London’s hardiest swimmers normally take to the waters all year round. But for more fair weather outdoor swimming – there are decently-priced places for refreshing dips all over the city. From heated lidos to rooftop pools, and wild(ish) swimming, here are eight of London’s best outdoor swimming pools.
Top tip: Most of the pools listed can be booked via the Better UK app and slots book up fast, especially when the temperatures get above 20°C.
1. London Fields Lido, Hackney
Outdoor swimming can be a chilly affair, but London Fields Lido hits the jackpot by being heated to a very clement 25°C all year round, with a 50 metre long pool. Normal opening hours are 6:30 am to 9 pm, and it’s floodlit too for late sessions.
It’s also one of London’s best known and busiest outdoor pools and slots fill up quickly. But there are proposals to expand the facilities for the first time since 1932, so there should be plenty of space for swimmers of all levels.
Costs: £5.70 (non-members)
London Fields Lido, Hackney
2. Oasis Swimming Pool, Covent Garden
Rooftop pools in London are usually reserved for members’ clubs, bougie hotels, and expensive private residences. But there is one public rooftop pool in London, and it’s slap bang in central London, just a stone’s throw from Theatreland, and close to Covent Garden, Holborn, and Tottenham Court Road Stations. It’s the only heated pool in central London too, with water at a very agreeable 27°C, and there is a small sun terrace too.
Costs: £7.20 (non member)
Oasis Swimming Pool, Covent Garden
3. Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
This South London swimming spot has a 50 metre outdoor pool. It’s unheated, but still pretty popular for wetsuit-clad winter swimmers. Temperature aside, it’s a rather lovely spot for a swim, with art deco architecture, a cute café, and nearby Brockwell Park. It’s lane swimming only, so it’s a better option for more serious swimming sessions, rather than a relaxed dip.
Costs: £8.00 (non-member)
Brockwell Lido, Herne Hill
4. Tooting Bec Lido
Tooting Bec Lido is closed for refurbishment, reopening date is to be confirmed.
One of the other major lidos in South London is Tooting Bec Lido, which is a whopping 91 metres long. It’s actually the largest fresh water swimming pool in the UK—fresh being the operative word as yep, you guessed it, it’s unheated. Unlike some of the other lidos listed, it’s not available to the general public all year round. It’s open from late March to late September, although winter swimming is available to members.
Tooting Bec Lido
5. Hampstead Ponds, Hampstead Heath
For those who want to dip a cautious toe into wild swimming, the three swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath are a great place to start. The surroundings are stunning, and you’ll see fantastic birdlife, like swooping herons as you swim. It’s also got changing facilities and lifeguards as well as life buoys, so you don’t need to be a super-strong swimmer to go.
The waters are bracing, but incredibly refreshing and the ponds are separated by women, men, or mixed. The ponds are usually open year-round, and it’s another popular spot for those brave enough to take to the waters in winter. Some sessions will need to be pre-booked, check websites for each pond for details.
Note: Summer opening times differ depending on the time of year. See below for more information on individual swimming areas at Hampstead Heath:
Hampstead Health Mixed Bathing Pond
Kenwood Ladies’ Pond
Highgates Men’s Pond
6. Beckenham Place Park Swimming Lake
London’s first purpose-built swimming opened in 2021, although there had been a lake on the site centuries ago before it was filled in. Now, it’s been restored for the benefit of swimming enthusiasts across the borough of Lewisham. The park is also the borough’s largest green space, so it’s perfect for a post-swim stroll or a picnic. It’s not somewhere to go for a spontaneous swim though, you have to book a 1 hr slot online in advance.
Costs: Adult: £5.00 (£6.00 for non Lewisham residents), book here.
Beckenham Place Park
7. Charlton Lido
A little further afield than some the better-known south London pools, Charlton Lido is an Olympic-sized (50 m) fully heated swimming pool with two sun terraces and a café. It had a huge refurbishment and was reopened in 2013, and you’ll also find pretty decent gym facilities as well as open-air group cycle classes on the site.
Costs: £11.50 (non-member)
8. London Royal Docks
For open-water swimming with city views, head to the London Royal Docks near Canning Town. Run by Love Open Water, it’s suitable for serious swim training or more leisurely swims. There are lane markers for anyone wanting to use the docks for competitive training: 400 metres – the distance used in the Super Sprint triathlons, 750 metres – set for Sprint distance triathlons and 1500 metres – which is used for Olympic Triathlons. Casual swimmers of all levels are also welcome, and if you’re new to open-water swimming, there is a separate area, plus safety tagging for each swimmer and lessons available for anyone wanting to build up their confidence.
Swims have to be booked in advance in 55 minute time slots, and during the winter swimmers have to complete a cold water induction before taking to the very cold water. Although it’s ultra-modern and organised, be advised that there are limited changing and bag storage facilities on site (as per swimming at the Hampstead Ponds or other open-water swimming sites).
Love Open Water London Royal Docks
For cool down options beyond London swimming pools, check out our seaside day trips guide.