Still time to get the trunks out! It’s the end of summer but not the end for swimming

The first of September probably came around a little too quick for those who love the Summer. And especially those who enjoy a little outdoor swim in the warm sunshine. Not that we’ve seen much of that this Summer!
But don’t fret. The cold snap hasn’t drifted in quite yet. We’ve put together some ideas that will see you swimming into Autumn.

Enjoy your local Lido

Enjoying a swim at your local Lido seems like such a British thing to do, doesn’t it? Well that’s because the nation became obsessed with Lido’s and outdoor swimming in the 1920’s and 1930’s, for tanning, health and fitness. The public’s interest in swimming outdoors hasn’t changed that much. Lido’s are just as popular today.
We’ve handpicked a few stand-out Lido’s you should visit, come rain or shine

1. London Fields Lido, Hackney
It doesn’t matter how cold it gets, this generous 50m pool offers heating and is open all year round. They also have an extensive timetable catered for adults and kids.

2. Jubilee Pool. Penzance
Want to enjoy a fresh seawater swim in a beautiful Art Deco setting? Then the Jubilee pool is right up your lane. But hurry, only open until late September.

3. Pells Pool, East Sussex
As one of the oldest documented freshwater outdoor public swimming pools in the UK, this is one you can hardly miss.

Remember: If you’re worried about the levels of chlorine in public pools, then don’t panic. We have you covered. Our AquaChek Chlorine/ph/Total Alkalinity Test Strips are the best way to determine safety levels.

Swim in nature

Fancy going on a swimming adventure? There are plenty of natural reserves and freshwater lakes and rivers to have an explorative swim, or a paddle, across the country. And the good thing about being nature is that it’s free!
If you want a bracing swim and soak up some beautiful scenery, then we would recommend taking the plunge in Lake Windermere – the largest natural lake in the UK.

Wild Swimming have fantastic recommendations on the best places to swim, and even have a community map contributed by wild swimmers. So, whether it’s a lake, river, sea or pond, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for.

Remember: Kids enjoy swimming outside too! We have a range of inflatables, such as the
Monster Truck and Giant Tyre Tube which are great fun for the children to play with. For peace of mind and additional safety, we also stock a life ring. So, you can swim and be safe, wherever you are.

Feeling competitive?

Why not enjoy a swim and win a race at the same time? Okay, so it might not be a leisurely swim, but if you want a proper workout and push yourself to the limits, then there are loads of opportunities, in the UK and abroad, to get involved in. There also a great way to raise money for charity.
We’ve highlighted 3 in the UK you could enter or watch out for, but there are tonnes more coming up, which you can find here

1. Aspire Night Swim
What is it? The chance to swim in open water at night for the Aspire charity, supporting people with spinal cord injury. You can choose 3 distance options.
Where and when? Wallingford, Oxfordshire on the 30th September.

2. 10 Swims in 10 days
What is it? Swim 2.4 miles, every day, for 10 days.
Where and when? Dorney Lake, Windsor on the 4th October

3. Fireworks 500
What is it? Swimmers can race or take a leisurely 500m lap on this night swim
When and where? Capernwray Dive Centre, Lancaster on the 1st November

Don’t forget…

Whether you’re swimming at home or abroad on your holidays, make sure that you think about safety. Of course, you’re not going to need to test the water if you’re planning to take a dip outdoors, but it’s always handy to have a water tester with you when you’re visiting public pools. Just in case.

Our recommendation?

One of the most advanced water testing product is the eXact iDip Smart Photometer. For those with iPhones, iPads and iPod touch (sorry Androids) this photometer provides complete connectivity with your devices. All you need to do is download the app, wait 20 seconds and test. It’s that simple.

We stock the eXact iDip Smart Photometer on our website as well as other water testing kits that will keep your water healthy and pool clean all year round.

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Pool Opening Guide 2017

2017 Pool Opening Guide

It’s that time of year again when we’re finally seeing the last of the winter weather, spring is well under way and the summer sun seems to be just around the corner. April’s weather has been somewhat changeable, but we seem to be in for an alright few weeks in May. When we do get dry days though, this time of year is perfect for getting the pool open.

The Met Office are predicting that summer 2017 will be another good one so don’t miss out on having your pool in tip top condition.

As ever, remembering everything that needs checking from chemical balances to cleaning techniques can be a relative minefield to make sure your pool is clean and safe to use. UK Pool Store have your back, with another comprehensive guide to pool opening.

No one wants to be accompanied by leaves, algae and dirt on their first swim of the season. Even if your pool has been covered and kept clear, sitting water can still provide health dangers, so it’s important to follow these simple tips and cleaning advice to make sure your water is crystal clear, sparkling and healthy.

Carefully Remove the Winter Cover

The winter months can be hard on your pool and the surrounding area, and no doubt there will be leaves, twigs and other sorts of garden debris collected on your pool cover and around the edges. It’s well worth having a look around, sweeping about with a small brush and collecting up what is possible before attempting to remove the cover to avoid anything unwanted dropping into the water.

Remember, collected water can be heavy, so unless you have a cover like the Monaco Premiem Geared 5 Spoke Reel System, removing the cover is generally a two person job; try to find some help before attempting this job on your own.

Monaco Premiem Geared 5 Spoke Reel System

Skim the Pool

Even with a cover on over winter, it is likely that once removed you will still find some debris floating on the water. You don’t want this to get stuck in the circulation system so now is the best time to skim the water. Using your skimmer or leaf net, gently sweep through the water and remove any visible debris. Don’t forget to check your strainer baskets, and clear away anything that has fallen in.

If you don’t yet have one, we have a great range of surface skimmers and leaf nets available here.

Clean the Surfaces

It’s not just your water that will need a clean, it’s a good idea to get your surfaces sparkling too. For an above ground pool, a vinyl liner cleaner will get your surfaces shining, whilst also helping to protect against damage from elements such as ultra violet light, pool chemicals and other organic materials.

For an in-ground pool, your best bet is an automatic pool cleaner. The automatic pool cleaner is like the sea snail of the machine world. These wonderful little devices zip about your pool, cleaning away every surface it comes in contact with; your very own robot butler!

Cruiser C600 Automatic Pool Cleaner

Check and Reconnect the Equipment

Whatever your particular installation and setup may be, it’s always good practice to give your equipment a check over before reconnecting (if applicable). If you have an above ground pool, this may mean reconnecting the pump and the other various components of the circulation system. If any of your equipment looks worse for wear, give us a call and discuss the best options for replacements; it’s better to do it now, than have a problem later in the season.

It may be worth considering switching to a Smart Pump, which have variable speeds and work to your pools needs; this saves on your energy over time. For pumps needing a complete replacement, we recommend Pentair’s Sta-Rite Variable Speed Pump, which will save you money and has a long life.

For those with newer pumps, fear not, you can still achieve the same goal by installing a pool pump inverter, making your old pump smart. The Clever-Pool Swimming Pool Pump Inverter will have the same desired effect and pay for itself in savings in two or three years.


Clean the Filter

Using a sand filter is a great way to keep your water clean, but it’s a good idea to give your sand an annual clean as well; this is done with a ‘filter rinse’. There’s no better time to do this than right now, at pool opening. If instead, you use a cartridge filter, then we recommend that you give the elements a soak in a cleaning solution. Have a look at the link below for the options available.

Maintain Your Heater

It’s not just your filters that need an annual clean; heaters also fall into that category. It’s not unheard of for pesky rodents and bugs to make a winter hideaway of them. If you have a gas heater, this will need the attention of a fully qualified engineer which sadly means extra cost. However, being gas, this is an expense that is absolutely necessary for the safety of your pool, not to mention your family.

Find our range of Pool heaters and heater supplies here.

Secure the Circulation System & Fill the Pool

The first step here is to make sure that all of your hoses and connections are secure and the drain plugs tight. Put water in the pump, cover the basket and reinstall the pump lid.

It’s quite likely that your water level will have dropped somewhat over the winter months so it will need filling back up until the water reaches the skimmer opening. This allows for some water to be lost during the vacuuming process.

Vacuum the Pool

The first vacuum is best done manually, as automatic cleaners tend to disrupt dirt, making things worse. Once the vacuuming is complete, you will need to backwash your filters.

Test the water Chemistry

After a harsh winter, your water is going to need some careful attention, as it doesn’t take much for it to become green and cloudy. This is not good news and you certainly don’t want your family swimming in it.

The most important thing is that your bathers are comfortable, so the alkalinity of the pool needs to be close to neutral. A pH testing kit is required and a stabiliser used to adjust the pH level to around 7.5. Your water will then need to be ‘shocked’ to cleanse it of the organic materials that may have built up over the winter, before finally adding an algaecide to remove any discolouring.

For a splash of technology, why not have a look at the eXact iDip Smart Photometer which has bluetooth connectivity to your smart phone!

Jump in!?

Not quite yet! Opening a pool can take up to a week and if your current water is exceptionally poor quality, multiple shocks may be required. There’s no time like the present to get cracking to get the pool ready, don’t miss out on those warm spring weekend swimming opportunities!

For anymore help, advice or product information, give us a call and let us help!

0800 9172 229



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Hot Tubs from the professionals.

If you want to buy a car, you go to a reputable car dealer, right? You get the guarantee of knowing there’s a professional who is selling you the best product and will be there for you to maintain the vehicle in the future.

Then why are people buying hot tubs and above ground pools from supermarkets?

We all love to get a bargain nowadays, there’s nothing better than spotting that item you’ve wanted for a while on sale. Sometimes though, sales aren’t all they seem to be. We’ve all seen some of the retail disasters of people buying wedding dresses from eBay stores in China and receiving nothing like the pictures and it’s never nice.

The truth is, bargains aren’t always the bargains they seem to be.

False economy is a real thing. Those kitchen towels you buy for 50p? You’ll need 10 of them to do the job. That cheap tin foil? It’ll rip. In the words of Stella Artois, some things are reassuringly expensive.

Over the last few months, we’ve had a number of customers come to us to get spares and repairs for above ground pools they’ve purchased on the cheap, often from supposed reputable retailers, that haven’t stood the test of a few months, let alone a few seasons. They just haven’t had the advice and support you need when looking after a purchase such as this.

But it’s just a bargain, right? What are the downsides?

Well, as mentioned it’s often a false economy. Buying the hot tub or the pool is just the first part step of the ownership process. You have to think about on going maintenance and the products required for the upkeep of the water – a vital part of making sure the hot tub or pool is healthy for you to use. I can guarantee you, no one at the supermarket will be able to help if your hot tub or pool needs replacement parts or fails on you, or will know about balancing chemicals and how best to ensure the longevity of your purchase. And trust us, both inflatable hot tubs and above ground pools can have a long and lasting life span.

From UK Pool Store, you don’t just get a fantastic new and reliable above ground pool or hot tub (Inflatable or otherwise!), you get our great service, the spares, parts and chemicals you’ll need and most of all – peace of mind! We will give you all the advice and guidelines you need to get set up, to maintain and to guarantee years of happy pooling.

So be wary of so-called unbelievable bargains, some times they are just that – unbelievable – and could end up costing you more in the long run. If you’re looking to become a hot tub or pool owner, talk to us today about getting you set up with a long lasting and sustainable hot tub at a fair price.

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The Olympic Pools are now brown and it’s sad to see

2016 was a year that saw a lot of different highs and lows. One particular high was definitely the summer Olympics in Rio. At the time, you may have seen our blog about the swimming pools turning green, which we thought was caused by an outbreak of algae, most likely due to a mistake by a worker. Well, the olympic pools have gone again, and this time it’s worse than green.

After triumphant events like the Olympic games, it’s always very sad to see the facilities being left to go down hill and decrepit. Just have a look at the ski jumps and luge track from Sarajevo or the canoe/kayak stadium from Athens photographed in this Huffpost article for examples. For us here at UK Pool Store, we find it particularly sad to see the demise of the swimming pools. For someone with a love of all things ‘pool’, it’s sad to see such great venues and great pools get emptied and go unused.


So over to Rio then, and it’s very sad to see the state of the Barra Aquatic Centre, which has now been completely abandoned and the pool left to turn to a horrible brown soup. However, this was always the plan as the Olympic Aquatics Stadium in the Barra Olympic Park was always meant to just be a temporary structure.


It doesn’t make the pictures of the murky brown pool any less horrible for fans of crystal clear waters though!

Of course, if your pool has been closed up, we hope that you followed our guide to closing your pool to protect it when left over the winter. It’s nearly time to get the pool back open again and we’ll be on hand with a guide, and all the chemicals and equipment you need to kick start your pool back to life this spring.


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Water testing on holiday

“The water in Majorca don’t taste like what it oughta!”

In 1985 an advert for brewing giants, Heineken, used the phrase seen above to promote their beer’s ability to refresh like no other. Whether that’s true or not I can’t say, but I do remember the slogan becoming a popular phrase throughout the UK. Despite the tourist boards saying that the tap water in Majorca (and many other popular resort destinations) is considered safe for drinking, even now tourists still seldom sip from anything other than a branded bottle whilst holidaying abroad. It got me to thinking, if the tap water is not to be trusted, then are the pools?

Whatever time of year it is, nothing beats a family holiday in the sun. Mum and Dad can relax whilst the kids play in the pool. Relaxation goes out the window, however, when someone falls ill. In late 2016, a certain holiday company were awash with complaints after hotel guests all fell ill, the pool was apparently the main culprit.

Don’t get us wrong, the large majority of hotels will have trained staff keeping clean pools, but some think dumping a load of chlorine in meets in bill; how can you be sure of your family’s health and what are the risks?


The affects of ‘non-clean’ pool water.

So yes, we could have said ‘dirty pool water’ there, but I think the word ‘dirty’ brings up an image of brown pools of muddy water. Most pool water is going to look clear blue, fresh and appealing, even though it may not be up to standard.

Common problems from non-clean pool water will be things like skin burns, ear infections or a variety of other allergic reactions. Many holidaymakers might also find themselves suffering with vomiting and diarrhoea and put it down to sun stroke or the local food. However, this may also be a case of taking on the pool water.


What can be done to ensure your family’s safety

There are a few basic things that anyone can do to to minimise the chance of illness:

  • Avoid water that looks murky or dirty.
  • Always shower before and after swimming – the natural dirt on each swimmer’s body can accumulate quickly, if everyone showers then the pool stays much cleaner.
  • Smaller pools are likely to be clearer of bugs and germs than larger pools.
  • If you see pool staff treating the pool with chlorine, leave it a while before entering the water.
  • Check the depth of the pool and try to explain to your kids about depth to make them aware of potential risks
  • Have a quick scout for entrapment risks – are there grills on the floor of the pool for example?
  • Check to see if there is life saving equipment, a lifeguard or emergency buttons.
  • Swimming goggles with UV protection don’t just protect eyes from the sun, but also the chlorinated water – swim suits with a high UV protection, swim hats and of course plenty of sunscreen are also good for Kids and adults alike.


It’s not just about water quality when it comes to safety.

The other thing to look out for, or indeed, sniff out for is a strong chlorine smell – it’s not the fresh chlorine ready to protect you from bugs and lurgies but the spent exhaust or dirty pool water smell. I guarantee that if you smell that, the pool will start to turn cloudy and eyes and skin irritation will get worse. This is a common problem in pools with a high bather load (most resorts!) as the water cannot refresh itself through filtration and chemical treatment quickly enough. Especially look out early morning – pools should always be crystal clear first thing after a night’s filtration cycle; if not, beware.

Of course, on top of these basic measures, we also recommend taking some mobile water testing equipment on your holiday. Using these can give you an idea of the levels of chlorine, pH and alkalinity etc to make sure the water is in tip top condition. Here is our top recommendation:


Aquachek Test Strips

These strips are what we here at UK Pool Store use when we are abroad.

We have 5 different types available:

  • AquaChek Chlorine / pH / TA test strips
  • AquaChek Bromine / pH / TA / TH test strips
  • AquaChek Select test Kit
  • AquaChek Monopersulfate / pH / TA test strips
  • AquaChek Salt test strips



The great thing about these test strips is how quick and easy they are to use. Just dip a strip in the pool for a second and then within 15 seconds you’ll see the results. This means that if you’re worried about it, you can be discrete about checking!

You’ll get the peace of mind you need to make sure the pool is fit for purpose.

Have a look at our full range of water testing kits here.


eXact iDip Smart Photometer

exact idip smart water tester

The iDip provides complete connectivity to your smartphone and could not be simpler to use. The photometer comes complete with 6 tests (Free Chlorine, Total Chlorine, pH and Total Alkalinity) but other available test strips include Bromine, Copper, Cyanuric Acid and Phosphate to name just a few.

The eXact iDip is available from UK Pool Store by clicking here.

For a chance of winning one of these fantastic digital water testers, simply like our Facebook page. A winner will be announced when we hit 1000 page likes.


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Automatic pool cleaners: Which is the right one for you?


So you’ve had your fun in the sun and time by the pool, swimming to your hearts content, but then the dreaded task of cleaning your pool rears its ugly head. Sound like a familiar struggle? Well, we’re here to help you find the solution to this unfavourable problem.

We’ll give you a hint; they have a mind of their own, can breathe underwater and can clean your pool with no extra help. Give up? Of course we’re talking about automatic pool cleaners!


Other than the reasons given above, why would you choose to invest in an automatic pool cleaner? Well the simple answer is not only are they easy to set up and start working straight away, but they take the hassle out of cleaning and maintaining your pool. Particularly in the cold season, no one relishes the prospect of cleaning the pool in the freezing cold!

Our automatic pool cleaners can also:

Save you time – Literally gives you the gift of time. Automatic pool cleaners give you the latest and easiest way to keep your pool clean with minimum effort.

Save you money – They are a great investment in the long term, they don’t clog or create blockages like old traditional pool cleaners, which means money saved, as there is no extra cost in buying additional parts, like separate pumps or built ports.

No longer will you have to spend hours skimming the water for debris or scrubbing the walls for algae. They will do all the dirty work for you, removing dirt, debris, twigs, bugs and leaves, making sure your pool continues to be hygienic and squeaky clean all year round.

Did you know? There are 3 types of automatic pool cleaner: Robotic, Pressure and Suction pool cleaners.

Let’s take a look at each one and the advantages of these:

Suction Pool Cleaners

Essentially a vacuum, suction pool cleaners remove debris from the swimming pool floor. Some models, such as the Hydro-Pure will also scrub the pool walls as well. By sucking debris into your pool’s filter, it is very effective with cleaning finer particles and generally inexpensive, but will mean cleaning your pool filter more often.


  • Thorough on cleaning smaller particles and debris, such as dirt and sand
  • Less expensive than other automatic pool cleaner types
  • In most cases, no extra parts are required to connect your current system, saving you money
  • Some models scrub your pool’s walls, eliminating the need to manually brush your walls as often

Robotic Pool Cleaner

Driven by an electric motor, the robotic pool cleaner has a built-in computer chip, which recognizes the size and shape of the pool. This clever technology means it takes the time to learn how best to clean your pool making them more effective in cleaning larger and smaller particles than other pool cleaners. And with its own self-contained pump and filter it will make it less costly.


  • Effective at cleaning large debris and small particles from your pool water.
  • Circulates water around the pool
  • Most units can clean the floor, climb the walls and the steps, allowing for a deeper and more sanitary clean
  • With fantastic water mixing and finer water filtration it will help reduce the amount of chemicals needed

Pressure Pool Cleaner

Relying on a pump, the pressure pool cleaner uses water pressure to clean your pool, and can connect with your pool’s main circulation or booster pump. The debris is collected in a bag which puts less stress on your pool’s filtration system than suction pool cleaners, but are less effective with collecting those finer particles.

We’d recommend the Pentair BlueFury as it’s the most powerful on the market and boasts up to 30% faster cleaning than other pressure pool cleaners.


  • It has its own filtration bag, which will reduce your filter and skimmer cleaning
  • Due to its booster pump, it is very thorough at cleaning up large/medium sized debris
  • Durable and low-maintenance.

Automatic pool cleaners have ridden us of many of these tedious and time consuming tasks of maintaining a pool, but it’s important to consider all the options before making a decision, as they are a long term investment. When choosing your pool cleaner, consider the size of your pool, the floor gradient and the corner angles.

But no matter what type of swimming pool you have, there is a variety of amazing automatic pool cleaners available to suit your needs.

If you would like more information or help choosing your automatic pool cleaner, contact us today, and we’d be happy to discuss your options.












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Why the Olympic pool water went green – and how to avoid it!

If, like us here at UK Pool Store, you can’t take your eyes off the Olympics again this year (and of course especially the swimming pool based events) you’ll have noticed recently that the pool water degenerated from crystal blues to murky greens. Two of the pools in Rio succumbed, with some athletes complaining that they can’t even open their eyes properly. Of course, the Olympic officials told the competitors that the water was safe, but what exactly happened here and what as pool owners can we learn from it? I can’t remember seeing water like that at the Olympics before and personally I don’t think it’s good enough.


Photo by Adam Pretty/Getty Images

FINA (The international governing body of swimming) recently stated that the reason behind the green is that they were short of the necessary chemicals; here’s that FINA statement:

“FINA can confirm that the reason for the unusual water color observed during the Rio diving competitions is that the water tanks ran out of some of the chemicals used in the water treatment process.

As a result, the pH level of the water was outside the usual range, causing the discoloration. The FINA Sport Medicine Committee conducted tests on the water quality and concluded that there was no risk to the health and safety of the athletes, and no reason for the competition to be affected.“

Aside from FINA’s explanation, another article I read said that pH levels had been imbalanced caused by the amount of athletes using the pool. This, according to their theory, had caused copper levels to spike, making the water appear more green. An interesting idea, and certainly copper in the water would cause a green colour, but the amount of copper to cause a pool of that size to turn would most likely kill the athletes; I’d doubt it’s that. I’d also be surprised that the usage of the pool would be affecting things here, it’s not like those responsible didn’t know how many athletes they’d have using the pool.

In UK Pool Stores’ opinion – FINA are wrong. For the pools to be going green at this rapid pace, it had to be algae. Algae can multiply at 100 times per hour, in a pool that size, it can take over quickly. With that in mind, FINA’s statement that they didn’t have enough chemicals would be accurate. I said to someone in the office last week that the only way forward is to flush the pool with an incredible high amount of chlorine to deal with the algae, and then use hydrogen peroxide to neutralise the high levels of chlorine. Of course, this isn’t ideal when a pool is in constant use at the World’s most highly viewed sporting event.

Since this has happened, we’ve heard stories that a worker had accidentally used hydrogen peroxide in the first place, which lead to the algae outbreak. Luckily for the athletes, the pool water is back blue again – it seems like they’ve drained the pool and started again.

For you at home, draining the pool and starting again isn’t exactly the ideal option, so below is a few key elements that are great for keeping your pool in tip top condition. Just remember not to accidentally put a load of hydrogen peroxide in!

A Good Filtration System Allows for good circulation, 24 hours a day, keeping water clear and clean.

An Automatic Pool Cleaner – Allows you to have mechanical abrasion where algae would start to take hold – the more bacteria and debris that’s removed, the less chance of algae taking hold.

Water Testing Equipment – Help to keep your pool as close to 7.2pH as possible – this helps to increase the chlorine kill rate.
Swimming Pool Chemicals – Keep your chemical stores fully stocked!

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Great fun is safe fun!

Swimming Pools are really fun.

Let’s not forget that; the point of a pool is that we want to socialise, exercise and most of all have fun. However, it’s always important to keep safety in mind, especially if you have younger children in the family.

We don’t want to be doom-mongers and quote figures about pool safety etc, but the fact remains that water needs to be respected. Whether you’re swimming in the ocean, the backyard pool or even just having a soak in the bathtub – accidents can happen. Now, we have pools and hot tubs etc so that we can enjoy them, relax, have fun and de-stress. The last thing you want is to be worrying about the safety of those around you, so it’s important to make sure your pool is up to safety standards at all times. Remember, it’s not just when you’re using the pool – pool safety is 24/7/365.

With that in mind, we put together a nice little infographic with some safety advice. Our customer e-mail this month also has some great links to top safety products. For example, the Immerstar Pool Alarm, a Rollaway Fence and of course, the symbol of water safety worldwide – the life ring.

Have a look at our Pool Safety section to make sure your pool is a safe environment – and therefore a fun environment for all.

For now, check out this fantastic Swimming Safety infographic!

swim safety tips

swim safety tips

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Planning the perfect barbecue pool party!

At this time of year, the sun is getting hotter and the days are getting longer. The Spring Bank Holiday offers the perfect opportunity to gather your friends and family, spark up the bbq and have a good old fashioned pool party. Of course, no pool party is complete without fun, games, food and drink so UK Pool Store is here to guide you on the path to hosting success!

Fun and Games

Let’s face it, when your friends are over, you’ve got a drink in your hand and some good food on the way, you want to keep the kids entertained with minimal input. Not always, of course, but sometimes it’s nice to sit back and just relax! Here are few ideas for some garden based activities for the kids.

Art show

  • If you’ve got some concrete, or paving slabs in the garden, allocate each child their own section and supply them with some chalks. They can doodle away to their hearts content, and the pictures will easily wash away afterwards.

Set up a treasure hunt

  • If you’ve got a bigger garden, you could hide various goodies around and set them off on a treasure hunt. You can provide a list of all that’s hidden so they can tick them off as they go.

Photography Competition

  • If you’ve got a simple camera for them to use, or if you don’t mind them using your mobile phone, you can ask the kids to get their best wildlife snaps. Challenge them on things like ‘best insect’, ‘best bird’ or ‘most colourful’ etc.

Pool Games!



We all love a good BBQ but we all have our own favourites. There are lots of great sites about with various recipes, but here’s a few tips for making sure you’ve got the basics covered.


It’s good to make sure you’re stocked up on all the things you need, so don’t forget:

  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Plastic cups
  • Plastic/wooden knives and forks
  • Bin bags
  • Tin foil / Cling film
  • Serving Platters
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Ice


It all depends on whether you want to make your own stuff, or buy stuff ready to go. Some ideas for food to buy/make, however:

  • Burgers
  • Sausages
  • Chicken
  • Kebabs
  • Steaks
  • Corn on the cob
  • Flat mushrooms
  • Fish
  • Buns (hot dog/burger)
  • Cheese
  • Potato Salad
  • Coleslaw
  • Salad
  • Condiments

If you’re making your own burgers, the temptation is to stuff your patties with all sorts of ingredients, but simple is the way to go. Make sure you use a good quality mince with a 20% fat ratio. You can ask your butcher for help with this, but ‘chuck steak’ mince is best. For a really tasty, juicy burger, mix in 50g of finely chopped or minced bone marrow to each 500g of mince. All you really need to add is salt and pepper, and I find a beef stock cube adds a depth of flavour. There’s nothing wrong with adding some other herbs, or finely chopped onion as you like, but I find letting the meat do the talking works best.

BBQ Burgers

For vegetarians, Jamie Oliver has an absolutely delicious vegetarian burger which will have even the meat eaters longing for it!

Fish wise, remember that it’s delicate. Tin foil can often be your friend, with just a dab of olive oil or butter creating a mini oven. The best fish I’ve ever BBQ’d was fresh caught mackerel (nothing beats straight out the sea mackerel!) which were then filleted due to the size of them. The fillets then had a bit of salt, pepper and paprika and were delicious, put directly onto the BBQ grill.




For your drinks, you don’t want to be traipsing in and out the house all day, so try and find a big tub, like a black bin (cleaned out, obviously!) or similar and fill it with ice and water. Make sure to have enough top up ice in the freezer. You can then put all your beers/wines/ciders/mixers and soft drinks in here to pull out a cold one when needed.

You might want to try and spice the party up with some home made cocktails. A Mojito is a classic summer drink, and Jamie Oliver has a fantastic recipe. For other ideas, here’s a list of 10 great cocktails to make at home.

Of course, don’t forget the kids or designated drivers, here’s some fantastic and delicious ideas for ‘virgin’ cocktails!

Remember, always drink responsibly, especially when around the pool area and if kids are around.



For extra peace of mind, we’ve got some great pool safety gear, which is a must for every home pool.

Whether it’s a life ring, a pool alarm, fencing or life saving reach poles – UK Pool Store have got you covered.


Now all that’s left to do is make sure the grill is clean and ready to go, set up a good playlist and invite your friends round!

We hope you enjoy your bank holiday weekend!



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10 step guide to successfully closing your pool

That time of year is approaching again, that sad, seasonal inevitability when we have to finally say goodbye and close the pool for the season. Closing the pool can be a daunting task as it is not just a case of whacking a cover over and ignoring it. There are many elements to consider, but fear not, just as we have been all summer, UK Pool Store is here to guide and support you! Here is our 10-step guide to closing the pool for the winter.


  1. Timing is everything


This time of year is when it becomes just about perfect for pool closing. Outside temperatures have dropped to between 12 – 16 degrees Celsius. Due to lower air temperatures, your cooler pool water has less demand for chlorine so it will last longer over the winter period. Winterising chemicals last about 4 months, so this will help prevent unnecessary outbreaks of algae as we approach springtime.


  1. Inspect your equipment


Some equipment can struggle when faced with freezing temperature and persistent cold weather so before that sets in, visually inspect each element of your pool, including the general structure itself. Make sure you repair or replace any broken or brittle looking equipment or structural defects as you don’t want these breaking over the winter.


  1. Test levels before closing


Closing your pool won’t happen over night, roughly 4 days to a week before you intend to completely close the pool, do some tests to make sure the pool is chemically balanced, adjusting things if necessary. Ideally, your pool at this stage should be:


pH: 7.2 – 7.6

Alkalinity: 80 – 120 ppm

Calcium Hardness: 175 – 250 ppm

Chlorine: 1 – 3 ppm


  1. Add the winterising chemicals


Always follow the instructions given with your chemicals. However, this will normally require mixing the granular chemicals in a bucket first to make sure they are totally dissolved. You don’t want to risk un-dissolved granules staining your pool lining.


  1. Drain water down to recommended levels


To start with, drop water levels to about 12 to 18 inches below the return lines. This is to allow any water still in the plumbing lines to drain back into the pool. Next, plug your skimmer and Inlet/Return holes to prevent water getting in as this can freeze in the pipes and cause them to crack, then drain all water from the pump as it has now finished its work for the year.


Tip! Put all drain plugs & o rings in the pump basket to keep them safe over winter, that way in the spring you know where all your plugs & o rings are.


  1. Shut off any equipment


Equipment is designed to fulfil a purpose; if your pump is left on, it can be damaged without proper water flow so make sure this is shut down. Remember to disable any timers so that the pump does not accidentally restart. Remove the filter drain plug near the base to allow all the water to drain out to prevent frost damage, once empty replace drain plug, and place multiport handle into the winter position if marked on valve. If you have a heater, follow your owners manual for winterising, chlorinators, ozonators, UV generators & salt chlorinators also require winterising if fitted.


  1. Attach your pool cover


Next up comes the pool cover itself. Always follow the manufacturer recommended instructions and make sure edges are tightly sealed, making the pool completely resistant to winter debris and leaves etc.


Tip! Additional water bags can eliminate leaves blowing under exposed cover edges, keeping your pool free from leaf build up.


  1. Store your chemicals properly and safely


Remember that chemicals are dangerous elements and should be respected as such. Make sure any open containers are tightly sealed in their original containers and completely inaccessible to children or pets. Keep your pool products in a cool, dry and well-ventilated area away from any other chemical elements such as petrol, paint or any other flammable materials. If you need to dispose of any leftover chemicals, please contact your local council to learn of the recommended facilities to do so.


  1. Make sure your pool is safe for children


Even though your pool is now closed, with the cover on, a fence or other protective barrier is highly advised.


  1. The job is not done yet…


You will need to keep an eye on the pool over the coming months. Visual checks of your inactive equipment, fixtures and fittings will be a good habit to have. Also, excessive rains can cause pool covers to sag or stretch so make sure you clear this water off, either with a pump cover or other means. Check for dirt and debris and keep things clean – you’ll be happy you did come the spring. Lastly, in the late autumn, early winter and also around January time, do a quick check to make sure your winterising chemicals are still doing the job.


…. you know what? This blog goes to 11!


  1. Get a hot tub!


Who says enjoying the water is over come winter? Not us! Our range of amazing inflatable hot tubs are durable, portable, easy to set up and in-expensive, but best of all they provide a year round way to relax… bliss!

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