2020 Season Information


Questions And Answers On The 2020 Season

Are you hosting any special events?

Yes - we have a Midnight Swim on 15 August (tickets now all allocated by ballot) and may have other one off events which we will promote here and on social media

Where can I get tickets for your regular sessions?

Tickets for up to Friday 21 August but all sessions are however now fully booked. The link to the booking site for future reference is here:

When will next set of tickets go on sale?

We will release the tickets for Saturday 22 August to Friday 28 August from 3pm on Thursday 13 August, on the same online system.

Do you operate a waiting list for tickets?

No. We don’t run a cancellations policy so once tickets are bought they’re not refunded so we don’t get any tickets returned and we don’t have waiting lists.

Do you ever have returns for fully booked sessions which we can buy?

Occasionally people let us know they cannot make a session and generously allow us to resell as slot without refund to support the Pells. So occasionally tickets might come free - and in this case the "fully booked" red symbol will not display against a session, until places are booked up again.

How many people allowed in the pool?

Our sessions will be limited to around 50 (now 45 for early mornings) for lane swimming and 100 for family sessions. Specific numbers of tickets will go on sale for each session. In light of experience we may alter numbers allowed in as the season progresses, within the limits set by Government and our lifeguarding capacity.

How do I know how many tickets are left for any session?

Where a session is full the "red, no entry" symbol shows. The number of spaces left is show at the top of each session entry. For sessions allowing children in (family and evening lanes) please check that session number, not the tickets left. 

(We set ticket limits for each ticket type which allow everything from 545 adults and no children, to 15 adults and 30 children. Hence "ticket type" left will be misleading! Apols, but the system isn't quite clever enough to compare session limits and ticket limits and adjust as sales come in.)

What might change in light of experience?

We have (from Monday 27 July) reduced future ticket sales to 45 per session for lane swimming, to ensure this is as safe as can be. This applies only to future sales - so anyone who has already bought a ticket is unaffected. We are also moving to 3 lanes, rather than 2, so we have fast/mediums/slow in light of experience so far.

Which days will you be open?

From the day we open, we open every day of the season. We have not yet announced the final day of the season, but hope to keep this running as long as possible

When will tickets go on sale?

The first fortnight's batch of tickets went on sale on Thursday 23 July from 3pm, once we had confirmed our opening date of Saturday 25 July. We will then release tickets on a weekly basis - so the set for Sat 8 Aug to Fri 14 Aug, will go on sale from 3pm on Thursday 30 July. 

How do I buy tickets?

Tickets have to be bought in advance. We have an online system for buying tickets. No tickets will be on sale at the kiosk for immediate admission to the pool. Links to the online system were added at top of this page when it went live.

Where is the online system?

We released the information on accessing and using the system when we released the first set of tickets, on 3pm on Thursday 23 July. We use Bookwhen to provide a safe and secure method.

Why is Paypal asking me to create an account?

We gave set the sutsem so peope can buy using paypal as a guest. However, we have had a few examples where PayPal are not providing the guest option for people trying to book. We have been told by Bookwhen that very occasionally PayPal don't provide that guest option for an individual trying to book - but that's PayPal's systems which put that in place, not the Bookwhen (or the Pells set up).  We suggest people try booking with eg different PC/laptop/phone, or deleting cookies, or some such? (Sorry this is not official Paypal advice - but we have been told that this can work.) 

What if I can't get online?

We know some people don't have access to the internet. People in this situation can buy in advance from the kiosk - we use the same online system, and sell at the same price and access as for others' booking. This will not be generally available since we do not want to encourage any queuing at the kiosk - and the same tickets and slots are available to the public online.

Can I turn up and queue?

No. We will only admit people with pre-booked tickets

What will the opening hours be?

We have seven sessions on weekdays (Mon-Fri):

  • 7am-8am; 8am-9am; 9am-10am for over-16s lane swimming (NB these are on week days only)
  • 11am-1pm; and 1.30pm-3.30pm family sessions, no lane swimming
  • 4pm-5:30pm; 6pm-7:30pm lane swimming, children allowed in with an adult

And we will have a mix of sessions from 10am-7pm on weekends:

  • 10am-11am:  adult morning swim (over 16s only) 
  • 11:30-1:30pm:  family session (including under 16s with adults) 
  • 2.30pm-4.30pm:  family session (including under 16s with adults)
  • 5pm-7pm:  evening lanes swim (over 10s allowed in with adult)

Why are you asking people to arrive 10mins before start of sessions?

We have put this in place so we can do online check in before the session starts so we can admit people as quickly as possible. We aim to use our iPad/iPhone to check people in using the Bookwhen system.

What is the latest time I can come into a session?

We would not expect to admit people if there is less than 20 mins of a session to run, since our staff will be focussed on getting ready for change over. 

What will the prices be?

Our prices per session are:

  • £3 for adults for the hour-long sessions
  • £4 for the 90 min sessions
  • £5 for the 2 hour sessions 
  • £2.50 child admissison 

We have to set prices at a rate which allows us to meet our costs when we open, taking account of the shorter season, the restricted admission numbers and the staffing costs.

Will there be concessions?

We are not able to offer concessions on our admissions in this very unsual season since we cannot find a practical and workable way running such an arrangement, given that we wish to admit people as quickly as possible for each session, we will have to sell tickets in advance only and we do not think we can reasonably check proof of concession each time. We expect concessions to resume next season. 

Will children be allowed in?

Children will be allowed in for the family an
d over 10s also for the evening lane swim sessions.  They have to be accompanied by a paying adult. 

What about the idea of 1:1 ratio adult to child?

We have clarified government guidance which initally appeared to suggest a 1:1 ratio. On further enquiry, that seems to relate to limiting the number of additional adults supervising a child’s activity, not to limiting the number of children per adult. Under the guidance, parents are however responsible for the safe behaviour of their children - we are therefore not allowing children under-16 to be admitted without adults.

Can my over 10 be admitted without an adult, if they are a good swimmer?

The reason for requiring a paying adult to accompany over 10s to lane swimming is to do with government rules on managing Covid, not on capability of swimmers. In unsupervised (ie non-lessons) sessions adults have to remain responsible for their children. Lifeguards do not act in loco parentis.

Do I have to buy an adult ticket if only my child is swimming?

We don't have spectator tickets at the Pells - we stopped offering those more than 10 years ago, when very sadly some people misused them, by booking and then swimming once inside. Normally, without Covid-19 restrictions, we would allow children aged 10 and over to be admitted and swim on their own.  But under Government rules children cannot be admitted unsupervised.  So we have to charge for adult admission as well.

What is are the adult:child ratios you are allowing?

For admission to the pool, therefore, children under-16 will need to be accompanied by an adult, and one adult can bring in up to four children with them to the family sessions.

In the water itself, our normal child ratios apply - which is for 1:1 for under-4s in the pool, and 1:2 for under-8s. Over-8s who can swim are allowed in the water on their own, but will continue to be the responsibility of their accompanying adults.

Please note, as with all arrangements we will keep this closely under review and may need to amend these in light of experience for everyone’s safety.

How will family sessions work?

The pool will be divided into three sections: the shallow end for those who cannot swim without support.  A middle section for swimming. And the end section for jumping in. 

Are there limits on numbers in the pool?

Yes - we may need to ask people not to get into each section if they get full (eg if too many people are already in one part of the pool). Thank you for following all lifeguards instructions!

Do you have showers?

Yes - there are four open air warm showers by the lawn

Will there be season tickets?

Sadly, not. Because we have to have pre-booked tickets per session, with very limited numbers, and because we are releasing tickets a week in advance, we cannot think of any practical, reliable and fair way of operating any season ticket system this year.

Will there be changing facilities?

Our changing rooms are too small to keep open. You are welcome to change on the lawn. We will provide access to the disabled toilets for people with disabilities who cannot arrive beach ready.

Will the paddling pool be open?

No - given government rules on space we do not think we can safely open the small pool - given the number of lifeguards we need for the main pool supervision.

Can we bring inflatables?

We will allow inflatables in family sessions. But reserve right to review as we see how this works in practice.

Can we take photographs?

We have a long-standing “no photographs” policy for our pool users. This is to ensure everyone feels safe and comfortable while swimming and using the Pells. This is something that our staff will need to remind people if they see anyone using phones to take pics so please respect what they say. It’s not easy since people are happy and excited to be at the Pells and wish to share their experience.  We ourselves as a pool team take pictures occasionally, either of the pool empty or from a distance of users so that people can see what the pool is like. We have also done portraits of people with permission again for publicity purposes.


Will you have fast and slow lanes? 

Yes - we will start with 2 wide lanes and a central rescue lane in the middle. We will review how this works operationally.

Our review on Monday 27 July has now moved to three lanes - fast/medium/slow - since experience shows this is a better, safer experience for all

Can we wear wetsuits?

Yes - wetsuits are allowed in Pells for any session

Can we wear flippers or use snorkels?

No - for safety and lifesaving we do not allow flippers or snorkels. (Small hand or feet paddles for those doing distance training are permitted)  

How do we maintain social distancing in the water?

You will be asked to keep 2m distant while swimming - we will have 2 wide lanes (5m width), and a central recovery lane.

Will we be able to use the toilet facilities? 

Toilet update 28 July: given how well everyone respecting space & other pool goers, we will now have toilets open without needing to ask for key. But it is strictly one person at a time - sanitise on entry and leave clean. We will continue ourselves to do regular cleaning as well. We would ask if at all possible that people use their own facilities before they come to the Pells.

Will we be able to have a shower? 

Yes - for hygiene we will ask everyone to shower before they come in

Will the kiosk be open?

Yes: we will only have payment by credit card, not cash

Can we bring our own food/ have a picnic? 

Yes - as normal.

Is it "swim and go" or can we swim and sit on lawn?

You are allowed to stay for the whole of the session. Provided you maintain social distancing, and you follow all lifeguarding instructions, you are free to swim or sit on lawn during session as suits you.

Can we use the drinking water fountain?

Not the fountain itself - but if you bring a container and need water we can fill from the kiosk.

How long can we stay? 

The sessions will all be for fixed times (eg 1hr in the early mornings; 2hrs for the family sessions; 90 mins for the evening lane sessions)

Why can't we book more in advance?

We are releasing tickets weekly in advance so that this is fair for people seeking to book week by week. And since we might change opening times and session arrangements as we see how this works in practice, and if government guidelines change or if new local measures are introduced.

Can I book for private hire?

Given the high demand for the sessions we offer, we are not able to hire the pool, even for swim clubs. This is to ensure we can maintain water quality throughout the season. Club swimmers are welcome to book and use the pool during normal lane sessions

What are your Covid-19 precautions?

The main precautions are to follow all the Government, Swim England and RLSS guidelines - and these precautions relate to closing off changing facilities, restricted numbers admitted, new lifesaving and recovery arrangements, and distancing in the water and out of the water. 

We will also have hand-cleansing at the entrance and by the showers. One way system around the pool and in lane swimming. Enhanced cleaning arrangements. No tables or chairs, except for those with physical needs.  


What are your terms and conditions for ticket sales?

The only place for booking tickets is our online system:

  • you must book in advance, no tickets are available on the door;
  • no refunds are provided, once tickets are booked;
  • tickets cannot be moved from one session to another, once booked;
  • tickets cannot be transferred to other people - they have to be booked for a specific, named person;
  • sessions will always go ahead, irrespective of the weather;
  • we will notify those with bookings, in the very unlikely event that sessions are cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances;
  • we do not have any season ticket options, nor any concessions;
  • payments can be made using credit and debit card, via PayPal. You do NOT need a PayPal account to make a payment;
  • we will need to have the name and contact information (email address for over-16s) for each person attending. This is both for the operation of the system and the track and trace system requirements
  • we can sell tickets, using this same system, from the kiosk for anyone who has no internet access
  • in purchasing a ticket you agree to follow all reasonable lifeguard requests when in the pool