London’s Finest Summer Sporting Spaces

It may not turn up every day of the week, but - at least on paper - summer has arrived in London. When the weather is behaving and there are so many things to enjoy across the capital, finding time to enjoy sport can be a challenge. But if you do, whoever you are and whatever your budget, there are so many places in London to enjoy all kinds of sport over the coming months.

At Better Venues, we regularly host sporting events across many of our locations - from boxing bouts at York Hall, to kayaking and open swimming at West Reservoir in Stoke Newington - but there’s so much to discover in London, that we’ve put together a guide to some of our favourite sporting destinations. Take a look!

Parliament Hill Lido and the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds

Nearest Station: Gospel Oak (Overground)

London is scattered with incredible lidos and outdoor swimming spaces, and Parliament Hill - as well as having its own running track and cricket green - is home to one of North London’s most popular summertime swims. Perfect for a family day out or a quiet early morning workout, Parliament Hill Lido is open from 7th May to the 25th September, with morning swimming between 7am and 9am, day swimming between 10am and 6pm, and evening lane swimming (for adults only) from 6.45pm to 8pm.

For something a little more wild, head up Parliament Hill to Hampstead Heath - widely regarded as one of London’s finest green spaces and a wonderful escape from the hectic rush of the city. The Swimming Ponds on the Heath have been popular with swimmers since the 1920s, and were originally dug as reservoirs in the 18th century. Fed by waters from the ancient Fleet River, this charmingly peaceful spot attracts seasoned swimmers throughout the summer. There’s a small fee before you dive in, but with three ponds to enjoy - men’s, women’s and mixed - it’s the perfect introduction to wild swimming.

Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park

Nearest Station: Stratford (Central, Jubilee, DLR, Overground, National Rail)

You might have missed it, but there was an Olympics in London a few years back. The Queen Elizabeth II Olympic Park, as it is now known, has adapted magnificently to its post-Olympic life, and remains an unmissable destination for many different sports. Kayak along the River Lea; challenge yourself on two wheels at the VeloPark; make a splash at the Aquatics Centre; head out for a brisk jog around its open landscapes - or book your chance to see Premier League football, as West Ham United move to the newly converted Olympic Stadium from August.

Alexandra Palace Pitch and Putt

Nearest Station: Alexandra Palace (National Rail), Wood Green (Piccadilly)

Looking for a family-friendly alternative to an afternoon in the park? Alexandra Palace commands amazing views across north and central London, and from Easter to autumn, is home to London’s most scenic 10-hole pitch and putt golf course. With admission starting at £6.50 for adults and £5.50 for kids and OAPs, it’s a great afternoon out for both enthusiastic beginners and experienced hands. Group and corporate bookings are available in advance.

Hackney Marshes

Nearest Station: Lea Bridge (National Rail), Homerton / Hackney Wick (Overground)

To the east of fashionable Hackney, and to the north of Olympic Stratford, Hackney Marshes has long been regarded as the beating heart of amateur football in the East End. Across this sweeping landscape, with Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road ground just down the road, a remarkable 88 pitches play host to the energetic cut and thrust of more than 100 Sunday league matches. During the summer, cricket has been historically played on the marshes, so you won’t be short of sporting entertainment. Head out for a weekend walk, run or cycle along the River Lea and enjoy this beautiful corner of the capital.

Crystal Palace National Sports Centre

Nearest Station: Crystal Palace (Overground/National Rail), Penge West (National Rail)

A historic home for both football and athletics, the Crystal Palace National Sports Centre has expanded to become one of south London’s finest sporting facilities. The stadium has regularly hosted athletics meetings since the 1960s, and holds over 16,000 spectators. Alongside the stadium, the Centre is home to a great variety of sporting facilities - including four swimming pools, football pitches, tennis courts, squash and beach volleyball courts, and a fully-equipped, air-conditioned gym with over 100 stations.

Photo Credit: Tom Page via Flickr CC

Visit the GLL and Better websites

Better is a registered trademark and trading name of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited), a charitable social enterprise and registered society under the Co-operative & Community Benefit & Societies Act 2014

GLL operates under a company and VAT group structure:

Greenwich Leisure Limited, IPS Registration Number 27793R and Inland Revenue Charity No XR43398 (parent company); GLL (Trading) Limited, Company Registration Number 04234158 (subsidiary).

Registered address: Middlegate House, The Royal Arsenal, London SE18 6SX.

Inland Revenue Charity no: XR43398 VAT registration no: 219749179

Contact us

© Copyright GLL 2014 – All rights reserved.