Tooting Bec Lido

Sport and fitness Streatham Park
3 out of 5 stars
(6user reviews)
AT_lidos_tootingbeclido_CREDIT_Ed Marshall.jpg
© Ed Marshall

South London’s vast pool, with its iconic, Pantone-coloured changing huts, has been treasured by fortunate locals since it opened as a bathing lake in 1906. At just over 90m, it’s this country’s largest outdoor freshwater pool and inspires devoted swimming all through the year, although to swim in winter you must be a member of the well established South London Swimming Club, which has been based at the lido almost as long as it has existed. Facilities include a paddling pool for kids, a café, and lockers for small valuables.


Venue name: Tooting Bec Lido
Address: Tooting Bec Rd
SW16 1RU
Opening hours: May 1- September 30 (May – August: 6am - 8pm; September: 6am or dawn – 5pm)
Transport: Tube: Tooting Bec
Price: £4.60–£7.50
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Average User Rating

3.3 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:1
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2 of 2 found helpful

OK - there are super long queues on hot days, but it's only to be expected. And it's an outdoor pool, so of course there are going to be leaves in the pool. But Tooting Bec lido is a classic. The iconic coloured doors make you feel like you are bathing in an old movie. Families and little ones tend to congregate around the smaller paddling pool leaving the large main pool for serious swimmers, sun worshipers and teenagers (who tend to stay out of the way in their 'own area' at the end of the pool). Just remember that the water is heated by the sun, so don't dive right in or you may get a chilly surprise!

Decent cafe, decent loos, but no sun beds, so bring something comfy to sit on. And if you have a membership to the local council gym, entry is free. 

2 of 2 found helpful

Is a big swimming pool, stiil gets over crowded on hot days . It can get very dirty , rubbish all over and there's no cleaning from the staff . Toilets will also need more care... When too hot & weekend, you may wait over an hour in a queue, & security have no control about who entry's . Very expensive for what they offer ...

1 of 1 found helpful

Yup, we all know this is crowded and loud and, well, pretty darn horrible in the summer when hundreds of clammy Londonites cram into a tiny place because there’s a water space in it. Do you know what? If you grab yourself a winter membership at just £75 there are no queues EVER, often beautiful sunshine, your own changing cubicles and fabulously hot showers. The members take over the cafe for tea/coffee/toast and cake (there’s always lots of delicious homemade cake, especially on Sundays) and we have the pool to ourselves with no more than a handful of swimmers or even none at all. That’s right, the whooooooole lido to yourself. Feels like the longest private pool in the world.

It’s delightfully refreshing and the high you get from a cold water dip in beautiful surroundings last hours. Everyone is super friendly and welcoming too, regardless of if you swim like Duncan Goodhew (showing my age now) or a dog going after a stick.

The photos were taken in late October and are typical of the lido at its best. I dare you to take the plunge!

Tip: breathe out as you enter the water and imagine it to be a hot bath, it will help your body cope with the ever-decreasing temperatures


When the temperature creeps over a meagre 25 degrees, and the sun peeps out from behind the clouds, the hordes of South London descend up Tooting Lido; the best way to feel as if you are abroad during summer in London. I was there a couple of weeks ago, and genuinely felt I could have been in the Mediterranean, with the hot sun sparkling off the actual swimmable- temperature water.

The queues can get ridiculous, so make sure you are up with the early bird to avoid shuffling along with your picnic basket for hours. But even then, on a sweltering day, there is nothing better than dipping into that ice cold water and going for a swim in this huge pool. The multi-coloured bathing cubicle doors add a touch of old school style to the atmosphere.

There are no seats or loungers, so make sure you bring cushions and towels. The little café serves up classic pool food, such as salty chips with vinegary ketchup and gooey cheese and ham paninis- just what you want after you have tired yourself out with a couple of laps.

Tooting Lido is a little weathered, a fresh lick of paint wouldn’t go a miss, but it is the sense of community and heritage which makes this such a great sunspot during the summer. 

0 of 1 found helpful

Really disappointed by my trip to Tooting Lido yesterday, I feel that they really let themselves down. 

With the sun shining and it being the hottest day of the year I was really excited to go for a swim at the lido after work. I checked their website, checked twitter and other social media in advance to make sure that they would still be letting people in, and as there was nothing to suggest otherwise, I made the hour long journey at 5.30pm. 

I arrived at 6.30 pm to one of the most ridiculous ques I have ever seen. There were honestly about 1,000 people waiting to go in, with the pool set to close at 7.30 pm.

I get it. It's London. Nobody has a garden. Nobody has a pool. Everyone wants to cool down and the city's lidos are the place to go, but Tooting Lido need to take some responsibility here.

Travelling to the front of the que (it was a good few minutes walk from back to front), I asked how long the wait was. A young boy at the front said he had been there an hour and a half. IN 34 DEGREES HEAT!

Its fine, that boy will have got his swim, that isn't what annoyed me. 

What annoyed me was that the man at the front of the que was still telling people to join the end of the que... Despite it being massive! That's just cruel... It was 1 in 1 out for goodness sake, they're never getting in! Do you think its fair to make them stand around de-hydrating for nothing?

My advice to Tooting Lido is this.

An extra lifeguard will cost you £7.20 an hour (you were advertising this outside the pool). Hire yourself an extra lifeguard and include 'que duty' on their rotation. When it gets to 5pm, turn people away. 

Be responsible. Use your common sense. Don't be greedy. 

People won't return. I certainly won't.

0 of 1 found helpful

Perfect place for a summer ice cold dip! Very crowded on a sunny summer saturday

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