Passports away, bikinis on! It’s time to splash about in the sunshine without leaving the county. Yep, we’re talking about one of North Yorkshire’s best kept secrets: Helmsley Open Air Pool. If you see families walking about the pretty market town with towels under their arm and large inflatable flamingos trailing behind them, you can guarantee that they’re part of the club that knows about this hidden gem. We went along last summer, woggles in hand, to check it out for ourselves, and we loved it. It’s one of those places that people like to keep to themselves so it doesn’t get any busier, but we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did.
About Helmsley Open Air Pool
If you’ve never heard of it before, let us fill you in. Charity-run Helmsley Open Air Pool is the only open air swimming pool in Yorkshire, nestled in a corner of Helmsley in the glorious North York Moors National Park. It has seasonal opening hours, sensibly staying closed during the autumn and winter, but it’s open for bookings for the 2022 season and we’d highly recommend it as a fun place to head with kids this summer.
Swim sessions – Which to choose
There’s a variety of sessions at Helmsley Open Air Pool, from adults-only to lane swimming and triathlon training sessions. For families, we’d recommend the open swim or, even better, the fun session. We went along to a fun session and it was just that: really fun. There were inflatables to play with, some of which were provided and others that people had brought along (a very good idea to avoid squabbles). You can even hire the pool for a birthday party, which would definitely be one to remember.
What to expect
We had no idea what to expect from the pool before our first visit and were totally charmed by it. While the changing rooms leave a lot to be desired (the charity that runs the pool is well aware of this and is fundraising to refurbish them), the pool area is lovely and the setting is stunning. Where else can you float about on a lilo with views of the rolling Moors?
There are plenty of tables and chairs around the pool where you can eat, drink or just have a rest after all the jumping/floating/paddling: take your own refreshments or buy something from the little shop and contribute towards their fundraising. The pool itself is lovely and well maintained, and there are friendly staff on hand keeping an eye on things. The grown-ups did get a little bit cold after a while, but the kids didn’t complain (they were too busy splashing about to notice the temperature). With the sun shining and the sound of children splashing about, it really did feel like being on holiday. It’s good value (£18.50 for a family of five) and a lovely memorable way to spend a couple of hours.
Helmsley Open Air Pool – Our top tips
- – Wear clothes that make it easy to get changed quickly to reduce faffing in the changing rooms and make life easier all round
- – Take snacks and drinks, but think about buying something there or making a donation to help them maintain this lovely facility
- – Take your own swimming toys for the fun session so your kids have something to play with
- – Book your tickets online in advance; it can get booked up very quickly so be organised!