Pells Autumn Season Ended
Bonfire Swim Fully Booked



Pool Temperature:  current temp 10C (3 Nov)

Pells is an unheated pool - and relies on sunshine to heat. The water into the pool comes from an underground spring and is heated by the sun. We are now into cold water swimming - temp is below 15C


Bonfire - Lunchtime Swim

We are trying out our first ever Bonfire Day swim by re-opening for a one-off lunchtime session (11am-1pm) on the Fifth.



Cold water swimming advice

We enjoyed an exceptionally warm start to the autumn season, but water temperatures have falled over the recent days and are now below 15C. It is important therefore over the weeks ahead that those using the pool do so safely to take account of the cold water.

The temperature has now fallen below 15C. When you arrive at the pool, our staff will be providing advice and guidance to people for their safety. Please do ask our team if you have any questions or concerns.

If the temperature falls below 15°C we will not allow children to swim in the pool & the paddling pool will close.

For those people who have been regularly swimming then swimming at these temperature should be straightforward.

You still need to take care and adjust your swimming times and not stay in the pool for an extended period of time.

At 15°C or below we would recommend using a wet suit, if you have not been acclimatised to swimming in the water before.

Use of swim hats and potentially also swim gloves should be considered.

If you are not used to the temperatures (eg from Pells, sea swimming or other unheated outdoor swimming) then we recommend that you initially limit your time in the water to just 15 minutes at most.

If a new swimmer, be aware that you may not notice your body cooling down and oddly feel quite warm while you are swimming - this is an indication you are experiencing a physical reaction 

You should not dive into cold water unless you are well adjusted to it.

Follow tips and advice from organisations like the Outdoor Swimming Society and NOWCA.



Autumn Season Monday 13 September to Sunday 31 October 

Booking in advance is strongly recommended, but you can buy tickets on the door where spaces are left.

We sell tickets online - you can buy them 24 hours a day. Tickets are on sale for the whole of the autumn season

You can also book in person at the kiosk when we are open, for future sessions.

Where any tickets remain unsold at the start of a session, you can also buy them on the door for immediate admission, as well as online.

The sale online uses the Bookwhen system - it should have all information needed for making bookings.

If you are on a waiting list for a session, then you will be notified by email if a space opens up. Please do not travel to the pool just in case. We do not have "waiting list tickets" at the pool itself.

Payments will be taken from payment cards via the Stripe system rather than Paypal. Some customers had problems using Paypal last year.

Please see Q&A on these webpages for any questions about times and prices.

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Autumn season:  13 September to 31 October 2021

We are delighted to announce that our 2021 autumn season at the Pells will run every day from Monday 13 September to Sunday 31 October.

Tickets for all sessions in the autumn season will go on sale today, Thursday 2 September. 

  • For weekdays, we are keeping the morning lane swims, including the gentle swim at 10am, and adding an extra gentle swim at 11am. We will have a three-hour open session at 3:30pm, with two lanes alongside for lane swimming. 
  • For weekends, we will have three morning lane swims, and then a four-hour open session from 1.30pm, again with two lanes.
  • We are reducing all prices by 50p per session, and introducing an autumn 2021 class pass for adults at £25 for 15 sessions
  • We are also trying out our first ever Bonfire Day swim by re-opening for a one-off lunchtime session (11am-1pm) on the Fifth. Tickets available from our normal booking system

Full details of our autumn season is set out on the bookwhen pages and the 2021 season information.


Book online

About The Pells Pool

The Pells Pool is the oldest documented freshwater outdoor public swimming pool in the United Kingdom, set in the beautiful town of Lewes in East Sussex. We celebrate our 160th anniversary in 2021 and continue to welcome thousands to our unique lido pool in the summer months each year.

We are a community-run pool, with professional staff managing the pool and a paid team of trained lifeguards. We are run by the Pells Pool Community Association and supported by the Lewes Town Council who act as trustees for the land and pool. 

The Pells is an unheated spring-fed pool - 50 yards (46 metres) long by 25 yards (23 metres) wide. There are facilities for the whole family to enjoy, from our tree-lined green lawn, sun terrace and exercise lane, to our children's paddling pool (re-open now for 2021 season),floats and other recreational equipment. 

Come and enjoy a picnic on the tree-lined lawn. We sell snacks, coffee & tea, soft drinks & ice cream. 

Customers get 20p reduction if you bring your own cup and we will be selling reusable cups.  We also have a water fountain - so bring your own water containers to refill.

The pool is heated only by the sun, so water is usually cool at the start of the season and warms up as the weeks go by. For people interested in open water swim training, wetsuits can be worn to swim in the pool whenever we're open and unless indicated in the name of the session, we have a lane set aside for lap swimming. 

There are male and female changing areas (now re-open for 2021 season),and there are small lockers free to use (not available in 2021 season).

There are four open-air warm showers beside the lawn which edges the pool, and one cold water shower on the flint wall side.

Male and female toilets and an accessible toilet.

We have ramp access to the pool for people with mobility needs - and wheelchair available for use to access.  There is an accessible toilet, shower and changing area. 

We do not allow dogs to be brought into the Pells.

Bad weather policy - reminder (from terms and conditions)

Are sessions cancelled due to bad weather?

No – sessions go ahead whatever the weather

What happens in the event of thunder/lightning?

We follow ROSPA guidance which indicates that when, in the judgement of the lifeguarding team, the lightning is within around 6 miles of the Pells, then we need to clear pool and get people to safe place. We only return 30 mins after last sound of thunder. 

Are sessions cancelled in advance due to lightning risk or forecast?

No. We do not cancel sessions in advance due to lightning risk or forecast - since action is needed only if we judge that a storm has come within 6 miles of the pool, and this cannot be predicted specifically in advance.

Can a session be ended early due to lightning?

Yes, if the storm continues to within 30 mins of end of session we would need to end the session. Or a session might be delayed or not able to start if the storm is within 6 miles of the Pells within 30 mins of the start. We would of course consider a refund in such circumstances.