I'd lived here nine years before making my first visit to the Men's Pond at Hampstead Heath. Synonymous with 'cruising' for gay sex , Hampstead Heath is a vast green open space in North London. It takes a bit of planning to get to but is relatively accessible via public transport. What's perhaps less well-known is that as well as being a hot-spot for outdoor sex, Hampstead Heath is also a major centre for outdoor swimming - options include: Parliament Hill Lido; the Mixed Pond; the Ladies' Pond; and the Men's Pond. Large, freshwater swimming ponds, the Ladies' and the Men's ponds are unique in the UK as they are the only life-guarded open-water swimming facilities that are open to the public every day of the year.