With the warmer months nearing, many of us will be dreaming of hazy summer days, taking an al fresco dip to cool off.
Wild swimming is becoming an increasingly popular activity in the UK, and currently, the number of designated bathing spots in the country is at an all time high.
Four new spots have been added by the government in Rutland, Devon and Suffolk, bringing the total number to 424.
Becoming a designated swimming spot means an area will benefit from regular water-quality monitoring which is good news for swimmers.
If you’re a new wild water swimmer, there are some things to note. As the name suggests, this is a little more rustic than heading to your local leisure centre. So, avoid taking the plunge if you’re not a seasoned swimmer and stick to shallow waters.
Meanwhile, do your research and ask locals for advice.
With so many beautiful amenities on offer, from plunge pools to rivers, now really is the time to embrace the water.
So, whether you’re a thrill seeker or simply want to feel the water on your skin, here are 20 of the best wild swimming spots in the UK.
Sykes Lane Bathing Beach
Located at Rutland Water beach, the newly appointed area of Sykes Lane is set to become a hotspot in warmer weather.
Also located at Rutland, Whitwell Creek is also home to a watersports centre and restaurant. The ideal haunt for busy summer days.
Firestone Bay is a small pebble beach to the West of Plymouth Sound located next to Devil’s Point. It also provides great views of Mount Edgcumbe.
The River Deben in Suffolk flows through unspoilt countryside for nearly 25 miles from its source near Debenham to the North Sea at Felixstowe Ferry. Now, a section will be open to swimmers at Waldringfield, Suffolk.
Embleton Bay is a long sweep of white sand and is shadowed on its southern end by the atmospheric ruins of 14th century Dunstanburgh Castle. It’s ideal for swimming in the shallows or the deeper waters of the North Sea.
Clevedon Marine Lake
Clevedon Marine Lake is in Somerset is a large tidal pool and is filled with sea water from the Bristol Channel every spring tide. It’s free and the water is regularly tested.
In Sussex Downs, the River Ouse is a beautiful waterway that you can also travel on in its paddle boats.
Skye’s Faerie Pools
Located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, Skye’s faerie pools are magical spots for a swim. Some are tinged with pinks and greens.
In Somserset, this pool-cum-large-weir is superb for expert swimmers and those who enjoy a quick paddle.
Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Wale’s Blue Lagoon is the colour of turquoise and could sit itself easily in landscape of Iceland.
Grantchester Meadows in Cambridge has 2km of fine river to dive and swim in.
Known as the ‘secret lake’, Levenshulme’s wild swimming spot in Manchester is a large body of water dredged and created by locals in an eight-year long community project.
The best place to swim in the River Lugg is where it passes through the small village of Bodenham. Expect some stretches of shoreline beaches and river pools.
Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds
With a total of 30 ponds on Hampstead Heath, three of the biggest are for swimming. The single-sex ponds are open all year round.
The River Derwent in Chatsworth, Derbyshire is a lovely place to swim. Park at Calton Lees car park, walk across the cattle grid to the river, and a muddy entrance will take you to the banks.
Windermere, Lake District
The largest natural lake in England, Windermere is expansive so it’s good to know where is best to swim safely and Miller Ground is a much lauded spot.
St Nectan’s Kieve
While it will cost a small fee, St Nectan’s Kieve, Cornwall is well worth the price. The waterfall is known as a beautiful place to cool off.
River Thames, Pangbourne
Close to London, head for Lower Basildon and park by the church. A quick walk down the path will then bring you to prime swimming spots on the river.
In North Wales, you will need to visit Dorothea Quarry quickly as development plans may shut it to the public. This gorgeous flooded quarry is a deep pool with a pontoon for swimmers to jump in from.
River Isis, Port Meadow
Port Meadow is a stretch of common land roamed by cows and horses but is a seriously popular spot for a swim on hot days. Aim to swim by Fiddler’s Island which is nearest to central Oxford.
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