There’s something pretty special about submerging your body in water, swimming lengths, floating weightlessly, and feeling out what your body can do. It’s just the thing to take your mind off real life and - if our year 7 swimming lessons are anything to go by - build up a hunger like no other.
Whether you’re in it for a quick splash, a photo op, or to push yourself to the limit, we’ve got something for everyone in this lineup of London’s best pools.
Best for... a bargain swim
Nothing swish about this pool, just a no nonsense, reliable pool, divided up for lane swimming, complete with steam room and sauna for post workout aches. Membership rates are nice and low and you can even get stuck into climbing, trampolining and volleyball too.
Best for... decadent subterranean vibes
All smooth edges, sumptuous tiles and old bath house decor, a swim here really takes you back through the ages. Take a dip, grab a eucalyptus steam bath and kick back on the plush relaxation beds. In the evening this pool is all lit up, like a sultry scene from a Bond movie.
Best for... posing in the sun
The Soho House group is well known for its rooftop pools but we think White City House has the best. It’s perfect for posing, lounging and feeling like a superstar for a day. You need to be a member for this one, or put your best face on and make friends with one.
Best for... a warm winter dip
This outdoor pool is a firm favourite with the people of North East London so it can get quite busy. It’s heated so the temperature is just right throughout the year and there’s a small cafe out front to sort those post swim cravings.
Best for... art deco scenes
Set in the green hills of Brockwell Park, this lido is surrounded by photogenic art deco, Grade II-listed buildings. It has nice wide lanes for a more luxurious length, friendly staff and does a tasty and wholesome brunch at The Lido Cafe. You can even sit al fresco, gazing at the pool while you enjoy your poached eggs and avo.
Best for... panoramic sunrise views
You’ve hit the big time with this one. Set up on the 20th floor, this pool has beautiful panoramic views of the city, along with a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and bookable beauty treatments. Whenever you decide to swim, all day dining restaurant Mthr is the perfect post-swim stop off for a hearty breakfast, dinner or evening cocktails. To swim here you can move in or simply book a night’s stay.
Best for... communing with nature
This one is a real taste of the wild. Get reacquainted with nature and swim amongst reeds, ducks and the beautiful trees of Hampstead Heath. No need to worry about lengths or tumble turns here, just follow a network of buoys around the expansive lake. There’s a men’s, women’s and mixed pond and each dotted about the heath.
Best for... training for the olympic team
Make your way to Crystal Palace for a range of sports (athletics, climbing, beach volleyball) all set within a 1960s Grade-II listed building. There are four pools to choose from here: a 50m racing pool with an impressive Swiss timing system; a teaching pool; a training pool; and - for the brave - a diving pool with springboards and platforms.
Best for... pretending you’re in the south of France
If you’re feeling flash, check out this 5-star hotel, made for the upper crust darling. Its pool is beautifully tiled in white and gold and surrounded by loungers and arched windows. Peer through them and you’ll see the bright greens of Hyde Park. The best bit? A retractable cover so you can make the most of sunny days but still stay warm in winter.