Parliament Hill Lido

· Saturday May 24, 2014

Not to be confused with the Hampstead Ponds, the Hampstead Lido is a Grade II listed gem of a site for public bathing and a refreshing escape within the city. Located in Parliament Hill Fields, at the bottom of the Heath near Gospel Oak station, the lido is open all year, but becomes a real hot spot from May onwards, as the city heats up.

Built in 1938, the lido has undergone several face-lifts, but retained its clean lines and modernist design. This creates an energising sense of space and freedom, testament to the vision of its architects. It’s a reminder of a more optimistic time, when our city’s councils took pride in creating beautiful public spaces to be enjoyed by everyone. In 2005, the pool was fitted with a stainless steel lining, which retains more water heat. But, brace yourself: it is still quite cold.

While the pool has its local hardcore posse of all-weather swimmers, (intimidating in their leathery skins and yoga fit bodies), Londoners of all shapes, sizes, ages and sporting ambitions descend in the summer months. This can mean big crowds at weekends, but the off-peak times can allow for a blissful moment of peaceful tranquility. The weeknight swims between May and September are especially recommended. Perfect for an invigorating end to a busy day in the city.