We use cookies to give you the best experience on our website. Continue browsing if you accept our use of cookies or find out more about cookies and how to manage your settings.

Browse website

The summer holidays are in full swing and we have been having some scorching temperatures (albeit mixed with some pretty heavy downpours!). If you need somewhere to cool off, here are some of our top tips on where to take a dip in the great outdoors.

Remember that wild swimming comes with risks, particularly when water is very cold. It is always done at your own risk and should never be done alone!

Swimming in Loughrigg Tarn1. Loughrigg Tarn

The Lake District is, unsurprisingly, the top spot in England for finding idyllic wild swimming spots and there are loads of options. One of our favourites is Loughrigg tarn close to Elterwater. A gorgeous spot that is easy to get to; the water warms up nicely on hot days, and access into the tarn is straightforward.

You can park at Skelwith Bridge and walk up the steep hill (which has the benefit of allowing you to pick up a picnic at the excellent Chester’s!) or grab one of the roadside parking spots close to the tarn.

2. Cauldron Force, West BurtonCauldren Force, West Burton

The charming Yorkshire Dales village of West Burton has the added attraction of a pretty waterfall, tucked away from the green in its own mini amphitheatre at the bottom of the village.

Although only small, the pool at the base of the main falls is a great place for a dip – deep enough for a proper swim and you can climb up the rocks to get an exhilarating soaking from the waterfall itself. Just downstream past the packhorse bridge there is another deep spot where the more adventurous can jump off the rocks into the pool!

3. The River Wye, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire

Tudor Farmhouse HotelThere are plenty of spots along the gorgeous River Wye that lend themselves to a refreshing dip. The stretch from Lower Lydbrook to Yat Rock is a great place to start - a beautiful bend in the river with easy places to get in and out and a good chance of spotting some wildlife while you swim – buzzards, kestrels, peregrine falcons and kingfishers are all a possibility.

The charming Tudor Farmhouse hotel in the Forest of Dean (pictured) is well located for exploring lots of sections of the river and can provide plenty of information about the best spots to try for your interests and ability.

Loch Etive4. Glen Etive, Scotland

A side valley to the ever-popular Glen Coe, Glen Etive has a dead end road running along its length, meaning crowds are kept to a minimum and there are plenty of quiet spots to pull in for a refreshing dip in the inviting River Etive.

Wild camping is also popular in the glen so the adventurous can pitch up and spend the night under the stars (just remember to clear up after yourselves and take all rubbish away with you).

5. Golitha Falls, Cornwall

Cornwall is, of course, more well known for beautiful beaches and swimming in the sea, but it also has some great inland spots for river swimming.

Golitha Falls is a beautiful stretch of the River Fowey through ancient oak woodland on Bodmin Moor with an easy to follow path and nice spots for a picnic. The best place for a swim is the plunge pool at the bottom of the falls, but be careful of slippy rocks and don’t go in after heavy rain.

Fowey EstuaryAt the other end of the River Fowey you reach the classic Cornish seaside town of Fowey which also offers good swimming options in the estuary and nearby beaches as well as lots of places for food and drinks.

If you would like any more information or would like help arranging a self-drive holiday in Britain, please do get in touch.

  • About my Blog

    On this blog, I am going to share some of my favourite things about Britain – taking beautiful country walks, trying out classic british pubs, exploring castles, palaces and stately homes, getting involved in some uniquely British experiences and events and much more. I hope that this blog will whet your appetite for a trip of a lifetime in Britain.

    Helen Coppin
    Founder, Great British Escapes