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London's Best Lidos

Home > London > Hobbies | Fun for Children | Swimming Pools | Outdoor
by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published June 3rd 2011
A lido, in the UK at least, is a public outdoor pool. What swim? Outside? In London? Are you having a laugh? No, London's lido operators certainly aren't, 'cause the Met Office is predicting a sunny summer and with most people having to negotiate a long journey in a hot train or car between them and the beach, the lido business is booming. These are the top picks of London's lidos.

Serpentine Lido
This is probably London's most famous Lido, 'cause of its prime location in Hyde Park. It opens on the May bank Holiday and closes at the end of September. Central London might not seem like the kind of place to gather for a dip, but it's really pleasant to be beside the river – and you'll get a few visits from the ducks while you're bathing. The water in the main pool isn't heated or chlorinated, so be brave. There's a kids pool which is chlorinated though. And the Lido cafe next door which is a nice place to come even if you don't fancy being in your bathers in central London.
10am-6pm weekends and bank holidays in May; 10am-6pm daily June 1-Sept 12 2011
Hyde Park, W2 3XA

Hampton Pool
Hampton Pool

Hampton Pool
Hampton pool is kept at a positively balmy 28 degrees year round, so you could, technically enjoy a spot of stroking any time. This pool was built in 1922, so it's a bit old school looking, but in a nice way. It's also got a community feel about it, which stems part from the local bid to keep it going when it was threatened with closure in the 80s.
It's south facing and there's plenty of grass around the pool, so a good one if you like a civilised sun bathe after a warm dip. It's also really near Bushy Park.
High St, Hampton, Mddx, TW12 2ST

Tooting Bec Lido
At 90ms long, Tooting Bec Lido has the largest fresh water open air pool in England. But it's not all about size, it's also got a very colourful set of changing huts that have been around almost since it opened in 1906 as a 'bathing lake'. As well as the huts the modernised pool now also has a cafe and a paddling pool for little swimmers. It's open in winter, but you have to be a member of the local swimming club.
Tooting Bec Road , SW16 1RU

London Fields Lido
On the up side this 50m pool is heated and open whatever the weather. On the down side it's quite busy because of that, and there's no picnicking allowed. But there are two cafes so you'll not go without, it's just more of a place for doing some serious swimming rather than sunbathing and looking chic poolside.
London Fields Westside, E8 3EU

Parliament Hill Lido
This is a nice sized swimming space, not your skinny rectangle, a 60 x 28m area of blue. It's unheated, but you're allowed to wear a wet suit if you want to use it out of season and you ask permission. There are adults only sessions for people who want to get down to the serious business of lapping, and there's a paddling pool and a cafe for those who don't.
Open beginning May-mid Sep: Mon-Sun 7am-9.30am, 10am-6.30pm; Mon, Thu-Fri 6.45pm-8.30pm (adults only); mid Sep-beginning May; 7am-5.30pm.
Parliament Hill Fields, Gordon House Rd, NW5 1LP
Swimming in Winter?
Swimming in Winter?
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Why? The best exercise
When: Each lido has different opening hours, so check the websites
Where: There are lidos all over town
Cost: Same goes for prices
I've only just come across this article Kat. As a young girl in south London I used to spend days on end at Brockwell Park Lido during the summer holidays. Now that I live in North West London, Ruislip Lido, with its sandy beach and narrow gauge railway, was a great favourite with my own children.
By Sandra Lawson - senior reviewer
Monday, 18th of June @ 07:45 am
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