London’s Best Lidos: 10 of the Best Outdoor Swimming Pools and Ponds

Fancy taking a dip in Hampstead Heath Ponds or brunching at the art-deco Brockwell Lido? We’ve found London’s best outdoor swimming pools and for you to make a splash in the capital this summer.

With a heatwave on the horizon and months of lockdown under our belts, there are few things we'd like more than taking a dip outside. Though there are beaches within easy reach of London, what the capital lacks in sun-kissed coastline, it makes up for with some great outdoor swimming options. As COVID restrictions ease and pools reopen, we're spotlighting the lidos and lakes we can't wait to dive into.

Be warned: a slew of new health-and-safety measures will be in place, so you can expect reduced capacities, one-way swimming systems and the need to pre-book. Check the website of the lido or outdoor pool when planning your visit.

Wild-swimming spots, outdoor pools and London's best lidos for cooling down this summer

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Tooting Bec Lido

Streatham

Originally opened as a bathing lake in 1906, Tooting Bec Lido holds the crown for being South London's largest freshwater pool by surface area. You may recognise its iconic multi-coloured changing huts - Brad Pitt's boxing pool scene from Snatch was filmed here. The pool welcomes the public in the summer months, but be aware that it's only open to members throughout winter; you'll need to sign up if you want a frostier swim.

Reopening: TBC

Price: From £4.60

Address

Tooting Bec Road SW16 1RU

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Hyde Park

Okay, so it isn't exactly the most secluded lake in London; on a typical summer's day it can get seriously busy with crowds of people - and a few swans to boot. Still, this 100m long swimming space qualifies as Britain's oldest public lake, and the surrounding sun loungers (for hire) and picnic spots make this a pretty dreamy spot for whiling away an afternoon. Join the Serpentine Swimming Club to participate in the famous Peter Pan Cup race where you and dozens of daring others will plunge into the icy water on Christmas Morning.

Reopening: 6 July, members only

Price: £4.80

Address

South Carriage Drive W2 2UH

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The Lake in Beckenham Place Park

Lewisham

Set in Lewisham's largest green space, this previously deserted Georgian lake has recently been refilled, making it London's newest hotspot for cooling down with a wild swim. Spanning 285sq m, the lake even has a section dedicated to boating - though it'll be swimmers only for the time being. The lake is restricted to age 8+ and remains hot on sessional swimming, which may work in your favour if you're searching for a tranquil spot.

Reopening: 13 July

Price: £5

Address

Beckenham Hill Road BR3 5BS

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Brockwell Lido

Brixton

On the edge of Brockwell Park - a short stroll from Herne Hill Market, if you're visiting on a Sunday - this Olympic-sized pool has become a South London institution since it first opened in 1937. Its Grade II-listed, art-deco buildings house the Lido Café and Fusion fitness studios that, under normal circumstances, run various yoga, HIIT and pilates classes. Book a spot for brunch and keep your eye out for open-air movie nights hosted here by the Luna Cinema.

Reopening: 13 July

Price: £8

Address

Dulwich Road SE24 0PA

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Hampton Pool

Hampton

In lieu of getting a beach fix on our doorstep, Hampton Pool has stepped up to the game with waters heated to a balmy 28°C throughout summer and winter. Set on a sunny, south-facing fringe of Bushy Park, it's grassy woodland area is prime territory for lazing between swims. Insider tip: check online for its timetable of moonlight dips. Scheduled as close to a full moon as possible, these late-night sessions permit you to swim under the starry night sky.

Reopening: 17 July

Price for this session: From £5.80

Address

Hampton Pool High Street TW12 2ST

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London Fields Lido

Hackney

If you're looking to improve your breaststroke or butterfly, then this 50m-long heated lido is the spot for you. All-day lane swimming is accompanied by one-to-one classes and "swimfit sessions" so you can hone your technique and be envied by the pros. With an inviting sundeck and sunbathing area, as well as Broadway Market all within a short walk, London Fields Lido easily slots into summery weekend plans.

Reopening: 25 July

Price: £5.10

Address

London Fields West Side E8 3EU

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Kings Oak Lido

Epping Forest

This lido may date back to the 30s, but its state-of-the-art features say otherwise. The champagne beds, tiki bar and sunbed-lined pool with waiter service will itch that scratch you have for the beach clubs of far-off shores.

Reopening: TBC

Prices: £20

Address

Paul’s Nursery Road 1G10 4AE

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Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds

Hampstead

Originally dammed-off clay pits, the three generously sized swimming ponds (ladies, mens and mixed) of Hampstead Heath are well loved among Londoners. Be warned: the temperature of the ponds may be a shock to the system even in the warmer months.

Reopened: 18 July

Price: £4

Address

Hampstead Heath NW5 1QR

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Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club

Greenwich

Heated and open all year round, Charlton Lido's Olympic-sized waters rub shoulders with a gym, café and two sun terraces guaranteed to keep you occupied throughout a summer's day. There are eight neighbouring tennis courts too, should you want to swap your swimming costume for a racquet and whites.

Reopened: 13 July

Price: £10

Address

Hornfair Park SE18

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Finchley Lido

Barnet

Finchley Lido underwent a major refurb in 2019, during which its 25m pool was kitted out with a wave machine and jets while the on-site gym got an upgrade too. If you're worried about being thrown in at the deep end, classes are available - in the meantime, we'll be closing our eyes and pretending those ripples are floating in from the Mediterranean Sea.

Reopening: TBC

Price: £6.80

Address

Chaplin Square N12 0GL

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