Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
In leafy Brockwell Park, this lido has been serving the community since 1937. It closed in the 90s, but a vocal campaign led to its reopening a few years later. Today, it’s run by volunteers, has Grade II-listed status and recently added a sauna. Come summer, it transforms into a pop-up outdoor cinema in the evenings, while the 400 Rabbits restaurant serves pizza, cocktails on tap and craft beers.
Dulwich Road, Brockwell Park, SE24 0PA
Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds, Hampstead Heath
The wood-shrouded ponds in Hampstead Heath are one of the capital’s go-to locations. Split into three sections – men only, women only and mixed – these natural ponds take things back to basics in the best possible way. All three sites are fed by the springs of the Fleet river, and are open to adults and children over the age of eight. The ponds are open year-round – just mind the ducks in the summer.
Hampstead Heath, Kentish Town, NW5 1QR
Tooting Bec Lido, Tooting
This south London spot is home to the UK’s largest open-air swimming pool – which also happens to be one of the oldest, having opened in 1906. It’s always popular and you’ve got to be quick to book a spot but, if you’re planning to go at least twice a week, it pays to become a member.
Tooting Bec Road, Tooting Bec, SW16 1RU
London Fields Lido, Hackney
London Fields Lido is a 50m heated outdoor swimming pool that’s open all year. The pool offers all-day lane swimming, lessons for children and adults, and one-to-one swimming tuition. There’s a café, plus a large sundeck and sunbathing area that expands during the summer months.
London Fields West Side, Hackney, E8 3EU
Serpentine Lido, Knightsbridge
This Hyde Park swimming pool stretches 100m into the Serpentine. It’s home to the Serpentine Swimming Club, whose members swim here every day – including Christmas Day – when they hold the famous race. Facilities include the Lido Café Bar, which serves hearty and healthy refreshments both inside and on an outdoor terrace.
Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, W2 2UH
Parliament Hill Lido, Highgate
This listed facility, which dates to 1939, is also known as Hampstead Heath Lido. Bordering the parkland, the outdoor pool features a stainless-steel lining – in fact, it was the very first in Britain to do so. Today it has changing rooms, hot and cold showers, a supervised left-luggage facility, and separate areas for lane swimmers and leisure users.
Heath Lodge, Highgate, NW5 1NA
Oasis Sports Centre, Covent Garden
Oasis Sports Centre is a leisure centre with both indoor and large outdoor pools that are open all year. Originally a Turkish bath in the 1700s, it became a dedicated pool in the 1930s and, today, it’s the only outdoor heated pool in the West End. Surrounded by patio areas and a sunbathing deck, there’s also a sauna overlooking the pool – ideal for winding down after a dip.
32 Endell Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9AG
Finchley Lido, Finchley
Finchley Lido is a great place for family swimming, with a leisure pool that includes a wave machine, jets and other family friendly features. The 25m pool offers a comprehensive ‘learn to swim’ programme, while the outdoor pool is a great place to cool down when the temperature soars. After a big refurb a couple of years ago, the changing facilities are some of the best on this list.
Chaplin Square, Finchley, N12 0GL
Park Road Leisure Centre, Crouch End
At 50m long and almost 25m wide, Park Road is one of the largest heated lidos in London and has been a popular summer swimming spot since 1926. Following an £8m investment a few years back, it has new changing areas, bathroom facilities, a new reception area and café. The pool was also renovated with landscaping and new water features to give the whole site a relaxing, family friendly feel.
Park Road, Crouch End, N8 8JN
Charlton Lido, Charlton
Charlton Lido and Lifestyle Club is an all-round fitness destination, complete with tennis courts and a state-of-the-art gym. The wellness studio overlooks the club’s spectacular Olympic-sized and heated outdoor pool. During the summer months, the suntrap terraces are a great place to soak up the sun while sipping on something from the café.
Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, Charlton, SE18 4LX
AROUND THE UK
Sea Lanes, Brighton
Sea Lanes is the exciting forthcoming outdoor swimming pool development on Brighton seafront, which also includes a number of places to eat and drink and a waterside yoga studio. Located right on the beach, the 50-metre heated pool is set to open in this month and the team’s vision is to create the UK’s first national open water swimming centre of excellence. As well as access to Sea Lanes, full membership will include access to nearby Southwick Leisure Centre and Wadurs Swimming Pool.
Madeira Drive, Brighton, East Sussex, BN2 1BX
Pools On The Park, Richmond
Pools on the Park (previously known as Richmond Baths) is a Grade II-listed swimming pool and leisure facility in Old Deer Park. The facility, which includes a 33m main pool and learner pool inside, also has an open-air pool – complete with a sand pit if you’ve got kids in tow.
Twickenham Road, Richmond, TW9 2SF
Thames Lido, Reading
Thames Lido is the result of a three-year restoration project of the Edwardian Kings Meadow baths. Tucked away on a quiet corner of Kings Meadow, right by the Thames, the 25m heated pool is open to the public year-round. It also has a spa (with saunas and a hot tub), massages and a poolside tapas bar.
Napier Road, Reading, RG1 8FR
Bristol Lido, Bristol
Hidden within the residential Georgian streets of Clifton, this urban retreat is open to the elements. The 24m outdoor swimming pool is heated throughout the year and is low on chlorine, thanks to the team’s ‘wash naked’ policy. The award-winning, poolside Bristol Lido restaurant and a spa are also on hand for when you’re done.
Oakfield Place, Bristol, BS8 2BJ
Saltdean Lido, Brighton
Described as “the seventh wonder of the English seaside” by English Heritage, the clifftop Saltdean Lido overlooks the sea and reopened a few years back following decades of closure. The elegant art-deco lido has already welcomed tens of thousands of visitors and, now, a campaign is underway to help finance the restoration of its grand modernist pavilion.
Saltdean Park Road, Brighton, BN2 8SP
Tinside Pool, Plymouth
Tinside Pool is a 1935 art-deco lido in Plymouth. This semi-circular coastal pool comes complete with three fountains and is overlooked by two of the town’s landmarks – Plymouth Hoe and Smeaton's Tower. The summer-only spot is filled with salt water (so it’s not heated), but it does offer a slice of seaside nostalgia.
Hoe Road, Plymouth, PL1 3DE
Pells Pool, Lewes
The Pells Pool is the oldest documented freshwater outdoor public swimming pool in the UK, set in the beautiful town of Lewes in East Sussex. The Pells is an unheated spring-fed pool with facilities for the whole family to enjoy, including a tree-lined green lawn, sun terrace and exercise lane, as well as a children's paddling pool, floats and other recreational equipment. The water is usually cool at the start of the summer but warms up as the season goes on.
Brook Street, Lewes, BN7 2BA
Jubilee Pool, Penzance
Notable art-deco architecture gives this beachside open-air lido an exotic feel. On Penzance promenade, it makes an ideal spot for all ages to swim safely in fresh salt water. High walls protect swimmers from strong, offshore winds and form terraces for spectators and sunbathers. Recently, the venue added a geothermal pool, all-year café and fresh terrace facilities.
Battery Road, Penzance, TR18 4FF
Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham
Sandford Parks Lido is an outdoor swimming pool, set in landscaped gardens in Cheltenham. The lido consists of a 50m main pool (heated to 26°C) and a children's pool (heated to 30°C). The lido is open from March until October and is a children's paradise with slides and a paddling pool – perfect if you have grandchildren to entertain. The 50m pool is also an ideal place to train – two lanes are reserved most days.
Keynsham Road, Cheltenham, GL53 7PU
Lymington Sea Water Baths, Hampshire
Lymington Sea Water Baths is a lifeguarded open-air lido in Hampshire. Built in 1833, it is the oldest lido in the UK and at 110m x 50m is also one of the largest – with lovely views over to the Isle of Wight. As well as paddle boards and hot tubs, the venue has installed the south coast’s biggest inflatable obstacle course, which is available to book in advance – again, a useful trick to have up your sleeves if you’ve got teenage grandchildren staying over the summer holidays.
Bath Road, Lymington, SO41 3SE