Love Your Lido: Outdoor Swimming in London

We’re giving London’s Lidos some love this summer. We’ve individually reviewed various lidos in the past (links below) but now we’ve rounded them up, made sure all details are up to date, and have brought them together in one place for you. Enjoy. 

Brockwell Lido - photo by Jason Cobb

Brockwell Lido – photo by Jason Cobb

Brockwell Lido

Where: Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PA

When: Open all year round. During the summer months, opening times are 6.30am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-6pm at weekends

How big: 50 metres

How much: £5.90 (adults), £3.90 (concessions), £3.40 (kids) and free for under 5s. Season tickets available

How warm/cold: It’s unheated, so expect the pool temperature to rise to around 20°C come mid-June, peaking at 25°C by July. For the colder months … keep your wetsuits handy.

What else: There’s a fully equipped gym on-site, and the lovely Lido Cafe is available for breakfast, brunch, lunch and tea throughout the day.

Website
Our review

London Fields Lido - photo by Dean Nicholas via Flickr

London Fields Lido – photo by Dean Nicholas via Flickr

London Fields Lido

Where: London Fields West Side, Hackney, London, E8 3EU

When: Open all year round. At the moment it’s open 6.30am-8pm on weekdays and 8am-6pm at weekends

How big?: 50 metres long and 17 metres wide

How much: £4.75 (adult), £2.85 (kids)

How warm/cold: It’s heated and kept at a balmy 25°C year-round

What else: There are 2 cafes, one at each end of the pool.

Website
Our review

Oasis Sports Centre - photo from website

Oasis Sports Centre – photo from website

Oasis Sports Centre

Where: Oasis Sports Centre, 32 Endell Street, London, WC2H 9AG

When: Open all year round. 6.30am-10pm on weekdays and 9.30am-6pm at weekends

How big: 27.5 metres long

How much: £4.65 (adults), £1.55 (kids)

How warm/cold: An all year, outdoor heated swimming pool, so hopefully your ‘nads should be fine

What else: There’s also a 25 metre indoor pool, rooftop sun terrace, cafe and gym

Website
Our review

Hampstead Men's Pond - photo by James Upshire

Hampstead Men’s Pond – photo by James Upshire

Hampstead Men’s, Ladies’ and Mixed Ponds

Where: All three bathing ponds are located on Hampstead Heath — Ladies’ and Men’s on the east side and Mixed at the south of the park, see map here

When: Open all year round but times vary so best to look at the timetable here. During the summer season (3 May-21 September), the Ladies’ and Men’s ponds are generally open 7am-8pm, while the Mixed pond is open 7am-6.30pm

How big: We haven’t got out our measuring tape, but we can confirm they are all big pond-sized. Not terribly helpful, but honest. Men’s is the largest, with Ladies and Mixed both being slightly smaller

How much: £2 day ticket (adult) or £1 (concessions). Season tickets also available

How warm/cold: As of 20 June 2014, temperatures were as follows: Ladies’ Pond 20°C; Men’s Pond: 20°C; Mixed Pond: 20°C. The City of London publish temperatures on their web page, along with water quality tests

What else: Ok, they’re not technically lidos, but they’re outdoor swimming, so we’re bloody well including them. The Ladies’ and Men’s Ponds are unique in the United Kingdom in being the only life-guarded open-water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year, although there is a lot of guidance around cold-water swimming so do check the guidelines first

Website
Our review of the Men’s Pond

Early morning Serpentine Lido - photo by Lindsey Clarke

Early morning Serpentine Lido – photo by Lindsey Clarke

Serpentine, Hyde Park

Where: Centre of Hyde Park

When: Open on weekends throughout May and then seven days a week from 1 June to 12 September. Daily opening times are 10am-6pm in June, July and August

How big: It’s a whopper, at 30 metres x 100 metres

How much: £4.50 (adults), £3.50 (concessions), £1.50 (kids)

How warm/cold: In summer the water temperature is forgiving, often settling around 20-24°C, but in winter you may have to break through the ice to access the water. Yikes

What else: The Lido Cafe Bar has waterside tables for those who want to enjoy the proximity of the water, but keep nice and dry

Website
Our review

The refurbished Charlton Lido by @SteveToole.

The refurbished Charlton Lido by @SteveToole.

Charlton Lido

Where: Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, London, SE18 4LX

When: Open 7am-7.30pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm at weekends

How big: 50 metres

How much: £6 (adult), £4 (kids) and discounts for booking online or if you’re a Greenwich resident

How warm/cold: It’s heated, with temperature kept around 25°C

What else: Recently reopened after a fit-out. There’s also a gym, tennis courts and cafe nearby

Website

Hillingdon/Uxbridge Lido - photo via Flickr

Hillingdon/Uxbridge Lido – photo by Hillingdon London via Flickr

Hillingdon/Uxbridge Lido

Where: Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex, Gatting Way, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1ES

When: Open from spring to autumn, 7am-6pm on weekdays, 10am-6pm at weekends

How big: 50 metres

How much: £6 (adult), £4.70 (concession), £3.30 (kids)

How warm/cold: Unheated, so can be chilly depending on the weather

What else: There’s a heated splash pool for little swimmers and another 50 metre indoor pool. It’s part of Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex so there are plenty of facilities

Website

Tooting Bec Lido - photo from website

Tooting Bec Lido – photo from website

Tooting Bec Lido

Where: Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting Bec Road, SW16 1RU

When: Open 24 May – 30 September. Opening hours are 6am-8pm during June-August

How big: It has a 91.5 metre pool and 15 metre children’s paddling pool

How much: £6 (adults), £3.70 (kids)

How warm/cold: Unheated, so you might want to take a few laps around Tooting Bec Common before jumping in during colder weather

What else: There’s a cafe and the Common is lovely for a stroll too

Website

Parliament Hill Lido - photo from website

Parliament Hill Lido – photo from website

Parliament Hill Lido

Where: Southeastern tip of Hampstead Heath park.

When: The summer season is between 3 May – 21 September and daily swimming sessions are held 7am-9am/10am-6pm/6.45-8pm. The winter seasons runs 22 September – 3 May where daring swimmers can take the plunge between 7am-midday

How big: 60 x 27 metres

How much: £5.50 (adult), £3.50 (concessions) during summer. Season tickets available

How warm/cold: It’s unheated, the temperature was recorded at 20°C as of 20 June 2014

Website

Finchley Lido - photo copyright London Borough of Barnet

Finchley Lido – photo ©London Borough of Barnet

Finchley Lido

Where: Great North Leisure Park, Chaplin Square, Finchley, London, N12 0GL

When: Usually only opens when the air temperature is 22c+, although rule of thumb is you can swim from May on weekends until the summer holidays, when it then opens every day. When open, swimmers can enjoy the pool between 10am-6pm on weekdays and 10am-4pm at weekends

How big: 25 metres

How much: £5.80 (adults), £3.55 (kids) – the cost covers all pools within the Leisure Park

How warm/cold: It’s unheated, but the indoor pools nearby are heated if you need to thaw out

What else: Gym and 2 indoor pools nearby

Website

Hampton Pool - photo from website

Hampton Pool – photo from website

Hampton Pool

Where: Bushy Park, off the High Street, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2ST

When: Open 365 days a year (yes, including Christmas)

How big: 36 metres

How much: There are peak and off-peak and weekend prices, ranging from £4.90-£6.80 (adults), £3.70-£4.10 (concessions) and £3.05-£3.85 (kids)

How warm/cold: Heated and kept at 28°C year-round.

What else: Fitness studio and sauna are close by as well as a cafe

Website

Park Road Leisure Centre's outdoor pool -photo from website

Park Road Leisure Centre’s outdoor pool -photo from website

Park Road Leisure Centre

Where: Park Road Leisure Centre, Park Road, Hornsey, N8 8JN

When: Apparently due to open for the summer months but no current information available on the website. Keep your eyes peeled.

How big: 50 metres

How much: We’ll update when we know!

How warm/cold: Heated

What else: Children’s pool and a cafe

Website

Pools on the Park - photo from website

Pools on the Park – photo from website

Pools on the Park, Richmond

Where: Pools on the Park, Old Deer Park, Richmond, Surrey TW9 2SF

When: Open beginning of May to end of September, 6.30am-8pm on weekdays and 7am-5.45pm at weekends

How big: 33 metres

How much: £5 (adult) and £3.90 (concessions, kids)

How warm/cold: Heated and kept at 24°C

What else: There’s also a 33 metre indoor pool for those feeling less brave

Website

Which of the above is your favourite? Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments below. We can also recommend Swimming London by Jenny Landreth, an excellent guide to both indoor and outdoor swimming in the capital.

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Article by Ruth Hargreaves | 143 Articles | View Profile

  • http://www.HYHOI.com Nina at HaveYouHeardOfIt?

    Beware the lido… My friend went swimming when it was about 2′C last winter, and then fainted in the hot changing rooms because the temperature change was so severe! She was out cold with an ambulance and everything, haha. Hopefully in summer it warms up marginally…

    - Nina
    Have You Heard Of It? blogger | HYHOI.com

  • James Guppy

    Cool – any ideas around which ones tend to be busier?

  • Ben Folley

    Park Road Lido in Crouch End is great. But it’s not heated!

  • Helen

    “London’s only all year, outdoor heated swimming pool” at Oasis Sports Centre appears right next to London Fields Lido which is open all year round and heated…?

    • Ruth Hargreaves

      Thanks Helen, we’ve updated. We used some of our previous articles to compile this list and although we checked for updates, this must have slipped through.

  • Andy Harris

    There is a heated outdoor pool in Chesham which is not in London but it is on the Met line. http://www.cheshammoorfitness.org.uk/swimming.html

  • Alexandra Westcott

    Pretty sure the hampstead pic is not actually the men’s pond.

  • Natb

    Finchley lido is tiny!!!! It used to be a beautiful 1920′s lido & local council sold the place to create a retail park. Only concession was they had to keep an outside pool & sports centre. Sad sign of the times!