Swimming resumes in the Serpentine

The Royal Parks have authorised the Serpentine Swimming Club to resume swimming in the Serpentine from Monday 18th May.

Guidelines  for swimming are detailed below. The conditions for swimming agreed with Royal Parks will be strictly adhered to. Swimming in the Serpentine will be the subject of monitoring and review by both the Club Committee and Royal Parks and at any time may be stopped in the interests of public and swimmer safety.

Alan Mitchell


  • It is the personal responsibility of all swimmers to look after their safety and ensure that they comply with Government social-distancing regulations relating to the Covid-19 virus.
  • It remains the case that each individual swims at their own risk and the usual principle will apply in the event that a swimmer is in difficulty: help will be provided if practicable and emergency services contacted as necessary.
  • Now is not the time to start open water swimming if you haven’t done it before.
  • Take care to ensure that you do not spend too long in the water, bearing in mind any loss of conditioning, outdoor changing, lack of hot drinks, and the relatively cool water/weather.
  • Swimmers under the age of 18 are allowed to swim but they must not change inside the club area (please review Under 18 Supervision Ratios below)
  • No guests will be permitted to swim until further notice.
  • In the absence of wardens, members will need to take responsibility for communicating with those who might require guidance including the need to sign up for membership.
  • Hours of opening will be extended for swimming from 5.00am to 10.00am (strict) with everyone clear of the causeway area by 10.30am at the latest.
  • In order to avoid overcrowding, swimmers are asked to move on once they are out of the water and clear the area as quickly as possible.
  • The full 100m length of the causeway bank as well as the upper terrace will be available for changing.
  • The gates at the far end of the causeway will be closed and the gates near our changing room partially closed (with a sign “SSC members only”), so as to deter members of the public. You may be asked by a committee member to confirm your name so that your membership can be checked.
  • There will be a one-way system for getting in (the jetty and middle ramp) and out (the ramps at each end opposite the showers) of the water.
  • Please try to follow the directional swimming lanes (see map). We shall have the full 300m length. Please do not swim in groups of more than 2.
  • As showering has minimal effects on the virus, people are encouraged to bring their own alcogel and apply it before and after swimming. 
  • It is recommended that goggles are put on before entering the water and removed before exiting the water, in order to minimise the risk of infection via the eyes. 
  • There is to be no touching of buoys. 
  • Swimmers should bring as little as possible in terms of kit, basically costume, cap and goggles, and not gloves, booties, wetsuits, etc. which would increase the risk of contamination and involve more time getting changed. 
  • If numbers became a problem, members need to swim at less popular times, and if necessary to wait until the area is less crowded or to come on alternate days. It might become necessary to cap numbers and regulate those attending.
  • There will be no races, changing room, toilets, car parking, and only those members who are able to walk or cycle to the park are to swim.
  • The effectiveness of these guidelines will be monitored by the committee and any necessary enforcement or changes communicated to the membership.
  •  This is a golden opportunity to return to the water: please let us pull together in order to make it work.

Alan Mitchell (President) and George Cselko (Secretary) on behalf of the Club Committee.

Under 18 Supervision Ratios

Swimmers under the age of 18 remain the responsibility of the adult member who signed their application form.

  • Children aged 8 - 17 must be accompanied by an adult aged at least 18 on a three to one ratio.
  • Children aged 4 - 7 must be accompanied by an adult aged at least 18 on a two to one ratio.
  • Children aged under 4 must be accompanied by an adult aged at least 18 on a one to one ratio.

The lowest ratio is always enforced. For example one adult cannot accompany a 3 year old and a 10 year old at the same time, but could accompany a 4 year old and a 10 year old.