Despite working in Hampton, I have only recently discovered the Hampton Pool, or the Hampton Lido as it is also known. Known as “South West London’s best-kept secret” the Hampton Pool is situated next to Royal Bushy Park and is open 365 days a year. Even though it is an outdoor pool it is also heated meaning it is suitable for swimming all year round.
Visiting the lido always reminds me of being a child and countless summer days spent at Tooting Bec Lido, so when the heatwave hit the UK I knew I had to head to one for both nostalgic and cooling reasons. However, I arrived very unprepared for my visit in the height of the summer, so thought I would put together this guide so you can get the most out of your visit to the Hampton Pool.
Check the timetable before visiting
The timetable for the Hampton Pool changes on a weekly basis, depending on what other activities are happening, so be sure to check the timetable before visiting. At certain points of the day, the pool will only be open for adults or completely closed to the public so swimming lessons can take place. Checking the timetable before you arrive is essential to ensure you will be allowed access to the Hampton Lido.
Arrive early in Summer
I visited during the summer holidays on a day where the pool opened at 12 pm for the public. I ended up arriving around 11.30 am because there was light traffic, however, there was already a queue of around 50 people waiting to get in at this point. It is vital you purchase you swimming ticket from the main entrance before joining the queue. Once the queue becomes too long and tickets sell out, tickets will stop being sold and you will be turned away until the pool is no longer at full capacity. I would strongly advise arriving at around 30 – 45 minutes before opening time during peak times such as the summer holidays or weekends during the summer.
Admission price changes depending on different peaks, I visited during the week in the summer and paid £6.50 for one session, however, at times this can rise to £7.50 or fall to £5.50 at quieter times. This price is also reduced for children and senior citizens. A family ticket for 2 adults and 3 children is also available.
There is a small car park directly outside the Hampton Pool, but again on busy days, this does fill quickly. There are many local roads around the area where you can park free of charge. The nearest train station is Hampton, which is roughly a 15-minute walk away from the outdoor pool.
Tips for inside the Hampton Pool
Once inside there is the outdoor pool and a large green open space just behind, people tend to sit more in the green area rather than around the pool. When you head in through the main entrance if you head to the left-hand side behind the pool you will find a nice area which gets a good amount of shade rather than being in the direct sun.
You will need to pay an additional £6 to rent a sun lounger, which I found quite expensive, so I opted to just lay on my towel. I would recommend bringing a large blanket to lay on, as most people were doing, or bring along a camping chair – this is allowed. I even saw one person who brought their own fold-up sunbed!
There are lockers inside the changing rooms which cost £1 to rent for the day, however, the changing rooms are located on the opposite side of the bathing area. I visited on my own, so whenever I wanted to go into the pool I had to decide whether to place my things in one of the lockers or leave it in the bathing area. I did just decide to leave it where it was, so I did not lose my spot, but as it was so busy I did worry slightly about leaving all my valuables unattended. If you are visiting the Hampton Pools solo I would travel as light as possible.
Also, do not worry about visiting the pool solo, there were so many people spending the day there by themselves in the sun.
What I really liked about the Hampton lido is the swimming lanes are always present. There will always be a fast, medium and slow lane open. This was great on the day I went, as I mentioned it was really busy in the main area, but with the lanes being present I was still able to swim lengths.
There is always a small children’s pool as well, which of course if a lot shallower and warmer.
Heading out of Central London for the day? Why not also visit the Mayfield Lavender Farm
With regards to food, you can bring in your own and many people opt to bring in picnics during the summer. There is also a cafe which serves hot and cold food, but to be honest, I ate there, the food was okay but it was over-priced for what it is was (£6.50 for a cheese sandwich and a banana). I would advise bringing your own to bring costs down. At certain days over the summer, there is also a BBQ serving burgers and hot dogs.
As always I recommend bringing a Chillis reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, they did actually refill this for me in the cafe as well.
Be sure to check out the other activities which also are held at the Hampton Lido throughout the year, as well as swimming related, such as aqua aerobics classes and competitions, during summer they also host a variety of concerts in the evening.
Although my favourite? The moonlight dip events. Each month, around the full moon the Hampton Pool will hold a fun seasonal swim event, such as an adult only inflatables session, during the colder months they will also provide hot chocolate while you swim under the stars in a heated pool. A pretty unique thing to do in London right?
I don’t know whether outdoor pools in the UK have come on a lot since my days at Tooting Bec Lido as a kid, but I was really impressed with the facilities at the Hampton Pool. It makes for a fun and refreshing day out during the summer, for both adults and families. Also, with the pool being heated 365 days a year, it makes for a great alternative way to keep fit during the colder months.
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