10 of Britain’s best outdoor pools in the countryside

10 of britains best outdoor pools in the countryside

There have been some benefits to a worldwide pandemic. There was the farmer who grumbled to me that he was having to douse his fields with extra minerals because, in his words: “We’re just not getting the air pollution we used to.” And then there’s all the people who have taken up cold-water swimming, no doubt hoping to boost their immune systems (the evidence remains equivocal: this academic paper is worth reading).

I’ll own up here: I did wild swim every day until early December, when the water temperature was 2C, and then one day, in a downpour of freezing rain and a moment of deep personal insight, I realised how much I like warm water. Many others, made of sterner stuff, have kept it going, but now with lockdown easing there is the chance to swim outdoors in beautiful countryside without being chased by dragonflies, standing in sheep poo or swallowing algae (all things I experienced before retiring).

The heyday of British lidos was the 1920s and 30s, when vast crowds would go for the day and enjoy competitions and shows, most famously Roy Fransen’s Dive of Death, usually performed after dark with the water alight with petrol and Roy himself, in a silver suit, also ablaze…

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