London Fields Lido
After 18 years of closure, this East London lido faced demolition until the London Fields User Group campaigned to save it and it re-opened (with a complete modern refurb) in 2006. It’s one of the oldest lidos in London (first opening in 1932) and has once again become one of the capital's favourite outdoor swimming spots. Open year-round the Olympic-size pool is the perfect place to spend a lazy summer Sunday, and if you need any extra convincing it’s heated – just in case the clouds do roll in.
Address: London Fields, Westside; Hackney.gov.uk.
Another lido saved from demolition is the beautiful Brockwell Lido on the edge of Brockwell Park in Herne Hill. The Art Deco Grade II-listed pool re-opened in 2004 with a multi-million pound refurbishment and is now open until 10pm on weekdays for lovely leisurely summer evening swims. Alongside the lido they’ve added a fully-equipped gym, indoor cycling studio, hydrotherapy pool and health suite with a sauna and steam room. All very luxe-y indeed, in other words.
Address: Brockwell Park, Dulwich Road; Fusion-lifestyle.com.
See our review of the cafe at Brockwell Lido http://www.elleuk.com/travel/restaurant-reviews/review-the-lido-cafe
The Serpentine Lido has been one of the most popular spots for outdoor swimming in London for the past 100 years. It’s a cordoned off section of the lake itself, so it can get a bit nippy (there’s no luxury of heating here), although it does come with the plus side of having no chlorine. If you’re not entirely comfortable about swimming in the great outdoors (for fear of the local wildlife) you can always just pull up a deckchair in the private sunbathing area and catch some rays instead.
Address: The Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park; Serpentinelido.com.
Tooting Bec Lido
With its iconic, original brightly coloured changing huts, Tooting Bec Lido could probably take the title as the prettiest outdoor swimming pool in London. (It’s a favourite for film locations, too – some of Brad Pitt’s scenes from Snatch were filmed here.) Open from late May to the end of September each year, at 90 metres long and over 30 metres wide, it’s also one of the largest freshwater outdoor pools in the UK.
Address: Tooting Bec Road, Tooting; Dcleisurecentres.co.uk.
Built in 1922, the 36-metre tiled Hampton Pool can be found on the outskirts of Bushy Park. It’s open 365 days a year, and is heated to a balmy temperature of 28 degrees, which means you can even swim on Christmas Day if you wish. The pool is south-facing and perfect for sunbathing on one of the grassy areas. What’s really great about Hampton Pool, though, is its social side – from the poolside swim and barbecue club they hold to the live summer music concerts that they put on each year.
Address: High Street, Hampton, Middlesex; Hamptonpool.co.uk.
Like our pick of the best lidos in London, but looking for somewhere a little more glam to show off that new bikini? Check out our pick of the best hotels with infinity pools.