8 Idyllic Wild Swimming Spots in the UK

8 Idyllic Wild Swimming Spots in the UK

Lily Jones

Updated January 16, 2020 Updated January 16

Summer may be coming towards an end but next time the good old British sunshine decides to make an appearance, why not ditch that overcrowded beach for a secluded wild swimming spot?

Although hidden, these waters are not necessarily remote. In fact, some might be found right on your doorstep.

If you’re not too sure where to go for a wild swim, we’re here to let you in on a few secret spots for an alfresco dip. Visit one of these sites and you’ll never want to go back to that crowded beach.

Just remember: wherever you choose to go for a dip, wild waters can be dangerous. Don’t enter the water unless you’re a strong swimmer and be careful!

Watkins Pools, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Arguably one of the most underrated and overlooked wild swimming spots in the UK, the Watkins Pools should not be missed.

Nestled in the heart of Snowdonia National Park, just a little way from one of the hiking trails, you may have walked past these majestic pools on your way to Snowdon’s summit.

This series of pools and waterfalls that cascade down the valley provide the perfect place for a day of wild swimming. With over twenty small pools to choose from, chances are you’ll have one all to yourself!

How to find it:  Follow Watkins Path for around 1.6km before taking a right off the path and around the mountain to the pools.

Kailpot Crag, Ullswater, Lake District

As one of the most popular and picturesque lakes in the Lake District, you may have heard of Ullswater before. Kailpot Crag, however, is a secluded spot just off the popular lake that boasts the same spectacular scenery with considerably fewer crowds.

As well as crystal-clear waters to swim in, the focal point of this spot is its rugged crag that sits high above the deep waters. If you dare, jump off the top of the crag for a truly thrilling experience!   

How to find it: Take the ferry across to Howtown Pier and follow the footpath in a southwestern direction for around a mile.

Lower Ddwli Falls, Waterfall Woods, Brecon Beacons

This series of plunge pools, nestled into the southwest hills of the Brecon Beacons, are sure to take your breath away. There are over twenty pools scattered along a five-mile stretch, meaning you can more than likely find a pool for yourself.

It is easy enough to walk between the pools, so pack a picnic and plenty of water to spend a day pool-hopping! For a bit of fun, stop at Horseshoe Falls and have a go on the rope swing.

How to find it: Head to Ystradfellte and park at the Pont Melinfach car park. Walk downstream along the forest path and you will find your first pool.

Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire, Wales

Admittedly, the idea of swimming in an old quarry does not conjure up images of the beautiful Welsh seaside. However, the grey slate in this mine gives the quarry pool a brilliant blue color and the sea breeze couldn’t be more inviting.

Less old quarry and more inland lake, the Blue Lagoon is a picturesque and historic location for a spot of wild swimming.

How to find it: Park in the town of Abereiddy and follow signs to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path. The lagoon is hard to miss from the path.

Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

If you can handle the icy waters, the Fairy Pools tucked into Scotland’s Inner Hebrides are just about the most picturesque spot to go wild swimming in the UK.

The pools are so majestic that Scottish folklore claims fairies crafted the pools, hence their name.

After a relatively easy-going 2.5km walk, visitors will be rewarded with a string of rosy-hued waterfalls and rocky turquoise pools that lead up to the source of the River Brittle.

How to find it: The footpath begins from the road to Glenbrittle and the pools are well signposted after this. Follow signs for Glumagan Na Sithichean or Fairy Pools.

Wain Wath Waterfall, Keld, Yorkshire Dales National Park

If you fancy a spot of wild swimming but aren’t too keen on cold water, the Wain Wath Waterfall is for you.

Before cascading down the three-meter high waterfall, the waters pass over a shallow river. During the warmer months, this allows the water to warm up extremely fast, providing a refreshing yet pleasant swimming experience.

Surrounded by impressive limestone cliffs and an open grassy bank, bring a picnic and enjoy a whole day here.

How to find it: Driving in the direction of Keld and Kirkby Stephen, the falls will be on your right, around 200m after Stonesdale.

Salmon Leaps, River Teign, Devon

Located not far from the historic Castle Drogo, this wild swimming spot is best known for its relaxing spa properties.

The River Teign slows down to form a tranquil pool that’s perfect for a dip, before cascading dramatically into three plunge pools, each one-meter deep. Take a swim in these lively waters and let nature’s jacuzzi massage your muscles!

The grassy banks that flank the waters on both sides are ideal for a picnic and a spot of sunbathing afterwards.

How to find it: Park at the National Trust car park at Castle Drogo and follow the footpath through the woodlands to Salmon Leaps.

Wast Water, Cumbria

As England’s deepest lake, only strong swimmers should consider swimming out into the depths of these waters.

Tucked away in the Lake District’s western lakes, Wast Water boasts tranquil waters and a dramatic backdrop of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike.

Those who don’t fancy a swim can rent a canoe and explore the water from the safety of the boat.

How to find it: There’s just one road that leads to Wast Water, starting from the town of Gosforth. Join the A595 and follow signs to Overbeck.

This article was originally published in September 2019 . It was last updated in January 2020

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