Thousands of people head to Hampstead Ponds every year to enjoy a swim amongst the wildlife in a truly unspoilt location.
Although there are three pools to choose from – men’s, women’s and mixed – they all get pretty busy on hot summer weekends. If you want to go swimming in London and prefer the natural surroundings of the Heath’s ponds over an artificial pool, it’s worth arriving early to avoid the crowds and reserve a good spot to relax in afterwards.
The water can sometimes look a bit murky but don’t let that put you off, as frequent testing means it remains high quality throughout the year.
One of the capital’s few heated outdoor pools, Charlton Lido reopened in 2013 after restoration work and is one of the most popular places to go swimming in London.
Whether you’re a semi-professional athlete training for your next event or simply looking to keep fit, the lido is worth checking out.
The pool is well-used even throughout the winter months thanks to its constant 25 degree heat and state-of-the-art gym.
London Royal Docks
It’s a bit of a surreal experience to look up from your breaststroke to see cable cars and aeroplanes – but that’s what makes swimming at London Royal Docks so great.
Situated in East London close to the Excel Centre, the docks are suitable for both casual and competitive swimmers, with specific areas designated for those training for upcoming events.
The water stands at only 18 degrees across the year but the venue does offer wetsuits to help keep you that bit warmer. Swimmers taking part in the open water swimming sessions are required to wear a safety tag, which also measures how far you’ve swum each time to help you test whether you’re improving.
Parliament Hill Lido
If you’re looking for a spot to go swimming in London that’s open all year round, head to the country’s only stainless steel-lined pool in Parliament Hill.
Although the water is unheated, the grade II listed facility still remains a big hit with visitors in the capital who come whatever the weather. The venue also includes an onsite café so you can enjoy an invigorating morning coffee once you’ve finished your swim.
London Fields Lido
London Fields Lido reopened in 2006 after a fervent campaign by dedicated users, and has seen thousands of visitors enjoying its waters ever since.
Whether you’re looking to get a workout in before work or just fancy going swimming in London under the stars on a summer’s evening, it’s certainly worth heading to this heated pool to see exactly what makes it so special.
The inclusion of a sunbathing area makes it the perfect way to spend a hot Saturday and the café provides plenty of refreshments, so there’s no need to bring along your own picnic.
Swimming in London: Five unmissable outdoor spots
There are some wonderful places to enjoy swimming in London and it’s certainly becoming more popular across the capital – so grab your costume, put on your sun cream and get out there!