Open-Air Swimming, Playing, and Eating at Pells Pool, Lewes


So the time has finally come. We are REGULARS at The Pells Pool, Britain’s oldest-documented outdoor (and unheated) swimming pool.

My five-year-old has literally not dipped a toe into its (admittedly-cool) waters since he was 18 months old, when I basically – cruelly – dunked him in on a day when it was kind of icy, without giving him any warning.

But two weeks ago it was sizzling (the air, not the pool – come on now, be serious) and he and I wandered down there in bathing suits with just towels around us and a fiver to get us in.

“You must be local,” said Phil, the long-standing manager.

“We live just up the hill,” I replied.


Phil told me about the family tickets for the season (£152). Yes, we could consider this, but I worry that we won’t use it quite enough. I think a family season ticket is for when the boys are say 12 and 15 and can walk down and take a dip on their own.

Excitingly though, there is a better option for us. And in the nearly-five years we have lived just up the hill from the Pells, I have never known about this. So that’s why I thought I’d share it with you: it’s the Swim Saver card. This is 10 swims costing £17 for Junior/Concs and £34 for an Adult. It basically means 10 swims for the price of eight, but better than that, immediate entry without faffing.

Best of all? The pool will ALSO honour the card being carried over to next summer. So if we have a crap August, you’re not out of pocket.

We’ve paid £102 for a whole summer of family swimming and of course, since having it, we’ve spent three days down there, jumping in and out of the pool as a four. Very Mediterranean and holiday-like.



And don’t forget the toddler splash group, Pells Paddlers on Tuesdays, 10-11.30am. This runs every week and is a chance for littles to play with the provided toys, sing songs and run about in the sunshine before the pool officially opens, all while you (try to) sit on a rug and have a chat.

The group is run by Jenny Arran of the former outdoor playgroup Inside Outside. It’s a really lovely thing to do on a Tuesday morning.

It costs just £2 per family and if you stay on after noon, when the pool opens, you get £1 off normal admission prices.



As an aside, Pleasant Stores now has a stand there selling pizza, fresh salads and lots and lots of delicious cakes and muffins.


Crushed ice deliciousness at Stan’s Snow Cones

Then of course on weekends, there’s Stan’s Snow Cones, for something a little different from the usual Mini Milk. Click the picture for a full post about Stan’s stand.

NB. I was not able to take pictures of the Pells Pool – there are laws against that kind of thing these days…


Address: Brooks Street, BN7 2BA (next to Pells Park)

Tel. no: 01273 472 334


Hours and dates: 17 May – 14 Sept, daily, 12 noon – 7pm (last entry 6.30pm); weekends the pool opens from 10am; the pool is currently trialling early morning swims for over-16s Tue and Thu, 7-9am. In gorgeous weather, it stays open until 8 or 9pm; in terrible weather it closes at 5pm to keep costs down.

Standard prices: Adult, £4; Junior (over 2 and under 16)/Concs, £2; Early morning (7-9am, over-16s only), £2; Family (2 adults, 2 children), £10.50; Under-2s, free. Happy hour: (6-7pm): Adult, £2.10; Junior/Concs, £1

Disclosure: No compensation, financial or other, was offered or accepted in return for this post. I have shared the Swim Saver card details because I believe it is a good deal for individuals and families, while also effectively supporting the continuing hard work that goes into keeping the Pells Pool present as a community facility in Lewes.

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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

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