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Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds are a bit of an institution in the village of Hampstead! Open all year round you’ll only spot a few brave and dedicated swimmers in the winter months but come summer in London the Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds are filled with people wanting to go swimming at Hampstead Heath and who can blame them, they are the best place to go swimming in London and certainly one of the most unique things to do in London!
Here are a few tips and pieces of information from a local so you know how to visit the Hampstead Heath Ponds including costs and opening times of the Hampstead Ponds!
Summer 2020 has brought some changes to the way we can swim at the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds to help maintain social distancing, this means that the ponds are now ticketed and you need to purchase a ticket on Eventbrite. I have given more details on this below.
Hampstead Heath Swimming
1. Buy a Ticket!
As of Summer 2020, Hampstead Heath Bathing ponds are now ticketed and you have to purchase a ticket in advance online otherwise you cannot get in.
Tickets to all 3 ponds can be purchased via Eventbrite here.
Tickets are £4.00 for adults and £2.40 for concession which is unfortunately more expensive than they once were at £2.00 and £1.00.
Each ticket session lasts 60 minutes so make sure you plan your day well around this to get the maximum use out of the ponds!
2. Go to the Right Pond.
There are 3 different swimming ponds on Hampstead Heath:
Hampstead Heath Mixed Pond which is closest to Hampstead Heath Overground Station,
Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond, also known as Kenwood Ladies Bathing Pond and Hampstead Heath Men’s Pond, also known as Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond on Google, 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 Men’s Pond and Hampstead Mixed Pond:
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!
3. Go on a Weekday or Early Morning if possible during Summer!
All of the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds get very busy during the Summer so keep this in mind when you’re thinking about when to visit Hampstead Heath Bathing Ponds and when is best to go swimming in Hampstead Heath.
If you can, I 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.
This will also increase your chances of getting Hampstead Heath Ponds tickets.
4. 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 are only small do get very busy when the sun comes out.
So to save the pressure of finding a spot in the bathing area, I’d recommend going into the Hampstead Swimming ponds and then choosing an area of grass outside in the park to sunbathe and relax on before going back in to swim when you get hot again. Of course, just be careful of your belongings!
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 Hampstead Bathing Ponds area.
5. 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!
6. Keep an Open Mind!
I found that 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 on Hampstead Heath are frequented by men in very small swimming shorts.
Both are totally fine and that’s the reason they are split which I love, but just keep this in mind in case you feel it would make you or people you go with uncomfortable and remember that here’s always the mixed ponds on Hampstead Heath!
7. Don’t forget about the Hampstead Heath Lido!
Hampstead Heath also has a lido which is a swimming pool outside, 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!
As of Summer 2020 Hampstead Heath Lido requires repurchased tickets to enter, buy tickets online here!
If Hampstead seems to far for you, here’s a post on the best lidos in London!
Although Hampstead Heath is a good place to start, there is much more to Hampstead than just the Heath.