Swimming at Hampstead Heath
Open-air swimming is internationally famous on Hampstead Heath with the Ladies’ Pond, the Men’s Pond, the Mixed Pond and the Parliament Hill Lido. The Ladies’ and Men’s Ponds are unique in the United Kingdom in being the only life-guarded open-water swimming facilities open to the public every day of the year. The Lido is a 60 x 27 metre uncovered, unheated swimming pool at Parliament Hill.
Use the Hampstead Heath map (PDF 2.2MB) to find out how to get to the swimming facilities or use Google Maps to see the location of the Parliament Hill Lido.
For further information telephone the Swimming on Hampstead Heath Information Service Tel: 020 7485 3873.
Please email for details of 2015/16 swimming season tickets for the Lido, the swimming ponds and all swimming facilities.
Please note that apart from life-guarded areas of swimming ponds, swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds is very dangerous and not permitted.
Water temperature for Hampstead Heath swimmers
Lido: 7°C; Ladies' Pond: 8°C; Men's Pond: 7°C as of 23 November 2015.
Temporary swimming pond closures due to Ponds Project
During the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project, there will be some temporary closures to the swimming ponds while work takes place on desilting the ponds (Men's and Mixed) and replacing the changing facility (Ladies). From 9 November, the Men's Pond will be closed for a period of around 3 to 4 weeks while it is desilted. Men wishing to swim can go to Mixed Pond which will be open and lifeguarded during the normal opening hours - 7am until 2.30pm. Ladies Pond is open as usual during this period. Please check the website regularly for any updates.
Environment Agency bathing water quality
Water quality at designated bathing water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency. Their website displays the results of these tests for the Ladies' Pond, the Men's Pond and the Mixed Pond.
Cold water swimming guidelines
Swimming/immersion in cold water at the Ponds/Lido
An independent safety audit of the Heath swimming facilities by Amateur Swimming Association has identified medical issues surrounding physical acclimatisation (Habituation) and psychological acclimatisation associated with all year round recreational swimmers who enter water that is below 12°C degrees.
Three main problems associated with immersion in cold water have been identified:
- numb freezing cold injury
- sudden immersion syndrome (SIS)
Before this activity is commenced, it is recommended that a medical check up occurs with the examining doctor having been told the purpose of the examination. For physical Habituation and psychological acclimatisation to occur, swimmers should continue from summer through autumn into winter, preferably three or four times a week, although only brief immersion is necessary to achieve Habituation, say for the order of two or three minutes, on each occasion.
For more information Tel: 020 7485 5757.
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