A new wild swimming lake opens in south London this weekend, kicking off with a lively launch party.
The 285m-long Beckenham Place Park wild swimming lake, which reaches 3.5m deep in some parts, is due to reopen on 20 July — but it's not a completely new addition to the landscape. There was a lake on the site as far back as the 1700s, although it was filled in and used as a golf course — which was controversially closed to make way for the lake again.
It's now been refilled with water, ready to welcome Lewisham's hardy swimmers. Once up and running, the lake will be open to the public Tuesday-Sunday until the end of September, offering swimming, and boat hire, with lifeguards overseeing proceedings. Advance booking is recommended for all activities.
This watery addition is part of a £4.9m upgrade to the park (funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund), which also includes more play areas, a BMX track, a skate park, a visitor hub and an education centre.
Head to the park on 20 July for the official launch party, with food stalls and bars, live music and DJs and family-friendly activities. Beckenham Place hosts a vintage sale, and there's a chance to witness some traditional Georgian dancing — and of course, to do a few laps of the lake.