When the sun’s shining, there’s no place better to be than outdoors. And what’s better than combining your training with soaking up the sun? London may well be a bustling city a lot of the time, but there’s no shortage of spots where you can get your swimmers on and get away from it all. Just dive in and zone out. 

Whether you’re training or socialising, grab your cozzie and get yourself out there. Read on for the best places to swim outdoors in London — a list to bookmark for sunny days. 

Charlton Lido

Thanks for a £2m refurb in 2013, Charlton Lido in Greenwich is quite the spot. Along with heated Olympic-sized pool, there are two sun terraces, a café, gym, and state-of-the-art fitness studio, complete with TRX classes and an open air group cycle studio. Sold? We’ll see you there.

Tooting Bec Lido

With its iconic multicoloured changing huts, Tooting Bec is quite the institution, frequented by locals since 1906. Vast, at just over 90m, it’s the largest freshwater pool in the UK. Go on, get in. 

Hampstead Ponds

A good introduction to open water swimming, Hampstead Ponds are truly stunning. Set among the luscious greenery of Hampstead Heath, there are 3 freshwater ponds to pick from: the men’s pond, women’s pond and a mixed bathing pond. Totally tranquil, reached by light-dappled paths sheltered by tree canopies, they’re arguably one of the most blissful places to start your day in the city. Afterwards, wander the streets of pretty Hampstead and stop for a coffee at one of the many independent cafes. 


Parliament Hill Lido

Another option in Hampstead, the Grade II-listed Parliament Hill Lido dates back to 1938, and was refurbished in 2005. It’s a hefty 60 metres in length, and is a popular spot for sunny weekends, for swimmers and bathers alike. There are two sessions a day: 7-9am and 10am-6pm, as well as additional adults-only evening sessions on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays. 


Stoke Newington Reservoir Centre

If you prefer your water wilder, head north to Stoke Newington Reservoir Centre, a popular spot for avid open-water swimmers. Wetsuits are obligatory, as is a £15 induction that takes place on Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, then it’s £10 a session there onwards (£5 if you’re a Better Gym member). 


London Royal Docks

London Royal Docks  is another great open water swimming option right in the heart of the city. Like a big urban swimming pool, it's an iconic spot for a fresh dip, for casual and competitive swimmers alike. All swimmers are tagged for safety and there’s qualified coaching available too, but you’re more than welcome to just pop down for a leisurely dip. Opening times vary day to day, but there are evening swim sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.


Denham Lake

Out West in Uxbridge (easily accessible via the Piccadilly line), Dunham Lake is a serene spot for a freshwater swim. And at just a fiver a swim, one of the most affordable ways to take a dip in the city. Wetsuits are encouraged, and brightly coloured swim caps are obligatory for safety. Wednesday and weekend mornings, and Monday and Thursday evenings are when open swimming is open to all. Wetsuit hire is just £3, and there’s a BBQ every Monday evening. Win!