Summer in London City: Cooling Down in the Capital

By: Elisha Burberry

Whether it's due to global warming or not, things seem to be heating up - so living in the city can get a little sticky come summer. But the revival of many of London's classic watering holes means it's possible to cool down in the very heart of the nation's capital.

Hampstead Heath Swimming pools have been popular with hardy London folk since 1860, but bathing was not the original intention for this string of ponds, which were created as reservoirs to supply London with water. The three pools, Highgate Men's Pond, The Kenwood Ladies' Pond and Hampstead Mixed Pond, are famous for bathers who enjoy bathing as nature intended (i.e. in their birthdays suits!) and even those who are a little shy need not worry - the murky waters should maintain your modesty!

For those who prefer their water chlorinated, the Parliament Hill Lido was recently been upgraded with a ?2.9 million overhaul. Not for the wet, this pool is unheated. But it's ideally located to allow amazing views of the city from its elevated spot, attracting a range of people who take to the waters - from serious swimmers to teenagers and toddlers.

Park Road Pools in Crouch End boasts a 50m open air Lido which is warmed and open between May and September. There are also three adjacent indoor pools - including a diving pool - for when the sun isn't shining.

Hyde Parks' Serpentine Lido is a hugely popular swimming venue situated in the very heart of London. The swimming area is part of the lake which is cordoned off, and it offers an attractively tiled veranda with deck chairs to host sun worshipers. After your swim, why not combine your cooling off with some art-viewing at the nearby Serpentine Gallery, a premier location for modern art exhibition.

One of the earliest built Lidos is in Tooting Bec. Having received continual upgrades, the Lido is in good shape and also features the more modern amenities of a sauna and Jacuzzi. Situated in the Greenfield site of Tooting Bec common, the pool can get busy during a hot summer - with up to 2000 visitors during a sunny day, but it's less crowded from October to May - which is great, as long as you don't mind swimming in the rain.

Those not lucky enough to live in the capital can find a range of hotels in London to suit all budgets, so pack your cossie, grab a towel, and head for the cool waters of London's Lidos!

UK Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on UK Destinations