Ready to make a splash. Iconic Cleveland Pools to welcome the public for first time in 39 years

August 25, 2023

Cleveland Pools, Bath’s much-loved Georgian lido that was saved for future generations following a 20-year campaign, is to reopen to the public next month.

To celebrate the milestone – and to mark Heritage Open Day – swimming will be free on the first day, Sunday 10 September. Spaces will need to be booked in advance.

Tickets will be available to book on the Cleveland Pools website from 10am on Saturday 2 September. Three swimming sessions will be available: 10am to noon, noon to 2pm and 2pm to 4pm.

Cleveland Pools, the UK’s oldest surviving public lido, first opened in 1817 and held a significant place in the hearts of Bathonians for almost two centuries until it closed in 1984.

It was then used as a trout farm before being threatened with demolition.

The project to save it began in 2004 with the formation of the Cleveland Pools Trust, a group of committed volunteers who came together with a vision to restore the pools to their former glory and reopen them to the community.

The campaign gained significant support from heritage organisations in Bath and nationally, including a £6.5m grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, along with support from Historic England, Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Public Sector Decarbonisation Fund, and West of England Combined Authority (WECA), as well as from individual donors, charitable trusts and foundations and crowdfunding.

A 15-month restoration project – which included bringing all machinery, building materials and equipment to the site by barge on the adjacent River Avon – ended a year ago at a total cost of £9.3m.

The work included creating a new crescent-shaped waterproof concrete main pool within the footprint of the original listed red-brick pool, which has been preserved beneath it.

A below-ground plantroom has been created for new pool filtration equipment, along with hi-spec water source heat pumps that will be used to heat the pool water. 

The area above the plantroom now houses a refreshment kiosk and seating area.

The trust is now launching its operational phase in partnership with Dartford, Kent-based sports centre group Fusion Lifestyle, which already operates five lidos across the country and will run the pools on a day-to-day basis.

Trust chair Paul Simons said: “This has been a marathon swim, often against the tide.

“But the sheer determination of the local community as represented by the trustees, an army of volunteers, well-wishers, along with supporters such as the Heritage Fund, National Lottery players and our dedicated small number of staff has seen the project through.”

Fusion Lifestyle CEO Anthony Cawley said: “Cleveland Pools is not just Britain’s oldest lido, it is also one of its most beautiful.

“We understand intrinsically the very special place these facilities hold in the hearts of the communities who use them. In the coming weeks we will be publishing our autumn and winter opening hours.”

Information about opening hours, swimming timetables and entry costs for 11 September onwards will be published in the coming weeks on visit

Photo by Kitty Dimbleby


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