With the sun shining and the birds chirping, there’s nowhere quite like an open-air pool to cool off and enjoy the day. When the mercury rises, those in the know head to some of London’s best swimming pools; all found en plein air and offering cool, clean water, and often, great snacks and people-watching opportunities. Experience the best of the British summertime with a stay at The Rubens at the Palace, set within splashing distance of these great open-air pools.
King’s Cross Swimming Pond
Billed as “an art installation you can swim in”, the King’s Cross Swimming Pond is the brainchild of artist Marjetica Potrc and architects Eva Pfannes and Sylvain Hartenberg. The freshwater Swimming Pond is purified using a submerged network of water plants, rather than chemicals, a nod to nature in the midst of the metropolis. Visit for a unique natural bathing experience in the heart of the city.
The Serpentine Lido
Home to the oldest swimming club in Britain, the Serpentine Lido offers visitors the chance to swim in the heart of London’s famous Hyde Park and is without doubt one of London’s best swimming pools. The Lido also has an adjacent paddling pool area for littler water babies, so a day out here is perfect for the whole family. After your swim, catch some rays in the private sunbathing area or relax with a glass of something cold in the Café Bar.
Known affectionately by locals as “Brixton Beach”, the Grade II listed Brockwell Lido is the place to be in South London come summertime. One of the lido’s best-loved features is its excellent on-site café, perfect for light bites post-swim, great people watching, or just keeping an eye on the kids.
No run down of London’s best swimming pools would be complete with mentioning the Hampstead Heath swimming ponds. One of the crowning glories of leafy North West London, the ponds are a welcome respite from the clamour of the city. Cool, tranquil, and surrounded by nature, there are three ponds (Men’s, Ladies’, and Mixed) for swimmers to enjoy during their visit.
London Fields Lido
The Olympic sized open-air London Fields Lido is beloved by East London locals and visitors alike. A stalwart of the local leisure scene year-round, thanks to its delightfully heated water (perfect for those who don’t want to chance water warmed solely by the British sun), it’s the ideal spot for swimming, socialising and sunbathing.
Richmond Pools on the Park
Located in Richmond’s Old Deer Park, the Grade II listed Pools on the Park leisure facility caters to every demographic. With an indoor and outdoor pool, plus a learner area for kids, this is a great spot for a family day out. And those in search of an even more vigorous workout can take advantage of the adjoining gym.
Parliament Hill Lido
Frequented year round by those who like to start their day with a bracing dip in its unheated waters, the Parliament Hill Lido, found at the bottom end of Hampstead Heath, is a local favourite. A handy summer spot for those seeking to entertain youngsters, the Lido has, in addition to its shimmering, stainless steel lined adults’ pool, a vast paddling area and well-stocked café. But for those seeking solace, never fear – the Lido hosts adults-only evening sessions three days a week.
Once you’ve swum and soaked up the summertime sunshine in London’s best swimming pools, towel off and head back to The Rubens at the Palace for a relaxing evening of practically regal proportions.
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