• With Kids in the Westcountry

Secret outdoor (and indoor) swimming at Pinewood Holiday Lodges, Rousdon (nr Lyme Regis)

Updated: Jun 7, 2020

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I did debate for a while whether to write this post, because selfishly it’s one of those little places that you kind of want to remain a bit of a secret, but then I thought that was not really in the spirit of what I’m trying to achieve, which is a handy resource for visitors and locals looking for great things to do with the kids. So here we go, I’m sharing it with you all – don’t tell anyone else!

It was a warm July Sunday and the children were getting to that stage where they were wrestling because there’s only so long you can keep them interested in joining in with tedious household tasks like the weeding. We decided to head to one of our favourite (but lesser-known) outdoor swimming pools so I slung on my swimming gear and a brand new jumpsuit in an attempt to channel poolside chic – turns out there’s a reason why I don’t wear jumpsuits because at 5ft9”, I can’t actually sit down in one. But anyway, it’s not like I’d be sitting down because, obviously! I’m a Mum.

Anyway, we discovered Pinewood at Rousdon (on the A3052 between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth) a few years ago – it has a lovely heated (and always really warm) indoor swimming pool which we use most of the year round (when we’re not at Newlands!). But from the end of May the place really comes into its own with two outdoor heated pools opening for action, and it’s a fantastic find for all of the family.

Image credit - Pinewood Holiday Lodges

On arrival you can park for free in the car park next to the wooden poolhouse, and to gain access to the pools you pop over to the Reception building opposite to pay.

There’s a good-size main outdoor pool – which isn’t too deep at max 1.1m - my 6-year-old can stand up in the deep end which I find reassuring seeing as she fell off a float in a deeper pool last week and Andy had to do his best Baywatch impression, and even better for little ones there’s a separate shallow toddler splash pool. Both are heated to a good temperature and felt very comfortable even for our youngest.

The loungers around the poolside are reserved for park guests first and foremost but if there’s some spare, visitors can use them – not that you can do much lounging with younger ones in tow! One day…

We spent about an hour between the two outdoor pools before we had a quick dip in the indoor one (just to make sure we maximised our value for money – very reasonable at £15 for the four of us as they didn’t charge for the 3 year old). The lady’s changing room has a baby changing table and a handy seat to restrain grumpy post-swim little ones while you frantically attempt to get changed without anyone walking in on you just as you’ve dropped the towel. There are showers and toilets in both changing rooms and everything is kept very clean by the friendly park team.

Pinewood is a lovely little holiday park with some traditional wooden lodges and some contemporary ones, and it has a really relaxed and peaceful holiday vibe - there’s a small children’s play area around the back of the indoor pool, and an aviary of birds to say hello to after your swim. Aside from that, it’s a basic affair with no café or shop (although handily you can buy swimming nappies and goggles from Reception) so if you’re looking to extend your day, you could check out the nearby Rousdon Village Bakery and café for great pastries, sandwiches, waffles and French toast.

Keep an eye on Pinewood’s seasonal opening hours on their website or follow them on Facebook here.

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Images - credit Pinewood Holiday Lodges