London with kids? 5 great places to cool down on a hot summer day
Booked a family city break to London this summer and worried about the city being hot, hot, hot?
Fear not – for London is a city full of great places to cool down – some of them even completely free of charge.
For outdoor swimming, it’s hard to beat London’s lovely lidos – al fresco swimming has been a thing here since the mid 1930s, when councils up and down the country set up hundreds of outdoor pools for their residents to enjoy.
There are also a number of great splash pool and fountains where kids are welcome to splash about, but be aware, these all get busy on sunny days, so get here early:
Hands down the most popular thing for kids to do at King’s Cross is to splash and play in the fountains at Granary Square. There are an incredible 1,080 choreographed jets, each individually controlled and lit. The jets squirt and splash in patterns, surprising and delighting kids of all ages. It’s the perfect way to cool off on a warm day.
Bring a picnic, there are tables around the square. Or take advantage of some of the nearby food markets.
2. Hampton Pool
Located in Hampton’s Bushy Park, at Hampton Pool you'll find a 36m outdoor lido (open year-round and heated to 28 degrees), a shallow learning pool for younger kids and babies, and a lovely grassed area for relaxing in the sun, enjoying a picnic, or kicking around the football.
This interactive sculpture, created by Danish artist Jeppe Hein, has returned to Southbank Centre after popular appearances in previous summers.
Shooting jets of water into the air, the fountain creates rooms that disappear as quickly as they emerge.
If you guess wrong you might get soaked – but that’s all part of the fun.
This unique memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales was opened by Her Majesty The Queen in 2004.
Located in Hyde Park on the banks of the Serpentine, the monument is made from 545 Cornish granite stones, and was designed ‘to express Diana’s spirit and love of children’. A perfect place for cooling your feet off on a hot day, bring the kids, a few snacks, find a spot and just soak up London in the sunshine.
At this Brixton-adjacent swimming spot you'll find a 50-metre outdoor pool, The café here is actually rather well regarded, and the surrounding park is a splendid place to spend the rest of your afternoon. A swim here costs £6.10, unless you go between 6am and 10am (£3.20) or after 5pm (£3.40) on a weekday.