London’s Best Lidos & Swimming Pools

Ugo Arinzeh

May 27, 2021
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Discover London's Best Pools And Lidos

When people consider a place to live it’s about the lifestyle you envision for yourself.  If you’re thinking about moving to London, a huge capital city, you want to make sure it has the amenities you crave.  So for swimming enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know there are great swimming options throughout the city.  

Here are my top 5 swimming pools and lidos to visit – plus 2 exclusive members pools with incredible views of London.

Hampstead Heath Ponds

In north London, Hampstead Heath Ponds are among the most beautiful in the country.  You are literally swimming amongst trees, irises and honeysuckles.  It’s truly hard to believe you are in London with the madness of Oxford Street just 4 miles away.  There are 3 pools for ladies, men and mixed groups. The ladies’ and men’s ponds are the UK’s only lifeguarded open water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year.   Just a note that these are swimming ponds for leisure so wet suits are tolerated but not encouraged.  

Hampstead Heath Ponds London

Admission costs for Hampstead Heath Ponds are:

  • Daily – Adult £2,
  • Summer Membership – £66;
  • All year – £125.

If you want to visit, the nearest station is Hampstead Heath overground.

Parliament Hill Lido

Parliament Hill Lido, also located on Hampstead Heath, was built in 1938 and is Grade II-listed.  It is the only stainless steel lined outdoor pool in the country. This open-air unheated swimming pool is open to the public 365 days a year, and is like swimming in a shiny metal bowl!

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Admission Costs for Parliament Hill Lido:

  • Early morning and evenings: adults £2.50; 
  • Summer day tickets adults – £6,
  • Families £15;
  • Adult and child £8. 

The nearest stations are Gospel Oak overground and Tufnell Park underground

Serpentine Lido

In the middle of central London and in fact, the middle of Hyde Park, is the Serpentine Lido with incredible royal park views.  

At 100 metres in length, this is a popular triathlon spot. The Serpentine Swimming Club is the oldest in the UK and swims in the pond, hosting the Christmas Day Race – the first of which was recorded in 1864, and now members race every Saturday morning throughout the year. 

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The water is clean and clear but as you swim in the middle of the lake, you can have families on pedaloes gliding past, along with swans in the water that you should keep a watchful eye on.  The downside is there no showers, sadly, so you will want to plan for that when packing.

Admission Costs for Serpentine Lido are:

  • Adult £4.80;
  • Child £1.80 (under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult).

The lido is open 10am-6pm June, July and August, while in May it is open on weekends only.

The nearest station to Serpentine Lido is Knightsbridge tube.

London Fields Lido

Going a bit east, London Fields Lido is a 50m Olympic size, heated outdoor swimming pool.  Located in Hackney, central London, it is open all year round. The swimming pool has lane swimming available all day, swimming lessons for children and adults, one-to-one swimming lessons and advice and instruction for members and non-members. Facilities also include a café as well as a large sundeck and sunbathing area.  

London Fields Lido

The fact that the lido still exists is a testament to an 18-year campaign by the London Fields User Group to save the lido from demolition. It reopened in 2006, and was refurbished in 2017.  

Admissions for London Fields Lido is £5.10 for non members. 

The Nearest stations are London Fields or Hackney Central overground.

Brockwell Lido

Heading south, you have Brockwell Lido, not far from the hip and trendy Brixton.  Here you can enjoy a social swim and book brunch as well at the Lido Café. 

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Brockwell’s 50-metre pool is surrounded by art deco Grade II-listed buildings that house the Lido Café.   There are even exercise studios that offer year-round dance and pilates classes and activities for pre-school children. Once you’ve mastered the butterfly stroke, you can enjoy an eclectic range of events on site, from film nights to furniture fairs. 

The price is £8 for a 50-minute slot and your closest station is Brixton Tube Station. 

So, we’ve covered some of the best lidos open to the public, so now I’ll mention two of the best private rooftop pools.  

Shoreditch House

In the city, is the world-renowned Shoreditch House offering a wonderful, sky-high escape from the city below which is part of the global Soho House members club. The 17-metre rooftop pool offers enchanting views of the city.  A very sophisticated vibe where you might encounter a celebrity.  Park yourself on a sun lounger and keep the drinks coming.  

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On the edge of the city, Shoreditch House is located on Ebor Street, Hackney, E1.  The closest stations are Shoreditch overground station and Liverpool Street.

The Ned

Now let’s talk about the Ned.  The Ned is a massive 5-star hotel along with a members club located in the city on Poultry Street.  It’s practically a home away from home with 10 restaurants, a gym and a spa.   The members club includes access to the gym, spa and hammam as well as indoor and outdoor pools. The rooftop pool gives you a birds-eye view of St Paul’s Cathedral and the Gherkin, it really is breathtaking.  

Swim

So, which of these beautiful London ponds, pools, or lidos are you going to add to your must-visit list? If you have any others you would recommend leave them in the comments below!

PS if you are planning on moving to a new area in London, and want advice or support, download my free London Relocation Guide here.

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