13 best spots for swimming, boating and lidos in London

Rent a boat on one of London's lakes or cool off with a swim in one of London's outdoor pools or lidos.

There are many options for swimming or being on the water in London. Relax outdoors in London on a lake in a rowing boat or pedalo; or take a refreshing dip in one of the city's outdoor swimming pools or London lidos – some of which are heated for cooler days!

Boating in London

1. Hyde Park’s Serpentine Lake

Navigate around on a pedalo, drift along on a rowing boat or hop aboard the solar-powered Solarshuttle at The Serpentine Lake. This vast body of water covers a large part of Hyde Park and is the focal point for many of the park's activities. Late March to late October

2. Regent's Park

Make use of boat hire in London’s glorious Regent's Park, which boasts a boating lake that’s home to many species of water birds, including herons nesting on the islands. There’s a separate Regent’s Park boating lake for children that’s open at weekends, bank holidays and school holidays only. Late March to late October

3. Alexandra Palace boating lake

Hire a rowing boat or a pedalo to explore the lake at Alexandra Palace (March to October). Refuel on coffee or grab a bite to eat at the Lakeside Café next to the lake before or after your leisurely ride, or try Ally Pally's large beer garden with a view, The Terrace.

4. Battersea Park

Rent a rowing boat or a pedalo and spend a leisurely few hours exploring Battersea Park’s boating lake during spring and summer, and make sure to keep an eye out for herons, grebes and cormorants along the way. If you're visiting with your little ones, hop on The Little Train which will take you through the park up to the lake. School holidays, public holidays and weekends between Easter and late September

5. Skuna Boats

If you fancy doing boating with a twist, how about cruising down London's waterways in style? Well, now you can, thanks to Skuna Boats' cool fleet of hot tub and barbecue boats – a fun, alternative way to experience the London Docklands, drink in hand! Year-round

6. GoBoat London

If you're keen to explore further afield, charter your own electric picnic boat and cruise down the Regent's Canal between Paddington Basin and Camden Lock, or down the river Thames between Teddington Lock and Molesey Lock, with GoBoat London. You can even see Hampton Court Palace on the way! That's one cool way to sightsee with the family. Apr-Nov

London's outdoor swimming and lidos

7. Tooting Bec Lido


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Make a splash at Tooting Bec Lido, the oldest purpose-built open-air pool in London. At 90m (295ft) in length, this pool in Tooting is among the largest of its kind in Europe and is bordered by a grass area, a paddling zone for children and a cafe. Open until September (club swimming year-round)

8. Hampstead Heath ponds and Parliament Hill Lido

Choose from four beautiful Hampstead Heath swimming pools, including three freshwater Bathing Ponds and the unheated Parliament Hill Lido. Giving a feel of “wild swimming”, these pools are some of the most picturesque spots for outdoor swimming in London. Open year-round (the mixed bathing pool is closed during winter)

9. Brockwell Lido

Marvel at Brockwell Lido’s art deco features, including its clock and Grade II-listed pavilion buildings, during a swim at this south London outdoor pool. Situated in a quiet corner of Brockwell Park, the lido first opened in 1937 and boasts a sunbathing area, cafe, sauna and gym. Open year-round

10. London Fields Lido

Enjoy a toasty swim at London Fields Lido, which is maintained at a comfortable 25C (77F). This 50m (164ft) heated outdoor lido in London first opened in 1932 and was later closed for 18 years until it reopened in 2006 with a sunbathing terrace and cafe. Open year-round

11. Charlton Lido

Head to south-east London where you’ll find the 50m-long (164ft) Charlton Lido. Part of a large fitness complex that also includes a high-tech gym and a studio, this Olympic-sized outdoor pool is heated to 25C (77F), so you can swim even in winter – make sure to pre-book your slot in advance. Open year-round

12. Oasis Sports Centre

Take on a few lengths in Oasis Sports Centre's 27.5m-long (90ft) pool, the only public heated outdoor swimming pool in central London. Surrounded by a sunbathing deck and patio, this tranquil haven hidden in Covent Garden also has a poolside sauna and a smaller indoor pool. Open year-round

13. Hampton Pool


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Relax at Hampton Pool, which is set in woodland on the outskirts of Bushy Park. This 36m-long (118ft) tiled pool is kept at 28C (82F); while its 12.5m-long (41ft) shallow pool is one of the best swimming pools in London for learner swimmers. Soak up the sun on a grassy area next to the pool between swims. Open year-round

While you're out and about, visit one of London's best parks, sunny beer gardens or picnic spots.