Popular during the 1930s with a name originating from the Italian word for “beach,” Lidos are quintessentially British and go back to a time when foreign holidays were beyond the financial means for the majority of the British public. Whilst most of the 169 Lidos built across the country have since closed, the Sandford Parks Lido, close to the centre of Cheltenham, has been lovingly maintained and restored, and offers a good value for money during the summer months.
The main draw of the Sandford Parks Lido is the 50-metre long heated outdoor pool thought to be the only one of its size in the country. The pool is heated to 24C and two lanes of the pool are reserved for swimmers who do not wish to be disturbed whilst concentrating on doing laps. The main pool also has two slides and there is plenty of space around the pool to sit and enjoy the sunshine with a number of sun loungers available.
There are two pools for children: A small paddling pool for very young children and a separate shallow children’s pool with slides. These pools are heated to a comfortable 27C. In addition to the pools, there is plenty of equipment to keep children occupied. A park area next to the pool offers climbing frames and slides and, there are two tables for table tennis with bats available to hire. There is also a basketball hoop.
The area has a distinctive art deco style and there are indoor and outdoor changing facilities with free hot showers and hairdryers. The pools and pavilion are ensconced in landscaped gardens in which visitors can enjoy a picnic or play ball games. Additionally, the onsite café provides a good range of hot and cold refreshments.
Throughout the season the Sandford Parks Lido has a number of events open to the public. These include:
- Regular outdoor film screenings hosted by the Cheltenham Film Society, showing classics and film favourites under the stars
- Theatre performances from visiting drama companies
- The Cheltenham Triathlon, which is held every year to raise money for charity, with the swim portion of the triathlon taking place at the Lido. This event is open to all abilities
The Lido is situated near to the centre of Cheltenham next to the Cheltenham General Hospital on Keynsham Road. Access is via the A435 London Road. There is a large pay-and-display car park just outside of the Lido that costs around £1.50 per hour or £6.50 for six hours.
There are a number of buses that stop on the A435 London Road and on Sandford Road outside of the hospital with the Lido within close walking distance of this.
Opening Times and Cost
The Lido is open from May to October with the actual opening and closing dates varying each year. Opening times for the pools are as follows:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays – Main pool between 6.30am until 9.00am; All pools between 11am and 7.30pm
- Tuesdays and Thursdays – All pools between 9.30am and 7.30pm
- Saturdays – All pools between 11am and 7.30pm
- Sundays – Main pool between 8am and 9.30am; All pools between 11am and 7.30pm
Adults are charged £4.30 and children aged 5-15 years and concessions are charged £2.30. Children under 5 are free. Family tickets are also available that provide discounts for groups including two or more people.