The Best Wild Swimming Spots in the UK

The United Kingdom is renowned for its beautiful landscapes and diverse bodies of water, offering numerous opportunities for wild swimming. Here are some of the best places to wild swim in the UK:

1. Lake District, England: The Lake District National Park in Cumbria is known for its stunning lakes, such as Windermere, Ullswater, and Coniston Water, which provide excellent wild swimming opportunities: 

  • Windermere: Windermere is the largest lake in England and offers various spots for open water swimming. Fell Foot Park, Low Wood Bay, and Waterhead are popular access points.
  • Coniston Water: Coniston Water is another beautiful lake with designated swimming areas. Peel Island, known as "Wild Cat Island" from Arthur Ransome's "Swallows and Amazons," is a popular spot for swimmers.
  • Ullswater: Ullswater is the second largest lake in the Lake District and has numerous entry points for open water swimming, including Glenridding and Pooley Bridge.Derwentwater: Located near the town of Keswick, Derwentwater is surrounded by picturesque landscapes and offers opportunities for open water swimming.
Local Clubs and Events: Joining a local swimming club or participating in organized open water swimming events can enhance your experience and provide additional safety measures. These groups often have experienced swimmers and coaches who can offer guidance and support.

2. Scottish Highlands, Scotland: Scotland's Highlands offer breathtaking lochs and rivers for wild swimming, including Loch Lomond, Loch Morar. Lochs to swim in: 

  • Loch Ness: Loch Ness is one of the most famous lochs in Scotland, known for the legendary Loch Ness Monster. While swimming in Loch Ness is permitted, it's important to be aware of boat traffic and adhere to any local guidelines.
  • Loch Lomond: Loch Lomond is another popular destination for open water swimming. It is the largest freshwater loch in Scotland and offers various entry points.
  • Loch Morlich: Located in the Cairngorms National Park, Loch Morlich is a beautiful loch surrounded by pine forests. It provides a stunning setting for open water swimming.
  • Loch an Eilein: This picturesque loch, located near Aviemore, is known for its stunning castle ruins on a small island. It offers a tranquil and scenic spot for swimming.

    3. Snowdonia, Wales: Snowdonia National Park located in north west Wales boasts beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and rivers where you can enjoy wild swimming. Llyn Gwynant and Afon Glaslyn are popular spots.

    • Llyn Padarn: Located near the town of Llanberis, Llyn Padarn is a beautiful lake perfect for open water swimming. It offers stunning views of Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales.
    • Llyn Gwynant: Nestled in the heart of Snowdonia, Llyn Gwynant is a picturesque lake surrounded by mountains. It provides a tranquil and scenic setting for open water swimming.
    • Afon Glaslyn: The Afon Glaslyn is a river that flows through Snowdonia and offers opportunities for wild swimming. Be mindful of the river's current and potential hazards.
    • Llyn Cwellyn: Situated at the foot of Snowdon, Llyn Cwellyn is another lake suitable for open water swimming. It offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. 

      4. Dartmoor, England: Dartmoor National Park in Devon features numerous rivers, pools, and reservoirs suitable for wild swimming. Below is a list of the rivers and Pools for Swimming:

      • River Dart: The River Dart is a prominent feature in Dartmoor and offers various swimming spots. Buckfastleigh, Newbridge, and Sharrah Pool are popular locations for open water swimming.
      • Bellever Forest and Warren House Inn: These areas have beautiful pools and small rivers where you can enjoy a refreshing swim in a picturesque setting.
      • Venford Reservoir: Located near Holne, Venford Reservoir is a reservoir surrounded by woodland. It permits swimming and provides a serene location for a dip.

      5. Pembrokeshire Coast, Wales: The Pembrokeshire Coast offers stunning beaches and coves where you can indulge in wild swimming, including Barafundle Bay, Stackpole Quay, and Blue Pool Bay.

      6. Lake Windermere, England: The largest lake in England, located in the Lake District, provides a variety of swimming opportunities, from peaceful bays to secluded spots.

      7. River Wye, England/Wales: The River Wye flows along the border of England and Wales, offering picturesque sections for wild swimming, such as Symonds Yat and the area near Hay-on-Wye.

      8. Isle of Skye, Scotland: The Isle of Skye is famous for its rugged coastline and crystal-clear pools, including the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, which are popular for wild swimming.

      Tow floats

      While it's not a legal requirement to wear a tow float when swimming outdoors in the UK, it is highly recommended for safety purposes.  Wearing a Tow Float is beneficial because:

      1. Visibility: The bright colours of the tow float make you more visible to other water users, such as boats, kayakers, or fellow swimmers, reducing the risk of accidental collisions.

      2. Safety and Buoyancy: The tow float provides additional buoyancy, making it easier for you to stay afloat in the water. It can also act as a support aid if you need to rest or take a break during your swim.

      3. Storage: Many tow floats come with a small dry bag compartment where you can keep your valuables, such as keys, phones, or snacks, protecting them from water damage while you swim.

      4. Signalling: In case of an emergency, the tow float can serve as a signalling device. You can wave or blow on a whistle attached to the float to attract attention and call for help.

      5. Confidence and Peace of Mind: Wearing a tow float can increase your confidence while swimming in open water, especially if you are a beginner or less experienced swimmer. It provides a sense of security and reassurance.

      Take a look at our Safety Guides for open water swimming in different types of open water. 

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