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London’s Best Lidos & Outdoor Swimming Spots

Fancy a cool dip in the pool after a long hot day on the city streets? Luckily, London has a variety of brilliant outdoor pools and lidos… 

Lead image: Brockwell Lido (photo: Victoria Purcell)

1 Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting

The legendary Tooting Bec Lido is every bit as glorious as they say. Those colourful changing rooms doors, the glistening blue waters, the lush green backdrop of mature trees… And it’s not just a pretty face, it’s the largest outdoor fresh-water pool in the UK, measuring 91.44 metres long by 30.18 metres wide. Visitors to the pool can relax in the sunbathing area, splash around in the paddling pool, strap on goggles and swim laps, or grab an ice-cream cone at the café

Address: Tooting Bec Road, Tooting SW16 1RU

Website: placesleisure.org

2 Beckenham Place Park Wild Swimming Lake

Beckenham Place Park's wild swimming spot launched in 2019 and is a 283 metre-long, 45 metre-wide lake created as part of a £6.8 million park regeneration project. A recreation of an original Georgian water feature, it has a sloped beach that creates shallows for younger children to play in for free (up to 1-1.2metres in depth). In addition to open water swimming sessions (£5.80 adults/concessions available), boat hire and stand up paddleboard hire is also available. the lake is open all year round and children must be eight years old or older, and supervised. 

Address: Beckenham Hill Road, Beckenham BR3 5BS

Website: ptpcoaching.co.uk

3 Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill

Nestled in the corner of Brockwell Park, Brockwell Lido is one of south London’s absolute gems with glistening blue waters, art deco surrounds and palm plants giving the place an almost Mediterranean feel. The lido, known locally as Brixton Beach, has set times for general swimming and lap swimming, so check online before you go. There's also the lovely poolside Lido Cafe, if you want to grab a bite to eat in the sun after your swim. 

Address: Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, Herne Hill SE24 0PA

Website: fusion-lifestyle.com

4 London Fields Lido, Hackney

Pre-pandemic, the que to London Fields Lido would stretch around the building's corner. However, this is a thing of a past as pre-booked times slots look like they're here to stay. Still, the lido remains as popular as ever. Heated all year round (with the best hot showers for a post-winter swim treat) and on the original site of the 1930s pool, the lido is always divvied up for lap and leisure swimming. On Tuesday evenings, the pool is open for women only from 7pm onwards (and it's usually quieter too).

Address: London Fields West Side, Hackney E8 3EU

Website: better.org.uk

5 Park Road Pools & Fitness, Crouch End

One of London’s largest lidos, people have been flocking to Park Road Pools since 1926. But things are anything but tired here – Park Road Pools underwent an £8 million redevelopment project in 2016. The Olympic-sized main pool is just one of five swimming pools – lucky ol’ Crouch Enders – and there is also a play area, fitness facilities, changing areas, sun loungers and fun water features.

Address: Park Road, Crouch End N8 8JN

Website: fusion-lifestyle.com

6 Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead

Built in 1938 and Grade II-listed, Parliament Hill Lido is the only stainless steel-lined outdoor pool in the UK. The shiny metal lining makes the whole pool shimmer with a deep royal blue hue, plus, the water is unheated (handy, since it’s open all-year round. There are also splash pools, sports facilities, playgrounds and gardens, making this a great family spot for summer. Plus, if it’s too crowded, the famous Hampstead ponds are just a stroll away, making the Heath one of London’s best open-air swimming areas.
Parliament Hill Mansions, Lissenden Gardens NW5 1NA; parliamenthilllido.org

7 Hampstead Heath Ponds, Hampstead

Hampstead Heath’s famous ponds are legendary. Locals have kept fit and healthy splashing about in the ponds since way before open water swimming became a thing, but now that it is, well, you know where to head. It’s ‘cold, muddy and glorious’, as one local puts it. The mixed pond is on the Hampstead side of the Heath, near Hampstead Heath overground station, while the ladies’ and men’s ponds are on the Highgate side. The mixed pond is only open to the public in summer, whereas the ladies’ and men’s ponds are open all year round.

Address: Hampstead Health, NW3 1BP


Website: cityoflondon.gov.uk

8 Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park

The Serpentine Lido and its accompanying paddling pool is located in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park and open to the public during the summer months. It is home to the Serpentine Swimming Club, which is the oldest swimming club in Britain. Members of the club may swim all year round at the lido and are famous for their crazy Christmas day race. You might even find yourself sharing a lane with swans or ducks. There is a gated family area with a chlorinated paddling pool and swings, as well as a private sunbathing area.

Address: Hyde Park W2 2UH

Website: royalparks.org.uk

9 Hampton Pool, Hampton Court

Hampton Pool – one of south west London’s best kept secrets – is a 36-metre long open-air pool. The lido is heated to provide for 365 days of outdoor swimming, split in half at all times to allow for lane swimming on one side and family swimming and fun on the other. Hampton Pool has an even warmer paddling pool for beginners, and a large grassy area for picnics or lazing in the sunshine. Once inside, you can stay all day, or follow your swim with a walk or cycle ride at Bushy Park next door.

Address: High Street, Hampton TW12 2ST

Website: hamptonpool.co.uk

10 Charlton Lido, Greenwich

Located in Hornfair Park, the Lido at Charlton Lido & Lifestyle Club is the capital’s second 50-metre, Olympic-sized heated outdoor pool after London Fields. Whether you want to improve your freestyle technique, get fit, compete, meet fellow swimmers or have some family fun, you’re sure to love splashing about in the Charlton Lido. Fitness lane swimming is always available, but water games and fun with noodles are also encouraged.

Address: Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, Charlton SE18 4LX

Website: better.org.uk

11 London Royal Docks Open Water Swimming

Give open water swimming a whirl at London Royal Docks, where the Summer Season runs from March until late September, with 400m, 750m and 1000m loops available for swimming. Safety is paramount, with fortnightly water tests and a NOWCA safety tagging system in place. Sessions are held Tuesday to Thursday and at the weekend. 

Address: Waterfront Studios, 1 Dock Road E16 1AG

Website: loveopenwater.co.uk

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