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.
Pretty ungracefully exiting the water.