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 Town. 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 and butterfliers (as if – that’s one hell of a hard stroke).
Here are some of our favourite lidos in London – we’ve highlighted the heated pools first, for those of you that don’t feel the chill! In the Summer, they get very busy on sunny weekends – particularly during heatwaves – so it’s best to get there early if you want to avoid the queues. 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 and lidos 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 £7.20.
📍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
London Fields Lido is 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 – perfect after you’ve had a picnic in the neighbouring park.
🎫 A dip here is a mere £5.70 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 £11.50 if you’re a non-member, 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 £11.50 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 £8.75 during weekdays.
🎫 A swim at Hampton Pool will cost £8.75 on weekdays.
📍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 for adult lane swimming and junior swims too. 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.
6. The Lido at Birch, Selsdon
The 25-metre lido at this brand-new and uber-cool hotel looks like something out of a bougie resort in the South of France, rather than a South London outdoor pool – let’s be honest. Designed by the prestigious Sella Concept studio, the inspiration was taken from the golden age of outdoor swimming pools in the 1920s and 1930s and has restored the former outdoor pool into a tranquil lido.
Pristine sunbeds and red pool umbrellas line the pool, with fire pits on either end to warm guests for swimming no matter the season or weather. A pergola is set to be installed later on to house the seating at the end of the pool, and private fire pits are to be added too. Great Gatsby eat your bloody heart out!
🎫 Unfortunately, you’ll need to be a member to take a dip in this one. Memberships start at £150 per month if you’re over 30, £90 per month if you’re under 30 and £280 per month if you’re joining with another person.
📍You’ll find it at Birch, 126 Addington Road, South Croydon, CR2 8YA.
🚇 Nearest station is Gravel Hill.
Unheated outdoor swimming pools and lidos in London ☀️
7. Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting (currently closed for refurbishments)
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 £5.20 for kids and students). It’s unheated – so hopefully that surface area soaks up some serious sunshine. Please note however that the pool is currently closed for refurbishments until August 2023.
🎫 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.
8. 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.
9. 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 £4.50 during early mornings and evenings and £7.80 during the day.
📍You’ll find it at Parliament Hill Fields, Gordon House Road, London, NW5 1LT.
🚇 Nearest station is Gospel Oak.
10. 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 £5.80 during the morning or £7.40 for the full day.
📍You’ll find it at Hyde Park, London, W2 2UH.
🚇 Nearest station is Hyde Park Corner.
11. Hampstead Heath Ponds, Hampstead
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 £4.50.
🎫 A swim at Hampstead Heath Ponds will cost £4.50.
📍You’ll find them at Hampstead Heath, London, NW5 1QR.
🚇 Nearest station is Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak overground.
12. 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 £7.70 for residents and £11 for non-residents to take a dip here here in another of London’s legendary lidos. More information.
🎫 A swim at Hillingdon Lido will cost £7.70 for residents and £11 for non-residents.
📍You’ll find it at Gatting Way, Uxbridge, UB8 1ES.
🚇 Nearest station is Uxbridge.
13. 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 £5.60 for residents and £6.10 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 and lidos in London. So grab your swimsuit and your goggles and towel – and we’ll see you there!
Also published on Medium.