London’s Lidos

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

By MATT DAVIES, JULY 2017


There are few things more frustrating than the tantalising glare of rare British sunshine, teasing you through the office windows. The muggy warmth brought about by the broken air con, because nobody ever fixes it – after all, when do you really need air con in England? The glare on your screen, the perspiration on your forehead, the view of summer frivolities just meters outside your window – you’d trade everything to throw your papers into the air and jump in a swimming pool before they’ve nestled their way onto the floor around your overturned chair.

Well, while I don’t entirely advocate the premature office departure in a wild storm of hedonism, though I’m not adverse to it either, I entirely condone visiting one of London’s many outdoor swimming areas once you have left for the day.


Charlton Lido

This one’s my local, so you’ll have to forgive a little residential bias when I tell you it’s my favourite lido London has to offer (though not my favourite swimming spot – keep reading for that!). Into its fourth year since a £2million renovation, Charlton Lido features all the accoutrements to ensure you’re beach body ready, by the time it comes to sunbathe on the banks of its heated pool. Complete with a gym, exercise studio and café, Charlton Lido has everything you need de-stress from work, whether that’s on the weights or in the pool.

Image credit : swimdemcrew

Tooting Bec Lido

Another one south of the river, Tooting Bec Lido oozes all the fun you’d expect from the capital’s southwest area. The largest swimming pool in the UK, Tooting Lido has attracted some famous faces in the past, most notably that of Brad Pitt, who filmed Snatch here. While we can’t guarantee that calibre of visitor every time, this is a great area with some fantastic bars so you can continue to unwind even when you’re done with the pool.


Image Credit: slsclido

Hampstead Heath     

Okay, not technically a lido but this is undoubtedly my favourite outdoor spot to swim in. Surrounded by beautifully wooded area, it’s one of the few spots in London you can run and jump into natural water without fear of poisoning! This place is the real deal, a superbly chilled atmosphere where tourists and locals can take in a real spot of natural beauty while simultaneously splashing around in it. The bathing ponds have single-sex, as well as mixed options for visitors.

Image credit: susannadavies

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