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Make a splash! Outdoor pools and lidos in Sussex

Sure, we’ve got the most beautiful coastline in the country but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a leisurely lounge by an open air pool. Here are the top tier spaces to swim and sunbathe and the kids can come too… if they must.

Although living in Sussex we’re spoilt beyond belief with the choice of beaches, it’s not always a relaxing experience. As anyone who has forgotten their sea shoes knows, walking over pebbles bare foot is a fresh form of torture, trying to sunbathe while keeping both eyes on the kids in the sea, balancing your drink next to you, and lets not even go there with sand and how it has a special talent of getting absolutely everywhere. So grab your book, SPF and inflatables and head to these outdoor pools.

Saltdean Lido, near Brighton

Saltdean Lido

Get set for some retro vibes, and have your synchronised swimming moves at the ready, we’re going back to the 1930s! This is the country’s only Grade II listed lido and was restored to its former glory five years ago and has been faithful to the original art deco design. Sunbeds are available to rent, and the large pool is heated (thankfully) but there is also a splash area and paddling pool. The lawn area is suitable for picnics and there’s a kiosk to silence any sounds along the lines of “I’m hungry”. There are special dog swims, so you don’t have to leave any family member out!

Pells Pool, Lewes

If you’re into wild swimming you’ll been your element! But you’ll need to brrrrrrrace yourself, the pool is fed by local springs which means it’s natural but also unheated – it’s the oldest known freshwater pool in the UK. Thankfully the outdoor showers have warm water, and to add to your comfort, you won’t need to pack any water toys as the pool has a selection of things available and at peak times lifeguards are on duty. There’s a paddling pool, picnic area and snack bar and some impressive views of the downs. Check their social media for the temperature of the pool, if it falls below 15 degrees children will not be allowed in. Muddy advises pre-booking. 

The Grand Hotel, Eastbourne

The Grand Hotel

The spa may be on the more modest side at this five-star hotel, but what it lacks on the inside it more than makes up for on the outside. The outdoor pool is heated to a warming 28 degrees and is open from Easter until the end of Autumn half term. What’s more, kids are allowed in the pool as are inflatables – so you can tan in somewhat peace. There’s also a shallow side pool which Muddy prefers to use as a lazy river. There are plenty of sunbeds available and the pool is perfectly secluded from the public on the days you don’t feel beach body ready (does any normal human feel that anyway?). And the best bit of all, drinks are served to your sun lounger, so if you’re anything like Muddy you’d have gone straight for the fizz.  Hotel guests and those on spa days are able to use the pool.

Arundel Lido, Arundel

Sunbeds, parasols and a stunning view of Arundel castle, what more could you possibly need? Oh yes, something for the kids. There’s a large paddling pool and a the 25 metre pool regularly hosts Sid the Sub (a giant inflatable) sessions when they’ve maxed out on simple swimming time. When you haven’t maxed out on chill time, the venue hosts teddy bear picnics and arts and crafts days to keep them occupied for a least a few minutes more. It’s very popular so book in advance. 

South Lodge, Horsham

South Lodge

Not necessarily one you’ll one to bring the kids too, but they are still invited to use the outdoor pool at designated splash times (8-9.30am and 4-5.30pm). You are also encouraged to take your white fluffy robe to roam between the two outdoor pools – the first is 18 metres long and naturally heated ‘wild’ pool that is accompanied by sun loungers to maximise your tan time. The second outdoor pool is for adults only but is hydrotherapy and the absolute dream whatever the weather. Hotel residents and spa day guests are welcome. And you’ll want to have dinner at the Camellia restaurant after. 

Aztec Pool, The Triangle, Burgess Hill

You may not have made it to the Med yet this year, but you can have a taster session as this outdoor pool has a continental feel. If you really want to relax, there is a supervised creche and soft play area but you may struggle to resist joining the kids on the flumes. And that’s before you try out the rapids in the outdoor pool. After all that you’ll deserve a lay down – which you can do on the patio in the sunshine.  

Want even more water-based fun? Check out the best splash and water parks in Sussex

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