Best London lidos for summer

Here at ideal flatmate, we like to forward plan. We also like to hope and dream a summer heatwave is around the corner. And when it does, we’ll be more than ready to head down to any one of these fabulous places for an outdoor dip to cool ourselves down.

There’s nothing quite like a city swim. You’re much more likely to have good changing facilities and that all-important cafe for drinks and a bite to eat after. And we’re lucky in London to have so many places to choose from, whichever corner of the city you happen to be in. 

As ever, it’s a good idea to get there early. And check the websites before you head out for opening hours and whether or not you need to book a slot.

Happy splish, splash, sploshing, everyone!

1. Parliament Hill Fields Lido

Built in 1938 and Grade II listed, this is one of the biggest lidos in London at 60 metres by 28 metres. It has a stainless steel pool liner giving the water an amazingly metallic shimmer. Open all year round, it’s unheated, but an on-site sauna and great cafe will help warm you up!

2. Tooting Bec Lido

This Victorian lido is the largest freshwater pool in the UK. Opened in 1906, its 90 metre length will give you a great workout. Even on hot days, it never feels too busy here and there are plenty of trees and gazebos for shade. Iconic cubicle doors are painted bold seaside colours so you really feel a world away from its SW16 surroundings. 

3. London Fields Lido

This famous Hackney lido boasts a 50 metre Olympic sized, heated pool. Re-opened in 2006 on the site of the original 1930s pool that had become a home for squatters and illegal raves, the lido is extremely popular with locals and can get pretty busy in hot weather. In winter, when the pool is framed by bare trees, steam rises from the hot water. If you dread those first few seconds of wading into freezing water, this is the place to come to. 

4. The Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park

You can’t get more central for your outdoor swim than this! 

The Serpentine Swimming Club is the oldest in the UK- the first recorded Christmas Day race was in 1864. The water, which you share with ducks, geese and the Queen’s swans no less, is unheated, clean and clear. 

This is certainly a unique slice of London life. 

5. Hampstead Heath Ponds

Set amongst 800 acres of picturesque Hampstead Heath parkland, there are actually three ponds here- one for men, one for women and mixed. The water is clean but chilly, even in Summer – you’ve been warned! Probably the closest you’ll get to real wild swimming in the capital. How amazing is that?

6. Hillingdon Sports and Leisure Complex 

Formerly known as Uxbridge lido, this Art Deco pool in West London opened in 1935, was refurbished in the 2000s and re-opened in 2010. The little ones have their own new, heated shallow pool to splash about in and cascade fountains grace both ends of the main pool. There’s plenty of space surrounding this lido, so definitely one to spend the day at.