Hampstead Ponds London

Image by Yasmin Ahmadzadeh

Hampstead Ponds – Take a dip with the ducks

The heath is an enormous expanse of greenery which provides a welcome break from city life. Situated north of the city, it’s a popular park year-round, and offers panoramic skyline views (Kite Hill), a stately home (Kenwood House) and a pristine outdoor swimming pool (Parliament Hill Lido). The main attraction for me, however, are the swimming ponds; what better way to truly escape London life that to go for a chilly dip with the ducks?

This may not sound immediately appealing, but trust me when I say you need to experience it to appreciate the joy of pond swimming. The heath has three ponds open to the public all year round – the ladies’ pond, the men’s pond and the mixed pond. The ladies’ is a secluded enclave of relaxation – women of all ages flock here in summer to soak up the rays and play ping-pong, whereas in winter it is only the hardcore fanatics that make it into the 6-degree water in the rain. Though I can’t say that I’m as brave as these admirable women, I have recently read a compelling article about the health benefits of cold-water swimming, so maybe this winter you’ll catch me taking a plunge despite the weather…

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Hampstead heath, London

Opening Times

Changes monthly, check the website for opening times


Year membership: £ 5


Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)