Love Your Lido: Outdoor Swimming In London

Ruth Hargreaves
By Ruth Hargreaves Last edited 11 months ago
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

Where: Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, SE24 0PA
When: Open all year round. Opening times vary dependent on time of the year. Here's a weekly timetable with current times
How big: 50 metres
How much: Prices differ for winter and summer, check website for details. 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.

Brockwell Lido's website
Londonist's review of Brockwell Lido

London Fields Lido. Photo by Dean Nicholas via Flickr

London Fields Lido

Where: London Fields West Side, Hackney, E8 3EU
When: Open all year round. The centre is open 6.30am-9pm, but check website for specific pool opening times.
How big?: 50 metres long and 17 metres wide
How much: £4.80 (adults), £2.85 (kids) without membership, £3.45 (adults) and £2.00 (kids) with membership
How warm/cold: It’s heated and kept at a balmy 25°C year-round
What else: There are two cafes, one at each end of the pool.

London Fields Lido's website
Londonist's review of London Fields Lido

Oasis Sports Centre

Oasis Sports Centre

Where: Oasis Sports Centre, 32 Endell Street, WC2H 9AG
When: Open all year round. The centre is ope 6.30am-10pm on weekdays and 9.30am-6pm at weekends, but the lido times vary and can be checked here
How big: 27.5 metres long
How much: £5.55 (adults), £1.90 (juniors) and under fives go free. Members discounts are explained here.
How warm/cold: An all year, outdoor heated swimming pool, so hopefully your 'nads should be fine
What else: There’s also a 25m indoor pool, rooftop sun terrace, cafe and gym

Oasis Sports Centre website
Londonist's review of Oasis

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
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 6 July 2016, temperatures were as follows: Ladies' Pond 18°C; Men's Pond: 20°C; Mixed Pond: 18°C. The City of London publish temperatures on their website, 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 on the website first.

Hampstead Ponds' website
Londonist's review of the Men’s Pond

Early morning Serpentine Lido. Photo by Lindsey Clarke

Serpentine, Hyde Park

Where: Centre of Hyde Park
When: Open on weekends throughout May (including the May Day Bank Holiday) and then seven days a week from 1 June until September. Daily opening times are 10am to 6pm in June, July and August
How big: It's a whopper, at 30 metres x 100 metres
How much: £4.80 (adults), £3.80 (concessions), £1.80 (kids), but it's 70p cheaper after 4pm
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

Serpentine Lido's website
Londonist's review of the Serpentine Lido

The refurbished Charlton Lido by Steve Toole.

Charlton Lido

Where: Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, London, SE18 4LX
When: Times vary throughout the year, so check the website
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

Charlton Lido website
Londonist's review of Charlton Lido

Hillingdon/Uxbridge Lido. Photo by Hillingdon London via Flickr

Hillingdon/Uxbridge Lido

Where: Hillingdon Sports & Leisure Complex, Gatting Way, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 1ES
When: Times vary year round, so check here
How big: 50 metres
How much: £6 (adult), £3.30 (kids) and there are discounts for residents
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

Hillingdon Lido's website

Tooting Bec Lido

Tooting Bec Lido

Where: Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting Bec Road, SW16 1RU
When: Opening hours change throughout the year, so check the current timetable
How big: It has a 91.5 metre pool and 15 metre children's paddling pool
How much: £8.10 (adults), £5.40 (kids), there are also membership discounts
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

Tooting Bec Lido website

Parliament Hill Lido

Parliament Hill Lido

Where: Southeastern tip of Hampstead Heath park
When: Times vary throughout the year and are updated here.
How big: 60 x 27 metres
How much: Dependent on time of year so check the website. Season tickets available
How warm/cold: It's unheated, so it's at the weather's mercy

Parliament Hill Lido website

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: £6.30 (adults), £3.90 (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: There's a gym and two indoor pools nearby

Finchley Lido website

Hampton Pool

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 £5.20-£7.10 (adults), £3.95-£4.35 (concessions) and £3.20-£4.00 (kids)
How warm/cold: Heated and kept at 28°C year-round.
What else: There's a fitness studio and sauna close by, as well as a cafe

Hampton Pool website
Londonist's Hampton Pool review

Park Road Lido

Where: Park Road Leisure Centre, Park Road, Hornsey, N8 8JN
When: Open all year round
How big: 50 metres by 23 metres
How much: £5.60 (adult); £3.85 (under 16s); free for under 3s.
How warm/cold: Heated
What else: Children’s pool and a cafe

Park Road Lido website

Pools on the Park

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 October, 6.30am to 8pm on weekdays and 7am to 5.45pm at weekends for May till September, October times are far more limited as seen here
How big: 33 metres
How much: £4.20 (adult), £3.20 (concessions) and £3.10 (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

Pools on the Park website

Kings Oak Lido

Kings Oak Lido

Where: Tucked away in Epping Forest, on Paul's Nursery Rd, Loughton, IG10 4AE
When: Only in summer
How big: 30 metres
How much: You have to be dining there as well so prices will radically differ dependent on how luxurious you're feeling
How warm/cold: Kings Oak Lido is unheated: you could always warm yourself up on with champagne and cocktails from the tiki bar after a dip  
What else: The website is eager to inform us that 'several episodes of TOWIE have been filmed in this magnificent Essex venue.' Make of that what you will.

Kings Oak Lido 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.

Last Updated 18 May 2018