Riling Richmond 

After a huge amount of faff and searching, this pool is a great hidden gem. 

The security guards on the door give you a thorough search and definitely enjoy asserting their authority. At the desk you could have a varied experience: I went in and paid my £5.20 and wandered in. My friend paid, and got given a green wristband and paid a (non-returnable) pound to get a locker token (for keeps).

I got changed then realised about my lack of locker token but thought I’d be fine to swim in the lido and leave my stuff outside on the grass. I looked around the changing room and found the entrance to the indoor pool, and it was a fair few minutes before I realised that you have to walk across showers and the indoor pool area to be able to get outside, then to get to the grass you have to walk around a long barrier. Eventually! The grassed area is a lovely sun trap so I took the opportunity to relax.

Heading into the pool it’s a bit on the chilly side, and the whole of the shallow end has stairs across which is quite annoying when you are trying to turn. Other than that it a lovely clean pool to thrash about in or tally up the 33m lengths. The pool feels quite fast as it does get quite shallow, but it has a deep end perfect for jumping or diving in. The lanes are quite thin and it’s difficult to pass people.

The showers are a shitshow. Placed at the entrance to the indoor pool (which you have to go through to get to the outdoor one) there is a constant flow of people walking through, with all of their picnics and belongings heading outside. There aren’t any cubicles and it was full of screaming children on a sunny bank holiday.

A weird changing room feature is the person dryer, a huge orange contraption you can stand in and for £1 get blasted with hot air. Nice gimmick! While I showered I popped my stuff in the oddest shaped locker I have used. It was partitioned and had 2 tiny shelves and a coat hanger with space for a shirt. Totally unnecessary in my view, could’ve paid for some shower partitions instead.

On the way out we experienced some pretty shocking customer service, so not that great. Overall, the actual swim was great but daft and over the top systems just make it a hassle.


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