August Bank Holiday almost marks the end of the London Summer Season, so its time to get back from London Baby’s Summer Break! Thanks to Ramallah Baby for a few lovely guest posts (see here and here) – she is a London Baby in disguise!!!
London Baby used the break to go on vacation, but also many “staycations” in London during the weekend – can’t wait to share many new discoveries here. For starters, the Capital Ring has now been conquered- stay tuned for some posts on this.
Anyway, back to this post – its literally fresh off the press. Yesterday, I finally went to the King’s Cross Pond – the much talked about Pop-up swimming pond (not pool!) in the construction area of King’s Cross. According to the people behind it, its much more than a humble pond- no! In the self-marketing of the place, Icon Magazine sums it up as:
“Part art installation, part leisure project, the pool of naturally filtered water allows swimmers an unusual perspective on a rapidly changing part of London”
and-” ‘Of Soil and Water’: the King’s Cross Pond Club, the piece encourages visitors to enter the water and participate in the installation as a piece of experiential art.”
Big words! But lets see…
Finding the pond (eh…art installation) is the first challenge in the ever changing King’s Cross construction area. The pond is located behind the Granary Square complex, between “Canal Reach” and “Tapper Walk” (where the entrance is). The easiest street nearby is York Way where you can access Tapper Walk (1 min walk from there, the viewing platform is the landmark to look out for).
Please be sure to not just go there, but book a ticket in advance (here), as only up to 163 swimmers per day may use the pond. You can book sessions between 6.45am and 5pm on weekdays and 10am to 4pm on weekends. The cost varies between £3.50 and £6.50 depending on the time.
When you enter the viewing platform (can be done without a ticket), you realise, how big the green area is and what a weird location- surrounded by perfectly manicured new buildings, construction sites etc. – and how the construction theme is resembled in the overall design (see all the red/white stripes like in construction tape?)
Before you enter, there is loads of information on the pond / art installation ranging from general overview to a detailed explanation of the filtering system (turns out you can’t swim the whole 40m pool, as there is a filtering area with loads of plants.
For those interested, I hope the pictures will give a bit of insight – there seems to be a lot of science in creating a “natural” pool in surroundings it does not typically belong!
When you enter, there is a small, and very basic area with reception (where you just say your name, no need to print your booking), lockers (bring your own padlock), and changing rooms / toilets (all very basic but very very clean). Next are the showers – they are open showers (no cubicles) and cold water only. Yet, its mandatory to shower before you enter the pool to not disturb the ecosystem there too much. Plus, given the pool is not heated, it prepares you for what is to come…
A few stairs, and you are climbing the little hill that actually holds the pool. And there it lies all the way before you, a really nice sight…but- wait a moment! It’s much smaller than you think. So if you are thinking of serious swimming training, this one might not be for you!
Too much written already, and into the water. Its cold! Well, its depending on the weather, as its a non- heated pool. Its the tamed inner-city equivalent to the Hampstead pools, and its open all year round. Yesterday, the temperature was 19 degrees but it certainly felt colder.
Once you are in though, you get used to it quickly. And I must admit, it was very very nice. Forget all the marketing/art installation rumble-jumble, forget the initial disappointment of the tiny size of the pool, forget all that. You are floating in wonderful natural waters in the most peculiar environment.
You see the new apartment and business blocks rising, you see the cranes, the new park, the viewing platform, all of that. And you feel and smell like in the lake where you swam as a child in the countryside. Soft, clear water, no hint of chlorine smell, its really, really great. All the lovely plants in the filtering area, are enhancing the idea of swimming in a natural pool. Even the bottom of the pool (part of the pool is 2.8m deep, part you can stand is slippery from the greens that have nested on the stainless steel surface (it sounds bad but feels good and natural)! There is even a small area for babies and children, so everyone can enjoy the pool. For the sunny days there are a few sun loungers on the green grass and a friendly life guard is at hand to answer any of your questions (actually all of the staff were super friendly!).
When you are done with your swim, you can visit the little cafe of neighbouring skip garden (if open) or have a look around this community garden.
It has been around for a while, but it was not very clear what is actually happening there, but hopefully being connected to the pond, it will receive a well-deserved boost so that people will know about it.
So yes, that’s it, hope this gives a little impression of the place. If you got curious, you’ll have until June next year to check out the place (at least the staff told me its a 13 months pop up that started in May). Its open all year round, so if in January you really feel like a swim, you know where to go 🙂