When London burns in the late summer sunshine I can’t think of a more natural choice to cool off than by taking a dip in one of Hampstead’s Swimming Ponds.
Go as early as you can manage and you can almost have the place to yourself.
Yesterday Bella, Tania and I met in the meadow before breakfast and spent a lazy morning alternating between the water and the bank.
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The Ladies Pond is the nicest of the bunch, sorry chaps – no boys allowed.
The water is refreshingly chilly but by no means icy.
You can’t reach or see the bottom, but there are plenty of anchored life rings if you need a breather.
No pictures allowed once you’re in the pond, so don’t expect to Instagram that swan dive you’ve been working on.
In fact there’s little to no phone signal anyway, which is a dream come true for anyone who needs to unplug and unwind.
Take a towel, a good book, a swimsuit (sadly no nude sunbathing but topless is perfectly fine and almost everyone does) and a couple of pound coins as a donation.
You’ll find the Ladies Swimming Pond here and if you’re taking a car get them to drop you here, then it’s a very short walk to the meadow.
Having worked up a considerable hunger we ambled into Hampstead for a late breakfast.
Commandeering a free table outside Ginger & White.
Where they serve spectacular coffee.
And even better breakfasts.
The dippy eggs and soldiers are a must, as are the scrambled eggs on sourdough.
But whatever you do, make sure you order a side of toast “for the table”. It’ll come with homemade (sugar free) peanut butter which tastes cracking when coupled with the strawberry jam.
You’d be nuts to miss out on that combo!
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