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Hampstead Ponds: We want as many people as possible to swim this summer

PUBLISHED: 15:07 22 July 2020

Ann Fairweather is welcoming visitors to the Heath.

Ann Fairweather is welcoming visitors to the Heath.

Archant

The City of London Corporation, which manages Hampstead Heath, has reopened all three bathing ponds and the lido to allow as much swimming as possible following a change in Government guidance .

We have put a lot of effort into reopening in a Covid-secure way and it is fantastic to finally have them open again.

After testing different systems, we now have a new online booking procedure in place, which worked very well this weekend as we welcomed almost 2,000 swimmers.

We are open daily and have increased the number of sessions available throughout the day and into the early evening, allowing swimmers to book up to three swims per week. A phone line is available to help those without online access.

We are also ensuring that children have access to swimming this summer with family swimming sessions at the lido.

With a huge demand for swimming, we appreciate the patience of those eager to get in the water.

These are incredibly popular facilities, especially when it’s hot, with numbers doubling over the last decade to over 650,000 visits a year.

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There are two main changes to swimming this year – a new online booking system and new charges.

In early March new swimming charges - including concessionary rates and other discounts - were agreed by the elected Hampstead Heath Management Committee, following a detailed review and consultation with swimmers and the Heath Consultative Committee.

This included a freeze in season ticket charges.

However, following the need to introduce booked slots online to manage Covid season tickets have been suspended for the summer season to allow for as many people to swim as possible this summer. Season tickets will return with the winter season in September.

Hampstead Heath is thriving under our stewardship, attracting over 10 million visits a year, and now we have opened our facilities to a record number of swimmers from all backgrounds.

The Heath is playing a vital role in the community, contributing to Londoners’ mental and physical health, and providing free access to roam in the outdoors, to play, explore, discover and learn.

We are proud to have managed this beautiful green space since 1989 and it has been great to see so many people swimming again.

We look forward to safely welcoming so many more this summer.


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