Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds are a bit of an institution in the village of Hampstead, London. Open all year round you’ll only spot a few brave, dedicated swimmers in the winter months but come summer the ponds are filled with people!
Despite this being my third Summer living in Hampstead I’d never actually gone in one of the swimming ponds until this week in the midst of the heat wave we’re having. One of the reasons I hadn’t been until now is my fear of cold water, the second reason is that in some ways I felt a bit intimidated as up until now the only time I could go was on a weekend and I knew from looking into the ponds that weekends are pretty busy, especially in the summer.
With that being said, I loved spending the afternoon in the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds and I totally regret not going sooner!
So here are a few tips and pieces of information for your trip to the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds including costs and opening times.
Go to the Right Pond!
There are 3 different swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath, a mixed pond which is closest to Hampstead Heath Overground Station, a Ladies Pond and a Male Pond, both of which are closer to the Highgate and Kenwood end of Hampstead Heath.
See the map below to see where each of the ponds are.
Take Change for the Machine!
A single ticket is £2.00 for an adult and £1.00 for a concession. There are ticket machines as you enter which only take coins (although there was a card section but stickers to say the card machine didn’t work so I’d take change anyway).
Go on a Weekday or Early Morning if possible during Summer!
As I mentioned, the ponds do get very busy during the Summer! If you can I’d recommend going on a weekday over going on a weekend, and to go earlier in the morning, especially on the weekend.
Sunbathe outside the Ponds!
Although there is plenty of space in the actual pond, the grassy, sunbathing areas do get very busy so to save the pressure of finding a spot in the baths area, I’d recommend going into the ponds and then choosing an area of grass outside to sunbathe and relax on before going back in again.
I’d especially recommend this if you are meeting a group of friends, if it’s a hot summers day it’s unlikely you’ll all get a good spot to sit in the Bathing Ponds area.
Note the Opening Times!
Although the ponds are open all year round they do open and close at different times throughout the year. For more information on the opening times of the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds have a look here!
Keep an Open Mind!
A lot of ladies sunbathe topless in the grassy area of the ladies bathing ponds on Hampstead Heath as it’s completely covered by trees during the summer and I have noticed that the male ponds are frequented by a lot of males in very small swimming shorts, which is totally fine and that’s the reason they are split which I love, but just keep this in mind and if you aren’t sure you’d like this then head to the mixed ponds!
Don’t forget about the Lido!
Hampstead Heath also has a Lido, it’s located at the Parliament Hill section of Hampstead Heath closer to Gospel Oak and is a lot better if you have children and want to take them for a swim outside in Hampstead! For more information on Hampstead Heath Lido, have a look here!
And that’s it! I hope these points help you plan your trip to the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds!
There is also so much more to Hampstead than just Hampstead Heath, even though it is amazing! To help you see the best of Hampstead have a look at these blog posts!