Wild Swimming In The UK: Where To Go This Winter

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Wild Swimming In The UK: Where To Go This Winter


Are you wild swimming this winter? Want to explore some new spots?

Here are our favourite wild swimming spots for the cooler months.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Mon 13 Sept 2021

Just because the summer sun is gone for the year that doesn’t mean that you need to wait for it to come around again before taking a dip in the UK's best wild swimming spots.

From stunning remote lakes to beautiful flowing rivers, wherever you decide to take your dip you’ll be enjoying health benefits and intense exercise that comes with a dip in bracing colder waters.

These locations are all great for enjoying the water, so head to your nearest and begin your winter outdoor swimming journey!

woman swimming in a lake

Wild Swimming In The UK: Where To Go This Winter

As with all outdoor swimming adventures it is important to make sure you are prepared before you enter the water.

Swimming in cold temperatures is much riskier than swimming in the summer, the shock of the water can often result in difficulties breathing and regulating body temperature.

Make sure you have had the necessary training and equipment such as a wet suit and floating device.

Here are a few great recommendations to visit to start your winter wild swimming adventure!

1. Wild swimming near London / Denham Waterski Club

Found in the beautiful Uxbridge countryside, this patch of private woodland shelters a 20 acre lake dedicated to water sports.

The site has all the facilities a swimmer could need including changing rooms and showers, all found inside a stunning Scandinavian style log clubhouse.

The lake itself is loved by swimmers for its beautiful views from the clear water and has circuits available up to 500m. The lake is child friendly and provides coaching to those wanting to improve their skills during their visit.

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2. Wild swimming in London / Brockwell Lido

Affectionately nicknamed Brixton Beach, the large Art-Deco Brockwell Lido is council-owned, Fusion managed, and enjoys fierce local support.

You can enjoy a cold-water swim at any time of year, in busy summer months, you may struggle to find a spot to lounge amongst London’s most glamorous swimmers.

But, on cooler winter days, you can warm yourself up in the cedar wood sauna. The Lido Cafe is a popular brunch spot, so be prepared to wait for food.

outside lido surrounded by fields

Swim in Brockwell at this pretty Lido

3. Wild swimming in Scotland / Glencoe Lochan

Tucked away snugly in a patch of woodland beside Loch Leven, Glencoe Lochan is a small lake with muddy but soft banks which serve as easy access points to get into the water, which can be cold due to the shelter provided by the trees.

With its wooded shores and majestic peaks in the distance, Glencoe Lochan is the epitome of the Scottish wild swim.

You can find a hearty meal afterwards at the Glencoe Gathering, loved for its seasonal traditional Scottish dishes and Jukebox.

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lake surrounded by trees

Find peace in nature this winter by wild swimming

Image Jim Burton

4. Wild swimming in Manchester / Helly Hansen Watersports Centre

Located in Ontario Basin in the centre of Manchester, this fully equipped watersports centre is an ideal place for beginners to begin learning essential outdoor swimming skills.

For more experienced swimmers, lanes up to 500m are available with professional coaches able to provide tips if wanted.

The centre has lifeguards on hand, equipment renting, and many other water based activities available for those wanting to try something new; including paddleboarding, sailing and windsurfing.

The surrounding area is a hub of activity with an endless number of shops and activities for after swimming.

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5. Wild swimming in Marlow / Marlow Open Water Swim

You can enjoy open water swimming at Westhorpe Lake on Monday and Wednesday evenings, and weekend mornings.

Run by friendly and experienced staff, this is a safe location for those who are looking to begin outdoor swimming or are wanting a convenient place to practice; swim coaching is available.

There are three square courses of 400 metres, 750 metres and 1500 metres.

All swimmers must wear a brightly coloured swim cap, and non-wetsuit wearers must also have a tow float.

cathedral surrounded by trees and a river in Marlow

Swim by the Thames in pretty Marlow

6. Wild swimming in Devon / Salmon Leaps, Castle Drogo

The River Teign in Devon flows through woodland to Salmon Leaps, a large pool beneath Castle Drogo.

The water, which is deep enough to swim in, is lined by grassy banks.

The river flows into three Victorian stone plunge pools which provide an exhilarating tumble, but the strong current means these are not suited to children.

In autumn you may see salmon leaping the weir as they travel to spawning grounds, and this combined with the stunning scenery mean this is the perfect place to reconnect with nature.

Want to explore the best places to wild swim in the UK?

Pick up a copy of The Outdoor Swimming Guide, out now from Vertebrate Publishing. It reviews over 400 lidos, open water and wild swimming spots across the UK.

Where's your favourite place to wild swim? Tell us below in the comments and we'll include here.

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