Buckinghamshire, situated in the north-west of London, is a picturesque county that offers the perfect blend of countryside serenity and city excitement. The county is adorned with a plethora of lakes and rivers, making it an ideal destination for wild swimming enthusiasts residing in the north towards Milton Keynes or the south towards the Chiltern Hills. However, it is important to exercise caution and adhere to safety guidelines while swimming in open water to ensure a pleasant and secure experience.
Denham Waterski Club
- Location: Denham
- Price: £8-10
- Swim course length: 370m & 500m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat
Denham Waterski Club provides a range of water activities and open water swimming opportunities on their expansive 20 acre lake. While membership with NOWCA is not mandatory to swim at the club, it is suggested as a safety precaution and to receive a £2 discount per swim. Additionally, the club offers amenities such as changing rooms and showers to help you warm up after your swim. Afterward, you can even relax with a refreshing drink at the bar.
- Location: Milton Keynes
- Price: £6
- Swim course length: 400m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat & tow float/bag
To the east of Milton Keynes lies the picturesque Willen Lake, nestled amidst 6,000 acres of lush parkland. This scenic lake provides a triangular 400m swim circuit, but before taking a dip, you'll need to obtain NOWCA membership and pre-book your swims online. Additionally, it's important to attend the pre-swimming safety briefing.
Willen Lake is an ideal destination for wild swimming, offering top-notch amenities such as changing rooms, showers, and lockers (remember to bring your own padlock), as well as a delightful cafe. It's also a great spot for a family day out, with plenty of children's activities both on the lake and in the surrounding parkland.
Westhorpe Water Sports
- Location: Marlow
- Price: £5
- Swim course length: 400m, 750m, & 1500m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat & wetsuit or tow float/bag (must use tow float/bag on 1500m circuit)
Westhorpe Water Sports is an outdoor venue that provides water sports activities such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and wild swimming. The venue offers swim sessions at an affordable cost of only £5, making it one of the most economical options on this list. Moreover, this venue operates throughout the year, allowing visitors to enjoy open water swimming during any season. However, if you're new to open water swimming or not accustomed to it, we suggest beginning in the warmer summer months.
To swim the largest circuit, a tow float or dry bag is required, and for the other circuits, either a wetsuit or a float should be worn. It is recommended to always use a float, as it not only enhances safety in the water but also grants the freedom to swim any of the three circuits and switch between them while in the water.
- Location: Maidenhead
- Price: £6.50
- Swim course length: 100m & 400m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat (not green) & wetsuit or tow float/bag (must use tow float/bag in water under 10°C)
Taplow Lakeside is located on the southern border of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. This business, owned by a family, provides opportunities for wild swimming, as well as various courses focused on this exhilarating activity. These courses cover a range of skills, including general wild swimming techniques, front crawl proficiency, and introductory sessions. Additionally, if you're new to open water swimming, you have the option to swim with a buddy during your initial swims, which is perfect for beginners.
Olney Swimming Steps
- Location: Olney
Near the Olney recreation ground, there are several broad concrete steps that descend into the River Great Ouse. People have been enjoying swimming from these steps for many years. Despite a sign discouraging swimming, it is not prohibited on this section of the River Great Ouse. However, we suggest that you only swim here if you feel confident in open water, as there is a slight current and occasional weeds, as well as the typical hazards associated with wild swimming.