Swimming is one of the best kinds of exercise because it uses many muscle groups, rarely results in injury and provides an excuse to find out what your crush looks like in a swimming costume.
Seriously though, swimming strengthens the respiratory system and kicks your metabolism in to gear, helping you break down that winter puppy fat. One of the many great things about living in London is that there are so many swimming pools to choose from. Indoor or outdoor, luxury or plain old pond, there’s something to suit everyone’s tastes.
Here are the top 4 swimming pools in London:
1. London Fields Lido
If you want to swim outside all year round, but you don’t want nipples with the carbon density of diamonds, then this might be the place for you. This heated Olympic sized outdoor pool is even open in the winter months.
But it’s even better in the summer, particularly if you live in Hackney. You can spend a lazy day in Victoria Park, followed by a brisk swim and a visit to some of the trendy hipster pubs in the immediate vicinity of the Lido.
2. Hampstead Heath Ponds
OK, so these are literally just some ponds in a park, but they are something special and uniquely London. The ponds are open all year round for swimming, but there have been medical warnings given to the “polar bear clubs” which swim in sub zero temperatures. Make sure you have a strong heart before you try anything like that!
In the summer, it’s a truly delightful place to cool off. You can choose from a unisex pool frequented by fun loving young people or male only and women only pools around the corner, the latter sheltered from prying eyes by surrounding foliage.
Natural swimming is coming back in fashion and this is the most urban place to give it a try.
3. York Hall in Bethnal Green
The pool in this historic building has been there since it opened in 1929. It was reopened in 2005 after York Hall underwent a major multi-million pound refurbishment in a joint project between Tower Hamlets council and Greenwich Leisure.
Many of the building’s historical features were also lovingly restored making it a truly exceptional place for a swim. Don’t be surprised if you see some rough looking old blokes going in and out the hall though, this is also one of Britain’s best known and oldest boxing venues.
4. Golden Lane Leisure Centre
Close to the ominous towers of the Brutalist beast that is the Barbican, you can find this attractive, light filled roof top swimming pool. It may be only 20 metres long, but it’s quite cheap for the area at £8 a swim, especially if you live or work close by. This small pool is a good for beginners as there are a variety of swimming lessons taught throughout the week.
If you want to get a beach body in time for summer, then now’s the time to put some work in. Strap your goggles on and step into your Speedos, the water’s lovely!
Tom Rowsell is a writer and film maker living in London. Keen on health and fitness, he ran the Rome marathon in 2013 and writes for several sporting blogs. His background in language and history led to him becoming manager of the Empowerlingua translation blog http://www.empowerlinguatranslation.com/
If you’re interested in getting in touch or writing a guest post for The London Diaries, tweet me at @stephanie_khani or email me at emailthelondondiaries [at] gmail.com! I love getting emails and am always open to new ideas and post pitches.