I like to think my boys have inherited a lot from me: my sense of humour, my blue eyes, and my love of travel, to name a few! But one thing that they definitely share with both me and my husband is our love of being in the water; we are a family of fish! Now that the weather has realised it’s summer, the boys are in their paddling pool after school every day, and I’ve restarted my weekly swims at Beccles lido.
Beccles Lido is an open air swimming pool on the Norfolk/Suffolk Border. Its around a 30 minute drive from Norwich. It boasts a main pool that is 33m long by 16m wide, and then two smaller pools: one a 75cm deep toddler pool, and one a very shallow splash/paddling pool for babies. We discovered Beccles lido soon after moving to Norwich from London almost a decade ago, because the idea of spending a summer without those lazy lido days we loved just seemed impossible! In those wonderful pre-covid days, you could go into the Lido for the day, hopping from pool to pool and stopping for chips from the café for lunch.
Now sessions are limited and you can only book for one pool; if you book for the toddler pool you can’t hop into the main pool, and vice versa, which means some mixed age/ability families will have to split into two groups. Luckily for us, this year Boy5 will be able to go into the main pool with all of us. Sessions are also limited depending on the one you book, and range from between 45-90 minutes, so staying for the day is sadly another thing that is a thing of the past (at least for now).
Due to Covid restrictions, all sessions have to be booked in advanced and the weekday fun/splash family sessions book up FAST. But if you’re interested in mid-week lane swimming then you can generally still book a session on the day: ideal if you’re a fair-weather swimmer, and want to make sure that the sun will be shining before you book your slot! I went for a lane swim yesterday, and we will be taking the boys for their first splash session of the season on Saturday. I will say that though I wish the sessions were longer, I like the new booking system, which means you don’t have to drive all the way there and risk being turned away, which has happened when they were operating on a first come, first served system!
A 45 minute off peak lane swim costs just £3.50, making this a wonderfully affordable hobby, and there’s nothing quite like swimming outside when the sun is shining to make you feel all those happy holiday feels. Everything is clean, the one way system around the poolside makes everything feel very safe, and people were also mindful to keep their distance from other swimmers.
The downside? Because there always has to be a downside… Parking at the lido is severely limited, and trying to find a parking space anywhere near it is a nightmare. I tend to park in Beccles itself and then walk down Puddlemoor to the lido; the walk is easy, only takes around 10 minutes, and saves all the hassle and road rage. Although the walk back to the car is slightly less pleasant, as the new policy of having to arrive ‘swim ready’ and leave like a half drowned rat means walking back to the car looking like this:
The bad hair days are certainly worth the endorphin hit of a good swim in the sun though!