Londoners love a swim. In the bracing cold of February or the sweltering heat of August, you’ll find masses of swimmers at the city’s many historical lidos. More than simply a place for fitness and relaxation, these iconic swimming pools are important focal points for the communities that surround them. Whether you’re new to these recreation centres or you are a regular aquatic visitor, check out the post below to learn all about some of London’s legendary lidos.
Love lidos and their stunning architecture? Our selection of lido-themed art prints can help you capture their spirit, whimsy and fun in your very own home.
Tooting Bec Lido
This open air, fresh water lido boasts the largest swimming pool in London, and comes in second in the entire United Kingdom in terms of surface area, at 100 yards (91.44 m) long and 33 yards (30.18 m) wide. You’d have to go to Aldershot to find one larger! The Tooting Bec Lido is also one of the oldest open air swimming pools in the country, opened on Tooting Bec Common between Tooting and Streatham in 1906.
Tooting Bec Lido continues to be one of our most popular art print subjects - it must be something to do with the colourful changing room doors!
This Art Deco structure has been a remarkable resource for Herne Hill and Brixton residents since 1937. Located in Brockwell Park, this lido was nearly lost when it closed in 1990, but was reopened in 1994 and was classed as a Grade II listed building in 2003.
If you ever find yourself with time to spare in the Herne Hill area, the Brockwell Lido Cafe is well worth a visit - a little slice of the mediterranean in South London.
Hampstead Heath Ponds
While these are not truly classified as a ‘lido,’ no article about London’s outdoor swimming sites would be complete without mention of the Hampstead Heath Ponds. With a men’s pond, a women’s pond and a mixed pond, this is an ideal location for individuals who truly want to feel like they are communing with nature. A lovely environment in which to spend a sunny summer’s day.
Parliament Hill Lido
Located near to the Hampstead Heath Ponds, if you fancy a manmade swimming pool you can saunter over to the Parliament Hill Lido. Opened in 1938, this unheated swimming pool is open all year round – you can swim here in the colder months, if you dare!
London Fields Lido
Want to swim outdoors all year round? London Fields Lido in central Hackney has you covered. This 50 metre Olympic sized swimming pool is heated and open throughout all of the seasons. Offering lane swimming all day and swimming lessons for both children and adults, London Fields Lido is at the heart of East London’s culture.