We had an amazing time at the Ruislip Lido! I had seen pictures of the pirate boat on various platforms and I assumed it was in the middle of a big sand pit (like the one at Cutteslow park). Nothing prepared me for the stretches and stretches of sand as we entered the place, just like a beach, with the water from the 60 acre lake (technically a reservoir) hitting the sand. We built sand castles (and destroyed them), played pirate games in the huge pirate boat, made dams (and broke them) and splashed in the water. Some one had put on loud music; another one was sun bathing; people were enjoying picnic on mats and picnic benches. Ice cream and fish n chips were selling in the kiosk… Ah.. serious beach vibes right!!
When I posted my videos on instagram, a few of the locals informed me that entering the water is prohibited and you cannot swim in Ruislip Lido. While we had not been swimming (and no one else either), I was quite surprised to hear about the water entry, as there were loads of people splashing in the water like us and I did not see any signs (or any wardens) forbidding people from doing so.
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I tried to find more information on it. The website states (not on the home page but only when you go into the safety information): “Following change in weather, the bloom of blue-green algae at Ruislip Lido has reduced, and the fencing has been removed but entry into the water is still prohibited for your safety (“mainly because some blue-green algae remain and can be toxic to people and pets, swimmer’s itch can be caused by an allergic reaction to certain microscopic parasites living in the water, the shock of cold water can make swimming and getting out of the water difficult, the depth of the water changes and is unpredictable and underwater objects and hazards may not be visible). Swimming is definitely prohibited. There is no phone number on the website to contact but I have been emailed by volunteers saying “The water is DANGEROUS – hidden sluices and cables. Also it contains swimmers itch parasite which is painful and can leave permanent scarring. There are no first aid staff or lifeguards, if you get into trouble you’re on your own. We are getting some enforcement officers this year”
Regardless of whether you can or not get into the water, the Lido is still worth a visit for a number of reasons in my opinion.
A) You do not have to travel miles to a coast if you have access to an AMAZING sandy beach close to your doorstep. Although, it is located in the outskirts of London, it is just 50 minutes drive from Oxford, on the border of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire! I will, otherwise, have to travel at least 2 hours minimum to get to a decent sandy beach, so, for me, it is worth it even if just for the sand (but you may have a different opinion)
B) There is a splash pad on site, which is FREE and does not need prebooking, so even if you can not have water fun in the lake itself, you can still enjoy a splash there. (Do not forget to take towels and change of clothes for the children)
C) The play area is pretty awesome. There is a huge Pirate boat (with climbing wall, steps, ladders cargo nets and viewing platform) and small boats (with binoculars) on the sand itself to make your kids imaginations run wild. There is even sand equipment, including a digger, on the side. Across the road, there is a small play area for toddlers with swings, witches hat, roundabout, rocket, small climbing frame with slide and a sit in revolver.
D) Ruislip Lido is also home to Britain’s longest 12″ gauge miniature railway. Though, it was closed on the day we went, tt would be a lovely adventure as the Railway travels around the lido from the car park, through the woods, to the beach. Timetable is available HERE
E) Ruislip Lido is situated near the Ruislip woods. You can also take a leisurely walk around the lido through the beautiful woodland but we did not get around to it. There is a planet trail round the perimeter of the lake, starting with the Sun, opposite the new boathouse, with interesting information about the planets as they all come around in sequence. You can run, jog or cycle around here and there is an outdoor gym for anyone to use. There is a designated wooden bird feeding platform area on Willow Lawn but feeding birds or ducks is not permitted elsewhere.
We went on a weekday during term time, so there was plenty of space for everyone, I bet it gets crazy busy on weekends or in good weather, when parking may also be an issue (please see below), so arrive as early as you can. One of you lot also chipped in on social media to take extra wet tissues for the toilets as supplies may run out (never thought of that!) Another one of you from the area say traffic can even get grid locked due to the number of people arriving in flocks!
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Link to website: http://ruisliplido.com
🗺 Address: Ruislip Lido, Reservoir Road, Ruislip, HA4 7TY
🎟 FREE to enter
🚘 The main car park is situated at the end of Reservoir Road on the left and is for everyone (but is not huge). PRICE:£5.00 for 5 hours (in May, Jun, Jul, Aug- in other other months, it is £3.50 per day). Please check updated prices HERE.
There is another car park (called Willow Lawn car park) as you go straight from the roundabout. This one is only for Hillingdon Cardholders, so don’t go here (which is what we did first), as the machine does not accept anything else.
There is a third car park which belongs to Waters Edge pub & restaurant. You will need to be a paying customer in the pub to park here. If all these car parks are full, there are no nearby alternatives as the surrounding areas of the Lido are largely clearway zones and no-stopping restrictions which are strictly enforced (I saw a warden on my way in and out too). So try to arrive early
🍕Ruislip Lido Lakeside Café adjacent to the lake and man-made beach. There is also Waters Edge pub & restaurant near the car park (which offered free parking and also had a play frame)
🚻 Toilets and baby facilities
🧺 Picnic allowed and many picnic benches around the place
🦽 Buggy accessible
🐕 Dogs are not permitted on the beach itself but welcome on lead in the surrounding areas. Details HERE