The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park has reopened for the summer

One of the most venerable places to have an outdoor splash about in London – the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park – has finally reopened to swimmers for the summer this week.

The lido will be operating until early September for just four hours a day, 10am-2pm, and those swimming there will have to book 45-minute slots in advance. Other changes to ‘normal’ are the restriction of the lido being lap swimming only, and there will be no pay-and-stay option for this summer’s season.

Created as an ornamental lake in 1730, the Serpentine has been a recreational landmark for central London for almost 300 years, used for boating and swimming. Not chlorinated or heated, it also attracts wildlife, including wading birds. The Serpentine Lido Swimming Club is the oldest in the capital, with early morning access to the lake from 6am, as well as holding the famous annual Peter Pan Cup, which sees hardy swimmers take to the freezing waters on Christmas Day morning.

But let’s not think about anything quite so cold and brr right now: if you want to enjoy the often-promised heatwave in the middle of Zone 1 and are looking to cool off in style, a dip in the Serpentine is just the ticket.

Serpentine Lido, Hyde Park. Until Sep 5. Pre-booked tickets (45mins) only. £5.

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