London’s biggest lido reopens with free tickets for local residents

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Wandsworth Council is officially re-opening Tooting Bec Lido after a £4m refurbishment with a free family fun day and more than 1,000 residents booked to attend

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  • Five-time Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Simmonds will be joining the celebrations
  • The event will launch Wandsworth Council’s expanded “Access for All” scheme offering free entry to the borough’s leisure facilities for low-income families
  • 250 free tickets to the lido available every day to Wandsworth residents on means-tested benefits

With warmer weather on the way Wandsworth Council Leader Simon Hogg will today formally reopen the Tooting Bec Lido following its £4m refurbishment – a project which safeguards its future for the next 50 years. 

The much-loved lido - the oldest in London and also the largest open air freshwater swimming pool in the UK - has undergone a comprehensive upgrade designed to ensure it remains fully operational for decades to come.

To mark the successful conclusion of the refurbishment scheme five-time Paralympic gold medal winner Ellie Simmonds will be joining the celebrations while more than 1,000 local residents have booked free tickets to a huge family funday celebrating the historic pool’s formal reopening.

And as part of the day’s events the council’s ‘Access for All’ initiative is being extended to include the lido - enabling 250 residents to visit free of charge every day as part of the council’s commitment to supporting its residents through the cost-of-living crisis. Wandsworth’s “Access for All” initiative is aimed at lower income families on a range of benefits who would not otherwise be able to afford admission fees to sports and leisure facilities. It forms part of the council’s cost-of-living support fund, worth £15m and the biggest in London. 

Councillor Hogg said: “Welcome back to the Tooting Bec Lido! The oldest and best Lido in London is now open again following £4m worth of investment by Wandsworth Council.

“This investment means we have protected the lido for the next 50 years so that local people can enjoy it for generations to come. Book your tickets for the summer now!”

The 90-metre-long lido dates back to 1906 and occupies a unique position in the history of British open-air pools due to its size and the era in which it was built. It is regularly described as the “jewel in the crown” of south London’s sports facilities.

The refurbishment has seen the replacement of its pumphouse, which controls the water supply, and the construction of a new electrical sub-station to power the pumps as well as the pool’s modern new UV filtration and water purification system. Other works have included new pipework and a new pool lining, plus new landscaping around the water’s edge.

Councillor Hogg added: “Our revamped and refurbished lido is the perfect place to announce our latest support package for families in Wandsworth who are facing tough times because of the cost-of-living crisis. Our Access for All initiative means they can come to popular places like the lido or any of our other leisure centres and get in for free. 

“This will make a huge difference to families who would not be able to enjoy days out in such great surroundings and builds upon a whole range of measures we’ve already put in place to help our struggling households. This is all part of our commitment to build a fairer, safer, compassionate and more sustainable Wandsworth.”

To book a free ticket to the Lido you must register for a free membership on the Places Leisure website where details of the offer and eligibility are available. The website is Tooting Bec Lido Grand Re-opening (