Charlton Lido: November pool hours announced and Swim Doctor returns

Charlton Lido at dawn

Today brought good news for Charlton Lido swimmers with the announcement that the current opening times will be extended through November. In previous years the timetable has been cut back in winter with the heated pool closed on some weekdays. The centre was one of the first to reopen after lockdown and has been busy since with swimmers taking the opportunity to exercise outdoors.

The pool opening times are:

  • Monday-Friday: 6.30am to 8.30pm
  • Saturday-Sunday: 9am to 5pm

Advanced booking is necessary, through the website or Better app.

Swim Doctor returns

We’ve also learnt that the centre’s popular Swim Doctor sessions will restart in November – a chance for adults to improve their swimming technique and fitness. Booking opens October 28th via the app or website, with the first sessions starting Tuesday 3rd November at 9:30am, then Friday 7am & Saturday 11am. Spaces will be limited and must be pre-booked.

In other lido news, the pool covers were recently replaced, which has – in this writer’s experience at least – improved the average water temperature, particularly in the mornings.


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Summer hours to stay at Charlton Lido as autumn draws in

Charlton Lido pool
Autumn has arrived at Charlton Lido. Photo © Neil Clasper.

Autumn may be making its presence felt, but for the first time since it reopened with a heated pool, Charlton Lido is to keep its summer hours as the nights draw in and the temperature drops.

The pool timetable will stay the same during October, although will be reviewed as the months go on.

In previous years, the winter hours have seen the pool closed at lunchtimes and on a couple of weekdays, but for now the pool remains open from 6.30am to 8pm on weekdays and 9am to 5pm at weekends.

What’s more, we hear that new pool covers are being installed this week so the water should be warmer, particularly in the mornings.

There is still no walk-up entry – you’ll need to book online or via the Better app to swim.

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Pubs reopening before swimming pools ‘defies logic’, Charlton Lido boss says

Charlton Lido
Charlton Lido has been closed since March

Boris Johnson’s decision to allow pubs to reopen before swimming pools “defies logic”, the boss of the company that runs Charlton Lido said last night.

The prime minister told MPs yesterday that many of England’s coronavirus restrictions would be eased from July 4 – effectively ending the Covid-19 lockdown.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open their doors, so long as they keep the details of who visits them. But swimming pools and indoor gyms “need to remain closed for now”, Johnson said, calling them “close-proximity venues”.

Johnson said he agreed with Dartford’s Conservative MP, Gareth Johnson, who said people should “their patriotic best for Britain and go to the pub”.

The news brought an angry reaction from Mark Sesnan, the boss of GLL, which runs facilities for Greenwich and councils across London and beyond. The organisation, which brands itself Better, was founded out of Greenwich Council’s leisure services department in 1993 and now runs 270 centres, but has been hit hard by the enforced closure.

GLL’s other centres in the borough include the Waterfront Leisure Centre in Woolwich and the Greenwich Centre. It took over Charlton Lido in 2012 after previous plans by Greenwich Council to hive it off as a diving centre failed.

In an email to customers, he said: “The government has made a potentially catastrophic mistake by leaving community leisure centres, indoor gyms and swimming pools off the list of businesses that can re-open on 4th July. Nor given any indication when they might re-open. This needs urgent review and we need to open as early as possible.

“This will be bad for business, bad for jobs and bad for the health of the nation.”

He said the decision would put thousands of jobs at risk, lead to leisure facilities closing and “vulnerable businesses, including many not-for-profit organisations, folding”.

Last month, a report to Greenwich Council’s cabinet said the pandemic had resulted in “serious financial implications for GLL due to the loss of revenue at borough leisure centres. This is the subject of pan-London discussions.” Other boroughs where GLL operate include Camden, Croydon, Islington, Hackney, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

Two weeks ago, Southwark Council paid half a million pounds to bail out its operator, Everyone Active; in Peterborough, the local operator Vivacity has closed altogether.

“It has been proven that conditions such as obesity and diabetes significantly increase the risks associated with Covid-19,” Sesnan added.

“We all enjoy a pint. But if pubs and restaurants can reopen it defies logic that indoor sports and leisure facilities remain closed – particularly public facilities designed to serve local communities. This decision appears misguided and short sighted. We need an opening date for our sector immediately.”

GLL is asking customers to sign a Sport England petition to urge the government to think again.


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