Don’t get us wrong, the British summertime is glorious; picnics galore, ice-cream on tap and long evenings watching the sun set on Primrose Hill. But there are times when even opening the front door can feel like you’ve just entered some sort of post-apocalyptic, Central Line, fiery dungeon, and all you want to do is curl up in the corner of the fridge and bathe in ice cubes. Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the top 13 pools, public fountains, splash pads and more in and around London so you can cool down at some of the coolest places. Slap on some sun-cream and don’t forget your trunks!
Hidden away in Verulamium Park in the heart of St Albans is a refrigeratory retreat to die for. Whether you just want to dip your toes in or make a huge splash standing under the giant water fountains - as soon as the temperature rises, this place will fulfil all your splashing needs and make you wish it were summer all year long. It’s fun for all ages and completely free, so it won’t make your pockets dry but we can’t guarantee that you won’t get a little wet!
Splish, splash and skip your way through Granary Square's famous fountains, located in Kings Cross and completely free. With over a thousand choreographed jets, squirting water in each and every direction, it’s the perfect way to cool off this summer right in the heart of London. Just remember to pack a change of clothes as who knows where the jets will strike next?
For a fab family swim with a view, head to Pools on the Park, where you'll find indoor and outdoor swimming pools set within the picturesque setting of Richmond Park. Whether it's a quick swim after school or a leisurely afternoon in the sunshine, there's plenty to keep everyone happy (and cool) here.
Bring all the family for some poolside fun at Hillingdon Lido. Restored to its former 1930s glory, the Grade II listed lido reopened in 2010 complete with cascades, a heated splash pool for the little ones and plenty of space to relax. Swim some laps in this unheated, Olympic-sized outdoor pool or head to heated shallow splash pool which provides safe and warm place for your mini swimmers to learn.
5. More London Riverside Fountains
Spurting from the ground below Big Ben, Tower Bridge and City Hall are the More London Riverside Jets. Whether you’re four years old or forty, it’s difficult to resist the jets. Even if it’s just a quick dash or skip, the unpredictability of the jets is enough to excite anyone. You'll have hours of splashy fun whilst taking in breath-taking views of London at the same time.
Make a splash at Vale Farm Sports Centre with the whole family. Complete with two swimming pools - a larger pool which is great for the older kids and a smaller teaching pool - perfect for little ones who are still getting to grips with the water - not to mention, floats and inflatables galore, this place will have you splashing for hours.
7. Hampstead Ponds
Something a little more refined but with all the splashing! Hampstead Ponds is the top place for alfresco, open-air swimming, set in the glorious grounds of Hampstead Heath. Open to ladies, men, mixed groups and ducks all year round, this chilly hotspot is the ideal place for brisk swimming or just some splashing about amongst beautiful scenery. Starting at just a quid a dip, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t head to this peaceful, pond paradise this summer.
Perfect on a sunny day, King George Recreation Ground in Bushey is a great hideaway that’s fun for all the family, namely due to its awesome splash park. Open daily till mid September and great for all ages, sprint through the sprinklers, get wet and wild in the tropical island splash zone and if you’ve got time take a shower under the flower petal fountains - we can’t guarantee it’ll leave you squeaky clean but we can guarantee it’ll be a whole load of fun!
9. Waterworks Fountains in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
The fountains in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park take frolicking about under the garden sprinkler to a new level. Set against the backdrop of the iconic Olympic stadium, there's some serious fun to be had with these fountains. And it lasts all evening long; at night, the fountains are lit up in neon, making for a fab water and lights show - check it out!
Discover London’s beloved natural swimming lido, right in the centre of Hyde Park. This picturesque lake has a large area for sunbathing with deckchairs, and a children's area with a small playground and chlorinated paddling pool, great for cooling off in the heat.
If you’ve got water babies in the family, a trip to this brilliant leisure pool is Deptford is sure to tick all the boxes for a fantastic day out. Make a splash in the fun-filled leisure pool, where you can ride the waves on the wave machine or fly down the flumes. For older kids, there are great inflatable fun days where they can bounce, slide and splash to their heart's content - wheee!
If you find yourself caught in a heatwave in Windsor with the kids in tow, this brilliant leisure centre is the place to go for a splash! The pool is kitted out with an epic wave machine that’ll have kids running back into the surf for more. There are also water slides for kids of all ages – with a smaller one for under fives and some bigger ones for older kids and thrillseekers! As well as the flumes, there are also plenty of water features, including an interactive water play station and a spa pool for grown ups if you get a minute!
Tucked away in central London is an oasis of calm for you and the kids to escape to. It's an open-air heated pool with a sun terrace - so you can either sit back and watch the kids play with a coffee in hand, or join in the water-filled fun! With almost thirty metres of shimmery blue water to play in, the kids will love cooling off in this hidden gem. The pool is heated all year round so you could even brave the waters in winter - brrr.