It’s a warm, golden, summer’s day.
You call up your friends, grab your beach towel, hastily put together a picnic (with wine) and head to the lido.
And as you return home, burnished by the sun and giddy from the feel of water between your toes, you lovingly pack away your swimsuit for the remaining 364 days of the year.
Solving the problem of the great British summer is Hampton Pool, London’s only lido to be heated all year round. Nestled down in deepest south-west London, it’s a bit of a mission to get there – but you’ll be amply rewarded when you slip into the steaming water on a crisp autumn day (or, you know, in July).
Built as part of the lido boom in the 20s, the pool’s surrounded by art deco buildings and a huge open lawn, on which you can sunbathe between swims or bring your own picnic. The pool’s divvied into three swimming lanes and a ‘free swim’ area where you can lounge about or refine those underwater handstands you perfected in Majorca in 2002. Particularly attractive in the cooler months is the lido’s sauna room, where you can heat up before the chilly dash into the pool.
Most importantly, in the festive season the lido opens for ‘Moonlight Swims’. From around 10pm till 12am, under the light of the full moon, you can get into the water or just dip your toes in with a cocktail and a midnight snack or two.
Should you need a little post-swim sustenance during the day, the Sun Deck Café should do the trick. Here they serve everything from cakes and sandwiches to Full English breakfasts, hot lunch food and ice cream, all on the roof terrace overlooking the pool.
It’s the closest place London has to the Hamptons.
NOTE: Hampton Pool is open all day, every day of the year. Entry fees vary with season and time of day, but usually hover around the £5 mark. Find out more on their website HERE, or book tickets to a Moonlight Swim by downloading their app.
Hampton Pool | High Street, Hampton, Middlesex, TW12 2ST
Main image: Duncan/Flickr
Like the great outdoors? See our suggestions for the best things to do in a London heatwave