From wild Victorian bathing ponds and heated, art deco lidos to stylish rooftop hotel pools, London is awash with outdoor swimming spots. Here are five of our favorite places to take a dip in the summer sunshine.
For panoramic views of Hyde Park and beyond, head to The Berkeley Health Club & Spa in Knightsbridge. One of the city’s only rooftop hotel pools is situated on the seventh floor of the fashionable Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Berkeley.
Though it’s not technically an outdoor pool, the tall arched windows flooding the white-and-gold mosaic tile and marble pillars with natural light make it feel like one, especially when the roof is retracted to let in extra rays of summer sunshine.
Indulge in a spa treatment or a light bite from the lunch menu, relax after a session in the fitness center or just lounge pool-side with a book — it’s up to you.
A Historic Hideaway
When the sun shines and the temperature starts to rise, in-the-know Londoners head straight for the three bathing ponds at Hampstead Heath. Attracting swimmers since Victorian times, this secluded spot feels a world away from the clamour of the city, surrounded by trees and wildlife.
Situated on the eastern stretch of the park is Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond. Just a short walk away is the Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond. And during the summer season, which usually runs through September, a Mixed Bathing Pond is also available for the whole family to enjoy.
The calming retreat is the U.K.’s only lifeguarded open-water swimming facility, available for use 365 days a year. You’ll find devotees taking a dip here whatever the weather. Soak in the seasonal splendor at the vast green space by packing a picnic to enjoy post-swim.
A City Center Oasis
Find a refreshing retreat in the heart of London’s West End in the outdoor pool at the Oasis Sports Centre. The best thing about this swimming hole is the location, just a short walk from Tottenham Court Road, Covent Garden and Four-Star Brown’s Hotel, a Rocco Forte Hotel.
It’s a popular destination for laps with those who work in town, so expect it to be busy before 9 a.m. and during lunchtime on weekdays, but during the day and in the evenings as late as 9 p.m., it’s a perfectly placed pool for a mid-shopping dip.
A Stylish Swim
Get a dose of art deco at the historic, Olympic-sized Brockwell Lido, a popular, family-friendly swimming pool set in Grade II-listed surroundings.
Open until 10 p.m. during the week, this lovely spot takes advantage of long, light summer evenings. Though the pool is unheated, the turquoise waters can reach comfortable temperatures of up to 77 degrees during the warmer months.
The adjacent Lido Café is open for brunch and lunch year-round, and for dinner during the summer. The menu features seasonal fare like an herby farro and spring onion salad. Reserve in advance to guarantee a table, especially for a weekend visit.
An Exclusive Escape
The serene rooftop pool at Shoreditch House is usually reserved for club members. But if you book a room at this exclusive spot’s onsite hotel, you too can lounge on one of the candy-cane-striped daybeds overlooking east London.
Head up to the private oasis midday (kids can swim in the morning, but the pool becomes an adults-only respite after noon), grab a cocktail from the bar and soak up the sunshine before diving into the heated waters.
The bright lounge chairs and sparkling blue pool surrounded by the London cityscape make for a breathtaking, Instagram-worthy moment.