Set in the midst of the gorgeous heath, Hampstead's three bathing ponds (men's, women's and mixed) offer a cooling dip in murky brown water. Despite what you might think from its appearance, the water is tested daily and meets stringent quality guidelines.
The men’s and women’s ponds are open year-round and are supervised by a lifeguard. Opening times vary with the seasons; the ponds are generally open from 7am, and close at 2.30pm in winter and 8.30pm in the height of summer. The men's pond is popular with gay men and the surrounding lawns are a prime sunbathing and posing spot whenever the sun's out. There's also a nude sunbathing area within the changing-room enclosure. The women's pond is the most tucked away and has a particularly rural feel. The mixed pond closes in winter; it's the least secluded of the three and can sometimes get crowded in summer.