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Two women relax at the poolside at Parliament Hill Lido.

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 on 020 7485 3873.

Please email for details of 2016/17 swimming season tickets for the Lido, the swimming ponds and all swimming facilities.

Important message

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: 10°C; Men's Pond: 10°C; Mixed Pond 9°C as of 26 April 2016.

Ladies Pond closure 

During the Hampstead Heath Ponds Project, there will be some temporary closures to the swimming ponds while work takes place. The Ladies Pond is closed from Monday, 1 February 2016 to allow for the changing room to be replaced. It is due to reopen at the beginning of May 2016. Alternative swimming for ladies will be provided at Mixed Pond, which will be for ladies only until May. However, due to desilting work at Mixed Pond, from February 1 until February 8, ladies can use the Men's Pond between 7am and 10am (mixed swimming) and the Lido from 7am until 12.30pm (mixed swimming) and 1pm until 4pm (ladies only).

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
  • hypothermia
  • 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.

Weather information 

Five day weather forecast from the BBC​​​

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14 May 2012
Last Modified:
26 April 2016