Cooling off: Urban Beaches & Swimming Pools in London
Make the most of the sunshine with these urban beaches and swimming pools in London.
On the off chance there's a sunny day in the English capital, people pile out in droves to parks, rooftop bars and any available patch of sunlight one can sit down in. In the summer months, things step up a notch when all the urban beaches and swimming pools in London open for business - find out the best hidden gems the city has to offer below.
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Every summer, this southwest slice of beach paradise opens up to the public. While it's not going to quite be the white sandy beaches of Spain, it's about as close are you're going to get. A rooftop in Brixton is transformed into a sandy seaside getaway and this year, they're going with a big Cuban theme - so think mojitos, plantains and a whole lot of colour. A lot of street food places set up shop here and while there's no water to be found, you can still soak in the sun and feel the sand between your toes.
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Forget about MJ's ill-fated theme park, Neverland London's a totally different scene. This Fulham beach overlooks the Thames and is a great chill out spot on those long summer nights - especially because you can bring your own booze to the party. While you're advised to book in advance for this popular getaway, you can up your holiday game by renting out a day bed or beach hut to really make the most of the sun.
Image via London's Royal Docks
Urban London Beach
Tucked away behind the Emirates Cable Car, this hidden stretch of sand borders the water and is the perfect place to catch some rays. With summery striped deckchairs and white sand, the best thing about this East London secret is that it's totally free.
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Tooting Bec Lido
In the summer, this public swimming pool extends their hours for maximum water time. Located out in South London, this outdoor freshwater pool is a favourite not just for its room 90m oasis but also its vibrant beach huts that line it. While it's open all year round, between May and August it throws open its doors from 6am-8pm - better dig out that old swimming costume.
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You'd never think it, but London's actually home to a gigantic lake. Hidden away in Hyde Park, this watery getaway is always a popular spot come summertime and with good reason. With over 100 yards of water for paddling in, changing rooms, deck chairs and luscious greenery, it's a favourite with families. Thankfully the water's unchlorinated, however you may wind up having to skirt around a couple of stray ducks.
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Kenwood Ladies Pond
Ladies, this one's for you. This Hampstead Heath gem has been a female-friendly swimming hole since the early 1900s and is a real retreat from the bustle of downtown London. Rings by flowers, rare birds and trees, women of all sizes and walks of life can have a paddle here without feeling judged. Run entirely by volunteers who love the pond, it's a little brisk so brace yourself.