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Parliament Hill Lido

Coordinates: 51°33′23″N 0°09′05″W / 51.556359°N 0.151379°W / 51.556359; -0.151379
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Parliament Hill Lido
51°33′23″N 0°09′05″W / 51.556359°N 0.151379°W / 51.556359; -0.151379
LocationParliament Hill Fields
Gordon House Road, NW5 1LP
Operated byCity of London Corporation
StatusGrade II listed
Length61 metres (200 ft)
Width27.4 metres (90 ft)
Depth1 metre (3.3 ft) − 2 metres (6.6 ft)
WebsiteOfficial website
Stainless steel lining, fountain

Parliament Hill Lido, located in Hampstead Heath, north London, is next to Gospel Oak railway station. The lido, also known as Hampstead Heath Lido, is a public unheated open air swimming pool, open for 12 months a year. It first opened in 1938.


This unheated pool is 200 by 90 feet (61 m × 27 m) and is owned and operated by the City of London Corporation, who also own the whole of Hampstead Heath.

The lido is open for the summer season from mid May to mid September.

From September to April it is open from 7am to 12 noon for early morning swims only, one of only three unheated winter swimming venues in London, the others being Brockwell Lido in Herne Hill and Tooting Bec Lido.

Another swimming venue, the Highgate Ponds are a short walk away.

There is a users' group for the lido (and the ponds), the United Swimmers' Association of Hampstead Heath.


Lido frontage in 2007

The lido was opened on 20 August 1938. The lido was designed by Harry Rowbotham and TL Smithson (London County Council Parks Department) and is nearly identical in design to Victoria Park Lido and Brockwell Lido. There was a diving stage, chutes and a café, with areas for sunbathing and spectators.[1][2]

Costing £34,000 to construct, this was the most expensive of the then London County Council's 13 lidos built in the 1920–39 period.[citation needed]

In 1976, after the death of a 15-year-old boy,[3] further safety measures were taken, including removing most of the diving facilities and increasing staff. The last diving board was removed in 2003.

Refurbishments after the late 1980s included hot showers, cycle racks, a paddling pool and CCTV.[4][5] In 1986, after the abolition of the Greater London Council (who had inherited ownership from the LCC), the lido was transferred to the London Residuary Body and then in 1989 to the Corporation of London.

The lido was Grade II listed in January 1999.[6]

49,000 visitors were recorded in 2003.[citation needed]

In 2005, the custom for free swimming before 9.30am was dropped and a £2 entry fee introduced. Refurbishment in 2005 included a stainless steel pool lining, the first of its kind for an outdoor pool in Britain.[1]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Janet (2006), Liquid assets: the lidos and open air swimming pools of Britain, English Heritage, p. 152, ISBN 978-0-9547445-0-2
  2. ^ Andy Hoines (February 2005). "Some additional notes on Parliament Hill Lido". www.lidos.org.uk. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Boy freed after identity parade". The Times. 28 September 1976. p. 1. A boy aged 16 who had been interviewed by police officers inquiring into the death of Enrico Sidoli, aged 15, at a lido in Parliament Hill Fields, London, was released last night. {{cite news}}: External link in |newspaper= (help)
  4. ^ Holford, Elizabeth (28 December 2008). "Parliament Hill Lido, London, July". The Observer.
  5. ^ "Join the debate: Take me to your lido". Times Online. 27 July 2005.
  6. ^ Dan Carrier (14 May 2009). "Now Lido offers a summer evening dip". Camden New Journal.

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