What better way to capitalise on some bonus English sunshine than with a spot of al fresco swimming in a rooftop pool in the capital? 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.
Whether you’re looking to get in some serious laps or are simply after somewhere pretty to sunbathe, London’s bevy of lidos and outdoor pools will be a godsend when the sun comes out. As with most of the capital’s beauty spots, you’ll have to get there early to secure a prime position, but, should you be successful, you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views, pristine (if arctic) waters and the maybe even a poolside cocktail or two.
1. Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
A 50-metre outdoor pool operated by the same folks as London Fields Lido, this Brixton-adjacent swimming spot is noted for its art deco buildings. The café here is actually rather well regarded, and the surrounding park is a splendid place to spend the rest of your afternoon.
2. Oasis Swimming Pool, Covent Garden
Just a short walk from Theatreland – and behind an univiting, municipal frontage – lies the outdoor swimming pool of Oasis Sports Centre. It’s 27.5m long and heated, with just enough room for a sunbathe, too. A second swimming pool, inside, is usually used for lessons and aqua-fitness classes, leaving this one for free for a few gentle lengths.
3. London Fields Lido, Hackney
Having had a protracted refurb a couple of years ago, London Fields Lido is back later this month. It’s a whopping 50m long, and heated to a balmy 25℃ year round, so you can even take a dip even in the winter.
4. Charlton Lido, Charlton
Head out past Greenwich and Blackheath to Charlton, where you’ll find this glittering 50 metre pool on Hornfair Park, heated to a comfortable temperature.
5. Hampton Pool, Hampton
A seriously splashy offering in deepest Zone 6 (the posh bit of it) this charming pool is heated to 28℃, making it guaranteed fun whatever the weather – and even at night, if you’re lucky enough to pop along for one of their monthly ‘Moonlight Swims.’
6. Park Road Lido, Crouch Endia
Crouch End gets much-needed representation on our roundup of London lidos, with this toasty pool. Dating back to 1926, the pool is open once more after the lockdown for adult lane swimming.
7. Tooting Bec Lido
This south London suburb boasts the largest freshwater swimming pool in the UK – it’s a whopping 91 metres long. The colourful changing cubicles are a cute touch, too.
8. Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead
A north London classic (and marginally warmer alternative to the wild ponds – see below) Parliament Hill Lido is available for three swimming sessions each day.
9. Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park
While others might pedalo or row across the surface of Hyde Park’s freshwater lake, you are made of stronger stuff, and instead plunge into the frigid waters ‘for fun’.
10. Hampstead Heath Ponds
There are over 30 ponds on Hampstead Heath, but three have been specially designated for swimming – one just for men, another for women, and one that’s shared by both.
11. Hillingdon Lido, Uxbridge
Out on the western end of the Piccadilly Line lies this retro beauty: an eight-lane, 25 metre outdoor pool for sunny swims.
12. Pools On The Park, Richmond
Situated next to the Deer Park in Richmond, this fitness complex has a neat outdoor pool along with an indoor pool.