Whether you want to swim in a pool fit for an Olympian, a pond or an ex­clu­sive club, London is the place in which to make a splash. Ko­hi­noor Sa­hota dives right in

Where London - - Contents -

Dis­cover the places to splash around, from open-air ponds to Olympic-sized swim­ming pools.

There is some­thing quite ex­cit­ing about go­ing for a swim in a cool, calm­ing pool in the mid­dle of a big, bustling city. Whether it is out­doors, on a rooftop or even a for­mer Olympic one, London has a sur­pris­ing mix.

Swim­ming out­doors in the cap­i­tal is def­i­nitely for the brave, as the tem­per­a­tures are of­ten cold. One of the most pop­u­lar swim­ming pools is Hamp­stead Heath’s Ponds (High­gate Rd, NW5 1QR). The sur­round­ing wood­land is a mag­i­cal set­ting: when you stum­ble upon the lakes, which are hid­den by trees, it feels like you have found a se­cret spot. The men’s, women’s and mixed pools are the only pub­lic pools in London that are open ev­ery day. Other outdoor pools in­clude King’s Cross Pond Club ( Tap­per Walk, N1C 4BE) and Ser­pen­tine

Lido in Hyde Park (Hyde Park, W2 2UH). Who knows who you might bump into at the Bam­ford Hay­barn Spa in The Berke­ley ho­tel in Knights­bridge (p. 77)? The spa has al­ways been in fash­ion. One of its reg­u­lars was the late de­signer Alexan­der McQueen, and the orig­i­nal Cotswolds branch, Bam­ford Hay­barn Spa, is pop­u­lar with the likes of model Kate Moss. What the pool lacks in size – it is only 10m long – it makes up for with a post­card-wor­thy view over the Royal Parks.

On warmer days the rooftop opens up, so you can sun­bathe. Perch on one of the pool­side loungers, and en­joy food and drink that in­cludes healthy smooth­ies and sal­ads. While you are there, en­joy a mas­sage treat­ment or take advantage of the gym. If you fancy exclusivity, The Club on Park

Lane (140 Park Lane, W1K 7AA) in the Mar­riott London Park Lane boasts one of London’s most lux­u­ri­ous pools. Dimly-lit, blue hues give the im­pres­sion that this 12.5m-long heated pool is in­fi­nite. Re­cently ren­o­vated, it in­cludes steam rooms, a gym and treat­ment rooms for mas­sages. The pool is avail­able to ho­tel guests with a mem­ber­ship. Let out your in­ner Olympian at the London

Aquat­ics Cen­tre in­side the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (p. 27). It was here that the Amer­i­can swim­mer Michael Phelps be­came the most dec­o­rated Olympian, and diver Tom Da­ley won a bronze medal for Bri­tain. The late Dame Zaha Ha­did’s un­du­lat­ing build­ing can fit up to 2,500 spec­ta­tors and has sev­eral pools, in­clud­ing the com­pe­ti­tion pool that is of heroic pro­por­tions – it is 50m long and 3m deep. The more ad­ven­tur­ous can also try div­ing classes, as part of Tom Da­ley’s Div­ing Academy, which are avail­able for adults and chil­dren. It’s time to dive into London!

Clock­wise from top left: Bam­ford Hay­barn Spa; King’s Cross Pond Club; London Aquat­ics Cen­tre Bot­tom left and inset: The Club on Park Lane

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