Top 23 Wild Swimming Spots in the UK

Travel relieves our stress and has been proven to boost our mental health. Theres something about taking yourself into new surroundings and experiencing different cultures and ways of life, that seems to reset both our body and mind. Having to adapt to new situations and taking ourselves outside of the comfort of our daily routine increases creativity and contributes significantly towards our personal growth. 

It's amazing that we are lucky enough to jet off and travel far and wide across our beautiful planet, but that doesn't have to be the only way to find new surroundings and experiences. With the current restrictions on travel due to the COVID pandemic, there has never been a better time to head out and discover what we have on our doorstep. Summer is here, and what could be more refreshing than a dip into the cool and clear waters of a secret lake?! 

Wild Swimming (n.)

The practice or activity of swimming for pleasure in natural waters, typically rivers and lakes.

Girl swimming in lake

The following is a list of some of the most beautiful, clear lakes and waterfalls from all over the UK. 

Wales & Midlands

 1) Cwm Pennant, Golan - A blue lagoon in a hidden cleft at the head of one of the most remote and beautiful valleys in Snowdonia. It is an extremely old reservoir, with crystal clear water, mainly around 3 metres deep in the middle. The car park is approximately 40 minutes walk from the reservoir, and it has easy access via the grassy bank. This is a real gem, with dramatic panoramic scenery. 

2) Llyn Brianna, River Tywi - A man made lake/reservoir in the headquarters of the river Tywi in Wales. The spillway connected to the reservoir has recently been used by kayakers to slide down while the water is in flood. However, we wouldn't recommend trying this, since it's now been banned by Welsh Water. If you'd like to see a video of some of the people that got away with it though, click here!

3) Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris - A glacial cwm in the crater of Cadair Idris set beneath 400m high moutain walls. This lake is huge and dramatic. It's a 350m ascent from the car park, in which you'll walk past many water falls and pools. A truly epic place to swim. 

Llyn cau

             (Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris)

4) Horseshoe Falls, R Nedd - Located in the Brecon Beacons, these waterfalls are shaped in several levels of semi-circular ledges. A little further upstream from here, the water cascades over Sgwd Ddwli Isaf and Sgwd Ddwli Uchaf (The lower and upper gushing falls), which after some heavy rain, truly live up to their name. 

5) Lathhill Dale, Derbyshire Dales - One of the prettiest of the Derbyshire Dales. The river Lathkill is a very secretive and shy watercourse that disappears and hides in places. A particularly attractive area of Lathkill Dale is the section below Over Haddon where crystal clear water bubbles up from swallet holes to flow into deep pools known locally as The Blue Waters. Here the river Lathkill becomes tranquil and serene, its calm surface just asking to be swam in!

Lathkill Dale

            (Lathkill Dale)

South West

6) Warleigh Weir, Claverton - Swim and play on one of the longest weirs in the UK. This is a long curving weir situated between meadows, 3 miles east of Bath (A36). Easily accessed via the cycle path in Bath. A beautiful spot for a swim and picnic. 

Claverton Warleigh Weir                 
               (Warleigh Weir)

7) Long pool, Rockford - A deep long secluded pool in a small verdant ravine beneath a waterwatt. Long Pool is a beautiful place for a swim on a hot day, and has a series of small pools with rock cliffs to jump in from. 

8) Lydford Gorge, Dartmoor - Follow the waterfall trail and witness the deepest river gorge in the Southwest, with a 30 metre waterfall. The very top of the trail holds crystal clear waters, with ledges to jump in from. A truly refreshing swim. (Check the national trust website before entering the gorge for more info)

Lydford Gorge

                       (Lydford Gorge)

9) Cornish Tipi Holidays, St Kew - Cornish Tipi Holidays is a wild swimming campsite located in St Kew, a small village in Cornwall. Wake up to the sound of birdsong, go swimming before breakfast in the clear water of the secluded lake, or just laze it away in the peace and quiet of your own lake side tipi. 

South East

10) Buscot Weir, River Thames - A large deep weir pool with trees, rope swings and lawns for sunbathing. It's a lovely peaceful spot, great for meditation and a calming swim. 

11) Hampstead Ponds, The Heath3 beautiful woodland swimming lakes, set in the rolling hills of The Heath. Beautifully deep and green, with changing areas available and lifeguards on duty (Check their website to ensure its all open as normal before your trip)

Scotland & Borders 

12) Linhope Spout, Northumberland National Park - This spectacular waterfall tumbles 18 metres down a rock face to the plunge pool below. Take a walk along the burn and see the ‘bottomless’ plunge pot, beneath the tall spout in a pretty glade that is ideal for a relaxing swim & picnics.

Linhope spout

                                     (Linhope Spout)

13) Plodda Falls, Glen Affric - One of Scotland’s hidden treasures, with a spectacular waterfall cascading past towering trees. The waterfall is over forty metres high; and forms the climax to the walk through the magnificent forest of Douglas Fir. 

Plodda falls

                          (Plodda Falls, Glen Affric)

14) Loch Maree Islands, Gairloch - More than forty scattered islands carry the nearest thing to natural woodland left in Britain, a fragment of the original Caledonian Pine Forest. High rainfall has resulted in blanket bog filling the damp hollows. Divers and swimmers take advantage of the tranquility of one of Britain's least polluted freshwater lochs. 

15) Loch An Eilain, Rothiemurchus - A tiny ruined castle on an enchanting lochan island. A great place to swim out and explore, or just for a paddle at the loch edge. 

Loch an eilein

                    (Loch An Eilein)

Cumbrian Lake District & Yorkshire Dales

16) Overbeck Bridge, Wast Water - The deepest lake in England, with beautiful beaches and clear water. The dramatic mountain backdrop makes for a truly peaceful spot for a swim. 

17) Tongue Pot, Eskdale - Esk is the home to a series of lovely pools. Tongue Pot is recognised as the best of the lot, set beneath an ancient packhorse bridge with high ledges available to jump in from. 

18) Hodge Close Quarry - Hodge Close offers some amazing views of its massive water filled cavern, from both the top and bottom.  You can access the cavern at the bottom and have a proper explore of the caves. The 150 feet deep face is a favourite with abseilers, while the 150 feet deep flooded workings which extend below the surface are popular with divers and wild swimmers. 

Hodge close quarry

          (Hodge Close Quarry)

19) Rydal Bower, Ambleside - Hidden deep in the woods is a magical swim. Rydal Bower offers a real sense of how ancient the place is. This secret swimming hole is very deep and has a cliff to jump in from. 

20) Birks Bridge, Duddon - A deep gorge with crystal clear waters. You can swim upstream from the rocks, and find a refreshing waterfall. This spot on the Duddon River is a beautiful place for some wild swimming. 

Birks Bridge

                    (Birks Bridge)

21) Aira Beck - Rainwater runs from the fells into Aira Beck and thunders in one 65-foot leap over the falls. Yet, Aira Force is much more than an impressive waterfall. This is a wonderful place for a walk or splashing & exploring through the streams.

22) Kisdon Force, R Keld - Here you will find two spectacular waterfalls in the woody gorge. One falls into an 80m wide plunge pool which is open and calling out for a wild swim. 

23) Catrigg Waterfall - An atmospheric waterfall set in woodland on the edge of a moor with small pools beneath. Catrigg Force is an absolute gem - a magical, mysterious place!

Catrigg waterfall

                                     (Catrigg Waterfall)

It's never been so easy to access these hidden gems. With a little bit of preparation this summer, you could tick off some of the most hidden, unheard of swimming & walking spots without even needing to leave the UK. Enjoy! 

Make sure you're prepared for your adventures with the essential travel accessories. Treetop Travel offers the reusable & eco-friendly travel accessories, so you can look after the planet, whilst exploring it. 

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