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London is a city that contains many worlds — including some incredible bodies of water. Step out of your routine during these dog days and visit some of the beautiful lakes and ponds that add a cooling sparkle to our capital.

Outdoor spaces are ideal for meditation, Pranayama, or simply taking the time to disconnect and immerse yourself in the restorative power of nature.

Hampstead Bathing Ponds

Take a cooling dip in some of London’s most beautiful, historical bodies of water: the Hampstead Bathing Ponds. There are separate men’s and women’s ponds, as well as a mixed bathing pond. You can get the full opening times and fee schedule here.


Photo by Matthew Waring on Unsplash

Regent’s Canal

According to the Canal and River Trust: “Visiting the Regent’s Canal is like stepping into a hidden world. From the colourful collection of narrowboats at Little Venice it runs on through Regent’s Park, where it is overlooked by London Zoo’s vast aviary. In Camden, it passes the craft stalls and quirky clothing shops of the famous market, a centre for London’s alternative culture.”

Walthamstow Wetlands

Don’t miss the largest urban wetlands in London. An easy walk from either Tottenham Hale or Blackhorse Road, Walthamstow Wetlands is free to visit and easy to get to. According to its website, it provides a home to many important wildlife species and is an important resting point for migratory birds. The nature reserve encompasses 10 large reservoirs, with nature areas, a jogging/cycling path and more.

The Long Water

Did you know the Serpentine was only half the story? It is long, narrow western half of the Long Water, which is the name of the large recreational lake in Kensington Gardens. It is a great place to enjoy culture, such as the classical statuary and sculpture in the Italian Gardens at its northern end, and nature — it is a designate bird sanctuary.


Photo by Ray Hennessy on Unsplash

Lee Navigation

Fancy a really long walk by a river? The Lee is a great option. According to the Canal and River Trust, “The River Lee is a natural river that has been improved for navigation, with straight sections added in to shorten the route. The Lee Valley Park follows much of the river, providing green open spaces, nature reserves, Lee Valley Park Farms and facilities for a variety of sports and watersports….A new riverside walkway has been created at the A11 in Bow, the towpath improved for walkers and cyclists.”

Brent Reservoir

A surprising oasis in the heart of North London — Brent Reservoir is a great place for bird-watching, or simply unwinding away from the constant buzz of the city. It is managed by the Canal and River Trust. You can visit its website for more details on activities including sailing and canoeing.

Where’s your favourite London watering hole? Share in the comments!