Originally built in 1927, Pontypridd Lido was once a popular visitor attraction in the area. Unfortunately it fell into a state of disrepair and closed down in 1991. It stayed like that, crumbling and growing weeds, until about a year ago, when work began to restore it. (There’s a pretty cool short video here that shows just how crumbly it had become!)
It finally opened to the public last month, after what felt like a ridiculously long wait. It’s located inside Ynysangharad Park (known locally as Ponty Park), which is a fantastic park even without the lido. It has crickets fields, tennis courts and a bandstand, as well as lovely gardens and loads of green space. The play area closed when they began work on the lido, leaving local children without a play area for almost a year! When it reopened in August, a few weeks before the lido, it became clear that it was worth the wait though. It really is quite brilliant! It’s got plenty for both big kids and tiny ones, including a huge sand pit that Iris absolutely adores. It even includes a wheelchair accessible swing and roundabout, which is excellent. As biggest kid put it ‘it must suck to come to a play ground when there’s nothing you can go on’.
Iris and I have swam in the new lido twice now. We took my mum, sister, niece and nephew the first time and on a really hot sunny day. It totally felt like we were on holiday in Spain, enjoying a hotel pool. You easily forget you’re in South Wales! The toddler splash pool is pretty chilly, especially under the fountain, but the two main pools are heated and lovely and warm. My niece is generally quite nervous of swimming, but once she’d taken a peek at the pool through the cafe window she was desperate for us to hurry up and get in.
Last weekend we went again, on a much cooler day, with Trev and the big girls. The lido closes for winter in a couple of weeks so we were keen for the girls to try it out before then. Although it wasn’t a warm day, the water was lovely and warm. As long as you keep your shoulders underwater it’s lovely! Because we went on a weekend family session, there were inflatables! A great big inflatable assault course and some pedalo boats, as well as lots of pool noodles, balls and floats. This time we tried out the showers and they were gloriously warm. It wasn’t really warm enough for sunbathing, but there were lots of non-swimmers making use of the plenty of sun loungers available.
There’s a cafe too, accessible from the play area but with a poolside window you can order at too. The prices aren’t too bad, but I can’t comment on the food. We haven’t eaten there yet, but the hot chocolate is pretty good.
I can’t help but feel that we are really lucky to have such a great facility on our doorstep. I’ve heard lots of negative comments from locals about how it should have a roof, but I totally disagree. There are other pools around the area that are indoors, and it’s great to have something completely different. It’ll pull in people from the whole of South Wales next summer, I’m sure! I’ve heard that it’ll be used by various clubs during the winter, including a canoe club, which will ensure that maintenance continues all year round.
The best part of all? It’s free! At least for this year anyway. Next year children under 12 who live in the local area will be free, but everybody else will need to pay. More information on opening times is available here. We love it so much we may even go again tomorrow!
Obviously taking pictures in a swimming pool isn’t really the done thing, so I have none. To make up for it, here’s some more pictures of the play area.
Nobody asked me to write this or compensated me in any way. We swam for free because everybody does!