Wild swimming is the perfect fun and free summer activity. Not only can it be exhilarating but also gives you the chance to explore some beautiful spots around the country. Confession time: We very much only enjoy wild swimming when it’s SUNNY. When winter comes we are staying far away from cold, dark water. Which some might argue makes us very not wild. But if winter swimming is for you these spots will be just as breathtaking, with the added benefit of fewer people around!
Safety First – How to Wild Swim:
- Never go alone, always swim with friends and family. Remember the rule of three for visiting remote locations. If one person gets hurt, the second can stay with the injured party and the third can go for help, especially as in more remote locations phone signal might not be as strong.
- Check the current. An easy way to do this is by throwing a stick into the water to see how fast the water is moving.
- Plan your exit. Before getting in always plan how to get out. Climbing down is often easier than climbing up.
- Don’t jump without measuring the depth. Water can be deceivingly shallow.
We are no experts so please read this guide by RNLI on how to swim safely.
Without further ado…
Here are some beautiful spots for wild swimming in the UK:
Blue Lagoon – Wales
This lagoon used to be a slate quarry, you can still see the remains of old quarry buildings sitting on the cliff top. The sea flooded the quarry, creating the lagoon we have today. It gets its brilliant aqua colour from the slate beneath it.
This lagoon is 25m deep and the remains of the quarry buildings make great spots to jump off. It’s so deep that in 2013 Red Bull cliff diving took place there.
Fairy Pools – Isle of Skye
To swim in this crystal clear water you need to hike first so bring some sensible shoes. Be warned the water has fallen straight from the Cuillin mountains so it’s likely to be colder than any other locations on this list. Even in summer, a wetsuit is a good idea. Don’t let any of the above put you off though, this is the most stunning location. Aptly named fairy pools because it truly feels magical.
Top Tip: Wear reef-safe sun scream. 14,000 tonnes of sunscreen gets washed into our waterways each year. The majority of sunscreens contain chemicals that are incredibly damaging to marine life. The biggest link is related to coral reef damage and bleaching. Whilst none of these locations have coral reefs, sunscreen can travel through the ocean. Harm to one part harms it all. Read more about sustainable sunscreen here.
Hampstead Heath – London
Even in the middle of our capital you still can fit a place for a dip. Three natural bathing ponds are nestled within Hampstead Heath. A ladies-only pond, a men-only and mixed. This is the only location on our list that you have to pay to swim, but at £4 we think it’s worth it. If you live in London this is the perfect location for an accessible swim, as opposed to some of the other places on this list which are very remote.
Three Shires Head – River Dane
This location is called the Three Shires as it’s where Derbyshire, Cheshire, and Staffordshire all meet. Not only does it sound like it’s from a Tolkien book, but it looks like it as well with crystal clear water and multiple waterfalls. Resulting in shallow areas to paddle and deeper sections to swim. Offset by a beautiful stone grade 2 listed bridge and plenty of flat rocks to picnic on.
This is another spot you will need to hike to as it’s not accessible by car. It’s worth it though so get your walking boots on.
Bude Sea Pool – Cornwall
This is the least wild, wild swimming recommendation we are bringing you. A suggestion for beginners and families. This is a half man-made, half natural sea pool meaning you are sheltered from strong currents. It’s 91m long with shallow areas to paddle. Lifeguards and volunteers are often around, meaning even the least confident swimmers will feel safe. This attraction is FREE but unlike others on this list requires more maintenance, so consider leaving a donation.
Not all fun and games
Reconnecting with nature is so important in our technology obsessed world. Spending time outdoors can remind us how important it is to look after our planet. Swimming in clean oceans and rivers is a magical experience. However, sadly this isn’t the reality. Often these beautiful sights and water contain toxic litter. Plastic bottles are the biggest source of pollution in UK rivers. With 6.9% of all plastic bottles being littered.
This summer, do better than leaving a location how you found it, and leave it in a better condition by spending an extra 15 minutes litter picking any rubbish you do see lying around. Let’s keep these sacred, beautiful spots plastic free.
Even if you aren’t littering in these locations, reducing your plastic waste is essential. Cut plastic cleaning bottles out of your life by switching to reusable cleaning products, protecting the beautiful world we live in from litter and pollution.
Need some motivation? Find out your on-the-go plastic footprint by taking this quiz.