Charlton Lido

Charlton Lido houses a 50m pool and a warmer, smaller, more shallow pool with some ledges that a little one can sit on.

Alas, the smaller pool is rarely open. It used to open for an hour a day, regularly, but it now opens ‘on demand’ when 20 or so people want it. In practice, that means school holidays and hot days. It’d be best to call ahead and find out if it’ll open on that day – staff will tell you if it won’t.


It looks cool, an old lido that has been refurbished with modern touches. There are changing cubicles pool-side, and sun-loungers for those who want a tan. But for parents, it’s undermined by the scant opening hours of the small pool. The larger pool is heated, allegedly- it was bloody freezing when I went. My son loved the smaller pool, but there’s nothing else special for them to do and it’s not cheap. There’s no wave machines or sprinklers or bubbles or little slides.

It’s not a bad place to meet people on a hot day and enjoy the holiday vibe, but you could do with bringing some bath toys to keep the child amused. Or hope they sleep in a pram. Or better yet, leave them with the grandparents (by Melanie Towers and Iain).

It’s worth noting that there’s no direct bus route from the station to the lido. If the online portal for buying advanced tickets says it’s full, it may not actually be full, we went in the summer and the online tickets wer sold out/full but when we arrived it was very quiet and they were happy to let us in (by Sammie Martin).

Address: Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, London SE18 4LX.


Playground: There’s one in Hornfair Park, which the Lido sits in. I’ve not used the playground, but it looked standard, metal construction – climbing frame, swing, see-saw.

Cafe: Yes, on a roof terrace with some indoor and lots of outdoor seating. They do toasties and snacks, nothing fancy. When I went, it was like something from a 2* holiday resort- a cafe so that they can say they have one, staffed by one person with multiple things to do – but they didn’t object to me bringing snacks for my son, who enjoyed all the space to run around. The coffee was fine by me.

Toilets: Yes. Plus baby changing (and changing rooms, of course)

Pram / wheelchair / mobility friendly: Yes, it’s fully accessible with lifts up to the roof terrace cafe. Staff were obliging in pointing out the way around with a pram

Parking: Yes, there are some pay and display spaces available. £1 an hour.

Nearest Station: Charlton is about a 20 minute walk up a sizeable hill. The 89 and 178 buses stop outside. If you don’t want to walk, you’d be best off getting an 89 from Lewisham or Blackheath (178 is a single-decker that goes around the houses. One of those buses).

Phone: 0208 856 7389.

Email: Via online form:


History – It was originally opened in 1939, the last lido built by the London County Council, and architecturally similar to Brockwell Park Lido. It was reopened in 2013, following a refit using Olympic legacy money.
Hornfair Park, in which it is set, gets its name from Charlton’s Horn Fair, which was outlawed in 1872 despite having taken place since medieval times, they say. It had been described as: more like a carnival of the very worst and most vulgar class, than any fair in the country.

Tickets are £5 if you buy online in advance (£6 otherwise). Under 3s are free, children are £3 (£4 on the door).

Review by Melanie Towers and Iain.

Founder of MGF, Helen is a mum of four who spends way too much time on the interweb and not enough time in bed. She loves wearing her dressing gown, car boot sales and watching TV programmes featuring food. Her specialist subjects include 'how to overfill your car boot' and 'how to avoid dusting'. Follow her at Twitter: @Ginfund, Facebook: @MGFund, Instagram: @mummysginfund and online: