There are few things as refreshing as jumping in a cool lake on a hot summer's day. Those who have the luxury of having a home in the country probably take this for granted, but we city folk have to search far and wide for these small utopias.
Serpentine Swimming Club: Everyone who lives in London knows Hyde Park, and everyone who knows Hyde Park knows the Serpentine Gallery. Well not too far from the gallery is a lake which is open all year for swimming.
Hampstead Mixed Pond: The ponds up in Hampstead are open every day to the public. There are also separate men and women's ponds. There has been swimming at the men's pond for over ninety years and a tradition of being a club for chess players, weight-lifters, readers and sunbathers. There are springboards in the middle of the pond where the Highgate Diving Club used to practice in the 1930s.
Kings Oak Swimming Pool, High Beach: This swimming pool is designed in 1930s style and is heated. It's now part of a private hotel just north of Chingford. There is a large pub garden and often a barbeque going. When the weather is hot and / or holiday season is in full swing, it can get very crowded. There is a full track at the back of the hotel and its pub is often used for motorcycle club meet-ups.
Tollesbury- Woodup Pool: Woodup Pool has been opened since 1907. It is free to swim in and quite empty in the mornings which is a nice, peaceful way to start the day for swimming lovers. There are salt marshes, boats, riverscape, tides and wildlife in the surrounding areas.
Hatchmere, Delamere Forest: This lake was once a sinkhole when glacial ice melted in a depression in the ground. The water temperature is usually a warm 20C in the summer. Hatchmere is a great place to enjoy an afternoon, have a picnic and be with the family.
Nantwich Outdoor Brine Pool: Nantwich has been open since 1934 and is the last surviving inland salt water pool in the country. It is kept at the warm temperature of 74C.
Tinside Lido, Hoe Road, Plymouth, Devon: This lido has a semi-circular pool of clear water with a water fountain in the center. It was originally built in 1935 but was refurbished many years later in an art deco style.
Topsham Swimming Pool, Devon: This is a newer pool, but what it lacks in art deco heritage it makes up for in warmth and comfort. With solar panels on the roof, the pool is heated and ideal for children.
The lakes, ponds and pools of England offer it that perfect country feel that we often miss when in a city living our busy day to day lives. Another way to experience the country's natural wonders is by flying over them in a hot air balloon.