This summer has seen an unprecedented heatwave hit the city of London, one that has made many people rethink the ways that they keep cool. Aside from the London hotels with spa facilities, many properties in the city, and indeed much of England, don’t have any air conditioning! The reality is that England doesn’t usually need it. Only a small percentage of private homes have built in air con, so many residents take to the lidos, rivers and fountains to keep cool.
Of course, there are many fountains and watering holes that are off limits to visitors, but aquatic havens like the Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds make for cool relief when the weather is hitting 30 degrees. For guests of luxury hotels in London’s centre, there are many places where you can don your swimwear and take a plunge.
This blog will focus specifically on the fountains of London that are available to take a splash in. Whilst you won’t see anyone practising their front crawl in Trafalgar square, there are a range of refreshing fountains that have been specifically designed for playing in. Guests of Montcalm restaurant hotels can easily reach these spots via short journeys on buses or Underground Lines, but make sure to bring a change of clothes!
Elephant Springs – Elephant & Castle
This rocky alcove of Elephant Park in Elephant & Castle is a recent development in the currently evolving area. The porphyry stone waterfalls and walkways make for a fun area for kids to play in. The water streaming through the rocks also adds a sense of adventure for kids, who can even pump the water themselves. With hammocks nearby for the adults and plenty to do in the surrounding Elephant & Castle area, it seems that there’s a new summer hotspot in London.
Somerset House is well known for its evolving courtyard, and this summer is much the same with the Edmond J Safra Fountain Court, creating rows of water spurts that are great fun for kids. However, due to the shapeshifting cultural programme of Somerset House, the fountain won’t always be available. Make sure to check for programming off-days before visiting.
Walthamstow Town Hall
Whilst the courthouse in this northeast London suburb is being rebuilt into commercial properties, the adjacent square has become a prime hangout for local families thanks to the light show capable bursts of water exploding across the courtyard. The Walthamstow town hall makes for a grand backdrop too, and there’s a playing field round the abc of the complex so that visitors can work up a sweat before hitting the fountains.
Diana Memorial Fountain
Princess Diana’s legacy may be a key reason that guests of the Brewery Hotel Chiswell Street have booked a holiday in London and this Hyde Park attraction encapsulates her character. Made for kids to play in, the Diana Memorial Fountain symbolises the fracture her tragic death created, whilst also making space for children to enjoy their lives, as was the Princess’s motivation in her charity work.
Granary Square – Kings Cross
Granary Square is now home to Central St Martins Art school but also hosts a range of shops, cafes and businesses. A real eclectic crowd then, especially when you add the child-attracting fountain in the heart of the courtyard. With cafes and bars for adults to hang out around, you can watch the kids play in these plumes of water, all within a recently refurbished square that’s becoming ever more stylish by the day.
Jeppe Hein’s Appearing Rooms – Southbank
One of the most artful fountains on this list, the Jeppe Hein Appearing Rooms fountain is situated on a walkway bending round the South Bank Centre. This means that adults can enjoy the views of the Thames whilst the kids play in the water walls and “rooms’” of this art piece. Whilst it’s all fun and games, it also symbolises a new trend of interactive yet minimalist art installations in London, quite the hybrid then!
Olympic Park Fountain
The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has plenty for children and adults to enjoy and interact with, including climbing walls and the now famous ArcelorMittal slide, but this summer, the Waterworks Fountain will no doubt be the centrepiece. Situated in the south of the park, the Waterworks consist of 195 independent jets of water that create wall mazes, a lot of fun for the children who want to keep cool during their time in this East London shopping and walking hub.
John Madjeski Garden Fountains, V&A Museum
Located within the beautiful courtyard of the V&A, the John Madjeski Fountain is part of the Madjeski Gardens within the largest design museum in the world. The beautiful fountain is serene and calming, and has small streams of water that make for great breathers from the dense galleries of the Victorian era museum.
Russell Square Gardens Fountain
This Bloomsbury Garden is another museum adjacent to the paddling pool. With The British Museum just a stone’s throw away, this small fountain is a lovely spot for adults who want to rest their gallery legs and let the kids blow off some steam this summer.
Swiss Cottage Open Space
The Swiss Cottage Open Space includes a baby and toddler friendly shallow pool for kids to cool down in, whilst the water jets out from either side. Another great respite for a busy area.
Marylebone Green Playground Water Park
Situated in the south of Regent’s Park, Marylebone Green includes a pump and pipe system that is open for kids to play between 10 am and 7.30 pm every summer.
Merchant Square Fountain Maze
Paddington’s recently refurbished Merchant Square has a lot of modern attractions including a drawbridge and sculptures, but the main draw for children here is the fountain maze, spiralling through concentric circles and challenging kids to avoid the jets. Though the summer months will see them doing the opposite, the maze is a great way to keep the kids entertained when exploring the vibrant and tourist-friendly Paddington area.