The Best Outdoor Swimming Spots in Bristol

Wild swimming in Bristol has surged in popularity following the closure of swimming pools during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

As the world gradually reopens, this hobby continues to thrive, attracting individuals eager to discover new swimming spots.

In this blog, we shine a light on Bristol's wild swimming scene, showcasing the charming outdoor locations in the south-western area, known for its iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and the annual balloon fiesta. Join us as we share our favourite spots.

Keep in mind that open water can pose risks. To mitigate these dangers, it's crucial to adhere to safety advice and utilise appropriate safety equipment.

West Country Water Park

  • Location: North Bristol
  • Price: £5-8
  • Swim course length: 100m (winter) & 500m (summer)
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Bright coloured swim cap & wetsuit or tow float/dry bag

Discover West Country Water Park, a year-round destination boasting an expansive 11-acre lake with crystal-clear water and excellent amenities for your wild swimming adventures. 

Their facility provides changing rooms, toilets, hot showers, and highly trained lifeguards certified by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS).

Unlike unsupervised venues, swimming here ensures your safety while enjoying the convenience of on-site facilities to warm up after your swim.

The cost of your swim experience varies depending on the time of your visit. Off-peak swims are priced at £5, while high-peak swims cost £8. Additionally, the season determines the swim circuit options available to you. During the summer, you can enjoy a 500m loop, whereas in the winter, a 100m loop is offered.

If you choose to swim during the colder months, they advise wearing a wetsuit, along with a tow float or dry bag, to shield yourself from the chilly water. Don't worry if you don't have your own wetsuit; we provide wetsuit rentals on-site.

Whether you're training for a swimming challenge, seeking exercise or health benefits, or simply looking for an adventurous and enjoyable community experience, West Country Water Park has you covered. Their supervised swim sessions are tailored to meet and exceed your needs.

Additionally, they offer exciting water toy sessions, mesmerising full moon night swims, and charity fancy dress swims for those seeking a unique and engaging experience. There truly is something for everyone here at West Country Water Park.

Cromhall Quarry

  • Location: Cromhall
  • Price: £6
  • Requirements: Long wetsuit or tow float/dry bag

If you're looking for a unique wild swimming spot in the countryside near Bristol, consider visiting Cromhall Quarry.

This expansive flooded limestone quarry spans 4 hectares and reaches depths of 17m.

To swim here, you must stick to the designated swim circuit and wear either a full wetsuit or utilise a tow float or dry bag (for added safety, you could opt for both a wetsuit and a float).

Once you've finished your swim, you can take advantage of the changing tent facilities and treat yourself to some refreshments.

River Chew

  • Location: Pensford
  • Supervised?: No

The River Chew runs south of Bristol, flowing from Chew Magna to Keynsham, and passing through the village of Pensford. Along its course, there are several spots where you can walk alongside the river and go swimming.

However, we highly recommend the swimming spot in Pensford, which is located next to the Rising Sun pub.

This charming outdoor swimming area offers stunning views of the arched viaduct, a delicate stone bridge, and a gentle waterfall.

It caters to both children with shallower areas for playing and adults with deeper sections for swimming. It's an ideal destination for a family outing, and you can also enjoy a refreshing drink at the pub after your swim during the summer season.

Clevedon Marine Lake

  • Location: Clevedon
  • Supervised?: No

Clevedon Marine Lake, located on the Somerset coast overlooking the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff and Newport, is the ultimate spot for open water swimming.

While not completely untamed, it offers an experience close to nature. This 200m tidal pool is filled with saltwater that is replenished by the channel during high tides.

Regular testing ensures the safety of swimmers. Despite the chilly temperature, swimming here is absolutely free, and the opportunity to witness the water transform into shades of pink and red during sunset makes it truly worthwhile.

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