Since reading about the new art installation that you can swim in, I knew that I'd have to book tickets for my wild swimming nut. The Old Man has swam in rivers and reservoirs, in the sea, and in mountain lakes. Being surrounded by open countryside is one of the biggest appeals of outdoor swimming, so I wondered how he'd feel about urban swimming. Sure, he's been swimming in Hampstead Pond and in many of the London lidos but Kings Cross Pond is different. Completely urban, right in the centre of the latest development phase of the area, and inspired by the popularity of the fountains at the nearby Granary Square. Here you can swim with the BT Tower and the gothic St Pancras station in the background while East Coast trains trundle into the Kings Cross arches.
The pond is completely natural - no chlorine like you'd find in a municipal pool or lido, yet filtered and pure - so no creepy crawlies or fish like you'd find in a river or lake. Perhaps this is the ideal balance for outdoor swimming.
Smaller than I expected, the pond is only 40 m long by 10m but it won't get overcrowded as it's pre-booked tickets only, limited to 163 people per day, the exact amount the reed filtration system can cope with.
Open from 6.30 am until dusk, you can book a ticket for a three and a half hour period throughout the week with prices starting at £3.50 off peak, rising to £6.50 at peak times including weekends. Tickets are only released a week or two in advance though, so you'll have to take a punt on the great British weather. Spectators are welcome too, either for free at the elevated viewing platform, or poolside for £2 per person. Children are welcome to swim but must be accompanied by an adult. There are lifeguards on duty (I might add some of the friendliest lifeguards I've met), and you can change in the bright red and white poolside changing rooms and keep your valuables safe in the lockers. You'll find sun loungers on the poolside and this is set to become one of the coolest places to be this summer.
Set on a raised mound, the kids will love rolling down the hill and parents will enjoy the tranquility of sitting amongst the wild flower planting, a true rarity to see such flowers growing in central London.
Twenty-odd years ago I worked at Kings Cross. If you'd have told me then that the area would be completely regenerated with bars, galleries and amazing public spaces, I'd have laughed in your face. If you'd have told me people would flock to swim in a pond there I'd have thought you were crazy. But here it is, and now I love this area so much.
The installation is only planned to be open to the public for 2 years, so take a dip now while you can.