Scotland’s Best Outdoor Swimming Pools

Kaitlin Dryburgh- 2nd August 2023

Looking out the window it is understandable if this article may come across slightly nuts. Unfortunately, these past few weeks haven’t blessed us Scots with the glorious weather that we had back in May. Saying that though, if it was a toss up between this weather and the continues inferno that much of Southern Europe and other parts of the world have been experiencing then we may have to count ourselves lucky. However, here’s looking to some sun coming our way in late August, which gives us an opportunity to take advantage of outdoor swimming in Scotland. Wild swimming is great, yet it can be a big step if you’ve never done it before so outdoor swimming pools offer a great alternative or intermediate step. Perhaps with the current reality of hotter summers coming our way outdoor swimming pools will play a bigger part in Scotland’s summers. Here’s a list of some of Scotland’s affordable outdoor pools.

Stonehaven Outdoor Swimming Pool

The outdoor Olympic sized swimming pool in Stonehaven is an Art Deco treasure, restored to its 1934 glory this pool is enjoyed by many through-out the summer months. It also happens to be the most northern Lido in the UK. With many different sessions available, even a very popular midnight moonlight swim. A great outdoors swimming spot that is well worth a visit, and if you’re having a treat day the highly adored ice cream shop Aunt Betty’s is just round the corner, just watch out for the seagulls.

Adult session tickets for £6. 60 while child and concession tickets are priced at £4.15, family tickets are also available. Stonehaven outdoor pool has full wheelchair access and fitted with hoist.

Pittenweem Tidal Pool

Tidal pools were once a common occurrence in many Scottish seaside towns and heavily used by hardy swimmers. Unfortunately, many fell into ruin as those hardy swimmers found they could take advantage of cheaper and easier travel to countries that didn’t require such a deep intake of breath when entering the water (although if swimming in cold water always enter on an exhale).

However, their popularity has been on the incline and there have been a few dotted through-out Scotland who have secured the funding to open theirs up again, just like the Pittenweem Pool. After it’s grand re-opening in 2021 the pool offers a taste of the salty sea water without the real dangers that the sea can pose, as well as great views and the sea air in your lungs. Fingers crossed more community groups will have success in opening their town’s tidal pools.

Free to use. However as this is a very basic outdoor pool there are no changing facilities and isn’t wheelchair accessible.

Gourock Outdoor Pool

For over a hundred years this Inverclyde lido has been a place where people come to learn, play and relax, however you’ll be happy to know that despite it’s age the pool does have a heating system now. The Gourock pool can make for a very tranquil swim as you take in the views of the Clyde Estuary and in some sunny instances remind you of a time gone by when enjoying the Scottish coastline was the only place you were going on holiday. They also have some midnight swims spread across the summer holidays, where you can ‘swim under the stars’.  

The pool has some disabled access and prices start from £4 for adults and £3 for children.

The Tamar Manoukian New Cumnock Pool

Fully refurbished in 2017 this pool is a little bit of a hidden gem, one that has functioning modern changing rooms painted in a smile inducing rainbow colour scheme. Although this is not a local authority pool as it presides in the care of Dumfries House Trust prices remain very reasonable at £3.50 for an adult swim and £2.50 for a child and concession swim. Originally this pool in Cumnock was destined for demolition but after the Dumfries House Trust intervened the pool was revamped and opened back up to the public in 2017. The pool is freshwater and fully heated, with many considering it to be one of the best small outdoor pools in the UK.

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