Where Exactly Can You Swim In London Right Now?

Where Exactly Can You Swim In London Right Now?
Come on in - the water's... bracing, probably. Image: Love Open Water

The UK's Leisure centres and swimming pools are not reopening just yet. All the lidos remain shut too. So are London's swimmers currently left high and dry? Not entirely: there are a few options for an outdoor dip.

London Royal Docks, Royal Wharf

London Royal Docks is open to swimmers right now (and won't be as crowded as in this pic). Image: London Royal Docks

Fancy a bracing dunk in London's docks, surrounded by disused derricks and (occasional) City Airport flights swooping overhead? The Royal Docks is the city's most industrial swim — not about

Socially distanced loops of 150m and 400m can be swum — and there's a casual dip area where you can get comfortable with the water. It's cleaner than you might think: you'll be sharing your swim with sea bass and eels. Don't worry, they're shy. Wetsuit rental is currently on hold, but it's not essential to wear one this time of year.

London Royal Docks, £8 per session, booking essential, NOWCA safety wristband required (£12 a year). More information on the Love Open Water website.

The Haven, Feltham

The Haven. Image: Love Open Water

Far out west on the fringes of London, 'The Haven' in Chattern Hill Community Orchard provides a secluded spot to get your swim on. Choose from the 200m or 400m loop in this section of the Bedfont Lakes, while taking in the verdant surroundings. As with the docks, you may spot a plane or two: The Haven lies immediately south of Heathrow Airport.

The Haven, £6 per session, booking ahead, NOWCA safety wristband required (£12 a year). More information on the Love Open Water website.

West Reservoir Centre, Green Lanes

Image: West Reservoir Centre

Canoeing, yachting and kayaking take place on this 23 acres of water in north London — but you can also go for a simple dip. We say dip: as with all three of these, you'll need to be a strong swimmer with open water experience — comfortable swimming a couple hundred metres at a time. That said, you will be given a float at West Reservoir.

Lovely weather for it - recent water temperatures at West Reservoir have hit 23°C... but it can be chillier. Image: Shutterstock

Sessions are booking only, and you can book a maximum one-hour slot per day (guess what, it's popular). A wetsuit is only required if the water drops below 16°C (the chilliest it's been lately is 17°C).

West Reservoir Centre, £10.50 per session for non-members, booking essential, for more information, visit the official website.

Note: read details on official websites thoroughly before booking and attending. There are currently lots of specific rules in place due to Covid-19.

Last Updated 04 July 2020