Join the King's Cross Pond Club: pools are the hot new trend for London homes

As the UK's first man-made freshwater bathing pond opens in King's Cross, lidos, ponds and pools across the capital are tempting fitness enthusiasts to London's latest new apartments.
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King’s Cross may seem an unlikely place for a dip, but it’s now possible thanks to the UK’s first man-made freshwater public bathing pond. Architect Ooze has created the chemical-free pond, which opened last week, as a piece of land art to tempt residents and visitors to the 67-acre King’s Cross Development site, where 2,000 new homes are planned. 

The 10-metre by 40-metre pond will stay in place for at least two years, with the area’s new residents set to gain free membership of the King’s Cross Pond Club, explains the project’s aptly named manager Ian Freshwater. 

Prices for new apartments planned around the pond at Lewis Cubitt Park haven’t yet been released, but flats at The Plimsoll Building nearby start at £1,085,000. Call Knight Frank on 020 3691 3969.

The pond is open to the public and Freshwater has already been inundated with requests from open-water swimming enthusiasts across the capital. Only 160 swimmers are allowed in the pond each day, but visitors who are not swimming are also welcome. “It’s a great spot to contemplate seasonal changes,” says Freshwater, who is working with site organiser Fusion, which also manages busy Brockwell Lido at Brockwell Park in Herne Hill SE24.


In Hackney, the Thirties-built London Fields Lido reopened in 2006 after a refurbishment, and its 50-metre heated pool attracts thousands of swimmers all year round. A new rooftop pool opens next month at nearby Warehaus, an apartment block by Union Developments. Thirty flats start from £535,000 for a one-bedroom home and go up to £950,000 for three bedrooms. Call 0800 043 2523. All of the flats have  private outdoor space, but Peter Ciezak of Union Developments believes the residents-only, glass-bottom pool is one of the main draws for buyers. 

“It overlooks the atrium entrance, making it unique for London,” he says. The Outdoor Swimming Society, which promotes swimming under open skies, has a growing membership that’s topping 16,000 - and their passion is one reason why architect Chris Romer-Lee has found himself designing  innovative places to swim in London.

His practice, Studio Octopi, is behind the Thames Baths project, which aims to install a pontoon on the Thames near Blackfriars Bridge with plunge and paddling pools containing filtered river water. “People don’t want smelly, chlorinated pools,” he says. “The Thames is a great London resource and shouldn’t just be for haulage.” 

In a sign of a huge endorsement by Londoners, the campaign to get the pontoon constructed has exceeded its crowd-funding target of £125,000. 

The money will move the scheme on to its next stage, with Studio Octopi predicting that the pontoon could be in place by Christmas next year. 

Take a dip: buyers at 190 Strand have access to a bespoke pool and spa

Cashing in on the fitness craze, developers see communal swimming pools as an enticement to buyers. Studios at Goodman’s Fields in Aldgate start from £735,000, and residents at the seven-acre site in E1 can enjoy a heated indoor pool and five-star health centre. Call Berkeley on 020 3217 1000. 

Buy an apartment at 190 Strand in WC2, where prices start from £1.5 million, and get exclusive access to a bespoke pool and spa, including vitality pools and steam rooms that rival any health resort. Call St Edward on 020 3051 1022.

Riverside Quarter in Wandsworth SW18, overlooking the exclusive Hurlingham Club, has its own leisure centre with a gym, pool, hot tub and sauna. The latest phase, Seven Riverside, has 87 flats from £720,000 for two bedrooms. Call Savills on 020 8877 2000.

A second phase of townhouses is about to be released by Hadley Mace  at Greenwich Square, where residents will have access to two indoor pools plus a gym in the new Greenwich Centre opening in June. The three-storey homes start at £799,950 and are rare for SE10, says project manager Danielle Torpey. “They will be very popular with families - there aren’t many four-bedroom houses in this area,” she adds.

The pools and gym will be open to the public and managed by Better Living, which also runs Charlton Lido nearby. “Our consultation showed that pools in this area are in great demand and this will be a lovely place for families to live,” adds Torpey. Call Savills on 0800 077 817.

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