The weather is heating up and many families are facing another staycation summer. We’ve listed some of the best paddling pools, lidos, water parks, and outdoor pools in London.
One of our favorite places to cool off in Central London is the fountain court at Somerset House. If you’re looking to take nice photos of your kids splashing around, the backdrop is amazing. We got in touch with Somerset House this year, and they confirmed the court would be ready and open from July 15th at the same time as the opening of the Dodge event.
While the fountain court at Somerset House will remain free to visit, they also confirmed that they would manage the inner courtyard capacity to ensure the safety of all visitors. Unfortunately, this means that they may only be able to let in those who have pre-booked for the event during busy periods.
Many paddling pools and water play areas for kids remaining closed
While London’s lidos and outdoor swimming pools are open, we are still waiting for confirmation when other popular water parks with paddling pools and water jets will open. Water play areas remaining closed include the water jets in the Olympic Park (Stratford) and the fountains in Granary Square (King’s Cross). The Diana Memorial Fountain also remains closed, as well as many of the water play areas in London’s playgrounds like in Greenwich Park and Peckham Rye.
Water parks confirmed opened
Currently, the newly developed “Elephant Springs” and the water jets next to More London by Tower Bridge are open. As mentioned above, the fountain court at Somerset House will open on July 15th.
We will update this article as soon as we have more information about reopening London’s water play areas for kids. Please share with us in the comments if you have updates on great water play areas for kids in London!
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Beckenham Place Park Swimming Lake
The newest wild-swimming spot in London is located in the most significant green space of Lewisham in South East London. Actually, it’s located in an old Georgian lake lost in 1800 when it was first created by John Cator of Beckenham Place Mansion. Now the lagoon is back to its former glory. The jetty is only available to registered swimmers who must pay electronically. Lifeguards are on duty, and changing facilities are available.
Brockwell’s 50-meter pool is surrounded by art deco Grade II buildings. They house the Lido Cafe and exercise studios offering year-round pilates, dance, and other activities for children. Enjoy a wide range of events at the site once you have perfected your backstroke.
Causton Street Playground, Pimlico
The Causton Street Playground is located just behind Tate Britain in West London. This hidden gem is one of London’s most treasured places and is a fantastic place to take your child. The outdoor paddling pool is clean and well maintained, and there’s a giant sandpit and solid climbing frames.
The 50-meter-long, Olympic-sized swimming pool in Greenwich‘s heart was reopened to the public in early 2013, following a £2million renovation. The pool is heated and features two sun terraces. Also, there’s a café, gym, and fitness studio.
Croydon Road Recreation Ground
The paddling pool for children and the enclosed play area is available to the kids. Parents can enjoy the cafe, tweens or teens the tennis courts and netball/basketball facilities.
Danson Splash Park
The water park is open from May through September. It’s free to use, has good baby changing facilities, seating, and close to toilets.
Diana Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park
Although the fountain isn’t deep enough for swimming, it is still a beautiful spot in Hyde Park to explore in the summertime, especially with kids! A stream of water flows down the riverbed and collects in a lower pool. So for a refreshing treat, explorers are encouraged to get in the water!
Elephant and Castle Water Park (Elephant Springs)
With the parents WhatsApp groups all chatting about the new Elephant and Castle Water Park, we had to go and check it out.
To take advantage of the water play, you don’t need to live in the Elephant & Castle development. Everyone is welcome to splash around in the fountains and use the jets and pumps to create various effects with water.
We were positively surprised by the water park in Elephant and Castle. On a normal weekday, it didn’t feel too crowded, and our boy had lots of fun splashing around. He tested out the water pumps, ran through the water jets and paddled in the shallow water.
The cascades of water rushing down rocks resemble a waterfall and he felt like the kings of the world when he reached the top of the mount. It’s going to get really crowded during the school holiday, so we recommend going really early or late in the afternoon. This is a really great place for kids living in Southwark and South East London.
Finchley Lido Leisure Centre
Finchley’s lido in North London can be found in an indoor pool complex with a cinema and a bowling alley. The lido, which is unheated and small, has a grassy patio for sunbathing. The weather is essential. You won’t be able to open the alfresco pool if it is less than 20C outside. Indoors, swimmers have the option to use the wave machine or plough up and down in the main pool.
Granary Square Fountains
This attraction is perfect for those visiting North London as King’s Cross can be so easily reached. Granary Square’s fountains are composed of 1,080 water jets, each controlled individually and lit up. This provides hours of entertainment for children who enjoy splashing around. Parents who love to photograph their children will find excellent opportunities to capture them at the fountains. The Central Saint Martins art school is located just behind the square, making it a lively place for young people. The fountains are surrounded by benches carved with wooden pieces. Parents can watch their children play in the water show while they relax on the benches.
Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds and Lido
Hampstead Heath‘s popular outdoor pool has been rated as one of the best in London. Here you will find a variety of water-based activities. The shallow paddling pool and the outdoor pool are great for younger swimmers who want to practice their swimming skills. The Lido is available 7 days a week, from 07:00am to 8:30pm. Prices may vary.
Hyde Park Lido and Paddling Pool
For over 100 years, the “Serpentine Lido” in Hyde Park has been a popular London escape in the middle of the city. There is no better place for your child to learn how to swim. The Lido offers a safe, dedicated area for children with a swimming pool, climbing frame, and bouncy toys. Then, after they feel confident, you can take a seat on a deck chair to enjoy the sunbathing area by the water in Central London. It’s perfect.
Kensington Memorial Park
With its tennis courts, gardens, and fields, this ample recreation space has an enclosed water playground and splash pool area, with all the necessary sprinklers and buckets for children to get drenched in.
It’s completely free with changing rooms and a security guard. Outside, there is a playground, sandpit area, and toddler area.
Merchant Square Fountain Maze, Paddington
Merchant Square is a great place to take your children if they enjoyed splashing around in King’s Cross’s fountains. There are many things to do in this open space that will delight both children and parents. Uniquely, the fountains transform an afternoon of paddling into a game and challenge. The 320 jets are placed in three circles, and the goal is to get them back and forth while not getting wet.
More London Fountain
With great views across the river towards Tower of London, the water jets at “More London” next to City Hall is a great location for kids wanting to cool off on a hot summer day.
Enjoy the view while your children splash around in the fountains. It’s fun and accessible, with over 200 white water jets that shoot water upwards. Take some extra clothes with you and stop by one of the restaurants for a refreshing drink or a snack.
Oasis Sports Centre
The Oasis Camden’s outdoor pool is 27.5m of pure blue. Once you discover the heated open-air pool, sun terrace, and adjoining indoor pool, you will be hooked like everyone else. The Oasis can be very popular on hot summer weekends. However, at peak times, it is hard to get any serious swimming done.
Olympic Park Fountains, Stratford
To the south of Olympic Park, you will find the Waterworks Fountains. These 195 individual water jets create walls of water that allow you to cool down and splash around. Remember that the fountains are not available during major events. And if you want to splash around even more, why not try the Olympic Swimming Pool nearby!
Peckham Rye Playground
Peckham Rye Playground opened in 2018 with a water play area where children can use hand-pump to control the water flow around streams and dams.
You’ll also find a push-button water pump, a sandpit for little diggers, and a climbing frame that has tunnel slides. There is even comfortable seating for tired parents.
Feeling safe, you can jump headfirst into Royal Docks in East London. All swimmers are tagged so that there is no danger. If you feel like you’ve gone too far, qualified coaching is available. There is a casual area for recreational swimmers, and race distances are clearly marked for competitive events. Children 6 and over may participate but must be able to swim 200m unassisted.
Russell Square Gardens fountain
After being re-landscaped in 2002, the beautiful garden at Bloomsbury’s Russell Square was given a fountain. It rises from the centre of the square. While it may be small, it still offers excellent paddling opportunities for children and their parents.
Somerset House – Fountain Court
Somerset House’s 55 jets make up the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court. The courtyard is used frequently for film screenings and other special events, and is an amazing backdrop if you’re planning to take some nice photos of your kids splashing around. It’s great for older and younger kids alike, and parents will find plenty of seats surrounding the court with a cafe within short distance. To avoid disappointment, make sure to visit the Somerset House website for opening times.
Southbank fountains is the perfect place for kids to enjoy a splash or two while sightseeing in Central London.
These fountains are very clever and can be pretty unpredictable. It’s perfect for running in and outside and is great for older kids who enjoy an algorithmic challenge. You can let your toddler paddle a little, too, as the jets are soft enough.
You will find a paddling pool and water splash area as well as a family enclosure. There is also a zip line, boating lake and playground, and a light railway.
V&A Museum, South Kensington
The V&A Museum is free and is open seven days a week. It is loved by children from all over London. Enjoy high-quality craft activities and then cool off in the courtyard before taking a dip into the paddling pool. The V & A has changing facilities on-site, making it a great place to spend the day.
Victoria Park Splashpad
The splash pad in Vicky Park is full of hills and valleys for children to enjoy. There are buttons to spray water or to keep it from escaping. A variety of equipment is available for children of all ages. There’s also a shallow pool that can be used in the summer. The Pavillion has changing rooms and other facilities. Another bonus is the fact that the Pavillion has a variety of facilities for older children and teenagers. You can use it year-round, provided you have your own ping-pong equipment.
Wimbledon Sprinkler Park
This water-based activity area in Wimbledon is entirely free. Although it’s only open in the summer (July and August), it’s definitely worth a visit. Six paddling pools are available at the interactive splash pad and sprinkler park. In addition, there are two interactive play areas where water is sprayed onto children. This is the perfect place to cool off and have some outdoor fun this summer in South West London. This space also has a water play area for children, which is a huge benefit.
The mound is an extensive, flat, green grassland that’s perfect for sunbathing and walking. It is located east of Plumstead Common, so it is ideal for everyone in East London. Best of all, Winn’s Common boasts a beautiful shallow pool that can be used for paddling. From 20 July to 1 September, the regular opening hours are 10 am to 6 pm. So you have plenty of time to go! The park offers plenty of space to the whole family for activities like dog walking and outdoor games. Winn’s Common is a space that both children and adults will enjoy.
FAQ Water Parks in London
When do water parks reopen in London after COVID?
Most popular water features for children like paddling pools, splash pads, fountains and other water play areas opened on 19 July 2021 following the government COVID guidelines. Check the respective websites in advance to be sure.
Do fountains and splash pads for kids use chlorine?
Yes, the water parks and paddling areas for kids do use chlorine and filtering to reduce the risk of contamination.
Are there any free water parks in London?
Yes. There are several public fountains with water jets, splash pads and water features in playgrounds in London completely free of charge.