Lake District Wild Swimming

Lake District Wild Swimming

Lake District Wild Swimming

Have you ever thought about dipping your toes (and hopefully the rest of you) into a cool, sparkling lake or tarn?

They are so inviting that you may find yourself parking up and taking a swim.

Wild swimming becomes ever more popular, so what makes people take a plunge into a cold, wet lake?

For a start the water is a breathtaking refreshment to your body, the view is completely different from down below the bank and after the shock of the cold water, it galvanises the heart.

Cumbrian lakes are now cleaner, safer and more accessible than at any time in living memory and the health benefits of a wild swim or a natural dip are well publicised.

Wild Swimming

Take proper precautions and wild swimming can be a safe and fun way to enjoy the outdoors.

On a warm, calm day wild swimming is a really special experience.

So, stay safe and the shimmering waters will reconnect you with the natural world around you.

A couple of great wild swimming places in the Lake District are:

1) Grisedale Tarn

Set in Grisedale Hause in a gap in the Helvellyn range, between the valleys of Thirlmere and Ullswater, Grisedale tarn is a perfect place for a high, wild plunge.

It has gently shelved banks and some useful flat boulders for ease of access and sunbathing.

2) Derwentwater

Derwentwater is one of the finest swimming lakes in the Lake District.

It is three miles long and surrounded by dramatic, rugged mountains.

It is surreal looking up at the scenery when you are in the water swimming between the little islands.

3) Rydal Water

Rydal water is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District.

Lake District Wild Swimming

It is less than a mile long but small is no less beautiful when it comes to the little gem.

It is ideal for open-water swimming.

Walking along a tranquil stretch of river, lined with overhanging trees, tall rushes and water lilies.

The clear water reveals an undiscovered world of aquatic plants and shoals of tiny silver fish slither between the rocks.

Natural rises and drops of the river bed reveal the changing topography of the river floor.

4) Gurnal Dubs

Although Gurnal Dubs is a man-made tarn it is very attractive and ideal for wild swimming.

It is located near the village of Staveley in the Lake District National Park, situated on the slopes of Potter Fell below the minor summit of Ulgraves.

It is a beautiful and tranquil spot surrounded by moorland, with good views of the surrounding Lakeland fells.

Lake District Wild Swimming

The plural dubs refer to the three tarns that later merged into one.

The boathouse, built by the Fothergill family, is at the western end with a finely constructed dam wall,  clad in stone and turf, giving it a certain “lido in the fells” feel.

Lake District Wild Swimming

Gurnal Dubs and has a more challenging swim, with deeper water and some rocky areas

5) Potter Tarn

Potter Tarn (near Gurnal Dubs) is another great place to go wild swimming.

Lake District Wild Swimming

Located on Potter Fell this small lake is surrounded by fantastic views over Kendal and the Lakeland Fells making it a great place to swim for all abilities.

6) Great North Swim

This great communal event has four courses of open-water swimming in Windermere.

You are likely to be splashing with 6,000 other like-minded swimmers. There is an elite course for the pros, but swimmers of all abilities can take part.

Lake District Wild Swimming

The event takes place in summer or early autumn, and balmy temperatures are not guaranteed!

7) Coniston Water

There are many swimming and entry points around Coniston Water.

This five-mile body of water captures the feel of swimming from a beach thanks to a small stretch of sandy beach by Monk Coniston car park.

Lake District Wild Swimming

This area is perfect for a wintry swim as you will be close to the shore for a rest and far enough away to avoid boats that may otherwise get in your way.

8) Grasmere

Find a convenient spot to park in a layby near Banerigg along the A591. Cross the road and follow the footpath to the southern end of the lake.

Lake District Wild Swimming

At this location, discover a shale beach with straightforward access to the water. The views up the lake are breathtaking, as one would expect.

This area is well-liked among fishermen, particularly during the early morning.

9) Windermere

The freedom of wild swimming at Fell Foot Park allows you to connect with nature in a unique and invigorating way.

Lake District Wild Swimming


The expansive views of the surrounding hills and lush greenery enhance the sense of escape and tranquility.

With its clean and inviting waters, Windermere provides an ideal environment for both seasoned swimmers and those new to the experience.

10) Thirlmere Infinity Pool

The pool is quite hard to find nestled away in the fells above Thirlmere, but once found the crystal clear waters blend seamlessly with the horizon.

Lake District Wild Swimming

To get there, park near Thirlmere Community Hall and walk up Stanah Lane. The pool is about 40 minutes walking distance from here.

Further information on the best wild swimming click here:




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June 3rd
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