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Updated 2020: 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 in London the ponds are filled with people wanting to go swimming at Hampstead Heath.
It took me 3 Summers of living in Hampstead and a heatwave to get me to finally take a dip in the ponds. I totally regretted not going sooner and have been back a few times since. They really are one of the most unique things to do in London!
So here are a few tips and pieces of information for your trip to the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds including costs and opening times.
Want to know what else you can do in Hampstead? See my post- 30 Things To Do in Hampstead London!
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 for Hampstead Ladies Pond, Hampstead Mens Pond and Hampstead mixed pond:
Take Change for the Machine!
A single-day ticket is £2.00 for an adult and £1.00 for a concession. There are ticket machines as you enter which only take coins. There is a card section too on the machine but I’ve seen it out of action before so I’d take change just in case.
Tip – If you’re not in London already and need to book train tickets to London, be sure to check out The Train Line. I use them all the time to compare the best train times, journey lengths and prices!
Go on a Weekday or Early Morning if possible during Summer!
All of the ponds 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 if you can only go on the weekend.
Sunbathe outside the Ponds!
Although there is plenty of space in the ponds to swim even when it’s busy, the grassy sunbathing areas close to the ponds do get very busy, so to save the pressure of finding a spot in the bathing area, I’d recommend going into the ponds and then choosing an area of grass outside in the park to sunbathe and relax on before going back in to swim.
I’d especially recommend this if you are meeting a group of friends to go swimming in Hampstead Heath when it’s a hot summers day, as it’s unlikely you’ll all get a good spot to sit in in the Bathing Ponds area.
Note the Hampstead Heath Ponds Opening Times!
Although the Hampstead Heath swimming 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. The Hampstead Heath Swimming Pool 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!
If Hampstead seems to far for you, here’s a post on the best lidos in London!
That’s it! I hope these points help you plan your trip to the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds!
Although Hampstead Heath is a good place to start, there is much more to Hampstead than just the Heath.
To help you see the best of Hampstead whilst you’re there have a look at these blog posts of mine!