TOP 9 | locations in Yorkshire to dive in and cool off! Lidos, outdoor swimming pools, reservoirs & England’s highest beach!
Soak up the seaside atmosphere at one of Yorkshire’s outdoor pools, reservoirs, freshwater beaches and lidos this summer.
Here are 9 of the best spots in Yorkshire to strip off, jump into your cosi, dive in and pretend you’re on the Costas.
Gaddings Dam, Todmorden – West Yorkshire
I’m kicking this off with Yorkshire’s best-kept secret on a sweltering day – Gaddings Dam.
Gaddings Dam is located high up on the Yorkshire Moors. It claims to fame? It’s the highest freshwater beach in England! Thanks to this accolade, Gaddings Dam is the perfect spot for an extremely hot day – there is often a cool breeze even in the height of summer. There is no better place to take an outdoor cool and relaxing dip not too far west of Bradford.
This is a water-filled attraction that is super busy in hot weather so get there in good time, and beware – because it is so high up, the walk to Gaddings Dam is more of a steep hike – not ideal for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Parking facilities are fairly limited, the closest car park is at The Shepherds Rest pub which is a bit of a walk away. Still, it’s worth it when you reach the top. Take your dingy – if you can carry it!
Facilities: Pub nearby with children’s play area
Ilkley Lido – West Yorkshire
A firm favourite of mine because it’s so close to me, this super-size pool is the perfect place for a refreshing dip when the Yorkshire sunshine is cracking the flags, and refreshing it is as it relies on the heat of the sun to warm its waters.
Ilkley Lido’s picture-perfect setting overlooking the famous Cow and Calf rocks makes this a beautiful spot on a hot day. Pack a picnic and roll out your blanket on the manicured gardens, and dip in and out of the sizeable mushroom-shaped pool complete with kids slide and plenty of lifeguards on duty. If you can’t handle the crowds that this Lido commands on a hot summer’s day, you can always pop across the road for a dip in The River Wharf. There are also loads of lovely restaurants and watering holes to check out less than half a mile away in the salubrious town of Ilkley after an appetite-building day at this lido.
Cost: Adults – £8.30, Junior/Senior – £4.10, Under 3s- free
Facilities: Indoor and outdoor pool, tennis court, putting green, picnic area, toilets, limited parking, changing rooms, cafe
Ingleton Swimming Pool – The Yorkshire Dales
Ingleton’s open-air 20m heated swimming pool is an idyllic must-visit place to create those life-long summer memories. Located in the popular and very pretty Yorkshire Dales Village of Ingleton – known as ‘The Land of Caves and Waterfalls’ and not far from the famous Ingleton Falls – Ingleton Swimming Pool is suitable for all ages and the raised terrace is the perfect place to relax in the sun. If you forget anything, try not to sweat, there’s a shop on-site selling swim nappies, drinks, snacks and towels.
Cost: (for non members) 4-16 year olds – £3.50, Over 16 – £5.00, Family – £14, under 4’s – £1.00
Facilities: Spectator areas, activity areas, toilets, changing rooms
Bradford City Park Mirror Pool – Bradford, West Yorkshire
Now technically Bradford’s City Park Mirror Pool right in the heart of Bradford’s city centre wasn’t built as a lido or a swimming pool, but that doesn’t stop anyone who comes to visit this multi-award-winning high-tech urban water feature from darting across the 3600m2 ‘Mirror Pool’ which boasts more than 100 fountains – apparently the largest urban water feature in the UK! You might need to pop into the local Costa if your whipper-snappers need a Jimmy-Riddle – no better excuse to grab a takeaway Americano to be enjoyed on the decked-out perimeter – soaking up the sun whilst the kids play safely in the shallow water.
Facilities: Benches, surrounding restaurants
The Adventure Gardens at Newby Hall, Ripon – North Yorkshire
Newby Gardens on the outskirts of Ripon in North Yorkshire boasts a super safe, well-thought-out adventure garden for children of all ages featuring a paddling pool, sandpit, and pedalo boats. Not forgetting Newby’s famous children’s railway. Cool off in the interactive water play area which promises hours of entertainment – jets of water squirt out of the ground to form arches of varying height and length, the objective being to avoid getting wet, although in this heat it’s likely you’ll hang around to get wet! A circular play area means it’s easy for you to keep an eye on your brood as you relax on the grass-covered sidelines – a perfect place for a picnic.
Cost (Garden only tickets) – Adult – £12.75, Child – £9.75
Facilities: Cafe, shops, toilets, wheelchairs available for rent.
Alpamare, Scarborough – North Yorkshire
This Florida style outdoor Water Park in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough (affectionately known as ‘Scarbados’) is a tropical paradise and promises extreme water-filled fun for all the family. With a wave pool, garden pool, infinity pool and children’s play area you’re in for a wet and wild time. Adventure seekers can enjoy the more adrenaline-fuelled water slides such as the four-man-tube snowstorm. Enjoy a cold beer in the outdoor pool and pretend you really are on your jollies.
Cost: Adult Ticket – £20.00, Child Ticket – £16
Facilities: Changing rooms, toilets, lockers, baby changing facilities (can be locked with wristband received on entrance), restaurants, bars, wheelchair friendly, parking.
Cable Water Ski & Aqua Park, Sheffield – South Yorkshire
Total Wipeout style fun in Sheffield. And wiped me it out did when I was forced to have a go at the cable waterskiing last year – not for the faint-hearted.
If you require a water-filled adventure for your older and more adventurous kiddos then head to Sheffield Cable Waterski this summer. The main attraction is the Aqua Park – one of the biggest inflatable waters parks in the UK. There are many fun obstacles to tackle, including inflatable slides, trampolines and a blast bag. Set in the picturesque Rother Valley Country Park, Sheffield Cable Water Ski features a cable water park, licensed bar, cafe and wakeboard pro shop. Don’t worry if you have never done it before, the park offers introductory lessons. Wetsuit hire available. Pack appropriate footwear – something on your feet is mandatory across all the park’s water attractions.
Cost: £15 (booked online), £17 (walk-ins), wetsuit hire – £5. See website for individual prices for different sessions.
Facilities: campsite, cafe and bar, shop.
Helmsley Open Air Pool
Highly recommended by Girl About Leeds – Kirsty, when she eventually got in, Helmsley Open Air Pool is located in the picturesque market town of Helmsley in North Yorkshire.
Be warned – there is no booking system. You can’t book online or over the phone, or in advance. Your only option is to be there in the morning in person so they are obviously only catering for a local clientele – not those all the way from Leeds! Kirsty arrived just after lunch and was told both afternoon sessions sold out by 11.30am! Luckily there is a lovely play area where Kirsty’s folks and little boy were able to enjoy their picnic. She queued for an hour but assures us it was worth it. Although the facilities are apparently basic, it’s pool areas is spotless and very safe and the ticketing systems ensures it’s not overcrowded once you get in.
Kirsty queued for an hour but finally got in and promises it was so worth it!
Kirsty’s advice is to arrive in the morning (opens at 11am), book your tickets and the head out for some food in Helmsley before heading back for your allocated session.
Cost: Children 4-16 – £3.50. Adults £5
Facilities: Restaurant, toilets.
Allerthorpe Lake Park, York
Allerthorpe Lake Park just a 30-minute drive from York city centre is set in 53 acres of ground and lakes and promises lots of fun, water-soaked activities for all the family.
Fishing, paddle-boarding, sailing, open water swimming, pedalos and kayaking provide oodles of fun, and the ever-popular aqua park is at the centre of it all. Your hour-long session on the aqua park includes a wetsuit, lifejacket and helmet so don’t bother blow-drying your hair.
Cost: Fishing – £5 day ticket (£1 rod), Open water swimming – £5 a swim, Paddleboarding – £10 for one hour, pedalo – £10 for 30 mins, sailing – £20 for two hours, aqua park – £15 per person.
If you’ve got any other recommendation on where to cool down in Yorkshire and beyond, please tell us in the comments below.
Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts!
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