6 Family Friendly London Lido's
London lidos (lakes and pools) are like wild swimming without too much wildness, and they’re back for 2021. Things have changed a little from the days when you could just turn up, pay up and jump in. Book ahead is pretty much the rule everywhere but that seems like a small price to pay for the sheer exuberance of being out on the water with kids again.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
Probably the best known of the London lidos, Hampstead Heath Ponds are famously chilly - even in summer - on the plus side, the setting's lovely and there are three different ponds: men's, women's and mixed. The mixed pond is open to families and accompanied children from age eight, and this year's summer season starts on 1 May. Lifeguards are always on duty.
Parliament Hill Lido
Parliament Hill is tucked away in a southern corner of Hampstead Heath and it's one of the London lidos that's almost as well loved for its city views as its swimming. Open 365 days a year, it might have been built in 1938 but manages to feel fresh thanks to a relatively new stainless steel floor in the main pool and a paddling pool for younger kids. Children of all ages can swim here (under eights have to be accompanied by an adult). And, although the pools are unheated, hot showers for after make that seem a lot less bracing.
Unlike some other London lidos, Hampton Pool is almost entirely dedicated to public swimming to it's one of the easier places to book a slot, even with new limited number rules. Great for families and kids of all ages, the water's heated year round and there's also a paddling pool for younger children, and small waterslides too.
Park Road Pool
The Park Road Leisure Centre is the lux end of London lidos after an £8 million refurbishment added three indoor swimming pools, gym, exercise classes and children's play area to the 50-metre heated outdoor pool. Family fun is the focus here, grassy hills by the lido pool are perfect for summer picnics and it's suitable for kids of all ages.
Oasis Sports Centre
Of the London lidos that give refuge from city heat in summer, Oasis Sports Centre really lives up to its name. The sleek complex has an outdoor and indoor pool - the outdoor pool's the only heated lido in central London.
Tooting Bec Lido
Tooting Bec Lido isn't just the largest of all London lidos, at an astounding 90m, it's the largest freshwater pool in the entire UK. Multi-coloured changing huts around the pool bring a cute retro feel to summer swims. And although the enormous outdoor pool is the main attraction, there's also a kid’s pool for under-fives.
Now the only question? What print to choose?!