Lovely lidos!

28 Jun

paddling pool

I’ve always been vaguely aware that you can swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, but never investigated further.  I was in Hyde Park  on a hot day recently and caught glimpses of people swimming in the Serpentine through the ivy screening at the edge of the lake.  It looked so inviting that I decided that we had to come back as a family.

My solo swim in the lake was every bit as wonderful as I had hoped.  The water was cool and dark, with shoals of minnows and water weeds under the surface and waterboatmen skating on top.  It was surprisingly peaceful, with only the muted sound of children enjoying the paddling pool up the hill, and a band performing at the other end of the park occasionally breaking the silence.  That and the odd duck quacking as it swam past.

 The children had a ball both in the paddling pool and the lake itself, squealing at the sliminess of the pond weed and hunting for aquatic creatures.

London has around 16 Lidos, mostly open during the summer months.  The Hyde Park Lido is swum in year round by members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, including their legendary Christmas Day race, in water usually below 4°C.  The facility is open to the public from May to September, and for the princely sum of £9 for a family of six, you have access to a children’s paddling pool with fountains, playground and sandpit, lovely fenced gardens, clean changing rooms, cafe, outdoor shower, lifeguards and a 100m long fenced off swimming area on the south side of the lake.  And where else in the world can you swim in a Queen’s garden pond?

swimming with ducks


9 Responses to “Lovely lidos!”

  1. Laura Driver 28/06/2009 at 10:16 pm #

    We have a lido about 30 minutes away … I really should take the kids

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 29/06/2009 at 10:12 am #

      It’s no-brainer entertainment. We had to drag them away after four hours.

  2. Dancinfairy 29/06/2009 at 9:12 am #

    What a great way to keep cool and relaxed in a very warm London at the moment. The water does look very inviting. I just have to make do with my paddling pool in the back garden.

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 29/06/2009 at 10:11 am #

      I was 8 months pregnant with my almost three year old during our last heatwave. It wasn’t fun, I feel for you!

  3. Sharon 29/06/2009 at 9:48 am #

    We used to have an open air swimming pool here, but a few years ago they closed it, and turned it into a skateboarding park!

    • itsasmallworldafterallfamily 29/06/2009 at 10:10 am #

      Skateboarding is probably more useful in the UK for most of the year, but there’s nothing to beat a lido when it’s HOT!

  4. Maternal Tales 30/06/2009 at 11:45 pm #

    Two things to say to you here…First thing – there’s an award for you over at mine…Second thing – I love Lidos – we live overlooking one and if you follow the link that you’ve given in your post and you go to our one (won’t say which one it is but I’m sure you can work it out) – you can see our house in the first photo!! Strange, but true!

  5. insider53 09/07/2009 at 10:12 am #

    I loved taking the kids to swim at the lakes there was so much to do.


  1. Splish splash splosh « It's a small world after all - 08/02/2010

    […] I swim outdoors whenever I can.  We don’t get many opportunities in Britain, although the Serpentine Lido is pretty memorable.  But on a snowy February London day, swimming in Hyde Park or Lake Walensee […]

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