It was a bit of a grey day when I visited Parliament Hill Lido in Hampstead Heath, unlike the Hampstead Heath ponds, this is a proper swimming pool 🙂 In my mission to swim 365km in 2017 I went to this lido twice during my London trip.
Although it looks a bit like a prison on the outside the inside is actually pretty nice….
The Parliament Hill Lido is 61m long, or 200 feet and was built in 1938, it has been refurbished a few times since then with the most recent and unusual in 2005 when the pool was given a stainless steel lining – hard to see in photos, but when you are swimming along the bottom of the pool looks like silver metal with holes in it. Maybe like swimming in a giant tea strainer?!
The pool is unheated and is open all year round (brrr), in the winter it is just open in the morning and unlike Tooting Bec Lido there is no sauna to warm up in! The days that I swam it was a balmy 19 degrees, refreshing some might say.
Parliament Hill Lido Unusual Features
Other than the stainless steel floor there is the lack of lanes and the depth of the shallow end. The lack of lanes, well there were 2 lanes, once for swimmers and once for the rest… the swimmers lane was about 3 times wider than a normal swimming lane – you still swam around it in a clockwise fashion, but there was lots of room to overtake… Seemed odd to me.
The shallow end of the pool was super shallow to the point where if I was swimming freestyle my hands touched the bottom of the pool! So basically I swam for about 57m normally then had to either do an odd side swinging arm motion or switch to breaststroke for 10 metres (up, across and back) then go back to normal freestyle. I found it odd that they didn’t just make the shallow end deeper when they put the stainless steel floor in, I mean surely that has been a problem for years?
There is, however, a lovely cafe at the Lido where you can enjoy watching the swimmers with tea and cake as shown here.
If I was in London again I would go back, it is only a short walk from my brother’s house, but be warned it does cost £7 (AUS$14) to get in, so could make for an expensive time if you go a few times a week.
PS I wore my Green Ocean Waves LOLL walking along the street to and from the Lido and I didn’t even get a second look!