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As lockdown eases and summer hots up in London, we're in desperate need of some socially-distanced cooling down.
Don’t get us wrong, the British summertime is glorious; picnics galore, ice-cream on tap and long evenings watching the sun set on Primrose Hill. But there are times when even opening the front door can feel like you’ve just entered some sort of post-apocalyptic, Central Line, fiery dungeon, and all you want to do is curl up in the corner of the fridge and bathe in ice cubes.
Lucky for you, we’ve rounded up the top six public fountains, splash parks and pads in and around London so you can cool down at some of the coolest places. Slap on some sun-cream, pack your swimming costumes and remember to follow the safest government advice regarding post-lockdown summer shenanigans.
1. Verulamium Park
Hidden away in Verulamium Park in the heart of St Albans is a refrigeratory retreat to die for. Whether you just want to dip your toes in or make a huge splash standing under the giant water fountains - as soon as the temperature rises, this place will fulfil all your splashing needs and make you wish it were summer all year long. Verulamium's London splash park reopened on May 4th and is completely free, so it won’t make your pockets dry but we can’t guarantee that you won’t get a little wet!
2. The Fountains at Granary Square
Splish, splash and skip your way through Granary Square's famous fountains, located in Kings Cross and completely free. With over a thousand choreographed jets, squirting water in each and every direction, it’s the perfect way to cool off this summer right in the heart of London. Just remember to pack a change of clothes as who knows where the jets will strike next?
3. More London Riverside Fountains
Spurting from the ground below Big Ben, Tower Bridge and City Hall are the More London Riverside Jets. Whether you’re four years old or forty, it’s difficult to resist the jets. Even if it’s just a quick dash or skip, the unpredictability of the jets is enough to excite anyone. You'll have hours of splashy fun whilst taking in breath-taking views of London at the same time.
4. King George Recreation Ground
Perfect on a sunny day, King George Recreation Ground in Bushey is a great hideaway that’s fun for all the family, namely due to its awesome splash park. The park is slowly reopening its facilities so we can't wait to sprint through the sprinklers, get wet and wild in the tropical island splash zone and if you’ve got time take a shower under the flower petal fountains this summer. We can’t guarantee it’ll leave you squeaky clean, but we can guarantee it’ll be a whole load of fun!
5. Waterworks Fountains in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Although the Waterworks Fountains in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sadly switched off during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are hoping to reopen as soon as is safe to do so. Set against the backdrop of the iconic Olympic stadium, these fountains take frolicking about under the garden sprinkler to a new level. And when they do switch back on the fun lasts all evening long; at night, the fountains are lit up in neon, making for a fab water and lights show in this East London splash park!
6. Hampstead Ponds
Something a little more refined but with all the splashing! Hampstead Ponds have been closed since March 22nd but are rumoured to reopen from July 4th once their booking system is in place to prevent overcrowding at this popular London splash pool. Hampstead Pond has been the top place for alfresco, open-air swimming in London for a long time, set in the glorious grounds of Hampstead Heath. Open to ladies, men, mixed groups and ducks all year round, this chilly hotspot is the ideal place for brisk swimming or just some splashing about amongst beautiful scenery and we are eagerly awaiting their final reopening announcement.
Ellie is a keen Londoner, thespian and foodie! She's the oldest of three and loves taking her younger siblings, aged nine and fourteen, on adventures to the theatre and food markets, trying new foods and dabbling in the world of musical theatre. Some of her favourite spots include Primrose Hill and the Natural History Museum, not to mention the ever-changing Spitalfields Market.