Outdoor swimming pools in Dorset

  • The UK climate might not always bless us with weather warm enough to enjoy a spot of outdoor swimming, but there are some benefits to taking a dip in the open air. Exposure to natural sunlight increases the body’s production of vitamin D which boosts mood and immune function, while swimming in cold water can improve blood pressure and build resilience.

    We don’t have many lidos and outdoor pools in Dorset, but here are a few of the best. Ready? Let’s dive in!

    1.     Shaftesbury Lido

    Run by Shaftesbury Town Council, this 23-metre pool is a great place to learn to swim and also offers a range of weekly classes, including Parent & Toddler, Aqua Fit and even Naked Swimming! You can also book float parties for those special occasions and private hire for school groups. The pool is heated during the summer months but is left unheated in winter for people who enjoy cold water swimming.

    Where to find Shaftesbury Lido: Barton Hill, Shaftesbury, SP7 8DQ

    Opening times: Cold water swimming: Saturdays from 6th January until 27 April 2024.

    30-minute sessions at 9am, 9:30am, 10:00am and 10:30am.

    Summer season runs from May to September. Check the Shaftesbury Lido website for opening times.

    Learn more about Shaftesbury Lido here

    2.     Wareham Forest outdoor pool

    This lovely, heated pool set in beautiful surrounding including dense woodland and numerous nature trails is open from May until early September each year. With a shop and game room close by, it’s a great pool to swim, play and relax.

    Where to find Wareham Forest pool: Wareham Forest Tourist Park, 24 Cabot Lane, Poole, BH17 7BX

    Opening times: 8.30am – 5.30pm (late May to early September).

    Learn more about Wareham Forest pool

    3.     Sandford Holiday Park outdoor pool

    A fantastic heated outdoor pool with a water slide for added, family fun. There are also sun loungers to relax on, as well as an indoor pool if it gets just a little too nippy to swim outside!

    Learn more about Sandford Holiday Park outdoor pool

    Opening times: Feb to November, opening times vary.

    Where to find Sandford Holiday Park: Willow Crescent, Holton Heath, Poole BH16 6JZ

    4.     David Lloyd Poole outdoor pool

    The 15-metre outdoor pool at David Lloyd in Poole is open all year round with allocated adult-only swimming times so you can enjoy a relaxing dip in the summer months or, if you’re brave enough, a brisk winter workout when the mercury drops. Whatever your style, nothing beats swimming in the great outdoors.

    Please note the pool is only open to club members.


    Where to find David Lloyd: 24 Cabot Lane, Poole, BH17 7BX

    Opening times: 6:00am – 9:45pm, all year round

    Learn more about David Lloyd in Poole

    Want to get more active?

    Whether you prefer swimming, walking, running or cycling, being out and about in Dorset is a great way to get fit and active! Use our LiveWell Finder tool to find activities in your area or visit the Get Active section of our website some great articles on how to reach your health and fitness goals. You can also register with us today and receive a personalised plan from our team of LiveWell coaches.

    Further reading


"In January 2019, I was five stone heavier. Now, with the weight loss, parkrun and netball, my anxiety has improved tenfold."

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