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6 boating lakes, outdoor pools and other places to have fun on the water in and around Croydon

6 boating lakes, outdoor pools and other places to have fun on the water in and around Croydon
Jul 21, 2016 Shaking Hands 0 comments
This post was first published on The Croydon Advertiser on 17/07/2016

6 boating lakes, outdoor pools and other places to have fun on the water in and around Croydon

Given how hot it has been this week you would have been forgiven for jumping fully clothed into the nearest lake to cool off.

But there are more socially acceptable ways to have fun in or on the water.

From rowing and sailing to outdoor pools and wetland walks, Deborah Morris lists six places in and around Croydon where you can have some water-based fun.

1. Row, row, row your boat on Crystal Palace Park Lake

To quote Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows: “…there is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.” So mess around in a rowing boat or pedalo at Crystal Palace Park.

They are run by Park Boats London, which also hires boats out in Dulwich Park. While at Crystal Palace Park, you can also try and find your way out of one of the largest mazes in the country, let the kids run wild in the children’s playground and visit the dinosaurs (sculptures rather than an actual triceratops sadly) and the park’s farm.

When: Boats can be hired at weekends, on bank holidays and during school holidays, from Easter to October.

Cost: Adults £4, children £3, family tickets £10

More details at: and

2. Set sail with a new hobby on South Norwood Lake

With the Olympics around the corner sailing is about to suddenly enter the public consciousness again.

If you want to learn more about the thrills of sailing you can watch Croydon Sailing Club members racing on South Norwood Lake on Sundays from 10.30am to 2pm.

While they are racing you can pop along to the race hut at the side of the lake for a chat with members about taking up the hobby yourself. You can also call by on Wednesday evenings in the summer from 6pm to about 8pm to find out more, when sailing also takes place.

The club may have a taster day later in the summer. It has also considered offering paddle boarding and is developing youth sailing courses.

When: You can watch the racing on Wednesday evening and Sundays

Cost: Free to watch

More details at:

3. Swim in the great outdoors at Tooting Bec Lido

There aren’t many of these traditional lidos, which had their heyday in the 1930s, left.

But just up the road from us is the UK’s largest outdoor swimming pool.

The 91-metre-long pool is now open for the summer.

There’s also a paddling pool for the little ones and a café.

Open: Daily until the end of September

Cost: £4.25 – £8.10, under fives free, family tickets available

More details at:

4. Discover the wetland wildlife around South Norwood Country Park

This nature reserve is made up of 125 acres of wetland, lakes and meadows.

You can spot the wildlife which lives on and around the lake as you walk or cycle around the paths.

You can get a good vantage point from the lake’s viewing platforms.

There are also conservation work days and nature walks run by the Friends of South Norwood Country Park.

When: Open daily

Cost: Free

More details at: and

5. Paddle along to the Wimbledon Park Watersports and Outdoor Centre

The Paddlesport Club hosts sessions where the likes of kayaking, sailing and even powerboating are taught by qualified instructors.

Those taking part need to be at least eight years old and confident in the water.

The club needs at least four people to run a session. Check out the website to find out more.

When: Sundays, June to October, 11am – noon and 12.15 – 1.15pm

Cost: £15

More details at:

6. Take a dip – that’s pond dipping – at Horniman Museum & Gardens

Children aged five and above can learn about the variety of wildlife that can be found in London during the summer during pond dipping sessions at the Horniman’s Nature Trail Pond.

The nature trail is carefully managed to encourage wildlife so expect a place bursting with life.

All equipment is provided and a tutor will help you identify your finds. See the website for full details.

When: Every Tuesday from July 26 to August 30, see the website for times

Cost: £3 per child, accompanying adults free