There are few ventures more refreshing and relaxing than going for a dip – in the wild (like the brave souls in our featured image, above, by ben hanbury). Below, we’ve selected eight of the best wild swimming spots across the UK, from inner-city ponds to rugged waterfalls.
1) Hampstead Ponds
Swimmers don’t have to leave London’s boundaries to log some hours in the water. Hampstead Heath’s famed bathing ponds, which are divided into men’s, women’s, and mixed pools, attract legions of Londoners as soon as the sun comes out. The surrounding grassy knolls are ideal for post-swim sunbathing.
2) Waterfall Woods, Brecon Beacons
Located in southern Wales’ Brecon Beacons Mountains, the Waterfall Woods offer visitors gorgeous scenery and lively swimming conditions. Consisting of upwards of 20 waterfall plunge pools, the area is a must for those seeking a weekend of wild swimming.
3) Kailpot Crag, Ullswater, Lake District
One of the Lake District’s most beautiful bodies of water (and that’s saying something), Ullswater is also one of the most visited. Kailpot Crag is a more secluded part of the lake, and offers a small beach, jumping off point, and lovely sunset views.
4) River Waveney, Bungay, Suffolk
Suffolk’s River Waveney stretches for some 60 miles between Norfolk and Suffolk. Near Bungay, it’s a gentle and tranquil stretch of water that’s ideal for wild swimming. To mix it up, visitors can also rent canoes or go on after-dark snorkelling ventures.
5) Durdle Door Dorset
This stunning spot on England’s south coast offers stunning sea vistas of turquoise waters. Swimmers can paddle through the naturally formed rocky arch that leads from the secluded beach right to the open sea.
6) Loch Caoldair, Laggan, Western Cairngorms
Scotland is full of lochs, but the quiet and unspoiled Loch Caoldair is one of the best. Disguised by thickets of birch trees, the little lake, complete with small beach, is a perfectly tranquil place to while away the afternoon.
7) River Derwent, Derbyshire
The 66-mile River Derwent, a tributary of the River Trent, affords some of the loveliest views of Derbyshire. The river even passes by the gorgeous Chatsworth House, a stately home that was the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice’s Pemberley.
8) Lumb Falls, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire
A decidedly under-the-radar Yorkshire swimming hole, Lumb Falls near Hebden Bridge is a quiet and relaxing place to take a dip. Under the falls, bathers paddle in a small pool, overhung with scenic ivy garlands. The adventurous can attempt a jump from the top of the falls.
(Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…)