Heated winter swims to become a ‘regular treat’
PUBLISHED: 12:23 14 January 2019
Bosses of an open air pool have vowed to make a Christmas event which proved immensely popular a ‘regular treat’, after almost 2,000 people took a dip at the lido.
Portishead Open Air Pool for the first time heated its pool over the festive period, giving people the chance to take a paddle despite the biting temperatures
Christmas Day and Boxing Day swims had proved popular in recent years among the hardiest of swimmers, who often took to the water despite it being as cold as 6C.
But Portishead Pool Community Trust, which manages the lido in Esplinade Road, decided to heat the pool to 29C in hope of luring more people to take the plunge.
The move paid massive dividends with more than 1,800 people taking part.
Ticket sales far exceeded anticipated demand, more sessions were arranged to cope with the swell of popularity, and the trust has decided the event will become a regular fixture in Portishead’s calendar.
Spokesman Barbara Thatcher said: “Tickets for hour-long sessions over Christmas went online in early November and had sold out within a few weeks, so we increased the sessions and added New Year’s Day as well.
“In total 1,450 swimmers enjoyed a balmy dip between December 23 and New Year’s Day and it was so successful we decided to make the best use of the warm water and open again on January 5.
“This time no-one needed to book and we had more than 400 swimmers. We also had many spectators who enjoyed hot chocolate or mulled wine while they watched.”
The trust has run the lido since 2009 when North Somerset Council deemed it a financial liability, but the pool has gone from strength to strength since with thousands visiting each year.
Ms Thatcher added: “The atmosphere was fantastic with so many families enjoying the sort of day out they normally only get in the summer holidays.
“Obviously we were lucky with the weather but even when it was a bit drizzly one day it didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.
“We are really looking forward to making this an annual event, and even adding extra days next December.
“We think it will become a regular treat for families to enjoy in the Christmas holidays”