Wondering where to cool down this summer in the city? What better way to capitalise on some glorious English sunshine than with a spot of alfresco swimming in a rooftop pool in London? Avoid the duds and don your finest swimwear at one of the best lidos in the capital using our guide to the best lidos and outdoor pools in London.
Best Outdoor Pools, Rooftop Pools & Lidos in London
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.
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, the ponds are open from 7am and cater for both ladies, men and mixed swimming groups. Open until sunset, you’ll have to arrive early if you want a weekend pitch for all the family.
Parliament Hill Lido
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.
White City 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.
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.
The Berkeley Hotel
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.
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.
The Lido at The Curtain
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 day-to-night brasserie serves up fresh seasonal fare of the healthy-ish ilk, against sweeping views of London’s skyline. The real allure though is The Lido’s fully retractable roof, 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 a delicious chicken katsu club sandwich, or just dangle your legs in the water while sipping on a cocktail.