Outdoor swimming and London temperatures don’t always go hand in hand. However, visit in August and there’s a good chance that you’ll need somewhere to cool down.

London has a great collection of outdoor pools, ponds and lidos which provide wonderful refuges from the heat of the city.

London ponds and reservoirs

Our top spot outdoor swimming spot is Hampstead’s ponds where three ponds cater for ladies, men and mixed groups. Get ready for nippy temperatures, even in August, and some ducks and swans for company. Another favourite is the large expanse of water at the West Reservoir in Stoke Newington.

London’s lidos

If you prefer something a little more manicured, head for the 60m unheated pool at Parliament Hill on the southern side of Hampstead Heath. Alternatively, try the unheated, unchlorinated and distinctly refreshing waters of the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park in central London. If you’re visiting with kids, there’s a paddling pool and nearby playground.

In the south of London, there are two very popular lidos. The vast Tooting Bec Lido is the UK’s largest outdoor freshwater pool, extending to over 90m. Facilities include a paddling pool for kids, a café and, facing the pool, iconic multi-coloured changing huts. Brockwell Lido in Dulwich boasts an Olympic size pool where you can work up an appetite before heading for the Art Deco Grade II-listed café. There is also a gym, hydrotherapy zone, an indoor cycling studio and, during the summer months, film nights.

London Field’s Lido is a 50m floodlit heated outdoor pool with a sun terrace and café.