built in 1939, when it was one of Britain’s few urban lidos. Now it’s part of a leisure centre that also has tennis courts and a group cycle studio. With its huge proportions – it’s a whopping 50 metres long! – the lido is the perfect place to practise your breaststroke outdoors without any of the fuss or worries that usually come with open-water swimming.

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Fancy a swim after exploring the Lake District? Sitting at 900 feet above sea level is the Shap open-air heated swimming pool in Cumbria. Completely volunteer-run, the pool is more than 16 metres long and 1.5 metres deep, and is also available for hire and pool parties if you fancy having the water all to yourself. Nothing like a warm dip to relax your muscles after a hike, is there? The pool closes for the winter season and is usually open from May to September. 

This art deco lido was built in the 1930s and still has much of its dashing original architecture. There are multiple pools on offer, but the one we’re interested is the geothermal pool: a naturally heated sea pool which can reach temperatures of up to 35C. Once you’ve had your dip, make sure to take in the scenery around the lido from the Jubilee Pool Café and sun terrace – perfectly placed to survey the landscapes surrounding Penzance.

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Central London’s only heated outdoor pool is slap-bang in the city between Holborn and Covent Garden and moments from the buzz of the West End. This place is ideal for those wishing to practise their lengths (or just relax and lounge on the sun terrace). The sports centre also has an indoor pool, gym, squash courts and a yoga studio, just in case the outdoor pool wasn’t enough to provide an escape from the bustle of the capital.

This heated outdoor pool is surrounded by beautiful gardens – so will probably be slightly more scenic than your local sports centre. If you need a little more heat, you can wallow in one of the four surrounding mini hot tubs, before heading for poolside food and drinks under the nearby covered pergola. Robes and slippers are provided to each guest to wear around the spa for ultimate comfort.

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With Arundel Castle in full view, this is the only remaining lido in West Sussex. In the middle of the picturesque South Downs National Park and less than an hour’s drive from Brighton, the pool is the ideal spot for an outdoor swim without catching a chill. The lido dates back to 1960 when it was built on land that was gifted by the 16th Duke of Norfolk, and has been kept in tip-top shape ever since. There’s also space in the venue to sunbathe and grab a quick bite to eat, all while you enjoy the warm waters. Opens for the summer season in May. 

Built on the only natural hot springs in the UK, Bath has been famed for its thermal spas since Roman times, when travellers would come from all over Europe to bathe in their healing waters. The original municipal pools closed in 1978 after infectious bacteria were discovered in the water, though this new spa complex opened in 2006. Alongside a large indoor thermal pool and a series of treatment rooms, the New Royal Baths feature a heated rooftop pool with incredible views over the city. Book an evening slot to watch the sun set while relaxing in the pool’s mineral-rich waters. 

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Only a two-hour drive from Glasgow sits the largest heated outdoor infinity pool in Scotland. Accompanied by an outdoor hot tub, the pool has an infinity edge facing Loch Fyne, completely indulging you in the Scottish scenery. The pool closes for winter and opens in March for anyone looking for a soothing spring dip. 

Offering fabulous views over the nearby estuary and surrounding hills, this 33-metre pool on the west coast of Scotland uses saltwater taken from the Clyde, heated to a pleasant 29C. Dating back to 1909, Gourock is the oldest heated swimming pool in the country and underwent a major refurb in 2010. Facilities include diving boards, a baby pool, a large gym, changing rooms and a viewing terrace. The pool offers night swims in the summer months, allowing visitors to stargaze as they float around in the water.

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