To welcome spring, and the first real glimpse of sunshine peeking above the rooftops of the capital, London Living brings you our top five outdoor swimming spaces in London – so you can enjoy the wonders of London’s skyline from a distinctly horizontal position.
1. London Fields Lido, Hackney
Tucked away in the green corners of London’s East End, the London Fields Lido is one of the precious few heated outdoor swimming spaces in the capital.
“Unlike other outdoor pools in the capital, this lido is open year round and is heated in the winter. Cool down with a swim before drying off at one of the outdoor cafes at nearby Broadway Market.” Yeah Hackney!
First opened in 1932, at the height of London’s outdoor swimming fever, the Lido harks back to a bygone golden era of all-in-one belted swimsuits and huge excitement at the prospect of an urban dip. Today, it’s a real treat.
2. The Serpentine, Hyde Park
The Serpentine has attracted committed outdoor swimmers to its chilly waters since the 18th century. And none are more committed than the Serpentine Swimming Club, who are permitted to swim in its waters all year round, including during the annual Christmas Day Race.
For the general public, the Serpentine is open during the spring and summer months – so you can enjoy the beauty of Hyde Park swimming without catching a chill.
3. Hampstead Heath
Another classic London swimmer’s paradise, the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds are divided into men’s and ladies’ pools for convenience and discretion. Both pools are open all year round, so are the perfect place for the brave nature lover to take an early dip on that perfect frosty morning. For the less brave, they are also the perfect place to cool off in the summer in the picturesque surroundings of the Heath, followed by a classic summer picnic.
4. Brockwell Lido
Nicknamed ‘Brixton Beach’, Brockwell Lido is surrounded by Art Deco Grade-II listed buildings. As well as swimming, the pool and surrounding leisure centre offer a host of fun and exciting activities to while away a spring or summer afternoon . As if that wasn’t enough, the Lido Cafe is a fantastic place to eat, receiving rave reviews from all and sundry.
5. Tooting Bec Lido
England’s largest freshwater open-air swimming pool, Tooting Bec Lido has become a veritable British institution since its inauguration in 1906, a cursory dip in its vast expanse of water is sure to brighten up any balmy afternoon. With all this swimming space, set amongst Tooting Bec Common, it’s a recipe for a perfect day out!