Wondering what to do in London in the heatwave? What better way to capitalise on some glorious English sunshine (and escape the sweaty city) than with a spot of alfresco swimming? Avoid the duds and don your finest swimwear at one of the finest lidos in the capital; with our guide to the best lidos and outdoor pools in London.
Best outdoor 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.
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.
What to Wear to the Lido
Lido swimming is a serious business, don’t you know? Ditch the bikini in favour of a bright, playful one-piece that’s cute enough for deckchair lounging and ice cream eating…
More fantastic London hotels in our Great British & Irish Hotels Guide 2017
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