Lockdown easing: Swimmers enjoy early morning lido dip as restrictions lift in England

29 March 2021, 08:59 | Updated: 29 March 2021, 09:02

By Will Taylor

Keen swimmers went for an early morning dip as England’s lidos reopened their doors this morning as part of the initial phase of the lifting of lockdown.

The nation’s stay-at-home message was dropped today, though restrictions on socialising indoors and which businesses can reopen remain in place.

Outdoor sports have returned as part of the latest tranche of lockdown’s easing, and swimmers took full advantage of their local lidos this morning.

At Edgbaston Priory Sports Club, Birmingham, swimmer Leslie told LBC she was "desperate" to get in the water, having last swum on 4 January, and described it as a "lifeline".

Read more: Boris Johnson warns freedom 'depends on things going right' ahead of lockdown easing

A swimmer in the water at Hillingdon Lido in Uxbridge, west London.
A swimmer in the water at Hillingdon Lido in Uxbridge, west London. Picture: PA

"The early bird catches the swim and it sets me up for the rest of the day," she said when asked why she arrived so early in the day.

Leslie added: "I’ve missed the contact, but also the energy – it has to be outdoor swimming for me."

Read more: Boris Johnson urges public to 'remain cautious' as England lockdown eases

While the "stay-at-home" message has been dropped, the Government has asked people to "stay local" where possible.

Brockwell Lido, in south London, said its swimming sessions for Monday were all booked up, while the South London Swimming Club said its volunteers had been "powering through this week to get the lido ready to reopen".

A lido user enjoys a swim with an inflatable flamingo.
A lido user enjoys a swim with an inflatable flamingo. Picture: PA

Brockwell tweeted a picture of people in its pool with the caption: "Happy faces everywhere."

The rule of six has returned for outdoor gatherings, while two households of any size can meet outside too.

Indoor socialising remains banned for different households unless a support bubble has been formed.

The next set of restrictions are scheduled to be eased from 12 April, with the reopening of non-essential retail, indoor leisure and outdoor hospitality.