The Strand Lido - Blog

Mary Sewell
26th July 2023

Blog by Harriet Smith

Schools out for summer which can only mean The Strand Lido will now be open every day.

If you haven’t visited this little oasis, then you really must.  The Lido itself is situated on the edge of The River Medway in Gillingham alongside a play park, riverside walk, café and a cute miniature railway.

Parking was relatively easy which is good as a day-trip with children to a Lido comes with lots of ‘stuff’.  We’d read that there are no chairs available but you can bring your own, so we packed a camping chair (for me), towels, swimming cossies, inflatables, hats, suncream, water and sunglasses.

Pre-booking either a morning or afternoon session is essential and guarantees your entry.  There was a short queue which the staff on the door were whizzing through with ease.  The Lido is behind a large exterior wall and I wasn’t quite prepared for what was in store as we entered from the reception area.  Wow! The Lido is a visual feast and the brightness of the blue pool meant I immediately reached for my sunglasses.  The contrast of the blue against the yellow bridges was particularly aesthetically pleasing (reach for the camera).  It’s also a lot larger that I imagined.

The children were already running towards the changing rooms in a desperate bid to be the first to jump in.

We’d bought our own inflatables which the staff offer to inflate for a cost.  However, this was money well spent as didn’t fancy bursting a blood vessel trying to do it myself.  They also have a shop which sells essentials such as swim nappies, goggles, arm bands, and baby rings plus a large stock of their own inflatables. 

Luckily for me, my children are strong swimmers and old enough to venture off on their own.  So that leaves me to sit back, relax and enjoy the sunshine, with the occasional encouraging wave as they slid down the giant elephant slide.  Apparently, the water was freezing but I’ll just take their word for it as it didn’t stop the squeals of delight when jumping in.

The main pool has large water jets, spraying anyone who dared to go under, and a lazy river that circles the entire main pool.  This is where the inflatables come in to their own, and anyone with one just casually lets the current float them along.  This was my children’s favourite activity.

During hot busy days there is an ice cream kiosk on site but today it was shut, but we were able to grab a wristband from reception and take a short walk to The Strand Café for our Lotus Biscoff ice creams.

There is a separate baby and toddler pool which although my two didn’t use, the children in there seemed to be having fun under parental supervision.

The three hour session flew by but was plenty long enough for us.  We stopped for a while in the play park before heading home feeling nicely exhausted, just as you do after a day at the seaside.