Al fresco swimming first became a trend back in the 1930s, and councils up and down the country set up hundreds of outdoor pools for their residents to enjoy – nowhere with greater enthusiasm than London. A number of those lidos may have closed since, but committed campaigners have saved many others from city hall penny-pinchers, protecting these gorgeous civic amenities for future backstrokers.
Here are some of our favourite lidos in London – we’ve highlighted the heated pools first, for you hardy wintertime swimmers! In the summer, they get very busy on sunny weekends – particularly during this heatwave – so it’s best to get there early if you want to avoid the queue. Exact opening hours and dates are subject to change; so do check the venue’s site for updates before you go.
Table Of Contents
Heated outdoor swimming pools in London
1. Oasis Swimming Pool, Covent Garden
Just a short walk from Theatreland – and behind an univiting, municipal frontage – lies the outdoor swimming pool of Oasis Sports Centre. It’s 27.5m long and heated, with just enough room for a sunbathe, too. A second swimming pool, inside, is usually used for lessons and aqua-fitness classes, leaving this one for free for a few gentle lengths.
A swim will cost non-members £6.85. You’ll find the Oasis Sports Centre at 32 Endell St, London, WC2H 9AG. Nearest stations are Covent Garden and Holborn.
2. London Fields Lido, Hackney
Having had a protracted refurb a couple of years ago, London Fields Lido is back later this month. It’s a whopping 50m long, and heated to a balmy 25℃ year round, so you can even take a dip even in the winter. Open (usually) from 6.30am until 9pm, it’s also floodlit after dark for late-night swims. A real bobby dazzler if we say so ourselves.
A dip here is a mere £5.40 for non-members. You’ll find the London Fields Lido at London Fields West Side, London, E8 3EU. Nearest station is London Fields.
3. Charlton Lido, Charlton
Head out past Greenwich and Blackheath to Charlton, where you’ll find this glittering 50 metre pool on Hornfair Park, heated to a comfortable temperature. An outdoor swimming session for adults here costs £10, and it’s open 6:30am – 8pm on Monday – Thursdays; 8am – 6pm on Fridays; and 8am-4pm on weekends.
A swim at Charlton Lido is £10 as a non-member. You’ll find Charlton Lido at Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, London SE18 4LX. Nearest station is Charlton.
4. Hampton Pool, Hampton
A seriously splashy offering in deepest Zone 6 (the posh bit of it) this charming pool is heated to 28℃, making it guaranteed fun whatever the weather – and even at night, if you’re lucky enough to pop along for one of their monthly ‘Moonlight Swims.’ They’re open 365 days a year, for all your keen Christmas Day swimmers: in the summer, however, usual opening hours are 6am – 9pm, and adult swimming prices are £7.10 on weekdays and £8.50 on weekends.
A swim at Hampton Pool will cost £7.10 on weekdays and £8.50 on weekends. You’ll find the pool at High Street, Hampton, TW12 2ST. Nearest station is Hampton.
5. Park Road Lido, Crouch End
Crouch End gets much-needed representation on our roundup of London lidos, with this toasty pool. Dating all the way back to 1926, the pool is open once more after the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021 for adult lane swimming. A 50-minute swim here will cost you £8, and it’s open from 8am-6pm on weekdays and 8am-3pm on weekends.
A swim at Park Road Lido will cost £8. You’ll find it at Park Road, London, N8 8JN. Nearest station is Hornsey.
Unheated outdoor swimming pools in London ☀️
This south London suburb boasts the largest freshwater swimming pool in the UK – it’s a whopping 91 metres long. The colourful changing cubicles are a cute touch, too. They’re open from 7am – 2pm in April, before moving to the hours of 6am – 8pm until the end of August, with admission costing £8.30 for adults (although just £4.60 after 6pm). It’s unheated – so hopefully that surface area soaks up some serious sunshine.
A swim at Tooting Bec Lido will cost £8.30. You’ll find it at Tooting Bec Road, London, SW16 1RU. Nearest station is Streatham.
7. Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
A 50-metre outdoor pool operated by the same folks as London Fields Lido, this Brixton-adjacent swimming spot is noted for its art deco buildings. The café here is actually rather well regarded, and the surrounding park is a splendid place to spend the rest of your afternoon. You can book swim sessions here.
A swim at Brockwell Lido will cost £8. You’ll find it at Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road, London, SE24 0PA. Nearest station is Herne Hill.
8. Parliament Hill Lido, Hampstead
A north London classic (and marginally warmer alternative to the wild ponds – see below) Parliament Hill Lido is available all year around, even in the chilly winter season. Find more information here.
A swim at Parliament Hill Lido will cost £4.25. You’ll find it at Parliament Hill Fields, Gordon House Road, London, NW5 1LT. Nearest station is Gospel Oak.
9. Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park
While others might pedalo or row across the surface of Hyde Park’s freshwater lake, you are made of stronger stuff, and instead plunge into the frigid waters ‘for fun’. It’s famous for its Christmas Day swim, but it’s open from the summertime until early September. More information here.
A swim at the Serpentine Lido will cost around five pounds – exact prices are to be determined when it opens this Summer. You’ll find it at Hyde Park, London. Nearest station is Hyde Park Corner.
There are over 30 ponds on Hampstead Heath, but three have been specially designated for swimming – one just for men, another for women, and one that’s shared by both. Facilities are provided and a plunge into the chilly (but clean!) water will cost you £4.25.
A swim at Hampstead Heath Ponds will cost £4.25. You’ll find them at Hampstead Heath, London, NW5 1QR. Nearest station is Hampstead Heath Overground.
11. Hillingdon Lido, Uxbridge
Out on the western end of the Piccadilly Line lies this retro beauty: an eight-lane, 25 metre outdoor pool for sunny swims. It’ll cost £7 for residents and £10 for non-residents to take a dip here. More information.
A swim at Hillingdon Lido will cost £7 for residents and £10 for non-residents. You’ll find it at Gatting Way, Uxbridge, UB8 1ES. Nearest station is Uxbridge.
12. Pools On The Park, Richmond
Situated next to the Deer Park in Richmond, this fitness complex has a neat outdoor pool along with an indoor pool. In normal days, a swim costs £5.60. More information here.
A swim at Pools on the Park will cost £5.10 for residents and £5.60 for non-residents. You’ll find it at the Old Deer Park, Twickenham Road, Richmond, TW9 2SF. Nearest station is Richmond.
So there you have it, a rundown of the best outdoor pools in London. So grab your swimsuit and your goggles and we’ll see you there!
Also published on Medium.