A new wild swimming lake is opening in South London

Ready to dip your toe in the cold water swimming craze?

Handily enough, that’s about to become a lot easier – especially if you live in South London.

Beckenham Place Park, in Lewisham, will soon open up its very own wild swimming lake.

The lake will officially open to the public on Saturday 20 July (when it’s meant to be fairly warm, so it’s the perfect day to give wild swimming a go), as part of a £6.8 million regeneration of the park’s Georgian mansion and its grounds.

It’ll be 285m-long, up to 3.5 metres deep, and open to both kayakers, swimmers, and stand up paddle boarders who can paddle alongside the ducks all summer and winter long.

It will also have its own jetty and mini beach. Sounds lovely.

The lake will be for any swimmers and kayakers who fancy getting out in nature (Picture: Lewisham Council handout)

You won’t be able to just dive in whenever you fancy, mind you. While the lake is open to all swimmers over the age of eight, anyone keen will need to book in advance and pay before using it. For adults that will cost £3.

Boat hire will cost £20 for an hour and stand-up paddle boards will be £12 for an hour.

The lake will be open from 7am to 7pm most days, but there will also be a non-lifeguard splash zone that will be open all the time and free for all. That’s where we’d recommend heading for an early morning swim.

The area used to be a massive golf course, but has now been transformed into the lake to tap into people’s passion for swimming outdoors.

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The park now also has new playgrounds, a BMX track, wooded wetlands, and a cafe that offers yoga and craft classes.

If all goes well, similar lakes just for outdoor swimming may open at the duck pond in Broomfield Park in Palmers Green.

Anyone fancy a dip?



What’s happening on the launch day?

The transformed park will open to the public on 20 July, from 12pm to 7pm.

Here’s the schedule for what’s on in the different areas.

The lake

  • 12.45pm: Speeches on the jetty and formal opening of the lake
  • 1pm: First swim
  • 1–4pm: Swimming (pre-book swimming online)
  • 1.15–7pm: Unit 137 sound system hosted by vocalist Shumba Youth, with: Kosher (vocalist), Zico (vocalist), A.P Grimshaw (Trumpet), Ed West (DJ), Sleepy Time Ghost (DJ), Alliance Sound System (DJ), Hylu
  • 1–7pm: Paddling in the paddle zone (free)
  • 4–7pm: Canadian canoes (£10, card payment only). Every half hour, arrive 15 minutes before. Limited spaces

Stableyard

  • 1.30pm, 3pm, 4.30pm Georgian dancing and music. Georgian costumes to try on!

Formal gardens

  • 1.15–1.45pm: Entelechy Arts – community choir from the Albany in Deptford
  • 2–2.30pm: Vocallective – Forest Hill based choir singing a range of popular songs
  • 2.45–3.15pm: Nielsen Reaveley – Radio 6 Music recommended singer song writer with acoustic guitar backing
  • 3.30–4pm: The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir – singing a range of popular songs
  • 4.15–4.45pm: A Grand Scheme – folk band playing light, summery music to enjoy in the gardens
  • 5–5.30pm: Lewisham Council staff choir – singing a range of water-themed songs

The Mansion

  • 12 noon–6pm: So Last Century market
  • 12 noon–7pm: Forest Hill & District Classic Car Club Display on the carriageway drive

Elsewhere in the park

  • 12 noon–5pm: Slack lining – a fun activity like tight rope walking. For all ages. Free!
  • 1pm: Guided walk of the park. Meet promptly by the squirrel.
  • 2–6pm: Roaming minstrels – Frisson, a 4 piece a capella group will be popping up and singing!

All day

  • Free face painting and free badge making by the sand pit of the children’s playground
  • Stationary diggers to climb on – near the children’s playground
  • Jimmy Botton’s Fairground – near Southend Lodge gate (Beckenham Hill entrance)
  • Gardener’s Cottage – the new volunteer hub & community garden open to look around
  • Information point in the formal gardens, along with consultation stands. Lewisham Local and the Bakerloo line extension information stalls near the diggers/children’s play area

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