Clifton Lido is one of Bristol’s best kept secrets, nestled between a row of housing you’d be forgiven for walking past it completely unaware. But this restored 1850 Victorian swimming pool is a true oasis in a concrete jungle.
How much does it cost?
The best way to experience Clifton Lido is with a swim and eat package. You’re given two hours to use the facilities before dining in the relaxed pool side restaurant.
There are four packages available (prices correct as of July 2021);
- Swim, Massage and Three Course Meal Inc. Towel and Robe £90pp
- Swim and Breakfast £35pp
- Swim and Lunch £40pp
- Swim and Dine (Evening) £45pp
Towel and robe hire are available and charged extra for the majority of packages between £3 and £5. Drinks in the restaurant are also charged extra for the majority of packages.
How does it work?
The main facilities at Clifton Lido are open air and open plan, featuring an open air swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub. If you’re expecting high end luxury and innovation, then you’ve come to the wrong place as the main charm is it’s back-to-basics outdoor showers and changing facilities. If you’re feeling brave, they also have cold water buckets!
On arrival, you can use the indoor or outdoor changing area. However, if you came prepared in your swimming costume, you’ll simply use the free lockers located near the entrance. No change or petty cash is needed, you simply follow the easy-to-follow instructions to input a code. The reception desk is immediately opposite should you have any difficulty.
It’s recommended to take your towel with you, there’s a small cubby to store your towel and flip flops whilst you’re swimming or hooks if you prefer.
As the restaurant runs as a separate entity, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to reserve a table whilst you’re using the facilities, but I have seen guests sitting in their robes enjoying a coffee if you can get a table.
The restaurant overlooks the pool so, if you’re a little shy then this perhaps isn’t the place.
For me personally, the changing facilities are incredibly charming, however I was thrown a little during my first visit. There are indoor and outdoor shower and changing facilities. The indoor facilities are dimly lit, individual cubicles that contain a toilet and a shower. Outdoor, you’ll need to locate a changing room with a barrel attached – this is the shower and it’s operated using a pull lever. In all of the changing facilities and showers, are free to use body and hair washes.
Once dressed, it’s recommended to head upstairs to the Boudoir. Here you’ll find a plush room with hairdryers, straighteners and mirrors with a view of the pool. It has great natural light and is the best place to apply your makeup if you’re heading elsewhere.
Where should I park?
Owing to its location, there is no formal parking however if visiting on a weekend it’s recommended to park on Oakfield Road (in front of Six Agency) Street that’s a three minute walk to the lido. Parking here is free on the weekend, however you will still need to print a free ticket using the pay machine as it’s a maximum stay of four hours – more than enough time to enjoy your time at Clifton Lido.
The award-winning restaurant is worth a visit on its own, it’s informal vibe is perfect for the location. The floor to ceiling doors offer an up-close-and-personal view of the pool. The food is seasonally sourced and utterly delicious. My advice would be that even if you don’t know what anything on the menu is, just go for it – you won’t be disappointed.