Charlton Lido reopens to swimmers after lockdown: What’s it like?

Charlton Lido July 2020
Charlton Lido at opening time on Sunday morning

Charlton Lido became one of the first outdoor pools in the country to reopen this weekend, after the government lifted some restrictions on exercise and recreational activities on Thursday. The centre’s operator, Better, have made some changes to accommodate new guidance on safe operation in the new, Covid-aware world – we went along for a dip to find out more.


The first important change is that you need to book online or via the Better app – no walk-ins at the moment. I made a booking very easily via the app using my membership but know that some others have had issues; anecdotally, the centre are resolving these quite quickly. Swim sessions are 50 minutes, with 10 minutes presumably for cleaning.

Swimmers enter through the reception in the usual way and exit post-swim from one of the poolside fire exits. The indoor changing rooms are out of action, but the toilets are available, along with the poolside cubicles, showers and lockers.

Swimming is adults-only at the moment, and the pool has been divided into five lanes, each going in an anti-clockwise direction. Under government guidance butterfly and backstroke aren’t allowed (presumably these are either too splashy or they bring increased risk of contact with other swimmers). The car park is now pay-by-mobile.

From my experience the new system was working well, and I was impressed by the staffs’ efforts in explaining the new processes to swimmers as they came into the centre and again poolside. It was emphasised that the centre is going through a learning process, and the above may change over time – as may government guidance. We’re told that ‘full service’ resumes on July 25 but they are hopeful of running some outdoor fitness activities including spin classes before then. In the meantime, we advise keeping an eye on the website for the latest opening hours.

Charlton Lido


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The times they are a-changin’: Charlton Lido’s winter timetable announced

Charlton lido outdoor pool
Charlton Lido in the late September sunshine
It’s officially autumn, despite the late burst of September sunshine, and autumn means three things for Charlton Lido swimmers: swimming in the dark on weeknight evenings (try it – I promise you it’s one of the very best things you can do in Charlton on a Monday night); the water temperature being noticeably higher than the air temperature making it easier to get in the pool and harder to get out; and – less positively – a reduction in pool opening hours.

Here’s how it’s looking for Autumn/Winter ’18:Charlton Lido timetable winter 2018

Charlton Lido Winter Pool Timetable October 2018 to March 2019:

Monday: 6.30am-2pm & 4pm-8pm
Tuesday: 6.30am-2pm & 4pm-8pm
Wednesday: Closed
Thursday: Closed
Friday: 6.30am-2pm
Saturday: 9am-5pm
Sunday: 9am-5pm

The popular Swim Doctor drop-in sessions will continue on Monday evenings and Friday mornings, with the current Wednesday morning session moving to Tuesday mornings.

We’re grateful to Friends of Charlton Lido for passing this information on.

The full Charlton Lido & Lifestyle Club timetable can be found here.

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Charlton Lido: Winter swimming timetable announced

Charlton lido

Thanks to the Friends of Charlton Lido for sending us this update:

Following the recent Customer Forum meeting, and feedback from members over the summer, the Lido has now published the winter pool programme which will commence on Monday 9 October.  The good news is that it follows the broadly the same pattern as last year but with the addition of three lunchtime sessions per week, two of which replace the 2-4pm slots on Monday and Tuesday which were the quietest times of the week.  It’s hoped the new pattern will enable more people to swim regularly throughout the winter season.  The early morning opening on Monday will also continue through the winter, in response to popular demand.

Winter Timetable

Monday           6.30am-2pm & 4pm-8pm

Tuesday           7am-2pm & 4pm-8pm

Wednesday & Thursday closed

Friday              7am-2pm

Weekends       9am-5pm

Swim Doctor Programme

The Swim Doctor programme will continue with three sessions per week through the winter, with the present Wednesday and Thursday morning sessions moving to Fridays from the week of October 9th.  Sessions are free for members and £3 for non-members.  Booking is advised.

Monday 7-8pm              Swim Doctor Technique

Friday 7-8.30am            Swim Doctor Fitness (30 minutes land-based + 1 hour in the pool)

Friday 9.30-10.30am    Swim Doctor Technique