With the mercury last weekend hitting the hottest recorded temperatures of the year so far, most of our thoughts will now be turning toward the brilliant great British summer. At Bowler & Beach HQ we feel there are few places we would be when the sun is shining then London. Luckily, if what you are after is a nice refreshing dip in your very own Bowler & Beach shorts when the temperatures get a little too high, London has loads of outdoor options for everyone from the poser to the serious swimmer. Below is a list of our favourite spots to take a dip in the capital:
Kings Cross Pond
A relatively new arrival on the London outdoor swimming scene, we feel the Kings Cross pond is not only truly unique but also a largely undiscovered oasis. It is the UK’s first ever man-made fresh water public bathing pond, and is a piece of innovative Land Art, within a working construction site area of London’s Kings Cross. The pond is completely chemical free and uses wetland and submerged water plants to filter and clean the water. Due to its reliance on plants to filter the water there are limited numbers allowed per session and per day, so make sure you book early to avoid disappointment.
The Serpentine Swimming Club are well known for their perverse pleasure of year round swims without wetsuits. From May to September the lido is open to all and becomes a popular triathlon spot due to its length and ease of access from central London. However, there is something for everyone here; from a gated family area with paddling pool and sandpit to a private sunbathing area positioned handily next door to the popular Lido café.
Oasis Sports Centre
A well-kept secret from even the most ardent of Londoners, this pool is nestled right in the heart of the west end, between Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road. Those who are in on the secret however, will flock here on a sunny summers day, and it can get very busy during peak weekend hours, so busy it makes anything more serious than a paddle pretty difficult. However, if you arrive early enough and get a good spot on the sunbathing terrace you can sit there smug in the knowledge that all the other folk are sweating away at street level whilst you have found your own piece of relative tranquility right in the middle of them.
Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds
If the weather is good and you are going for a dip, why not make a day of it?! There is no better part of London to do this then Hampstead Heath, where you are spoilt for choice with good restaurants, pubs and walks without having to venture beyond walking distance from a tube. The ponds on Hampstead Heath are only four miles from Oxford Circus but feel on a different planet. With tree branches dipped into the cool shimmering water these are more of a place to appreciate the surroundings and re-connect with nature rather than churning out the laps without so much as a single glance.
Tooting Bec Lido
Not for the faint hearted or unfit, this vast 90m long pool is for those aspiring Michael Phelps who really want more than a light paddle. South London’s vast pool, the country’s largest outdoor freshwater pool is open year round for members and also happens to be a Bowler & Beach personal favourite. Facilities include a paddling pool for kids, a café, and small lockers for valuables with the pool surrounded by some rather iconic Pantone-coloured changing huts.