The Best Lidos In & Around London


With overseas holidays on hold once more, a dip at the local lido might be your best bet of getting into an outdoor pool this summer. Luckily, London and its surrounds have plenty of options, whether you want to kick back or put some serious laps in. Here are our favourite lidos – just remember they could get busy this year so you might want to book in advance…
Photography THAMES LIDO

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 saw it relaunched a few years later. Today, it’s run by volunteers, has Grade II-listed status and a recently added sauna. Come summer, it transforms into a pop-up outdoor cinema in the evenings, while the on-site cafés serve pizza and craft beers.

Dulwich Road, Brockwell Park, SE24 0PA


Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds

The wood-shrouded ponds in Hampstead Heath are one of the capital’s best-kept secrets. 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

This south London spot boasts the UK’s largest open-air swimming pool. It’s also one of the oldest – having opened in 1906. It reopened last week 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

Visit PlacesLeisure.or

Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds
Serpentine Lido

London Fields Lido

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 in here every day including Christmas Day, when they hold its famous race. Facilities include the Lido Café Bar, which serves hearty and healthy refreshments both indoors and on an outdoor terrace.

Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, W2 2UH


Parliament Hill Lido

This listed facility, which dates back 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 boasts 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


Parliament Hill Lido

Oasis Sports Centre, Covent Garden

Oasis Sports Centre is a leisure centre with 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 Lido is a great place for family swimming, with a leisure pool that includes a wave machine, jets and other cool features. The 25m pool boasts 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 in 2019, 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 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 on-site café.

Hornfair Park, Shooters Hill Road, Charlton, SE18 4LX


Thames Lido
Park Road Leisure Centre

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, has an open-air pool – complete with a new 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 poolside tapas bar.

Napier Road, Reading, RG1 8FR 


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. Today, young and old alike swim in the waters and enjoy the location, which has 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.

Bath Road, Lymington, SO41 3SE


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