Five of the Best: London Outdoor Pools

From 1930s lidos to exclusive rooftop hangouts, check out London’s best outdoor pools

MOST POPULAR

London Fields Lido

The best thing about London Fields Lido? It's heated. While many of London's lidos require a wet-suit or nerves of steel out of season, this Hackney pool is a comfy 25°C all year round. The 1930s pool had a big revamp in the noughties and its yellow, red and blue decor makes it a cheery place to swim, even on a rainy day. Go early if it's sunny as the place gets packed, then pick up some goodies from nearby Broadway Market for a picnic in London Fields afterwards.

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London Fields Lido, London Fields, London E8 3EU, 020 7254 9038, hackney.gov.uk

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Shoreditch House

Know anyone who's a member of Shoreditch House? Butter them up for a plus one and head straight for the rooftop pool. The roof has been revamped for summer 2013 with new 1920s-style red and white stripped loungers (very Gatsby) and pantry bar. The members' club pool has fantastic views of the East End and city spires like the Gherkin and Heron Tower.

Shoreditch House, Ebor Street, London E1 6AW

Enq: 020 7739 5040, shoreditchhouse.com

Rooftop pool at The Berkeley

London's hotel rooftop pool offering is paltry, so this chic spot at The Berkeley Hotel is the place to head if you like a swim with a view. Front crawl your way towards a panorama of Hyde Park, do the butterfly overlooking Knightsbridge or just gaze up at the sky without worrying about the weather – on chilly days, The Berkeley's pool has a retractable roof. Make the most of a day pass with a post-swim laze on the loungers hidden under the Tuscan-style terrace.

The Berkeley, Wilton Place, London SW1X 7RL, 020 7235 6000, the-berkeley.co.uk

GETTY

Hampstead Ponds

Katherine Hepburn was partial to a dip in Hampstead Ponds, and these natural pools on the Heath have long been frequented by both Hampstead's well-heeled residents and the city's wild-swimming fans. A swim in the three freshwater ponds – one for men, one for women, and one mixed – makes you feel miles from the big smoke, especially as you share the murky waters with the local wildlife: ducks bob along beside you and dragonflies skim the surface.

Hampstead Ponds, Hampstead Heath London NW3, 020 7332 3773, cityoflondon.gov.uk/hampstead

REX

The pool at Oasis Sports Centre

This is one of those spots Londoners never tell tourists about – an outdoor pool hidden in the heart of the West End. Head to the unassuming Oasis leisure centre in Covent Garden and, if you're lucky, you'll be able to stake out a spot on the sunbathing terrace. Otherwise come late – the 27.5m pool is open until 9pm so it's perfect for a night-time dip once the crowds have died down.

Oasis Sports Centre, 32 Endell Street, London WC2H 9AG, 020 7831 1804, better.org.uk

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