The Best Places for Wild Water Swimming in the UK

The Best Places for Wild Water Swimming in the UK

From island fairy pools to river swims, take the plunge in these beautiful wild spots scattered across the UK.

something gloriously free-spirited about swimming in the
wild. While the UK may not always have the best weather for outdoor
exploits, it does have some beautiful swimming spots where it’s
worth braving the chilly waters. They’re that delicious kind of
cold – get ready to take the plunge.

Fairy Pools

Isle of Skye

As the name suggests, the Fairy Pools have a magical quality;
crystalline ponds and ethereal waterfalls swirling among the rocky
Scottish landscape. Make no mistake – these clear mountain springs
are very cold, but the beauty of the surroundings makes a dip
irresistible. Look our for the underwater arch to swim through.

Hampstead Ponds


Yes, these ponds might feel tame compared to some of the wilder
waters on this list but the glassy pools offer the chance to swim
in the middle of the capital. Choose from the ladies’ pond, men’s
pond or mixed pond – all are surrounded by the lush wood of
Hampstead Heath and feel both secluded and private. They are open
year-round, with seasoned swimmers braving the Christmas day

Lower Ddwli Falls

Brecon Beacons

There is a part of the Brecon Beacons known as the Waterfall
Woods; more than 20 natural pools can be found along a five-mile
route, which means the area is paradise for water babies. Lower
Ddwli Falls is one of the most spectacular of the waterfalls as the
plunge pool at the bottom is large and open – perfect for admiring
the waterfall above. When the sun shines, rainbows appear

River Wey


Swimming in the River Wey feels like being out in the wild,
despite only being a short trip away from London. This Thames
tributary has lots of peaceful spots for swimming, the most
accessible is near Guildford where there is a sandy beach that
slopes into the water. This lazily flowing river creates an
atmosphere of calm. Make a day-trip of it and head to one of the
nearby pubs for some lunch.

Treyarnon Rock Pool


Treyarnon Rock Pool is nature’s own swimming pool, filling with
turquoise seawater every time the tide rises. It’s also an
excellent place to snorkel, with a large amount of sea life. Find
the rock pool on Treyarnon Bay, a soft sand beach that, on a sunny
day, feels more like a Greek island than the British coast.

Port Meadow


Swim in the river Thames without all the city grub – the water
in Port Meadow is so clear it’s hard to believe that it is the same
river as the murky trail that snakes throught London. The grassy
banks have natural bays, ideal for sitting down with a picnic
punctuated by repeated dips. Wander round the nearby little village
of Binsey, which partly inspired Lewis Carroll’s Alice in
Wonderland and the day at The Perch, a pretty pub with a beer
garden on the banks of the Thames.

Stainforth Force


Not for the faint-hearted, Stainforth Force waterfall is one for
jumping into the water from the surrounding rocks. Unleash your
inner dare-devil and plunge into the pool below the waterfall from
varying (and not inconsiderable) heights. If that wasn’t enough,
often you’ll catch wild salmon which leap in and out of the water
as you swim among them.

Llangennith Blue Pool


People say that Llangennith Blue Pool is bottomless (we know
this can’t really be true but we like to believe it anyway). The
pool is set into the sea when the tide is high and surrounded by
high rocks which are perfect to jump off. The surrounding beach is
sheltered and sandy; marvel at The Three Chimneys Cave arches and
look for washed-up old coins from the nearby shipwreck.

Tongue Pot

Lake District

The rolling green landscape of the Esk Valley is full of long
pools and waterfalls – the higher up you walk, the more beautiful
the scenery. If you’re lucky your only company will be sheep.
Divebomb in from the surrounding slopes or head to Kail Pot for a
more secluded spot if you don’t mind shallower water.

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