Hampstead Ponds

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Swimming ponds in middle of wild, hilly heath. Woody, sheltered aspect, open on one side. Changing areas and lifeguards. Green and deep. Close to train and tube.

Place Categories: Lake Swims and Wild Swim.Place Tags: dive, swim and wildswimming.

Jack L says:

I think the men’s pond is absolutely brilliant. In a good summer there’s no need to go abroad to find a good swimming spot.
Most of the other users are considerate and friendly without being intrusive.
It’s open all year, and you can decide for yourself late into the winter you can carry on braving cold water. The lifeguards are mostly helpful and their presence is reassuring.
I would encourage others to use this wonderful facility while we’ve still got it.

iain meek says:

Very chilly as the sun seldom seems to warm the surprisingly deep water. Very civilised with a diving jetty and changing huts. Even more civilised are the cafes and pubs within a short walk at South End Green. Men’s pond is (in)famous for gays. Mixed pond also available for family swims.
Not exactly wild, by the way, more sylvan and cosmopolitan.

Savedave says:

The men’s pond is certainly frequented by gays, among many others, including orthodox jews (whose religion requires gender segregated swimming), fathers and sons and all sorts of others. The reputation it has for being cruisey is a little unfair. At most, I have been looked up and down once or twice but never accosted in any way, and neither has any other straight man I know, despite using the showers naked etc.

Anyway it might benefit most straight men to be looked up and down like that once in a while to remind us how we make most women feel most of the time!

The lawn outside the gates of the men’s pond area is actually more of a cruising ground really, but even when I have sat there to dry off, minding my own business, I have never been accosted. It’s amusing to see the men wearing the sort of budgie smugglers that might get some strange looks elsewhere on the heath, but to be honest, unless you start staring and eyeing up the gay men there, giving a signal that you might be interested in them, you are unlikely to be of much interest to them!

Despite (!) being a straight man, I prefer the men’s pond for it’s size, cleaner water and getting more sunlight later through the day. It also has a diving board.

The real cruising area, where you might bump into George Michael, allegdely, is miles from the swimming ponds and the only part of the heath where I feel uncomfortable, but even then only from about dusk.

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