At this time of year few things are as tempting as a refreshing swim. Whether it’s just to cool off or to get some gentle exercise, it has such a strong appeal. Unless you have your own pool, there don’t seem to be many options round here, so during the recent heatwave we consulted Estelle Calfe, President of Broomfield Swimming Club. Here are her suggestions.
As members of Broomfield Park Swimming Club we swim regularly at QE Girls pool, just a short walk from our home, however, joining a club is not an option for everyone. There is usually a monthly charge, as well as an annual membership fee. You can also only swim at set times. You can’t just roll up on a hot day because you fancy cooling off!
So, where do you go if you just want a quick dip? You could try contacting local schools directly to see if they offer swimming for parents. Underhill School, Whitings Hill, QE Girls and QE Boys all have pools.
Slightly further afield there are leisure centres in Borehamwood and Potters Bar both with eight lane swimming pools. There’s also the Lido in North Finchley, which offers lane swimming and a fun pool for the children, and all of these places are easily accessible by public transport. Other options are to take the Northern Line to the Kentish Town Baths (beautifully renovated Victorian building), Archway Pool or the iconic Oasis in New Oxford Street near Tottenham Court Road tube which has indoor and outdoor pools.
With all the lovely hot weather we’ve been having over the last week or so, I have a few friends in south London who’ve been lucky enough to get to one of the open air pools down there. Sadly we don’t have anything like that here in High Barnet, but there are open air pools on Hampstead Heath and also in London Fields in Hackney, although there used to be one in Trent Park. If you’re feeling adventurous there’s always the brand new natural swimming pond at Kings Cross. They’re not that local, but it’s much easier than driving to our nearest beach.
And if you just want to keep the kids happy then you can’t go wrong with Extreme Aquasplash at the Aquatics Centre in Stratford. The children get 90 minutes on the most amazing selection of inflatables. And they have a 50-metre lane open at the same time for people who just want to swim. Afterwards there are plenty of food options in Westfield. You’ve just swum four lengths in a 50m pool while the kids played on the inflatables? Yes, you definitely deserve that Krispy Kreme doughnut!
(The image has been reproduced with kind permission from Molly Fletcher whose series of oil paintings feature the Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath. She tells us that an exhibition is coming up in September at Kenwood House of a range of works inspired by the bathing ponds. We’ll keep you posted.)