Go on be brave. Yeah, it might be a tad chillier than you’d first like, but there’s no chlorine to play with your peroxide and ice baths are the making of our sports stars, so it’s got to be a good thing… We’re not talking laps or lilos, we’re talking an exhilarating wild swimming experience. You’ll never look back.
Wild swimming won’t only cool you down
Scorching British summer days aside, wild swimming enthusiasts assure us of its revitalizing and endorphin-surging qualities. In layman’s terms that’s a happier, healthier you.
Grassington Weir, North Yorkshire
Grassington isn’t any ordinary Yorkshire Dales market town. It’s glorious riverside position has been put to fabulous use to create a genuinely fun and rather unique attraction for tourists and locals alike. The natural architecture of the river provides undulation and waterfalls perfect for wild swimming. Plus a chute created down the side of the old mill house adds just the right amount of adrenalin.
Fairy Glen, Betws-y-Coed
Forget fairy doors in the woodland. This enchanting spot near Snowdonia’s capital of outdoor pursuits, Betws-y-Coed, is a wild swimming gem. Unlike most river swimming spots, there is a nominal fee to access the gorge. But don’t let that put you off. The lushness of the mossy banks and woodland setting are too magical to miss.
Salmon Leaps, Dartmoor
The cascading waters of the three plunge pools beneath Castle Drogo in Devon will soon have you imagining the fun that leaping salmon may well have had before this woodland spot became a tourist magnet. The power of the water as it moves from pool to pool creates natural slides for those who like their flume rides. Yet this is also a tranquil spot to experience a natural Jacuzzi-like soak as the water bubbles up around you, assuming you can accommodate the natural temperature too!
Claverton Weir, near Bath
A great family friendly wild swimming spot. Your options vary from paddling along the ridge of the dam to cruising down it in a lilo (ok, we let one in) or taking a steady swim up river. A pretty and peaceful spot on the outskirts of Bath, even if you’re not a swimmer you’ll want to dip a toe, so don’t forget your towels.
Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons
Forget the Loch Ness Monster. Watch out for the Lady of the Lake if you’re swimming here this summer. Llyn y Fan Fach is apparently Wales’ most haunted body of water. But fear not, she only appears on the first Sunday in August at 2pm. So, let’s go for a splash before she surfaces. Quick!
Treyarnon Bay Tidal Pool, Cornwall
Sea pools are relatively common in Cornwall, but the tidal rock pool at Treyarnon Bay near Padstow is definitely worth a visit. Filled by the waves crashing in over the rocks, it’s safest to swim at low to mid tide. If you time it wrong, don’t worry, the beach here is gorgeous and popular with surfers, so there’s plenty going on to achieve a day out with the kids.
Linhope Spout, Northumberland
Thrill seekers listen up and Tom Daley eat your heart out. The 6ft high ledge at Linhope Spout is the quickest way to enter the deep pool with a dive or jump – you’ll soon warm up. For those seeking a more rollercoaster thrill, make your way to the top of the 60ft natural chute and let the rest be wahoo all the way!
Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Taking the third spot in this list for wild swimming spots in Wales, is the beautiful Blue Lagoon in Abereiddy. Making brilliant use of a former quarry, it’s slate remains colour the water a stunning blue while what’s left of the quarry building presents perfect natural diving platforms. Swim or splash, you’ll want to come back here for more.
Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye
This spectacular Scottish beauty spot will warm your heart. Although the waters of Britain’s northerly reaches are more likely to make you freeze! Wandering along the popular walking trail to the source of the River Brittle, the temptation to dip a toe in these glorious pools is too much for many, but if you want to take a proper dip, we’d recommend bringing your wetsuit.
River Frome, Somerset
For anyone thinking that wild swimming is some modern fad to prove how thick skinned you are against the icy waters of Britain’s rivers, think again. Members of the swimming club at Farleigh in Somerset have been reinvigorating themselves in the River Frome for more than 80 years. You don’t have to be a member to access the water. For a small fee, that makes public leisure centres look extortionate, you can see what all the fuss is about.
Ullswater Lake, Cumbria
The Lake District offers wild swimming opportunities in abundance. The clear waters, beaches and crags make it easy to enter the water and find some fun spots for splashing around. For those seeking an extra thrill, try the deep dive from Kailpot Crag. If you’d rather stick to the surface, bring a snorkel – the water really is that clear.
Whether you’re battling blood pressure, cholesterol or just a bad mood, these comparatively crowd-free wild swimming spots around Britain tick more than a happy holiday box or two. Bikini, one piece or budgie smugglers, it’s time to dive in!