Jesus Green Lido – Cambridge, England - Atlas Obscura

Jesus Green Lido

Cambridge’s century-old outdoor swimming pool is tied for being the longest pool in the United Kingdom, but it is also unusually narrow. 


Outdoor swimming pools (or lidos) were popular in the United Kingdom between World Wars I and II, and quite a few were constructed around the country.  However, one of the most unusual to be built was the lido in Jesus Green (a park named after nearby Jesus College) in Cambridge

Opened in 1923, the Jesus Green Lido runs parallel to the River Cam and was designed to look similar to the river itself.  With a length of 100 yards (90 meters), it is tied with the Tooting Bec Lido in London as the United Kingdom’s longest swimming pool.  However, the Jesus Green Lido is only 15 yards (14 m) wide, which is only enough space for three lanes of swimming. These unusual dimensions make it appear particularly elongated.  The pool is also relatively shallow, varying in depth from 1.1 to 2.8 meters.

When the pool was originally built, its water came from the river, and swimmers reported seeing fish in the pool, but since World War II, the pool has been filled from the city’s municipal water supply.

Many of the other lidos that were constructed across the United Kingdom in the interwar period have since been closed, but the Jesus Green Lido has survived and is now over 100 years old.  The facility is both a recreational and exercise facility used by local residents and a cherished oddity within the city of Cambridge.

Know Before You Go

The Jesus Green Lido is open during all times of the year, although the water is unheated and may be particularly cold in the winter.  The hours that the pool is open change during the year in part based on demand for the facilities.  Visitors are charged a small admission fee.

The lido is located on the north side of Jesus Green, which is located on the north side of Cambridge’s city center near the River Cam.  The lido is easily reached on foot from other locations in the city center, and many bus services pass by the area.  No parking is available in the park itself, but parking can be found in other locations around the city center.

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