91.5m pool at Tooting Bec in LondonOn my recent visit to the UK I managed to fit in some swimming in some interesting places… Today I want to tell you about my trip to the Tooting Bec Lido.  If you aren’t familiar with the term lido it is an Italian word for beach and is a public outdoor swimming pool or beach where people can swim.

I heard about Tooting Bec Lido from a lifeguard at the Parliment Hill Lido (blog to come on that), it is the largest swimming pool by surface area in the UK.

Tooting Bec Lido Stats

  • 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide
  • It is a fresh water pool, so not heated
  • Tooting Bec Lido is one of Britain’s oldest open air pools, it opened on July 28th in 1906
  • It holds 1million gallons of water
  • Mixed bathing in the lido was not introduced until 1931, and then only at specific times
  • Tooting Bec Lido is only open from May to September for the general public, but it is open all year round for members of the South London Swimming Club
  • There is a sauna attached to the pool which is open in the winter months, when the water temperature can get down to 5 degrees – brrrr

My Trip to the Tooting Bec Lido

12 lengths of a 91.5m poolI went because of the size of the pool I thought it would be kinda cool to swim in such a large pool, and I really hate doing laps in a pool and thought the bigger the pool the less the number of laps….  Yes, I am fully aware that the distance is the same, it’s a mind game!

Here is my swim trip according to my gps watch – obviously a bit out as apparently, I swam through concrete!  The pool is tucked away and very quiet even though it is next to a railway line.  I went on a Monday afternoon in the UK school holidays, admittedly it wasn’t very sunny and there were I think 4 others in the pool with me – my kind of swimming.

The water temperature was a balmy 18 degrees, which is warm for the UK – yep, freezing by Sydney standards!  It didn’t feel like it took forever to get to the other end, and in fact I quite enjoyed the space and idea that I only had to do 12 lengths (well 11 really) to complete my 1km swim for the day.

Tooting Bec lido change hutsThe pool had some decent showers attached which were HOT and FREE, as well as cute changing huts at each side which you can see here.  There weren’t any lockers though, so if you are planning to go don’t take any valuables.  The change huts are free to use, but it does cost a massive £7.40 (about $12) to get in which I was surprised about compared to Sydney pools where you pay around $7.

There was a cafe at the pool side which on a warm summer’s day would be great to hang out at, on the cloudy cooler day that I went I had a cup of tea to warm up!

Was it worth the trip?  From the experience side of swimming in such a big pool, yes I enjoyed it, but in all honesty give me an ocean in Australia any day 🙂


PS I wore my Green Ocean Waves LOLL for my trip

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