Many people decide to take up swimming as their new health regime once the sun starts its thing and the weather warms up, and London encourages them by opening up its bounty of beautiful outdoor lidos. 

Some of these are heated, others are dependent entirely on the skies above to do the work for them; some are open year-round, others are just fair-weather friends. Our Top 5 are all captivating and welcoming, regardless of whether you’re in it for the series swim or more into some poolside posing. 

One for the wilder waders among you, the designated swimming area of the Serpentine Lido in the main pond of Hyde Park isn’t reserved for the human of the species: a dip in here involves sharing splashing space with the odd duck, goose, and (presumably) plenty of fish. The plus is that means the water is unchlorinated, the minus is it’s not heated either. Public access is therefore generally restricted to the summer months, with added extras such as a playground, paddling pool and deckchairs to top up the tan and recover your body temperature, leaving you more reason to linger that little bit longer in this most quintessential slice of London life.

Similar to the situation at the Serpentine, the three Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds set aside for swimmers on the Heath are natural, unheated, unchemical and shared with nature. There are two ponds on the Highgate side, one for men, one for the ladies, with the third mixed one closer to Hampstead and Belsize Park. The setting is gorgeous, the dedicated troupe of regulars friendly and fun, and the late-night opening at the mixed pond on Wednesdays (until 8.30 pm) in July is a London Summer event absolutely not to be overlooked. 

Sitting pretty just south of Brixton, the 50-metre outdoor pool at Brockwell Lido is in a charming setting, surrounded by art-deco Grade II-listed buildings and exercise studios that provide year-round dance and pilates classes and other child-friendly activities. But there’s more than just a sports and health focus at this lido: from film nights to furniture fairs, there is a real community feel, plus you can indulge post-exertion at the Lido Café (winner of a Time Out Eating and Drinking award for 'Best park cafe' in 2011) to boot!

The Parliament Hill Lido is itself a Grade II-listed building, dating from 1938 and beautifully refurbished in 2005 with the only outdoor stainless steel pool liner in the country and stretches a grandiose 60 metres by 28 metres. The lido is unheated, there's a paddling pool for under-fives and a cafe. Finally, the Oasis Sport Centre has a  27.5m heated lido hidden away behind an unpromising-looking building just steps from Holborn and Covent Garden and is something of a secret to Londoners who live and work in the area. Housed within the Oasis Sports centre, there is also an indoors pool and outdoor cafe at this complex, as well as a sun terrace with separate areas for adults and those with kids, plus the whole of the outdoors area was recently renovated (in 2011).

every hotel Piccadilly is ideally located in the very heart of London, just a hop, skip or a swim away from all these lidos and more still! Why not have a look through our latest offers and come and see for yourself?