Nature Travel

Tooting Bec Lido

In London, at the first hint of sunshine, when you go to city parks everyone gets their bare legs out and many men strip off their shirts. Accordingly, at the first day that it was slightly warmer than 70 C, Sam and I headed down to the Tooting Bec Lido. To my American readers, a lido is just an outdoor pool. I didn’t know the term until I moved over here.
The first few months of my MA course, I lived in Tooting so the Lido was just a little trip away from my old house.  Tooting Bec Lido is the largest outdoor swimming pool in England and it’s the second largest in Europe. (It’s over 100 yards long and 33 yards wide.) It’s also one of England’s oldest open air pools, dating back to 1903. The Lido is also in Tooting Bec Common which makes the pool feel way more remote than it actually is.
The most famous aspect of the Lido is the alternating red, green, yellow and blue changing stalls. They’ve appeared in a lot of advertisements and films, most famously “Snatch” with Brad Pitt. The Lido is open from late May to early September. But be warned, even in June the water was still frigid!
The cafe is a bit over-priced so I’d definitely recommend bringing your own food and drinks in with you. My second tip is that if all possible you should do on a weekday as weekends are packed! And even better, go on a weekday before all the schools finish at the end of July.
tooting bec lido
tooting bec lido
 Pretty ungracefully exiting the water.
tooting bec lido
 Handsome Sam.
tooting bec lido

Sam doing a crazy ninja jump into the pool.



Entrance to the lido is £6.45 per adult.

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  • We have a small pool right by us but it has rained everyday since we got back from vacation so I have not been able to try it out yet but it sure is tons smaller than that one!

    • Hopefully the sun will come out for you soon then! Is it free for you to use or would you have to pay an entrance fee? xx

      • I honestly have no idea, each time we go by it is all closed up so once I see someone there I am going to quiz them about it!

        • Haha, sorry that was a really nosy question that I’m not sure why I even asked in the first place since I will not be swimming in Sweden anytime soon! x

          • it was not nosy at all! I am assuming you pay as last summer I saw someone sitting by the gate with a little table, unless they were selling snacks I kinda hope it means they were selling snacks actually!

          • Hahah I hope it means they were selling snacks too 😉 x

  • The pool culture in Iceland is huge, although not always warm and sunny days. I am just happy we have all that geothermal heat keeping to pools warm!

    • Some geothermal heating of outdoor pools in England would be great 😉 Why do you think there’s such a big pool culture in Iceland? Is it because of all the natural hot springs, etc? xx

      • I think so. If you ever come to Iceland everyone will tell you that going to the local pools is a must since it is such a big part of the Icelandic culture. In the winter I love going with the steam everywhere! People meet up often at the pools as well for chats or to just hang out, one of my favourite ways to spend a lazy afternoon here 🙂

  • Wow, the second largest outdoor pool in Europe?? That’s big! I prefer the beach or a lake though but I always enjoyed visiting our local pool when I was younger 😉

    • I prefer the beach as well, but needs must when it comes to swimming 😉 There are a few really great swimming ponds in London, but none super close to me. x

  • i wish we had one of these!! looks like so much fun – you two crazy kids! 😉

  • A. That thing is MASSIVE and awesome.
    B. Do you know the history behind the world lido? I’m trying to guess but don’t have an answer.

    • It’s definitely the nicest city pool I’ve ever been to! (Maybe that means I grew up with pretty tacky pools near me….). I guess lido is Italian for beach and most outdoor public swimming pools in England were built in the 1930s were it was super in vogue to vacation to Italy, so they applied the term in a really strange fashion in the UK. I love it though. It makes it sound like you’re going for a really, really classy swim. x

  • LOVE that the London weather is warming up to be suitable for outdoor pools! :D!

  • Alex @ She’s His Co-Pilot

    That’s a huge pool! Or should I say.. lido. 😉 Awesome shot of Sam!

    • Haha thank you! I have so many more embarrassing and ridiculous ones on my phone still 🙂 x

  • I love the idea of calling it a lido!! what a pretty pool!!

    • Haha it makes it sound so much more fancy then just saying you’re going swimming in the city pool, right?! x

  • Wynne Prasetyo

    looks like you had such a good time!

  • Never heard the term Lido before… interesting. You are right about everyone stripping off. I can’t eat my lunch in the park without half the men being half naked!

  • I only recently learned that lido means pool. In Newport harbor there is also Lido Island– I don’t know why it’s called that, but I always just associated the word with Newport Bay. Anyway, that pool looks awesome, but even more awesome is that the place is called Tooting. Hee hee hee!

    • Lido is Italian for beach so it makes way more sense for it to be associated with an island! Haha theres a Tooting Bec and a Tooting Broadway. It used to really make me laugh when I told people I lived in “Tooting”. My neighbourhood now doesn’t have nearly as an amusing of a name. x

  • Right?! I think that’s crazy! They get a month off for Christmas, a month of for Easter, and summer break is mid/end of July-September and then a week off in each of the three terms (Fall, Spring, and Summer) called “half term”. I think it evens out to be about the same amount of school that we had as kids but to me now it feels so much longer! x

  • i never lived in london during the summer so i missed out on going to pool. but it looks so pretty! though i would imagine the water isn’t very warm. brrrr.

    • Haha it was so cold! Summer is my favourite time in London. That just means you have to come back and experience the summer! 🙂 x

  • Lisa Lynn

    This place looks so amazing! Just another reason to love London. Great review. 😀
    Mostly Lisa

  • I had no idea this place existed in London! Looks perfect for a summer day 🙂

    • It’s so great! I highly recommend it! Although if you ever get a chance to go, don’t bring anything valuable with you as there’s nowhere safe to lock it up, really. x

  • ah, the place looks beautiful! hope you had the loveliest time:-) xx

  • I don’t know how I never knew about this, we lived in Wimbledon – and my son was born in Tooting! The pool is really pretty!

    • I used to nanny for a family in Wimbledon Village, I love it round there! At St George’s by any chance? I had kidney stones out there which is not at all the same. 😉 x

      • Yep, St George’s! Good old Tooting 😉 I love, love, love Wimbledon Village, we miss that the most about London I think!

  • The water looks absolutely freezing! But beautiful! I didn’t know the UK had outdoor swimming pools – seems so inappropriate haha but I’m glad to see there are some!

    • It does seem a bit mad…. I just can’t get over people who swim in the Serpentine year round! Brrrrrrr……! x

  • Coffee Beans High Heels

    this place looks amazing! hope you had tons of fun!

  • that crazy ninja jump is pretty hilarious! 😀

  • Schools don’t get out until the end of July! Wow! When do they begin?

    • They get a month off for Christmas, a month of for Easter, and summer break is mid/end of July-September and then a week off in each of the three terms (Fall, Spring, and Summer) called “half term”. I think it evens out to be about the same amount of school that we had as kids but to me now it feels so much longer! x

  • Em

    Over 100 yards long, from 1903- how cool! (Pardon the pun.) Can’t believe it wasn’t stuffed with people!

    • Pun not excused (only because I love puns). The schools are all still in session for the most part, come mid-end of July it’ll be packed 😉 x

  • Oh I am definitely going to check this out this summer! After I get done with school on July 10th, I’ll just wanna be sunning and swimming all the time. I was wondering where there might be an outdoor pool. Thanks for the tip! x

    • I have a break for a few weeks sometime in July when all the schools are done and people are away on holiday. We shall venture to the pool together. x

      • It’s a plan! So happy about summer, lets hope we get more hot weather! x

  • The Starving Inspired

    How fun… I haven’t been to a pool in God knows how long. Having a lake in the backyard would do that to a person.

    Country Girl’s Daybook

  • Pools always look so inviting…!! It looks super nice in the photos and do they keep the water super chilly on purpose? In Alberta, there’s a place up in the mountains called Miette Hot Springs. They have one hot pool more or less for kids. Then the big pool is hot and steamy. There’s a third ice cold pool for those that dare to try it out after the hots ones.

    • Hahaha no it’s just cold because England is so cold. And none of the pools that I know of are heated. If someone else reads this and knows of a heated outdoor pool in London (that is reasonably priced entrance fee-wise) let me know, as I will move there. x

  • This is awesome to have so close to you. I was just saying I wish there was a nice outdoor pool near us!

    • I do feel so lucky having outdoor pools nearby. I’m hoping to squeeze a trip in after work tomorrow! x

  • haha I love your HOLY CREEEEEEEEP THIS IS COLD face 😛

    • It’s coldness is supposed to be a part of it’s charm… This is strange to me…. Dedicated lap swimmers were in there with wetsuits on. Hahaha. x