Across the UK alone, there are over 150 working lido pools, with the first one to open in 1935 in Edmonton. There are obvious fitness benefits, as well as social and communal incentives. Fresh water or tidal salt water lido pools are common across the south west of the UK with many in Devon and Cornwall, as well as here in Somerset.

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There are numerous benefits to using a salt water pool including the natural effect of salt as a sanitizer, immediately taking away the sometimes drying effects of chlorine on the skin and body.

Lidos across the UK vary in style – with Plymouth’s original Art Deco lido which opened in 1935, still in full use today after a much needed refurbishment when it reopened for public use in 2005. Bath’s Thermae Spa is just a short train ride away, and boasts the natural benefits of the minerals found within this ancient Roman city.  Some are seasonal only, yet Bristol’s lido pool is a year-round affair. Not one to bare all this winter?

In Scandinavia, it’s not unusual for locals to strip off, and indulge in a sauna before jumping into the nearest frozen lake. Ice swimming is well known to rejuvenate circulation and stimulate general health and immunity, and the Finns in particular regularly engage in this leisure pursuit. As part of their routine, the body is massaged with birch branches (sounds more painful than it actually is) which stimulates blood flow, and accentuates the benefits of the sauna.

Here in Bristol, Clifton Lido offers a holistic experience including sauna, steam room, outdoor hot tub, massage spa and a variety of relaxing treatments on offer. The Guardian listed Clifton Lido as it’s Top 10 Lidos in the UK in 2013, and The Telegraph celebrated the same victory this year. This winter, you can experience Bristol under starry skies, with a late night swim followed by a warming steam or sauna treatment.

If you are seeking a regular slot at the Clifton Lido, there are membership options. Or for an afternoon’s visit, it costs £20 for three hours full use of all of the facilities. Clifton Lido is open daily from 9am – 10pm.  To find out more: www.lidobristol.com or telephone: 0117 933 9530