Lap up the UK’s finest hotel pools: From underground baths to wild clifftop ponds, the best places to stay for a swim

  • The Scarlet, in Cornwall, has a stunning 43ft pool with views across the Atlantic 
  • The Club at Cotton Mill, St Albans, has an indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pool
  • Guests love snoozing in the hammocks at St Moritz, Cornwall, after a few lengths

There is one thing these hotels all have in common – they have gone to great lengths to provide guests with a spectacular swimming pool.

Whether you’re looking for somewhere to clock up the laps or the perfect spot to unwind, dive head first into our round-up of the UK’s finest hotel pools.

The Scarlet, Cornwall

To infinity and beyond: The stunning pool at The Scarlet in Cornwall

Close to Newquay, The Scarlet’s 43ft pool, with floor-to-ceiling windows affording views across the Atlantic, is a stunner; a kind of indoor infinity pool. But this Cornish luxury spot outdoes itself with its own reed filtered cold water swimming pond high on the clifftops. It’s best to enjoy an invigorating dip late in the day, as the sun slips into the sea. If it gets a tad too chilly, there’s a hot tub for warming up afterwards. 

Rooms from £210 a night (scarlethotel.co.uk)

Burley Manor, New Forest

In the heart of Hampshire’s beautiful New Forest, the Manor’s Grade II listed facade and 40 luxurious bedrooms are enough to entice anyone looking for a country escape. Its seasonal outdoor pool, however, makes it exceptional. Open until September, it provides a frog’s eye view of the adjacent deer park and surrounding woodland, with birds singing while guests plough out a slow breaststroke. Grab a sun lounger, order a cocktail and enjoy a quintessentially English summer break.

B&B from £139 a night (burleymanor.com)

The Club at Cotton Mill, Hertfordshire

Lounging by the waters at The Club at Cotton Mill, St Albans

A short hop north of London in St Albans, The Club at Cotton Mill makes for the ideal, post-lockdown breather. Part of Sopwell House Hotel, there’s exclusive access for those staying in the property’s Mews Suites. Its standout feature is an indoor/outdoor massaging hydrotherapy pool. Slip in for a quick dip and then stay submerged while working out stressful kinks. Ideal for anyone who’s been working at a makeshift desk for the past three months. Be sure to indulge in a spa treatment for maximum relaxation.

B&B from £199 a night (sopwellhouse.co.uk)

Beaverbrook, Surrey

Surrounded by 470 acres of landscaped gardens and wild woodland in Leatherhead, Beaverbrook reopened this summer with just 35 rooms spread across its vast estate. That means there will be ample space for guests at its gorgeous outdoor pool, too. In the shadow of the main house, it’s perfect for those who love to get in an early morning stretch and complete a few laps before breakfast. The vibe is more leisurely as the day passes, with the chance to take a seat poolside and read between dips.

Rooms from £385 a night (beaverbrook.co.uk)

The Balmoral, Edinburgh

Blue lagoon: The indoor pool at The Balmoral in Edinburgh

Found at No1 Princes Street, The Balmoral is one of Edinburgh’s swankiest hotels. Its lap pool offers the perfect escape for when the weather turns, with soothing blue tiles and day beds on hand for lounging after a long swim. The in-house Turkish steam room and Finnish sauna make this the perfect place to relax between tours of the Scottish capital.

Rooms from £255 a night (roccofortehotels.com)

Rectory Hotel, Cotswolds

This stunning Malmsbury bolthole, once home to a rector and his 14 children, is the ideal location for some post-lockdown R&R. There’s no swimming in the ancient Baptism pool at the front, but there’s a lush outdoor pool, all the better at the height of summer when this part of England is at its bucolic best. It pays to swim before settling down to the hotel’s indulgent afternoon tea. There’s no comfortable way of taking a dip after all those scones.

B&B from £120 a night (therectoryhotel.com)

South Lodge, West Sussex

While it’s tempting to dive into the indoor pool at this Horsham hotel, swimming here is all about the 60ft outdoor pond. Long enough for anyone who wants to practice their front crawl, it’s also ideal for a leisurely, cooling plunge after time spent in the on-site spa.

The poolside deck is the place to be for those who can handle the cold and prefer to take multiple swims. A dreamy way to pass a summer afternoon.

B&B from £335 a night (exclusive.co.uk)

Slieve Donard, Northern Ireland

The pool at Slieve Donard gives swimmers views out across the bay, with the moody Mountains of Mourne glowering high above

Rising above the shores of Newcastle Bay, the hotel’s pool brings the best of outdoor swimming inside. Its vast floor-to-ceiling windows give swimmers views out across the bay, with the moody Mountains of Mourne glowering high above. At 65ft it’s long enough for muscle-burning workouts, while the adjacent vitality pool, with submerged seating, is the place to relax afterwards, with Northern Ireland’s finest scenery on show.

B&B from £65 per person per night (hastingshotels.com)

Walwick Hall hotel, Hexham, Northumberland

Right on Hadrian’s Wall, Walwick Hall makes for an indulgent stop for hikers covering the famous cross-country route or those looking to escape the city in some of England’s most underrated countryside. The pavilion pool overlooks the beautiful Tyne Valley and is the perfect spot for soothing aches and pains after a day’s walking, or just easing yourself into the evening before a cocktail in front of the drawing room fire.

B&B from £230 a night (walwickhall.com)

St Moritz, Cornwall

For guests who don’t fancy braving the busy beach, the gorgeous pool at St Moritz, Cornwall, is the ideal alternative

A stone’s throw from Polzeath, St Moritz’s self-catering cottages make for a brilliant British escape this summer. And for guests who don’t fancy braving the busy beach, its gorgeous pool is the ideal alternative. The views along the cliffs and out to sea from this high vantage point are wonderful.

The loungers arranged poolside are tempting, but it’s the hammocks that most visitors love – perfect for a snooze under the sun after a few lengths.

Rooms from £130 a night (stmoritzhotel.co.uk)

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