Swim & Sip: Best Outdoor Pools In London And Bars To Dry Off At Afterwards

Summer across this city means two things: day drinking and desperate attempts to stay cool. Thankfully, London's outdoor swimming pools and lidos are rising to the latter occasion, with affordable entry fees alongside a range of wet and wild activities - think everything from serious open water workouts to spluttering about at your local spot. As for sips in the sunshine? We've tracked down the best bars within walking distance of your preferred bodies of water, so you know where to head for those all-important post-paddle pints.


West Reservoir Centre

The Splash: Located over in Stoke Newington, the West Reservoir offers open water experiences for swimmers of all levels. One for those looking for a more serious splash around, WRC have a host of highly trained instructors on hand to get you kitted out and show you the ropes.

The Sips: Fancy a post-swim walk through Woodberry Wetlands? Stop by The Naturalist en route, where they're sure to sort you out with a revitalising pint or glass of wine and a few delicious seasonal plates.

Outdoor Pools In London West Reservoir | DesignMyNight

Get the real deal over at West Reservoir Centre where they're offering open water swimming experiences to all levels.

Parliament Hill Lido

The Splash: Open to the public year-round, Parliament Hill is a London lido that's one of the city's oldest surviving swimming spots. If you swing by this summer, expect cool waters and crowds of locals bringing a buzz to the Art Deco surrounds, while colder months mean serious dippers heading in for an icy pick-me-up.

The Sips: A short walk from Belsize Park is The Stag. A firm favourite in the area, it's ideal for refuelling with craft beer and gastropub grub, before taking to the pretty garden to see out an evening in one of the cosy cabanas.

Outdoor Pools In London Parliament Hill Lido | DesignMyNight

This swimming spot may have many years under its belt, but it's still the perfect place for a hot day's dip.

Pools on the Park

The Splash: Those of you close to Richmond Park are going to love Pools on the Park. Naturally, it's the open-air offering here that we're the most interested in, with facilities accessible at weekends from early spring to the end of the summer season.

The Sips: Easily one of the best pubs in the area, The White Cross is ideal for post-swim drinks. As the Thames is on its doorstep, you'll be treated to glorious views across the water.

London Swimming Pools On The Park | DesignMyNight

Enjoy a dip in Richmond's waters, followed by a drink in a top pub's front garden.

Tooting Bec Lido

The Splash: One of the best places for outdoor swimming in London, Tooting Bec is only open to the public from May through to September. Head down early in the summer months to nab a spot beside the water or, when you need to get your winter dips in, the South London Swimming Club are stationed here year-round.

The Sips: A Streatham favourite just 10 minutes from the pool, The Manor Arms is the perfect place to warm up or dry off (depending on the season), thanks to eye-catching interiors, fresh, healthy plates of food and a sunshine-ready beer garden.  

Tooting Bec London Lido | DesignMyNight

This South West London destination is the biggest in the UK. 

Oasis Sports Centre

The Splash: An outdoor swimming opportunity that's really central, Oasis Sports Centre is a must-visit for lunchtime cool downs on weekdays. Hidden away between Holborn, Covent Garden and Tottenham Court Road, it's an oasis in more than just name, with a sundeck and sauna facilities to boot. 

The Sips: Keep the post-dip energy high and head over to the Salsa! Soho afterwards. Here, there's a chance to dive into Spanish food, dancing lessons and drinks in the garden.

Outdoor Pools In London Oasis | DesignMyNight

Uncover this secret swimming pool hidden within London's busiest district.

Brockwell Lido

The Splash: When lidos in London is all that's on your mind, the rolling hill of Brockwell Park delivers. This popular space stays open all year and late into the evening. It really hits its stride in summer though, as people swarm in from across the city to play about in and around this beautiful pool.

The Sips: Drag your damp heads around the corner to The Half Moon, where this refurbished old pub boasts a slew of craft pints, cask ales, tasty bites from breakfast through to dinner, and a bustling beer garden complete with flowers and quirky booths.

Brockwell Lido London Outdoor Pools | DesignMyNight

A favourite among locals, Brockwell Lido is a top cool-off spot.

London Fields Lido

The Splash: Answering our prayers for an Olympic-sized London outdoor swimming pool is Hackney's favourite summer hangout. When it heats up, you can cool down at London Fields Lido. Luckily for you year-round dippers, the water comes warmed, so you can keep going through the winter as well.

The Sips: Wander across the green to Pub on the Park, where chilled pints and gorgeous views over London Fields await from the expansive outdoor deck.

Outdoor Swimming Pools London Fields Lido | DesignMyNight

London Fields Lido is fully heated, so you can swim in its warmth all year round.

The Berkeley Hotel

The Splash: To combine your dip with a luscious escape, none compare to The Berkeley Hotel's rooftop pool. From the pristine blue water to the arches and shaded sunbeds surrounding it, this gives a whole new meaning to luxury swims.

The Sips: Just a short stroll from Knightsbridge to the equally swish Belgravia, you'll find The Hari Hotel Bar & Terrace fronting an all-weather garden and a buzzing cocktail lounge.

Outdoor Swimming Pools London Fields Lido | DesignMyNight

Take things up a notch with a dreamy city break at this poolside.

Hampstead Ponds

The Splash: Some of the most well-known pools in the city, Hampstead Ponds are spearheading wild swimming. With ladies', men's and mixed-gender areas, these bathing institutions let you enjoy the finest natural swims among the idyllic surrounds of Hampstead Heath.

The Sips: Set on separate sides of the Heath, there are two different pubs to choose from, depending on which waters you dive into. Helpfully (or not), these boozers also happen to have the same name. Once you're done flapping about in the mixed pond, The Flask Hampstead is on your doorstep. But, when coming out of the men's or ladies' areas, make a beeline for The Flask Highgate.

Outdoor Pools In London Hampstead | DesignMyNight

While they might call all their pubs the same, Hampstead Heath's ponds offer something a little different in a swim.

London Royal Docks

The Splash: A scene for the well-versed open water wader, Royal Docks is one of the best outdoor swimming pools in London. While beginners are more than welcome to head to the basin for a quick dip, the Love Open Water team have a range of events for the more experienced, from late-night and solstice swims to mass mini-marathons. 

The Sips: Less than five minutes away is the Good Hotel, a floating lodge with a focus on sustainability and a sleek rooftop terrace offering some astounding views across London, alongside local beers or café snacks.

Open Water Swimming London Royal Docks | DesignMyNight

Explore a huge London dock before taking to the rooftops for booze with a view.

Serpentine Lido

The Splash: A very swanky swim, if we do say so ourselves, Serpentine Lido is nestled right at the heart of London's Hyde Park. Open only during times of clement weather, it's available to make the most of between June and August, so you get your float on in one of the city's most iconic locations.

The Sips: You don't need to travel far here to find a sweet spot to get your sip on. The Lido Cafe stays open until 9pm during summer, serving up coffee, craft beer, wines and a few classic cocktails on the waterside terrace.

The Serpentine Outdoor Swimming London | DesignMyNight

Get your swim in the very centre of London's most iconic park.

Looking for more outdoor activities? We've got the lowdown on things to do in London this summer. Plus, sign up for our newsletter to get the latest straight to your inbox.