Flotation pods. IV drips. Silent retreats. Bee-sting therapy.
When it comes to trending wellness rituals, accessibility isn’t always the first thing that springs to
mind. Thankfully, not all these activities have to cost the Earth – or make you question your sanity!
Enter: cold-water swimming. Read on as we share five great places in the UK to take the plunge. Warm towels at the ready…
Hampstead Heath, London
When you hear ‘wild swimming’, you might assume it’s something reserved for the UK’s most rural spots. But there’s good news if you live in London: you needn’t look further than zone 2.
The Hampstead Heath pools are London’s best open-air swimming spots – just take your pick from three natural bathing ponds and 60m lido. With on-duty lifeguards and changing rooms, you can test
the waters with all the convenience of an indoor swimming pool.
Bude Sea Pool, Cornwall
Nestled in Cornwall’s Southwest Coast Path, Bude Sea Pool has been a popular spot for cold-water swimmers since the 1930s. At 91m long and 45m wide, this semi-natural venue is managed by an
entirely self-funded charity and was created specifically to keep swimmers well protected from the at-times choppy Atlantic Ocean.
Given the fact it attracts thousands of visitors every year, it’s no wonder Bude Sea received the 2020 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice. The best part? Admission is completely free and unrestricted.
Blackmoss Pot, Lake District
Next time you head to the Lakes, be sure not to overlook the Blackmoss Pot when planning your action-packed agenda. Located in the stunning surroundings of the Langstrath valley, these deep
crystal-clear waters are surrounded by waterfalls and sheer rocks – perfect for a cold-water swim with a view.
Keep in mind that this pool gets particularly busy in the summer months – so if you want to take the plunge in a bustling area with a lively atmosphere, Blackmoss Pot is the place to go. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, head to the local’s favourite pub Langstrath Inn. Here you’ll find a menu guaranteed to satisfy those post-dip cravings. Even more reason to love cold-water swimming: admission to the waters is completely free.
Caswell Bay, Swansea
Wales will never fail to deliver when it comes to natural beauty, and Caswell Bay in Swansea is certainly no exception. This breath-taking spot is a sweeping sandy haven for cold-water swimmers, families and surfers alike – making it ideal for all ages and swimming abilities. This lifeguarded bay offers an abundance of locally owned bars and restaurants to relax in – so even if your peers aren’t so keen on taking the plunge, you’ll be able to join them afterwards to tell them all about it! Admission is free and the beach gets particularly busy during summer, so plan accordingly.
Knaresborough Lido, North Yorkshire
The delightful Knaresborough Lido offers a truly invigorating cold-water swimming experience all year round. This wide and often shallow lido is safely nestled between two weirs – one side with a caravan park, and the other with the tourist-favourite Watermill café. Surrounded by the charming views of this North Yorkshire market town, Knaresborough Lido is a highly accessible spot for making your first splash into wild swimming. This part of the River Nidd is also popular for fishermen, so be sure to bring some water shoes to navigate the slippery rocks.
Cold-water swimming: frequently asked questions
How can cold-water swimming benefit my health?
Cold-water swimming has become increasingly popular, with a quarter of all open-water swimmers taking up the hobby between 2021-22. Taking a dive in the wild side has been backed by science as a highly effective way to support mental and physical health – with studies showing it can help to ease muscular pain, improve sleep, and elevate your mood. Modern life can be hectic, and there’s something liberating about hitting ‘pause’ on the everyday stresses to connect with the great outdoors. Better yet, it’s refreshingly budget-friendly.
What precautions do I need to take when cold-water swimming?
Wild swimming calls for much more precautionary care than your average gym workout. Always do your research before diving in, and look for safe places that have lifeguards for optimum safety especially if you’re new to the activity. It is also strongly recommended to bring a friend along for further support.
How can I ensure I’m doing cold-water swimming safely?
Cold-water swimming is a highly enjoyable activity with endless benefits, but it’s also important to stay safe. Key safety measures include:
- Choosing a safe location
- Taking a cold-water swimming course
- Wearing a bright-coloured swimming cap
Some venues have cold-water swimming clubs where you can join a support system of peers also keen to make a splash. Find out more information about staying safe while cold-water swimming here: https://nowca.org/cold-water-swimming-a-safety-guide/
Curious to hear more about how cold-water swimming can benefit you? Read our blog to hear what happened when a member of our team decided to take the 7-day cold shower challenge!