In The Swim In London

Picture from Hackney Council

The mercury is rising in London at the moment and being British we struggle to cope. Dusty streets, sweaty buses and the breathless crush of the underground need to be escaped and luckily London has Lidos sprinkled throughout its boroughs where you can cool off. Here are a few of the best spots for a refreshing dip.

London Fields Lido – Olympic sized and heated this Lido has a lot going for it, although you might incur the wrath of all weather swimmers (those who frequent the Hampstead ponds or Parliament Hill for example) who will regale you tales of frosty mornings when they have to chip through ice to take their daily constitutional. London Fields Lido is really close to Broadway Market which has a fantastic independent bookshop – Broadway Bookshop – so call in on the way and pick up some poolside reading.

Serpentine Lido – this is in stately Hyde Park and is perfect place to head after exploring the park. And there will be no stingy eyes afterwards as you will be swimming in pure (well as pure as London water gets) lake water. After you have dried off check out the Serpentine Pavilion which has just opened. Designed by Jean Nouvel the temporary structure is hard to miss due to its pillar-box red colour. The architect has filled the pavilion with table-tennis tables, Frisbees and chess boards so you can spend a whole afternoon here. Bring your sunnies though as the bright red structure is slightly headache inducing.

Brockwell Lido – known as Brixton’s Beach this is a much-loved South London spot and is surrounded Art Deco Grade II listed buildings. There is a strong community feel here and the locals have fought hard to keep it open. Recollections of lido-patrons have been painted on the pool walls so you can reflect on them as you swim.

Parliament Hill Lido is entirely unheated, a fact which hasn’t changed since it was opened in the 1930s, so this is the place to head on a real scorcher of a day. But you will be joined by quite a lot of north Londoners so bear in mind that the Hampstead ponds are really close by if you find yourself surrounded by over-excited kids and inflatables.

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