Pells re-opens May 2021


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Pool Temperature:  updates here when we open

Pells is an unheated pool - see our cold water swim advice on this page. The water into the pool comes from an underground spring and is heated by the sun.

Pells Pool opening in May 2021

Opening - We are delighted to say that Pells Pool will be opening, as usual, in early May. We hope to be ready to open on Saturday 8 May, provided bad weather doesn't delay the necessary maintenance and preparations we need to go through before we open. We will confirm the opening date closer to the time in email and social media updates. We also send our best wishes to those heated or year-round outdoor pools who can now re-open from Monday 29 March.

Volunteers' Weekend - If we are lucky and things go to plan, we will have a socially-distanced volunteers' weekend on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 April so, as we do each year, so our friends and supporters can help get the pool ready.

Admission prices - We are happy to announce that for the 2021 season we have decided to freeze our admission prices and, in some instances, reduce them. Details will be announced when we open for booking. 

Booking - we will be using the same online and in-person booking system as we did last year, and we will make the booking system available in advance of opening.

Session times - In future updates we will report on the planned session times

In all of this, we will be taking account of the feedback provided to us by our swimmers in the end of year survey we carried out in 2020. 

We will also necessarily operate within the guidelines set by national swimming and lifesaving bodies, and the rules set by Government as lockdown restrictions are progressively lifted.



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Cold water swimming advice

For the remainder of the Pells season the water temperature will be 17°C or below. It is important therefore that those using the pool do so safely to take account of the cold water.

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.

The water temperature will drop especially as nights get colder and the pool loses heat overnight.

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

For those people who have been regularly swimming as the temperature has dropped gradually then adjusting to 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.

For 2021, incidentally, we do hope to be able to provide a space at Pells for research colleagues in the health service to look at cold water immersion on mental and physical health, but that is being discussed and planned over closed period. 



Invitation to become a friend of the Pells Pool 2020

As announced in our recent newsletter, in response to generous offer of financial help from our season ticket holders and others, we are now launching our 'Friends of the Pells Pool' fundraising scheme.

To become a friend please pay £30 (and feel free to donate more as some have offered if you want!) We appreciate that for some people £30 is hard to find.

By completing the payment information on our Membermojo system:

Friends will be entitled to the equivalent of a 10% discount on the price of an adult season ticket should they buy an adult or family season ticket next year. Please be aware that becoming friend does not entitle you to a discount on any ticketing schemes we may introduce this season if we are able to open.

We would love to open this season but don't want to raise expectations unnecessarily. The truth is we just don't know and it is out of our hands. All any of us can do is stay safe and follow the rules.

Very best wishes from all at the Pells Pool Community Association

Conrad Ryle (Chair of PPCA)
Phil Ranlsey (Pool Manager)


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 celebrated our 150th anniversary in 2011 and continue to welcome thousands to our unique lido pool in the summer months each year.  

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 (closed for the 2020 season),floats and other recreational equipment. 

Come for the day 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 we always have a lane set aside for lap swimming. 

In normal seasons, there are male and female changing areas, and there are small lockers free to use (not available in 2020 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.