As Brockwell Lido turns 80, we take a look at the local landmark’s history and the plans to mark the occasion with a race against Parliament Hill Lido
What is it?
A 50-metre unheated outdoor swimming pool in a lovely art deco Grade II-listed building, with a gym, spa, pool-side sauna and bloody great café.
Where is it?
Set in the green fields of Brockwell Park near Herne Hill, Brockwell Lido has been south London’s go-to refreshing bathing spot since it opened in 1937.
Why should I swim there?
When London starts to swelter, Brockwell Lido is one of the coolest spots, literally. On a sunny day, people make pilgrimages to soak up the sweet art deco vibes and take a delightfully cold dip. More hardy swimmers make a splash all year round. If you fancy an off-season swim, regulars recommend going in May to acclimatise (or to just wear a wetsuit in the winter months). If you’re wondering how cold the water is, @Brockwell_Lido do daily temperature tweets. Be warned, though, it does get rather chilly.
What if I don’t like swimming?
There’s more to this lido than just a pool. As well as the hydrotherapy tub, gym, barrel sauna and Lido Café, the space is used throughout the year for events like the Modern Movement Design Fair and film screenings from Luna Cinema including ‘Jaws’ (Wed Jul 5), ‘Splash’ (Jul 13) and ‘The Graduate’ (Jul 27).
Why should I go this week?
Monday July 10 marks exactly 80 years since the Mayor of Lambeth officially opened the Lido by chucking in an unsuspecting 15-year-old schoolgirl (she was fine). To celebrate, they’ll be hosting a north v south race where Parliament Hill Lido will battle Brockwell. There’ll also be zumba, synchronised swimming, live music and the current Mayor, Councillor Marcia Cameron, will be in attendance. She may or may not be pushing someone in, so watch your back.
Brockwell Lido. Herne Hill rail. Celebrations start at 4pm on Mon Jul 10. £6.
Don’t live near Brockwell? Try a front crawl in one of these outdoor pools instead.