Everybody loves swimming – and a decent summer means a rare chance to cool off outdoors when the weather turns up the heat. Sadly, Manchester has almost no outdoor pools – so we’ve rounded up our favourite nearby places for a dip.

1. Helly Hanson Watersports Centre at Salford Quays
The former ship canal is officially safe for swimming and, if you like the idea of a big, unlimited space to swim, this is the one for you. Now is the time to swim without a wetsuit as the sun has warmed the water to a comfortable degree. Pre-registering is essential.
15 The Quays, M50 3SQ. Tel: 0161 877 7252, Mon & Thu 6-8pm, Sun 8.30-10.30am, £5 per person, pre-booking essential, www.salfordcommunityleisure.co.uk

2. U Swim at Dock 9 in Salford Quays
As with Helly Hanson above, these swimming sessions are perfect for those training for triathlons or simply interested in an outdoor dip. Swimming takes place between The Lowry and the BBC, so it’s a central location next to the MediaCityUK tram stop. Members get heavily discounted session entry (around £3 saving per session) so check our the website if you are into your outdoor action.
Dock 9, Media City, Salford Quays M50 3AZ, Wed 5.30pm – 8pm, Sat 8am – 11am, £8 drop in, www.uswimopenwater.com

3. Ilkley Lido (pictured)
This sky-blue complex, one of the few working lidos within easy reach of Manchester, is open 10am until 5.30pm at weekends for public swimming from May 2018. What’s more, it’s less than an hour from Manchester – you can drive or take the train; it’s just a short walk from Ilkley station. Look out for Lido Yoga sessions – and twilight swims.
Denton Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 0BZ. Tel: 01943 600 453, Times vary, but Sat and Sun during summer are 10am – 5.30pm, £6.80 per adult, www.bradford.gov.uk

4. Nantwich Outdoor Brine Pool
This charming outdoor brine pool has an olde-worldy feel, as well as plenty of mod changing cons.  The outdoor pool first opened to the public in 1935 and the pool water temperature is maintained at around 23 degrees Celsius. It gets very busy in warm weather, but it offers some late evening adult-only swim sessions – see website for details.
Wall Lane, Nantwich, CW5 5LS. Tel: 01270 685 590, times and prices vary – although there is usually at least a few hours swimming available every day, prices vary, www.everybody.org.uk

5. Lumb Falls near Hebden Bridge
For those who prefer their swimming that little bit wilder, a perfect picnic slash dipping spot is Lumb Falls. Jump in, cool off and have fun clambering up and down the very steep rock walls that lead down into this circular pool from the surrounding hills. Afterwards, there are lots of organic, vegan and dog-friendly cafes to explore in Hebden Bridge. Driving is recommended.
Lumb Falls, Hebden Bridge, HX7 8RL, www.wildswim.com.

Other places for an outdoor dip include Manley Mere, near Delamere. The reason we’ve not included this one in our top five is because wetsuits are mandatory – with a few exceptions. It’s a charming spot though, with alcoholic refreshment available afterwards. Driving is recommended. (Manley Lane, Manley, Frodsham, WA6 0PE. Tel: 01928 740243, times and prices vary, www.manleymere.co.uk). Another good one is Hathersage Swimming Pool. This retro-feeling lido is a great option for swimmers, but it does get extremely packed at the merest hint of sun. Plus it’s quite a long commute: the train takes around an hour on the Sheffield line; driving is similar, if not longer. (Hathersage Swimming Pool, Oddfellows Road, Hathersage, S32 1DU Tel: 01433 650843, www.hathersageswimmingpool.co.uk)

Mon 8 Jul - Sat 31 Aug
Ruth Allan
Published on:
Wed 21 Aug 2019