The Lake District, located in the north-west of England across the counties of Cumbria and Lancashire, boasts many lakes and open bodies of water. However, determining the best locations for swimming can be a challenge.
Well-known spots like Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water, and Ullswater are often crowded with boats and water sports enthusiasts, making them less than ideal for those seeking a peaceful swim. To help you find a quieter spot to enjoy the stunning scenery and take a refreshing dip, we have compiled a list of open water swimming locations.
It is crucial to remember that open water swimming carries inherent risks. To mitigate these risks, it is vital to follow safety guidelines. We also strongly advise bringing a brightly coloured swim cap and a tow float or dry bag to make yourself more visible to other swimmers, watercraft, and rescue teams.
If you're searching for a peaceful swimming experience, Rydal Water might be just the spot for you. This small lake in the Lake District is encircled by mountains and can reach higher temperatures compared to surrounding bodies of water thanks to its lower altitude. And, if a swim free of motorboats is what you’re looking for, then Rydal Water won't disappoint since it measures just 15m deep. Its crystal clear lake waters offer an uninterrupted view of the majestic landscape - taking your swim to superior heights.
The River Esk is abundant in plunge pools and waterfalls, offering numerous delightful locations such as Tongue Pot and Gill Force, where one can take a refreshing dip in the cool water.
If you take a 2 miles walk along the river from Hardknott Pass, you will encounter several pools. One of these is Tongue Pot, which features a small pebble beach and a stunning waterfall. Because of its secluded location, you are likely to have the opportunity to relish the pristine emerald waters all by yourself.
Stanley Ghyll Force
Stanley Ghyll Force is a hidden gem nestled in a rocky gorge surrounded by dense trees. You can take a refreshing swim in the plunge pool located beneath the 20-meter high waterfall. However, be aware that the water can get quite chilly due to the depth of the pool.
Swim in the tranquil beauty of the Langstrath Valley! From Stonethwaite to Borrowdale, this gorgeous area is home to some amazing wild swimming spots. Don't miss out on Galleny Force and Black Moss Pot - they're must-sees for any wild swimmer.
Also known as the Fairy Glen, Galleny Force is a series of magical waterfalls and pools. The clear water pools are around 30m long, 1.2m deep and surrounded by grassy hills, creating the ideal environment for a summer swim.
Black Moss Pot
Journey a mile upstream from Galleny Force and you'll arrive at the deeper, colder Black Moss Pot. This is an extremely popular destination for swimmers and divers, so you may come across a few other people swimming - maybe even a skinny-dipper!
Although Buttermere is one of Cumbria's smallest lakes, its breathtaking scenery makes up for its size. It's regarded as one of the UK's finest vistas and is worth exploring, even if you're only taking a quick dip. However, due to the lake's steep edges, we advise swimming here only if you're a competent and experienced swimmer.
Suppose you're visiting Buttermere but feel hesitant or inexperienced about swimming there. In that case, you can take a short trip a mile northwest and discover Crummock Water, which is similar to Buttermere in prohibiting watercraft, making it an excellent location for outdoor swimming. Unlike Buttermere, Crummock Water has a gentle slope into the water from the small beach, replacing the steep edges. This feature is helpful for inexperienced wild swimmers, granting them the ability to enter and exit the water effortlessly while enjoying the stunning view. Swimmers can also opt to paddle in the shallows to appreciate the landscape further.
Are you looking for a thrilling experience by swimming in England's deepest lake? Wastwater, with a depth of approximately 79m, offers an incredible challenge for swimmers. The three-mile-long lake, carved out by a glacier, features 610m high hills that appear to be ascending from the water. However, since the lake is deep, the water is very cold, and it is advisable to wear a wetsuit to provide additional warmth.
Where not to swim
Apart from uncovering the most charming swimming locales in the Lake District, it's also crucial to recognize the restricted areas where swimming is prohibited. Have a delightful stay in the Lake District, but please avoid swimming in the following prohibited areas:
- Thirlmere Reservoir
- Kentmere Reservoir
- Ennerdale Water