Tucked away at the bottom of the High Wycombe hills lies Wycombe Rye Lido, a real hidden gem of a sports complex boasting everything from yoga and Pilates to hardcore boot camp sessions. However, it’s the heated outdoor swimming pool open all-year-round that tempted me over for a test drive of their facilities on a freezing cold January morning.
As the name suggests, the complex is situated right by The Rye, the enormous common situated just outside the centre of Wycombe. My car was flagging 0°C on the dashboard as I pulled up in the car park (just 50p for 2 hours!) and it suddenly dawned on me how strange it felt to be reviewing an outdoor pool in January. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I was totally looking forward to a freezing cold swimming session.
Fortunately, my fears were all totally unnecessary: as I walked into the reception, I could already see hot steam rising invitingly from the pool. I was given a quick tour of the facilities by the lovely manager, Ellie, who showed me where to find the changing rooms, entrance to the pool and the sauna for a detox afterwards.
Heading poolside, I stepped down into water at a comfortable 24-25°C (as Ellie had informed me) which was a perfect temperature for a good workout; warm enough to stop noticing the sub-zero chills above me but not so hot that I was sweating from the exertion. I’ve never been a particularly strong swimmer so I was absolutely shattered as I swam the 33.3 metres a measly ten times but, after a good sauna session afterwards to decompress and destress, I was really chuffed with my efforts and it felt great to have a workout at my own pace. The experience of being able to swim outside was a pleasure, too. I’ve never liked the stuffy atmosphere of the chlorine-infested air of an indoor pool but being outside amongst the trees of The Rye in the peaceful, fresh air was a sheer joy.
If you’re anything like me, you made a vow to get fit after the New Year, did crunches everyday for a week and then gave up. However, swimming is a great full-body workout, combining focussed attention on core and arm muscles with a hefty serving of hard-hitting cardio. And with a Gym&Swim monthly pass at just £30 or a single session at £6 for an adult or £4 for a concession, this would be a great way to get back on that post-Christmas promise to get fit.
Wycombe Rye Lido is open all year round. A Gym&Class membership (without pool access) comes in at £30 and a full membership is £42. You can register for a free trial pass at www.fusionfitnessoffer.com