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Travel: Aberdeenshire art deco sunspot that’s been making waves with bathers for nearly a century of summers

© SYSTEMStonehaven’s open-air pool offers heated sea-water swimming.
Stonehaven’s open-air pool offers heated sea-water swimming.

Tucked away in a coastal Aberdeenshire town is one of Scotland’s art deco jewels.

Swimmers have been enjoying the sparkling aquamarine waters of Stonehaven Heated Open Air Pool since it opened in 1934 and, though it is approaching its 90th anniversary, it is still treasured by residents and visitors alike.

The most northerly lido in Scotland, it boasts an Olympic-sized pool filled with clean sea water.

You’d be forgiven for worrying about the brisk temperatures of these northern waters, but the clue is in the pool’s name – it is a heated pool, usually sitting at a balmy 29˚C.

In the mid-1990s, the pool was threatened with closure and a community group, The Friends of Stonehaven Open Air Pool, was set up. The organisation is now a charity, which maintains and promotes the pool.

Helen Rowbotham, of the group, says: “We have around 50 volunteers who help get the pool ready for the season, starting in March in anticipation of the May opening. We undertake more than 3,500 hours of work.”

The idyllic pool features sheltered sun terraces – which, surprisingly, can often be warmer than parts of the Med – as well as an on-site cafe.

There are fun family sessions on offer, as well as a paddling pool for under-8s, and a new £50,000 chute was added last year.

Lane swimming and quiet swim sessions will appeal to those looking for some peaceful exercise or, if you’re feeling energetic, have a go at aquatic Zumba.

And visitors enjoying a dip at Stonehaven could be in illustrious company.

Rowbotham says: “We have been lucky to have visits from Olympic swimmers like David Carry and his wife Keri-anne Payne, and Hannah Miley.”


Where: Queen Elizabeth Park, Stonehaven, AB39 2RD.

When: Monday to Friday: 1pm-7.30pm

Saturday to Sunday: 10am-6pm

Further opening hours during peak season from July 2.

How Much: Adults £5.30, concessions £3.20, family £13.60.

Contact: 01569 762134, friends@stonehavenopenairpool.co.uk