The UK’s Wild Swimming Hotspots
Swimming has remained a popular pastime across the UK, with lots of indoor facilities across the country open throughout the year. However, over the past year, more and more swimming enthusiasts have been turning towards wild swimming in the UK to explore their local area and enjoy its therapeutic benefits. According to Google, there have been 120,900 searches for wild swimming over the course of 2020-2021, with this figure up by 70% from the 71,200 searches made in 2019-2020.
It’s clear that over the course of the pandemic people have been looking for new ways to balance their mental and physical health. And with many public pools closed off for much of the last year, wild swimming in the UK has offered a refreshing alternative. But why is wild swimming good for you? The keen hobbyists who take to the water all year round know all too well the benefits it can have on relieving sore muscles, boosting your immune system, and fostering a sense of community by meeting like-minded people.
For those looking to get started with this hobby, we are fortunate that nestled away in the UK are an abundance of hidden lagoons and unspoiled swimming spots that are ideal for helping us to connect with nature and enjoy an exciting day out this summer, and beyond. Using reviews data from wildswimming.co.uk, we’ve created an illustrated guide to some of the top-rated and most popular wild swimming spots the country has to offer.
From Cornwall to Argyllshire, wild swimming in the UK is renowned for being amongst the best, as well as the most beautiful. With so many locations off the beaten path, sites like wildswimming.co.uk offer users the chance to post locations and share them with the world.
In the below table, we have highlighted some of the most popular wild swimming spots according to the number of 5* reviews on wildswimming.co.uk. We’ve also sourced additional data on parking and facilities, from sites such as Trip Advisor and National Trust, to act as a guide and inspiration for your next wild swimming trip.
Wales boasts some of the most popular wild swimming hotspots, with several stunning locations proving a hit for people across the UK. With picnic spots available at both Fairy Glen and The Wash Pool, these Welsh gems are sure to be a hit for families seeking an active day out.
If you fancy a wild swimming staycation, Achmelvich bay in Sutherland and Stanley Ghyll Force Waterfall in Cumbria both offer camping facilities just a stone’s throw away from the water.
Whilst for those travelling for the day, car parking is available at most of the locations for as little as £1 per car. However, for National Trust members, Respyrn Bridge in Cornwall offers free parking.
Wild Swimming Map Of The UK
The below wild swimming map looks at some of our favourite spots from across the UK, along with the facilities you can expect to find.
For those with furry friends, be mindful when bringing your pet along, as certain locations such as Lugg Meadow in Herefordshire do not allow them. However, Tanners Lane Beach in Hampshire is more accommodating in this regard, and dogs are allowed to join in the fun as long as they are on a lead. To be sure it’s safe to take your additional furry family member, it’s always best to check before you head out.
For those with smaller children, Tarr Steps in Devon is a popular place for dipping the toes in and paddling. This makes it an ideal stop to cool off when visiting Exmoor National Park
Soldier’s Leap provides a spectacular backdrop for some wild swimming in Scotland. The large, still river pond is surrounded by wildlife, from leaping salmon to red squirrels. So for those looking to be completely surrounded by nature and wildlife, this could be the spot for you.
For more inspiration, advice, and wild swimming tips, check out award winning-author and photographer Daniel Start’s book.
Wild Swimming is a pursuit done at your own risk, and DWH asks that readers follows the instructions of any signposts near any of the locations mentioned above, and that they enjoy the facilities safely.
We looked on wildswimming.co.uk for the wild swimming locations that had the most 5* reviews. From this, we then gathered additional data from Trip Advisor and National Trust for each location to discover the facilities in close proximity, as well as information on parking.
Data is correct as of June 2021 when the research was carried out.
Google keyword stat was obtained from Keyword Planner, comparing searches for ‘wild swimming’ from June 2019 to May 2020, and June 2020 to May 2021.
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