Yesterday, N and I went to try out ‘Of Soil and Water’, an art installation/swimming pond sitting in the middle of the giant mass of building work happening around King’s Cross station.

I must admit to being a little sceptical about how nice swimming in a building site could be, but it was surprisingly pretty! The edges up to the pool have been turned into little grassy slopes, ideal for lazing about and warming up, and watching people walk past look slightly surprised at the emergence of people in bathing suits. They’ve also planted up some wild flowers and decked it all out in a rather cute red and white striped theme. The striking difference between the pond area and the surrounding blocks of flats and piles of concrete means that the overall effect is less ‘pond made in a building site’ and more ‘pond unexpectedly teleported into a building site’.

But what about the swim itself? Well, the water is very nice, being naturally filtered by specially-selected plants  at one end of the pool. The water is cloudier than a pool, but cleaner than your bog-standard (no pun intended!) pond. It’s quite small at around 25m long, so not really the place for serious lap swimming (although a man in a wetsuit was giving it a good go), but lovely for a gentle meander round in the air and evening sunshine. Only 40 people can book for each slot, and we had it to ourselves at the end, meaning you can pretend it’s your own mini wild swimming pond – other people do that right?

All in all, it’s a great initiative, and from chatting to other swimmers, seemed to be encouraging non-outdoor swimmers to give it a go, which is awesome. I can imagine stopping after work for a ‘swim the day off’ dip, or before you get on a train for a long stuffy journey, it would be just right. However, it’s a bit small and open to surprised onlookers, so it isn’t enough to lure me away from my true swimming love, the Ladies’ Pond on Hampstead Heath. More about there another day 🙂

A few pics from the eve below.


For more info and to book tickets, visit

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