Wild Swimming Spots 2022

7 Great Wild Swimming Spots to Visit in 2022


With so many incredible wild swimming spots to choose from, the United Kingdom is a playground for any keen swimmer who loves the great outdoors. There are remote waterfalls, golden-sand beaches, rivers in ancient woodlands, and lakes for every age and ability. You might be wondering where to go wild swimming this year. We’ve rounded up 7 great spots to visit, including some hidden gems. Read on to find out more. 

Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.


1. Lamorna Cove, West Cornwall.


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Tucked away down the wooded Lamorna Valley is one of Cornwall’s most peaceful wild swimming spots – Lamorna Cove. This small, sheltered cove has long attracted artists, writers and poets to its picture-perfect shores and offers easy swimming for all ages.

There is a small car park by the cove, and you need only take a short walk off the pebble and sand beach to go swimming. Framed by a harbour, the waters are often calm at Lamorna Cove, and there is a fantastic café that serves Cornish cream teas, hot pasties and other food.


Things to do nearby:

  • Search for basking sharks. They are regularly seen off Cornwall’s shores in spring and summer.
  • Take a drive to the Minack Theatre, a spectacular open-air theatre perched on the cliffs.
  • Head north to Newquay and try diving in Cornwall. There are beautiful reefs and more than 20 shipwrecks. You can also go snorkelling with blue sharks.


2. Golitha Falls, Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.


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If you’re looking for a mystical, wild place to go swimming, Golitha Falls is well worth visiting. This spectacular series of cascades and waterfalls on the River Fowey is tucked away on Bodmin Moor and is surrounded by ancient oak woodland.

It is no surprise that Golitha Falls is a National Nature Reserve, and that the River Fowey is listed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. They are both idyllic and the falls are a popular place for a swim. The surrounding area is also in prime walking country.

There are areas for shallow paddling and lots of pools between the falls, offering shaded swimming spots in summer. Visit in late spring to see the woodland carpeted in bluebells.


Other things to do nearby:

  • Visit nearby Inkie’s Smokehouse BBQ for post-swim food and drinks.
  • Take a walk to Wistman’s Wood on Dartmoor. This remote, high-altitude woodland has trees between 400 and 500 years old.


3. Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris, Wales.


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If you’re up for an adventure, you can go wild swimming below the summit of a mountain in Wales. You’ll have to work hard to get to this swimming spot, but the rewards are worth it!

The deep, dark lake of Llyn Cau sits below the summit of Cadair Idris mountain and it takes a steep hike to get there. You can hike to Llyn Cau and back in a day, plenty of people do, but why not pack your tent and spend a night wild camping there.

It is an experience like no other. Just make sure you check the weather forecast before you go and ensure you are prepared for Cadair Idris’s changeable mountain conditions.


Other things to do nearby:


  • Stay at Dolgellau. It is one of the handiest bases for exploring the Snowdonia National Park and coastline.
  • Ride the famous mountain bike trails at Coed y Brenin Forest Park.
  • Drive to Nant yr Arian Visitor Centre, grab a big slice of cake, and watch the daily feeding of red kites.


4. Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire.


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If you like your swimming spots easier to get to, the Blue Lagoon in Pembrokeshire will meet your needs. This is one of the top wild swimming spots in Wales and has hosted the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championships.

True to its name, the Blue Lagoon is a brilliant aqua blue colour, thanks to being a former slate quarry. It is 24 meters deep and is a perfect place to go swimming, try freediving, coasteering and kayaking.


Other things to do nearby:


  • Walk along the clifftops and admire the views. The Blue Lagoon is right next to the 186-mile-long Pembrokeshire Coast Path.


5. Derwentwater, Lake District National Park, Cumbria.


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Derwentwater is one of the best-known wild swimming posts in the United Kingdom and is perfect for swimmers of all ages. This gorgeous lake sits in the Lake District National Park and is surrounded by rolling fell scenery in all directions.

The lake itself is dotted with islands and you can go swimming at various points along the shoreline in shallow and deep waters. A popular option is to take a short walk from Keswick town along the well-maintained footpaths, pop in for a swim, and then go jetty jumping.

Just remember the deeper sections of water can be cold and the lake can get busy with boat traffic, so stay close to shore and make sure you are clearly visible.


Other things to do nearby:


  • Take a cruise around the lake.
  • Canoe to the National Trust’s Derwent Island and House.


6. Singing Sands, Isle of Eigg, Scotland.


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This wild swimming spot in the Inner Hebrides is far from the beaten path and ideal for nature fans.

The tiny Isle of Eigg is best-known for its nearby neighbour, the Isle of Skye. But don’t overlook this small island off the tourist trail. It is one of Scotland’s most beautiful islands and is rich in wildlife, including golden eagles, white-tailed eagles and otters.

Eigg’s Singing Sands beach is a perfect swimming spot, with squeaky quartz sands and views across the water to Rum Island. The soft white sands lead gently into clear blue waters and the views (and chilly water) will take your breath away.


Other things to do nearby:

  • Grab your binoculars and look for sea life. Dolphins, basking sharks, and minke whales are regular visitors to Eigg.


7. Ballygally Beach, County Antrim, Northern Ireland.


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Whilst Northern Ireland is dotted with exceptional wild swimming spots, the award-winning Ballygally Beach is one of the most popular. This long stretch of golden sands is right next to the Ballygally Castle Hotel - reputed to be the oldest occupied building in Ireland - and is perfect for families.

There are views in all directions from Ballygally Beach and the shallow, calm waters are ideal for all ages and abilities. Being a long beach, it is also a great spot for distance training.


Other things to do nearby:

  • Take a drive to the Giants Causeway.
  • Learn how to snorkel and explore Ballygally’s sunlit kelp forest.
  • Explore the nearby coastline, where Game of Thrones was filmed.


Top tips for wild swimming.


Have fun and stay safe in the water by following these top tips for your wild swimming adventure.

Include these essential items in your wild swimming kit bag: 

  • Thermal lined swimwear or a wetsuit.
  • Warm hat and gloves.
  • Cosy changing robe.
  • A flask of tea or other hot drink.
  • Warm clothing.

Be safe in the water by making sure you:

  • Wear a colourful swim cap and use a bright safety buoy.
  • Never swim alone.
  • Do your research and chat to locals about water conditions at your preferred swimming spot. 


Kathryn Curzon, a shark conservationist and dive travel writer for SSI (Scuba Schools International), wrote this article.