Barbeques, shorts, and the long-awaited return of the ice cream van are all inevitable when the sun shines in London. Even if it's March and the temperature is 6°C. However, London does become hot on sometimes - yeah, on occasion.
And on those hot summer days when the pavements are blistering and London turns al fresco, nothing beats a swim. Even if there is no natural coastline in the city, a chlorinated pool isn't your only alternative. Here are seven of our favourite wild swimming sites in London, ranging from rivers to reservoirs.
The 50-acre lake in the centre of Hyde Park is impossible to miss, yet few people realise you can swim in it. The enormous cordoned-off lake may be seen near the Lido Cafe. It's cold, unchlorinated, and prone to summer visits from ducks and geese, but it's unquestionably beautiful.
The Serpentine Swimming Club, Britain's oldest swimming club, meets every day from 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for serious wild swimmers. A gated family area with a chlorinated paddling pool, sandpit, and sun loungers is also available for rent.
Overheated For generations, Londoners have flocked to the city's high heaths to cool down. The mixed pond is available all summer long, and there is also a modest changing room. The Highate pools, often known as single-sex pools, are open all year. Head to the farmers market every Saturday for a warm cup of coffee and a slice of cake after your swim.
This one necessitates a trip to zone 6, but it still counts as London — almost. The 60-acre lake, which is located on the outskirts of Ruislip Woods, has its own man-made beach. It was established in 1811 as a reservoir but didn't become a popular swimming spot until the 1960s.
In the summer, it's still a very popular site, so get there early to secure your space. Within walking distance are a wooded trail, miniature railways, bar, picnic spaces, and a cafe.
The River Colne in Rickmansworth is much further out, at the terminus of the Metropolitan Line. To get there, you'll have to walk 6 miles from Rickmansworth Aquadrome, but it's a lovely stroll through woodlands, buttercup fields, and babbling brooks.
At Bury Lake, the wild swimming place is soon after the footpath. There's a strong stream, but the water is shallow, making it ideal for a calm and refreshing swim.
Stoke Newington West Reservoir has long been a popular urban sailing and kayaking venue for experienced swimmers. It has also served as an open-air swimming pool since 2013.
It's part of the Woodberry Wetlands, a scenic spot with 23 acres of water. The pool is best for swimmers preparing for open-water contests, but it's also worth a visit if you want to cool off on a hot day.