6 dazzling rooftop pools in London for escaping the heatwave in style
There is something about a rooftop pool that never fails to conjure up images of hedonistic opulence, harking back to hot LA summer nights and futuristic skyscrapers. The same goes for high-altitude bars – taking a cooling dip or sinking a cocktail while perched atop a towering sundeck just instantly lends everything a new air of glamour. Luckily, the capital has plenty of spots where you can do just that, across all corners of the city. Here we’ve rounded up London’s best rooftop pools to make a splash in and escape the heatwave this summer.
There’s been much talk about the swish new Art’otel that’s just opened at the recently revamped Battersea Power Station, but not that many people seem to know that it has a secret rooftop pool. Tucked away on the 16th floor and overlooking those iconic Power Station chimneys, the heated infinity pool is open year-round and offers staggering vistas over the Thames and the London skyline beyond. When the sun shines you can lounge by the pool with a glass of something strong in hand, before swimming up to the edge and coming face to face with one of the capital’s most striking architectural landmarks.
This bijou rooftop pool in the heart of the city, surrounded by soaring skyscrapers, used to only be accessible to members of the Curtain Club, who you’d find sunning themselves on the terrace on hot days. Now it’s also open to Mondrian Shoreditch hotel guests – though it’s a strictly child-free zone from 12pm onwards. If you don’t fancy taking a dip but are in the mood for some glamorous poolside vibes, book a table at Seventies LA-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant Laurel’s on the Roof, which has become one of the city’s hottest spots since launching in May. With DJs on hand in the evenings and Frozen Spicy Margaritas on tap, this is where to come for the most legendary rooftop parties this summer.
The original Soho House rooftop pool is still considered the best by some, and you know you’re always in for a fun time when you pay a visit to this east London hangout. Offering up views over the neighbouring cityscape – including a close-up vista of the Gherkin – Londoners flock to this heated 16-metre open-air pool all year round. Flanked by retro red and white candy-striped loungers and a bustling poolside bar, Shoreditch House is only open to members.
The rooftop pool hidden away at the top of the Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge has long been considered one of London’s secret gems, squirreled away under a retractable roof and grand colonnades. After an extensive refurbishment towards the end of last year, however, the pool has now been unveiled in its new guise. Gone are the roof and colonnades, replaced instead with glass railings that offer up stunning views across Hyde Park and central London beyond. Open to hotel guests, for chilly days the pool is heated, while refreshing treats including coconut milk smoothies and summery cocktails are on hand when the mercury rises. There is no chicer spot to see out a heatwave.
There’s nothing low-key about the Ned, which is situated in a grand former bank in the heart of the city and boasts more bars and restaurants than you can count, including one housed in an old vault. So it’s no surprise that their rooftop pool is just as impressive, lined with Italian marble and offering knockout views over St Paul’s Cathedral. Available to use by club members and hotel guests as part of the Ned’s Upstairs Club, the heated lap pool sits alongside the ever-popular Roof Bar, which has its own retractable glass ceiling.
The latest London outpost from the Soho House group can be found in a Brutalist building on the Strand, a short walk up from Somerset House. 180 House spans two floors and features two restaurants and an outdoor terrace – the real draw here is the rooftop pool, which offers spellbinding 360º views over the Thames and central London.
White City House
There was much fanfare when this west London Soho House outpost opened in 2018, largely because there was finally now somewhere on the other side of the city that could rival Shoreditch House’s status as the king of London rooftop pools. Any hopes that it would be less crowded than its eastern counterpart were quickly dashed, though, with a coveted 1960s-style sunlounger at the Television Centre members’ club just as hard to come by. If you do manage to nab one, hang onto it – you can easily while away an entire day here, snacking on slices of pizza from the wood-fired oven and sipping on cocktails.