Top Q&A


Where do I go to book tickets?

We sell tickets on our bookwhen system

Who can I contact about booking enquiries?

The system should be easy to use - and have all the information you need. If you have found a problem booking, please do email pellspool@gmail.com

When do tickets go on sale?

Currently (14 June),tickets are available up to 27 June.  Each week the next weekly batch of tickets go on sale (every Thursday).

We will release tickets during the day in staggered way to make booking easier to manage. This is based on best experience from managing bookings in 2020 season.

The release times will be approximately:

  • 10:30am for morning lane swims
  • 12:30pm for open sessions and gentle lane swims
  • 3:30pm for evening lanes

What is the temperature of the water?

The pool is heated only by the sun. We update the main webpage with the daily temperature, which has now risen to 22C on 14 June 2021.

Is there parking?

Not dedicated to the Pells. The nearest car parks are on North Street.

Can we bring in bikes?

Yes - there should be room inside to store/park bikes, but left at your own risk

Can we bring inflatables?


Can I turn up and queue?

No – you must book in advance

Can I hire the pool?

Yes available in the evenings after public sessions have ended – see details on 2021 page

Are there changing rooms?

Yes – we have these open again in 2021

Can children come on their own?

Yes – if they are over 10 and have a pre-booked ticket

Do I need to pay to come in with my child?

Yes – all people admitted have to have booked a ticket

Are there concessions this year?

Yes, for adults in open sessions - for those in receipt of universal credit

Are there season tickets?

Not at present – we hope to have some form of these after 21 June when restrictions are lifted

Will there be lane swiming during open sessions?

Yes - we have now introduced one or two lanes for swimming during open sessions on weekdays. With covid restrictions in place, during busier open sessions at the weekend we need to ensure we can use the pool to its full extent and in sections for the safety and enjoyment of all involved. Width swimming will of course be possible - and the Pells is 23m wide, nearly the distance of a standard pool. 

Can I bring my dog into the Pells?


Can I bring food and drink?


Can I bring alcohol?



1. Sessions

What are the session plans for early season?

In planning for the 2021 season, we are guided in the pattern of sessions by the way in which we ran the 2020 season.  As in 2020, we may revise or amend future sessions in light of experience of the opening weeks of the 2021 season.

From Saturday 8 May, the weekend sessions will be

  • Early morning lane sessions (60 mins) 10am, 11am for adults (over-16s) only; 
  • Afternoon open session (180 mins) 1pm-4pm; 
  • Late afternoon open session (180mins) 4.30pm-7.30pm

From Monday 10 May, the weekday (Monday to Friday) pattern will be:

  • Early morning lane sessions (60 mins): 7am, 8am, 9am, for adults (over-16s) only; 
  • Gentle morning swim (60 mins): 10am
  • Afternoon open swims (180 mins): 12pm-3pm; 3:30pm-6.30pm
  • Evening lane sessions (90 mins): 6:30pm-8pm (over-10s allowed)

In there lane swimming in open sessions?

Yes - we have now introduced lane swimming during open sessions for the early weeks of the season on weekdays. With covid restrictions in place, during busier open sessions at the weekend we need to ensure we can use the pool to its full extent and in sections for the safety and enjoyment of all involved. Width swimming will of course be possible - and the Pells is 23m wide, nearly the distance of a standard pool. 

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

How long can we stay in the pool? 

The sessions will all be for fixed times (ie 1hr in the early mornings; 3hrs for the open sessions; 90 mins for the evening lane sessions)

Can we spend time on the grass or is it swim and go?

Provided you observe distancing rules and obey all staff and lifeguard instructions, you are free to be in the pool or out of it

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

We have kept this in place so we can do online check in before the session starts so we can admit people as quickly as possible. We will use our iPad/iPhone to check people in using the booking system as last year.

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. 

Are you hosting any special events?

Once covid restrictions are lifted fully (planned from 21 June),we expect to be able to offer some special events – eg midnight swims.

What will arrangements be for your summer season (ie mid-June onwards)?

We are reviewing what arrangements will be for after 21 June when step 4 is reached – and would aim to make an announcement well in advance of the date

Might you change sessions?

We will look at how bookings run over the coming weeks and we reserve the right to adjust future sessions when we release next sets of tickets.

How will the adult lane sessions work?

We aim to have 5 lanes this year – we had three last year – making it easier for swimmers at different speeds.

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?

No. We do not cancel sessions in advance due to lightning risk since action is needed only if we judge that a storm has come within 6 miles of the pool, and this cannot be predicted 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. We would of course consider a refund in such circumstances.

How many people allowed in the pool?

Our sessions will be limited to 50 for lane swimming and 150 for open sessions. This is to allow for required social distancing.

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.

Is this likely to change?

As social distancing measures change, we would review and would hope to allow more people to be admitted for each session.

2. Prices

What will the prices be?

Our prices per session are:

  • £3 for adults for lane swims
  • £4 for adults for open sessions
  • £2 child for open sessions

The open session prices have been reduced by 20% compared to last year

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.

How do they compare to 2020?

We are reducing the price of open sessions by 20% (from £5 to £4 per adult, and from £2.50 to £2 per child)

Season tickets?

We hope to be able to introduce some form of discount tickets after 21 June when covid restrictions are more filly lifted

What about season ticket reductions for Friends of Pells?

Yes – we would provide this once we introduce season tickets, but this may not be until 2022.


We are introducing a concession for those in receipt of Universal Credit so adult tickets are reduced for adult open tickets by a further 25% - taking a further £1 off the price.

Will children be allowed in?

For 2021 season we are reintroducing normal practice of allowing in over-10s on their own.  Children will be allowed in for the open  sessions.  They will also be allowed for the evening lane swim sessions.  All under 10s have to be accompanied by a paying adult. 

Do I have to pay for under 2s?

Under 2s are free in a normal season, but with covid-19 restrictions and track and trace we have to ask for everyone to buy a ticket for any child.  Please email us if there is any problem.  Babes-in-arms are admitted free of charge.

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

If you want to come into the Pells with your child, then you need to buy an adult ticket. For 2021, we can once again allow unaccompanied under-10s into the Pells. 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.

Can I come in with my carer?

We can only admit people who are booked into sessions. Carers can of course accompany people to the Pells and if your carer is happy to pay for a ticket we would be very grateful since we are a charity.

If that is not possible, then you or your carer can email thepellspool@yahoo.co.uk and we can make suitable arrangements to add your carer on to our systems.

Please do email in advance and when you make a booking, so that we can make sure needs are appropriately met and information is logged onto our systems. Once that is arranged, please let staff on the kiosk know on arrival.  

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

For 2021 season, we are able to allow unaccompanied over 10s admission to the pool, without an accompanying adult. This is a return to the normal admissions arrangement at the Pells.

If as an adult, you want to come into the pool area to accompany your child, you will need to buy an adult admission.

For admission to the pool, children under-10 will need to be accompanied by an adult, and one adult can bring in up to four children with them to the open sessions.

In the water itself with adults needing to be in the pool with their children, 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.

As an adult, do I also need to be in the water with my children under 8?

Yes - the adult:child ratios for the water, mean for children and adults in the water together.


We are allowing over 10s to be admitted without adults, as has been the case in all years aside from 2020.

How will open sessions work?

The pool will be divided into up to 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!

Why was I asked not to enter the water - surely I have paid for a ticket?

During open sessions we may need to ask people not to enter the water when an area of the pool becomes too full. It has been our experience in practice that this is at most for 10 minutes until someone gets out. We have taken this approach - ie limiting numbers in the water, as required by government guidleines, rather than setting that limit as the total allowed in per session. This means we can allow up to 150 people to come in for a 3 hour session, knowing that for short periods entry to the water has to be restricted. Thank you for making sure we can follow the rules and keep everyone safe.   


3. Booking

Why are you continuing with booking system?

We believe that the booking system provides the best overall experience. The survey we held in 2020 indicated that the large majority of people preferred to be able to book tickets and know that they would be admitted. With strictly limited numbers, booking will be vital to make our admissions processes work safely and fairly.

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 (open and evening lanes) please check that session number, not the tickets left. 

(We set ticket limits for each ticket type which allow everything from 45 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.)

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.

When do next set of tickets go on sale?

Release of tickets will be staged:  we release a week's worth of tickets 11 days in advance. So eg tickets for Monday 14 June to Sunday 20 June will go on sale on Thursday 3 June and so on. 

    Can I come in on a ticket booked in someone else's name?

    No - tickets are sold for a specific person and name and contact details entered at time of booking. They cannot be transferred by the booker to another person. If you want to email us in advance (thepellspool@yahoo.co.uk) we can see what we can do, but we cannot guarantee any change, nor can we admit people under different names.

    Do you operate a waiting list for tickets?

    Yes  - we are experimenting this year with a waiting list system. If people return tickets, they will automatically get notified sequentially to people on the list.

    How does the waiting list work?

    New for 2021: We are trialling the waiting list system in place for sessions that are fully booked. If you put your name down on this system you will be in a queue. If a space becomes free, an email goes to the first person in the list. They have 20 mins to book.  If they don’t book, the opportunity goes to the next person, by means of an email to them. They have 20 mins to book. And so on. This means email notification can go on for hours (and potentially through the night) until someone books.

    How do I buy tickets?

    Tickets have to be bought in advance. We have the same online system for buying tickets as we had in 2020. 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.

    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

    Will there be season tickets?

    We are not yet able to introduce season tickets until the full lifting of lockdown. We will see if we can have a practical, reliable and fair way of operating any season ticket system later this year.


    4.  Facilities

    You're unheated - how cool is the water now?

    We're putting water temp on front of the Pells web page now - so please check there. The pool is filled with spring water from the artesian supply under the pool – and at the start of the season the pool is usually 15-16C

    What facilities are available?

    We are able to offer changing rooms & lockers again this year.  There will be the usual hot drinks and snacks from the kiosk from noon onwards. There is normal toilet access once again.

    When is the paddling pool open?

    The paddling pool will be open during our open sessions. It is not open during adult lane swims, since children are not admitted. There is no separate access/admission to the paddling pool.

    Can we bring bikes into the Pells?

    Yes you are welcome to use the bike rack inside the Pells if you cycle along to the Pool - which we very much encourage, thanks!

    Can we bring our own food/ have a picnic? 

    Yes - as normal.

    Can I bring alcohol?


    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?

    Yes by using a container, not drinking from the fountain direct

    Do you have showers?

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

    Will there be changing facilities?

    Yes – unlike in 2020, government rules now allow us to use the changing rooms. Please and exercise care

    Will the paddling pool be open?

    Yes – unlike for the 2020 season, government rules allow us to safely open the small pool.

    Can we bring inflatables?

    We will allow inflatables in open sessions.

    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.

    How do the lanes work?

    We will have FIVE lanes this year from slow to fast – to make it easier for people to be in a lane which best suits their speed.

    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)  

    Will the kiosk be open?

    From 12 noon.  We will aim to have the kiosk open for open and evening sessions. But we cannot guarantee it will always open - or that we will keep it open throughout a session. We have to prioritise the safety of swimmers and put staff activity on this first of all, not in the kiosk. Thanks for  understanding.


    Can I bring my dog into the Pells




    5. Covid rules 

    What are your Covid-19 precautions?

    The main precautions are to follow all the Government, Swim England and RLSS guidelines – this are 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.  

    How do we maintain social distancing in the water?

    You will be asked to keep 2m distant while swimming

    Will we be able to use the toilet facilities? 

    We are able to open them as normal, yes

    Will we be able to have a shower? 

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

    Are backstroke and butterfly still not allowed?

    We will be allowing these strokes this year



    6. Getting in touch

    Can I book for private hire?

    Yes – see details on 2021 season pages

    What's the best way of getting in touch?

    Please read through all this information and on our booking pages. And if you have any other queries please email thepellspool@yahoo.co.uk. This is the best way of getting in touch with us.

    Can I phone you?

    If you need to get in touch with us please do use our email address thepellspool@yahoo.co.uk – we can’t take phone calls easily during the day, since all staff are focused on people at the pool. We do monitor email remotely so you will get responses during the day. Thanks!


    7.  Miscellaneous

    What happens if water quality degrades?

    We keep a very careful maintenance of water quality, but with hot weather, heavy use, suncream in the water and so on can cause water quality to degrade. This relates to visual quality  - ie for lifeguarding safety - not related to health risks from water not being clean to swim in.  In such a circumstance, we might have to shock treat the water - which might mean the pool could be closed for a day or two.

    Would there be sessions cancelled if this happened?

    Yes - it is possible that this degradation of water quality could happen. If we needed to shock treat the pool in the season the closure for a day or two days would mean all sessions cancelled.  We would refund tickets in such an event.