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The best outdoor swimming spots in the UK

Outdoor swimming – or wild swimming as it has become known – is a traditional pastime that’s made quite the comeback in recent years. Getting back to nature is something we’re truly passionate about here at Web of Goodness, and there’s no better way to experience the great British wilderness than by taking the plunge at an outdoor swimming spot near you.

Outdoor swimming isn’t just a fantastic way to experience nature at its best, it enriches the body, mind and soul too. Outdoor swimming mixes exercise, mental wellness and fresh air to ensure a winning combination that has been proven to boost mood, aid sleep, improve circulation, bolster the immune system and increase metabolism. Outdoor swimming is great for the skin too, with the exfoliating effect of the cold water rolling back the years to reveal smoother skin and fewer impurities. The original cold water therapy, wild swimming unlocks a number of anti-ageing benefits. The cold water hitting the skin alone encourages natural flushing and promotes a youthful blush.

Being outdoors will give your skin a much-needed vitamin D boost, whilst sharing the joys of outdoor swimming with others unlocks numerous social benefits. Your sex life could also receive a boost with a regular dip in chillier waters as Simply Swim explains:

“A swim in cold water has been found out to increase the sex hormone, that is testosterone for men and estrogen for women which translates to increased libido, in men it is also known to improve fertility. In addition there is a high associated with a dip in freezing water, which is attributed to the production of endorphin by the body, which is the body’s natural painkiller that it uses to help the skin handle the bite from the cold but this same endorphin is known to be released during sex.”

Whilst the weather may still be a little chilly, now is the perfect time to take up outdoor swimming and doing a little research is a great place to start. Look for a local swim club, ask amongst your friends to find their recommendations and start by making a plan. Whether this is your first wild swim or you’re no stranger to the pastime, putting health and safety first is important. Lake and river swims are rewarding experiences but the swimming spots you choose must be safe to swim in.

Get back in touch with the great outdoors after months of indoor celebrations by exploring these safe outdoor swimming spots…

Dancing Ledge, Dorset

It may not be the easiest spot to reach but once you arrive you’ll be greeted by one of the south coast’s most stunning wild swimming haunts. The tidal bathing pool has been a favourite with wild swimmers since its creation decades ago. It can however only be used at low tide. Start your journey at the National Trust’s Dancing Ledge car park, and wander through stunning wildflower meadows and impressive rock formations to get there.

Beacon Tarn, Cumbria

Tarns are great places to enjoy a wild swim. They’re smaller in size than regular lakes and are generally more peaceful. Beacon Tarn in Cumbria is one of the country’s most picturesque.

Beacon Tarn is based 2.5 miles away by car from the beautiful village of Coniston. Walk from Water Yeat to discover a tarn with crystal clear waters and plenty of beaches to rest on. Beacon Tarn also plays host to a number of wild swimming events, including The Great British Skinny Dip’s Skinny Dip and Picnic during the summer.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye

Make a weekend of it by venturing to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and let your stresses melt away at the magical Fairy Pools.

A wild swim in the Fairy Pools isn’t for the fainthearted. Its waters may be crystal clear but they’re icy cold all year round. The Fairy Pools sits at the foot of the amazing Cuillin Mountains with its lagoons fed by the most enchanting waterfalls. You can reach the Fairy Pools by venturing on foot from the village of Carbost in west Skye.

Outney Common, Suffolk

Outney Common sits on the River Waveney and is the perfect spot for those new to the wonders of wild swimming. Swim in an idyllic location courtesy of the two-mile loop of river that surrounds Outney Common. You should also explore the surrounding market town of Bungay. The quirky town is full of independent cafes and craft shops.

This swimming spot is popular with families, particularly during the summer months, so take everyone along for a dip. Don’t forget the picnic!

Hampstead Heath, London

Hampstead Heath Ladies Pond is very popular during the summer months, so be prepared for queues. As its name suggests, it’s just for females, but there is mixed and male ponds available close by. The pond is monitored by female lifeguards too, making it the perfect place to take your first outdoor swim.

Remember, take health and safety seriously when wild swimming. Joining an outdoor swimming club is a great idea for wild swimmers of varying abilities. By joining you can learn the basics of outdoor swimming and receive support from an experienced group. Being confident in the water takes time. The experienced wild swimmers that form part of outdoor swimming clubs are more than happy to help at every stage or stroke.

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