Jesus Green Lido is open again for a new season. One of the longest outdoor pools in the country, it’s been going since 1923 and still has a reassuringly old school feel with its wooden changing cubicles and its attended Basket Room for safe storage of your possessions as you swim. It’s surrounded by trees so it’s sheltered and private with shade on sunny days and plenty of grassy space for sunbathing and picnics.
I met with Charlotte Anderson-Chapman and Callum Lewis of GLL, which manages the Lido for Cambridge City Council, to get some facts and figures. The Lido, which runs alongside the River Cam, is 91 metres long, 14 metres wide and its depth varies from 1.2 – 2.5 metres. It takes 7 weeks to get the pool ready for opening day … it’s emptied and cleaned and every 4 years it has a full coat of paint with 65 tins of specialist paint rollered on by hand! It then takes four days and nights to pump enough water in to refill the Lido.
The Lido is unheated so the water temperature can be bracing but it’s quite acceptable to wear a wetsuit if, like me, you’re not the hardy type! There’s a dedicated lane for speedy swimmers and while triathletes and open water swimmers train here, it’s a great place for a leisurely dip in the open air on a hot day. In fact, there’s quite a community that grows around the Lido each year. The Friends of Jesus Green Pool is an informal group of regular swimmers who help to set up in the grounds, act as a voice for pool users and arrange several social events each year.
Facilities include showers and lockers in the changing rooms, a sauna and there is full disabled access with a poolside hoist. The cafe sells hot and cold drinks, snacks and ice cream. Memberships and season tickets are available or you can just turn up with your bathing kit on a sunny day and pay for a single swim.
Off Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AX