Kenwood Ladies' Pond
Kenwood Ladies' Pond is a natural bathing pond and one of London's best open air swimming spots.
Cold water habituation
Following lockdown all swimmers will need to be careful. The water temperature is colder now than when you last went swimming and you will need to start the habituation process again. Start off slowly, reducing the time you normally spend in the water. Gradually increase your swimming time each day until you are fully habituated.
Please remember the risks associated with cold water swimming, even for regular winter swimmers:
- Dangers include hypothermia, and cold shock or Sudden Immersion Syndrome.
- Enter the water carefully, and avoid diving, especially if you are new to cold water swimming.
- Know your limits and leave the water if you have any concerns or if advised by the Lifeguards.
- After your swim, warm up slowly with plenty of layers. Sip hot drinks, and avoid hot showers and vigorous exercise - warming too quickly can be dangerous.
- Speak to your GP about any medical conditions before you swim.
|Period from||Open||Last entry||Vacate water||Vacate facility|
|21 September 2020||7am||4.15pm||4.30pm||4.45pm|
|25 October 2020||7am||2pm||2.15pm||2.30pm|
|29 November 2020||7.30am||2.30pm||2.45pm||3pm|
|24 January 2021||7am||2pm||2.15pm||2.30pm|
|21 March 2021||7am||4.15pm||4.30pm||4.45pm|
|11 April 2021||7am||6.15pm||6.30pm||6.45pm|
On Christmas Day the Kenwood Ladies' Pond is open from 7.30am to 1pm (last entry 12.15pm).
We regularly tweet the water temperature at the pond on Twitter.
- Lifeguards on duty
- One outdoor shower
- Limited changing available on the meadow
- Limited toilets will be available - please bring your own sanitizer
|Ticket||Adult price||Concession price|
|Single day ticket||£4||£2.40|
- Cash(no change given) or contactless card payment accepted
- Contact details will be taken by staff to comply with the Government's Test and Trace scheme
If you are a regular swimmer, you can save by getting a season ticket for the Lido, the Ponds or both.
|Bathing Ponds 6 month pass||£66||£33|
|Bathing Ponds 12 month pass||£125||£66|
When you purchase a season ticket you will be issued with a wristband which you can use to 'tap in' when you swim. Replacement cost of lost wristband is £5.
If you cannot fill in the Season Ticket Application online then paper copies will be available at the Bathing Ponds, Lido and Parliament Hill office.
Concessions for under 16s, students, OAPs, unemployed people, those on Universal Credit or in receipt of the Personal Independence Payment or with a Disabled Card are available. You will be asked to provide proof before you book.
Free morning swim
Those over the age of 60 and under the age of 16 are eligible for a free morning swim from 7am until 9.30am. You can apply for a free season ticket on our swimming page.
Carers can accompany a swimmer for free. Choose the Carer option on the Season Ticket Application Form.
Are you an existing season ticket holder?
If you have not heard from us regarding your Season Ticket, email the Hampstead Heath swimming team for details.
- Strong swimmers only. The ponds are deep and can be very cold.
- Strong swimmers age 8-15 are allowed if accompanied by an adult.
- Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a limit of people allowed in the Pond. This will be managed at the gate.
- Swim wear must be worn.
- Assistance dogs only allowed in the facilities.
- No lockers and valuables are left at your own risk
- Blue-green algae has recently been identified at the pond - avoid drinking the water and shower after swimming.
The levels of micro-organisms fluctuates in this untreated water. High levels pose a risk to your health and often occur after rain and where there is a lot of swimmers in the pond. The risk of illness is greater for children, the elderly or immunocompromised people and some overseas visitors, as they can have lower immunity. The dangers include: mild-gastroenteritis or eye, ear and respiratory infections. We recommend you consult a doctor if you have any health concerns, avoid swallowing pond water and shower before and after bathing.
The Ladies' Pond is located off Millfield Lane on Hampstead Heath
The nearest stations to the Ladies' Pond are:
- Gospel Oak on the Overground Line (23 minute walk)
- Highgate on the Northern Line (26 minute walk)
The 214 bus route also goes close to the Pond.
Visit TfL's Journey Planner to plan your trip to the Pond.
There is on-street parking available on Millfield Lane. Please make sure you check parking signs and follow any restrictions.
All money received from swimming is gratefully received and is reinvested to support the costs of Lifeguarding and operating the Pond, thank you for your support. You can make an additional donation to Hampstead Heath (Registered Charity no. 803392).
Following the discovery of a blocked sewer north of Kenwood Ladies’ Pond on 17 September 2020, a series of water quality tests were commissioned by the City of London. You can view the results of the three bathing ponds below in addition to water quality results from earlier in the summer.
Water Quality Results PDF (171KB)Date submitted: 9/24/20
Frequently asked questions
On the morning of Thursday 17 September, City of London Corporation staff discovered a sewer surcharge north of Ladies’ Bathing Pond. This was immediately reported to Thames Water, the company responsible for the sewer. Due to the proximity of the sewer to the Ladies’ Bathing Pond, the pond was closed for swimming. All upcoming sessions were cancelled and refunded. As a result of this incident, the City Corporation has commissioned Public Health England to test water samples collected at the Ladies’ Bathing Pond. The results of these tests are available above.
The test results from 17 September showed that E. Coli levels in the Ladies’ Bathing Pond were higher than usual. From 17 September, daily testing has been undertaken and the results were monitored to inform reopening.
These are natural ponds and are very complex eco-systems which can result in bacterial levels which fluctuate rapidly over a short period of time. There can often be fluctuations in the results, which do not necessarily form a trend. The weather can have an impact on the results and heavy rainfall can often cause levels to rise.
Thames Water used specialist root cutting equipment to clear the blockage that had caused the sewer to surcharge. This work took place on 17 - 18 September. Thames Water reported an 80% blockage of the sewer comprising of tree roots, north of the Ladies Pond Meadow. The section of sewer was subsequently surveyed to ensure there were no further defects that required immediate action.
Before this incident had happened, Thames Water carried out essential maintenance on 80 meters of their sewer within the Bird Sanctuary between 7 - 8 September. The works involved relining the sewer to cover a hole in the pipework and root ingress. These works were downstream of the recent incident and following the work, a camera survey of the line has taken place showing the reline to be in good order.
The organisation that has responsibility for monitoring and protecting a designated bathing water is the Environment Agency (EA). The City Corporation carries out testing independently outside of the normal bathing season.
Normally during the summer months the EA test the water weekly and post the results on their website. Due to COVID-19 and the fact most of the EA staff are now working from home, the EA significantly reduced their testing regime on inland bathing waters that normally meet ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ standards, which includes the Bathing Ponds on Hampstead Heath.
The City Corporation undertook independent water sample testing on 24 June, 1 July and 16 July, ahead of reopening the Bathing Ponds, as the EA had yet to resume its testing programme. The EA subsequently resumed testing in late July.
Since 17 September the City Corporation has commissioned daily tests at the Ladies’ Bathing Pond and results of these tests plus the results from the Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond and Hampstead Mixed Bathing Pond have been posted to this page, available above.
The City Corporation has taken samples from both the inlet and the jetty at the Ladies’ Bathing Pond. The jetty is where the EA samples have been taken, and these records go back a number of years. For consistency, we have used the same sampling point for the independent sampling data we have posted on the City Corporation’s website.
In addition, we have expanded the area that we are testing and these results are attached. We will continue to take all the water quality tests into account when considering when to reopen the Ladies’ Bathing Pond. In addition, we are sharing the results of the independent water testing with the EA and Thames Water.
Test results for E.Coli levels are usually available after 24 hours, while it takes up to 48 hours for Enterococci level results to be received.
As per the EA classifications, the water quality results for the Ladies’ Bathing Pond up until September were classified as ‘excellent’. The early September reading was classified as ‘good’. The Environment Agency website sets out the classification thresholds.
The water quality of the three Bathing Ponds on Hampstead Heath is normally classified by the EA as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’. However, there are risks with swimming in untreated waters and there is information displayed on signs at each of the Bathing Pond entrances which advises: “The levels of micro-organisms fluctuates in this untreated water. High levels pose a risk to your health and often occur after rain and where there is a lot of swimmers in the pond. The risk of illness is greater for children, the elderly or immunocompromised people and some overseas visitors, as they can have lower immunity. The dangers include: mild-gastroenteritis or eye, ear and respiratory infections. We recommend you consult a doctor if you have any health concerns, avoid swallowing pond water and shower before and after bathing.”
The daily water sampling results from the 3 October, which were received on 4 October, showed that E. Coli levels had again risen so a decision was taken to close the Ladies’ Bathing Pond and undertake further testing.
If you are concerned about your health, seek medical advice. You can also report this to us by emailing the Hampstead Heath swimming team.
As per the Terms & Conditions of the Season Ticket, we will not be issuing refunds due to the temporary closure of the Ladies’ Bathing Pond. We have made arrangements for alternative ladies’ only swimming at the Lido and during the closure in September we extended opening hours at the Mixed Pond for a Ladies only session.
We will post updates on the Bathing Ponds on page and on our Twitter and Facebook pages. You could also join up for email updates on the Bathing Ponds and Lido. If you would like to receive email updates, please email the Hampstead Heath swimming team.
We also keep the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association Chair and Vice-Chair up to date so they can keep their Members informed.
We will continue to test and monitor the water quality at the Bathing Ponds to help determine when the Ladies’ Pond can reopen. The water testing results will continue to be made available through the City Corporation’s website.
We are undertaking a review of the incident of the sewer surcharge and the learning from this review will be embedded into our Normal Operating Procedures.
We will continue to liaise with Thames Water regarding their ongoing programme in relation to monitoring and maintenance of the sewer.