It was a Wednesday right, who would go to Guildford Lido on a Wednesday? In July? When it’s 30 degrees C out? It turns out everyone from a 60 mile radius would. It also turns out there are a lot of very interesting people in a 60 mile radius of Guildford. Here’s Weasel being a fashionista already and wearing ‘bracelets’ ready for the pool and irritating what turned out the next day to be a raging case of hand, foot & mouth disease lovingly passed on by nursery.
Getting in: actually quite difficult. I’ve been a few times pre-Weasel, but hadn’t quite appreciated how much fun it is for parents to queue with their desperate-to-get-in-the-pool toddlers in the full sun for half an hour. If you come after 4:30 (so for the last hour & a half) it’s cheaper and most people have left. Go for that option if you want to stay sane. Also, the day we were there, one queue was cash only, which many people discovered very late on. Just by luck we chose the right-hand queue allowing us to pay by card.
Loos: Uuugghh. Dark, 1930’s cubicles that my fat pregnant ass struggles to get in lacking in loo roll and basic human decency by the end of the day. Don’t even think about changing in there, just change your kids on the grass; it’s cleaner.
Food: There is a snack stand at the top of the grassy hill which sells mostly rubbish, but thankfully also bottled water and ice cream.
Parking: There are a few small parking lots, and many people park illegally along the drive leading in. I don’t think in the 4 times I’ve been there I’ve ever got a legal space.
Ratios: Brilliantly whilst in the pool with another American with her 2 little ones, an employee came up with the most non-confrontational and slightly ridiculous ways of saying we needed to get out of the large pool. “Hi! We need to talk about ratios….”. It did suck a bit given all the kids were loving it and due to the larger families sticking to the toddler pools, the Olympic size one was relatively empty. So the toddler pools are ok for multiple kids, but the large pool requires 1:1 for young’uns.
Totally as a side note: it surprised me the amount of people in the UK who didn’t know what a Lido was (even when I pronounced it a second time for the English benefit). These things are national treasures – outdoor pools in art deco style, built for the masses in the 30’s to have access to swimming. With loads closing down, people should track down their nearest and support it.
Verdict: Go, just choose your time carefully. Most of the problems encountered are much less severe on a quieter day. The price is a little high as all kids pay, but for just over £10 Weasel and I got in. Bring your own picnic blanket, leave the pool toys packed away on a busy day (there were some kids flat-out stealing them if left for 2 seconds idle on the side of the pool), be prepared for a little chaos and a little queueing and get some sunshine whilst it lasts!