Making a Splash: The Vital Importance of Ilkley Pool and Lido to Ilkley and Bradford


Nestled in the heart of Ilkley close to the ancient woodland of Middleton woods and with stunning views towards Ilkley Moor, the Ilkley Pool and Lido are a communal hub that offers a multitude of benefits to both residents and the wider Bradford community.

Ilkley Lido

The Lido was designed by Archibald Skinner, also known as ‘Archie’, Ilkley’s resident surveyor and water engineer. It was opened as part of the silver Jubilee celebrations of King George V in May 1935 and has since stayed open from May to September every year, attracting up to 150,000 visitors annually Ilkley Lido – Yorkshire’s Al Fresco Plunge Pool (

In this blog we’ll dive into the ways in which this aquatic haven contributes to the well-being, social fabric and overall vibrancy of both Ilkley and Bradford.

Ilkley Lido History

1. Health and well-being

The Ilkley Pool and Lido are more than just recreational spaces; they are vital contributors to the health and well-being of the surrounding communities with regular swimming known to build muscle strength and all-round fitness and to reduce stress.

With its invigorating cold water,the Lido serves as a unique outdoor exercise venue promoting physical fitness and providing a refreshing alternative to traditional gyms. Regular cold-water swimming is known to provide mental health benefits, boost metabolism and the immune systemandreduce muscle soreness 15 benefits of swimming: Weight loss and physical and mental health (

The IlkleyPool is used regularly for swimming lessons for children the key benefit of teaching water safety which has become increasingly important as 119 children accidentally drowned in the last 5 years and worryingly in 2022there was a 46% increase in the number of child drownings in the UK compared to the 5 year average Drowning Facts | Royal Life Saving Society UK ( RLSS UK ). Swimming also increases children’s strength, flexibility, and stamina, and keeps their heart and lungs healthy.

The pool is also home to an active swimming club, hosts aquarobics sessions and can be used as a party venue.

2. Social connectivity

The Ilkley Pool and Lido are not just places to swim; they are communal spaces where friendships are forged, and a sense of well-being is nurtured. Families gather for picnics, friends come together for a dip, and visitors from all around the Bradford area and beyond enjoy the friendly atmosphere. During the summer the Lido can attract up to 4,000 visitors a day.


The venues host a range of events and activities throughout the year. From aquarobics classes to swimming competitions, cycle races, Ilkley Harrier’s annual trail race, outdoor yoga classes and Christmas and solstice swims to a doggy swim day, they are an active centre for communal engagement.

In addition, there is a multi-award-winning annual triathlon eventhosted by Leeds & Bradford Triathlon Clubwhich has taken place since 1992, making it one of the longest running triathlon events held in the UKand attracts visitors from far and wide. These events not only bring people together but also contribute to the local economy, attracting visitors from Bradford and beyond.

3. Cultural heritage and economic impact

Opened in 1935, Ilkley Lido carries a rich history, reflecting the architectural and cultural heritage of the area. Its preservation over the years is a testament to the community’s commitment to maintaining its historical landmarks. For both Ilkley and Bradford residents, the Lido serves as a tangible link to the past, fostering a sense of pride and connection to their shared history.


Beyond their cultural and recreational significance, the Ilkley Pool and Lido play a role in the economic vitality of the region. The influx of visitors and Bradford and surrounding areas stimulates local businesses, from cafes and restaurants to shops and accommodation providers. The Lido becomes one of the focal points for tourism in Ilkley, contributing to the economic well-being of both Ilkley and Bradford.


In essence the Ilkley Pool and Lido are not just bodies of water but community assets that enhance the quality of life for residents in Ilkley and the wider community around Bradford and beyond. As a hub for health, social connectivity, cultural preservation, community events and economic activity they exemplify the profound impact that amenities can have on the overall well-being of a region and the need to preserve these for future generations.