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Best Lidos & Outdoor Swimming Pools in London

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Anyone else need a cool down? Try one of the capital's best outdoor pools

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What better way to capitalise on the recent scorching weather than with a spot of al fresco swimming in the capital? We all feel like we need a cool down. If you’re looking for the best swimming pools in London – whether you are a wild swimming fanatic, a rooftop pool reveler, or lido lover – here is our guide to the best swimming pools in London. So avoid the duds and don your finest swimwear – here they are.

Not in the Capital? Read our Guide to the Best Outdoor Swimming Spots in England

Best Lidos in London

Parliament Hill Lido

 

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Built in 1938, this Grade II-listed Parliament Hill Lido is one of the biggest lidos in London at 60 metres by 28 metres. Unheated, you might want to consider a wetsuit on cooler days. And like all public outdoor pools in London you’ll have to arrive early during a heatwave. This pool’s USP is its stainless steel pool liner (the only in the UK), but if this doesn’t impress the kids, the under-5’s paddling pool and onsite café should please them. parliamenthilllido.org

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Tooting Bec Lido

The second-largest outdoor freshwater pool in Europe (and the UK’s biggest). This 90 metre outdoor pool is the Londoners’ choice. With its iconic changing huts lining the sides, it’s a picturesque spot for an energetic morning swim, or a poolside bathe. Despite its 14-hour opening hours, you’ll struggle to find a quiet time on a hot summer’s day. placesleisure.org.uk

Hampton Pool

 

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Fancy a moonlight swim? A 28°C swim? A classic lido built in the early 20th century? Hampton Pool has it all. Book ahead to avoid disappointment. If you really love it, you can even purchase a branded towel or tote bag – all proceeds go to keeping the pool open year round at a low cost. hamptonpool.co.uk

London Fields Lido

Soak up some of the East London cool at London Fields Lido – and grab a bite from one of the many stalls, cafes and restaurants at the nearby Broadway Market after. There’s a sundeck, space for sunbathing and a cafe, and swimming is available all day, all year round – make sure you book ahead to secure your slot. better.org.uk

Charlton Lido

If you’re not convinced by outdoor swimming in the UK, this heated, Olympic-sized pool in Greenwich might convert you. Soak up the sun on the terrace, sipping on a drink from the Coffee Corner, before taking a dip in the water without having to brace yourself for the cold. Lush. better.org.uk

Brockwell Lido

 

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Not only is this lush 50-metre pool surrounded by easy-on-the-eye Grade II-listed art deco buildings, giving you something nice to look at while you swim, said buildings house the excellent Lido Café, so you can grab a well-earned bite after your lengths. It’s a real community affair, with a Brockwell Lido Users’ Group ensuring the buildings and site are used for a range of activities locals can enjoy. Oh, and over 60s swim free weekdays before 10am. brockwelllido.com

Finchley Lido Leisure Centre

Officially open everyday until further notice (it’s usually temperature dependent…), Finchley Lido in Barnet is a petite pool with a grassy terrace to dry off on after a dip. Located in a leisure park, you could even go for a game of bowling afterwards if you fancied it. Make sure you book ahead! better.org.uk

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Best Natural Outdoor Pools and Swimming Lakes in London

Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds

Probably one of the most picturesque swimming spots in London, if not the UK. Set amongst 800 acres of Hampstead Heath parkland, there are three ponds – women’s, men’s and mixed – open everyday from 7am to 8:30pm. Tickets for the following week are sold in slots and released at midday every Monday – they sell out quickly, so make sure your finger’s on the buzzer! hampsteadheath.net

Beckenham Place Park Swimming Lake

Sunrise swimming Beckenham Place Park

Beckenham Place Park, image courtesy of PTPCoaching at Beckenham Place Park

If you’re slumped at your desk following the umpteenth day of working from home: why not try a bracing start to the day to blow away the corporate cobwebs and meet the sunrise en plein air. Perfect for icy wild swimming fanatics and those just wanting to try something a little bit different. It’s a purpose-built lake for swimming that’s open generally from 7am to 3pm, but check the details for timing specifics. lewisham.gov.uk

Serpentine Lido

The UK’s oldest open water swimming location is Serpentine Lido on Hyde Park. There’s the Lido Cafe Bar for post swim refreshments by the water – ideal for a snack, a meal, or even a glass of wine. And, of course, Hyde Park is right there for a cool-down stroll. royalparks.org.uk

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Best Private and Rooftop Pools in London

Shoreditch House

Shoreditch House Pool

Shoreditch House Pool

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This members-only open-air 16-metre pool is fully heated and open all year round. With a poolside bar, blue-tiled décor and Gatsby-esque red and white striped loungers, if you’re not in the club, be sure to start buttering up your member mates now for that coveted +1 spot. You’ll want to find your lounger and stay parked for the foreseeable. shoreditchhouse.com

The Berkeley Hotel

The Berkeley

A luxury London hotel with a rooftop pool is a rare gem; and the Berkeley’s offering should be top of your wish list for a hot summer’s day in the capital. With panoramic views over Hyde Park, a Tuscan-style terrace and a retractable roof, this is one of the best places for an alfresco swim. the-berkeley.co.uk

White City House

White City House Pool

White City House Rooftop Pool, Copyright Soho House

The newest Soho House outpost and the third West London home for club members, White City House occupies part of the former BBC Television Centre. Among its many appeals is the gorgeous rooftop pool with playful paintwork, brightly coloured loungers and jungalow vibes. Expect less crowds than Shoreditch House… for now. whitecityhouse.com

The Pool at The Curtain Club and Mondrian Shoreditch

rooftop pool mondrian

Entry to this exclusive rooftop spot on a summer’s day is one hot ticket, and one well worth a membership at The Curtain. The pool is also accessible to guests at Mondrian Shoreditch and Curtain Club members, and is a child-free zone from 12pm onward. Day to night rooftop hotspot Laurel’s On The Roof serves up fresh seasonal fare with LA pool party vibes, against sweeping views of London’s skyline. The real allure though is the fully retractable roof, plus the floor to ceiling bi-folding doors which open out onto the small – but not tiny – pool. Grab a towel from the chest and go for a swim before tucking into sea bream tacos, a Malibu shrimp cocktail or a cobb salad, or just dangle your legs in the water while sipping on a frozen margarita. thecurtain.com

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