SWIMSPIRATION: Five London Pools We Love
Picking our favourite swim spots in London is no easy feat. Not least because there are literally hundreds of different pools dotted in and around the capital, each with their own atmosphere, quirks, community, changing facilities and more. And, it's fair to say, we still haven't been to even half the pools we're lucky enough to have close to hand. So, with all the caveats that this list is a little biased, here at least are five pools we've been frequenting recently that we simply can't get enough of.
Anyone else like pretending they're about to compete in the Olympics as the head into the water at this iconic venue? The London Aquatic Centre contains two beautiful pools: a 25m training pool for drill practice and the more famous 50m main pool which you might recognise from 2012 Olympics footage. A crazy blue hue hits everything it touches in this main pool, the water feels insanely clear and with ten lanes, even at it's busiest periods, this pool never feels packed.
"I'm always pleasantly surprised to see a complete mix of swimming abilities in a pool so famed for its elite capabilities" says our Founder, Rosie. "I was initially daunted about swimming in this pool, worried that everyone swimming there would be training for their next channel swim. However, as with all swimming pools, it's a completely democratic environment with a range of abilities that mean I never feel underqualified or out of place."
Our local pool, the newly opened London Fields Lido has recently undergone a renovation which has brought with it a shiny new pool and swish changing facilities. However, the heart of what we have always loved about this pool remains exactly the same: the surreal serenity of an outdoor heated pool in the middle of bustling Hackney. This pool is a must visit for anyone with spare time in London. "Magical" doesn't come close.
The iconic Parliament Hill Lido has been a firm favourite since we first visited just over 18 months ago. Since then we've used it for our photoshoots, we've attended gorgeous swim events there and, of course, we've dipped in occasionally for a swim ourselves (on those rare occasions when the water is warmer than 12 degrees...)
Whilst a *little* nippy through winter (the pool water was 4' this week), this unheated pool is a favourite amongst seasoned outdoor and cold water swimmers. The pool is also wetsuit friendly, so it's a great place to practice for competitive swims that require a wet suit. (Don't be put off by the amusement of the regular skins swimmers). The silvery base of the pool means the water constantly glitters - so it's always incredibly inviting, even when you know how chilly it is. And what's more there's a sauna to warm you up to your bones once you emerge - perfect.
Image courtesy of Thames Lido
The newly opened Thames Lido is not strictly in London but at a wee 40 min train ride away it's very accessible for a weekend swim trip. This pool is the stuff of dreams. Heated pool, hot tub, ice buckets, saunas and steam rooms - this pool is actually more of a dreamy spa trip than a weekly swim location, and we're not complaining. We've been here three times already for a glorious swim followed by lunch and we're already plotting our next return.
Image courtesy of London Town
This heated outdoor swimming pool is literally tucked away in the middle of Tottenham Court Road. We're almost embarrassed to admit that we've spent years walking straight past it, until far too recently - although this is exactly the magic of it. This lovely pool (which comes complete with natural accessories - floating leaves and the odd twig) is small but toasty and usually very quiet. We've taken to swimming here on Saturday mornings before heading for brunch nearby and it's the perfect start to the weekend.