Thames Lido – Reading, England - Atlas Obscura

Thames Lido

Soak up some local history in this restored Edwardian era swimming pool.  


Though it looks like a swanky setting, this once-abandoned lido (swimming facility) is a perfect place for those seeking to soak up some local history.

The pool is thought to be the only existing outdoor public baths from the turn of the 20th century. It was originally built in 1902 to allow Reading’s Edwardian ladies of yesteryear to swim in seclusion from the outside world, under the canopy of the surrounding trees. Water from the nearby River Thames filled its walls.

The pool was abandoned in 1974. For decades, its once-clear water filled with murk and debris. In 2013, renovation efforts began to restore and renovate the lido, which reopened to the public in 2017.

The pool is now part of a spa, and a restaurant wraps around the pool’s edges, giving diners a view of those taking a swim. The waters within the lido are heated and kept between 70 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit.

Know Before You Go

The Thames Lido is situated in Kings Meadow Park, near the city center and main railway station. Parking is limited, but it's only a 10-minute walk from Reading train station. Patrons are encouraged to shower naked before swimming so the chlorine content of the water can be kept to a minimum. Contact the Lido directly for non-member swimming sessions.

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