Cool down in the heatwave: 7 of the best wild swimming spots in the UK and Ireland

Swimming in nature – surely the best way to cope with the record temperatures?

Press Association
Last updated: 29 June 2018 - 3.02pm

Temperatures are soaring this week, with parts of the country hotter than Athens and on par with Kuala Lumpur and Rio – and highs of 33C are expected on Thursday.

The hot weather looks set to continue into July so, if you need to cool down, wild swimming could be the answer. There are hundreds of serene locations across the country that provide ideal alfresco swimming conditions.

Just be sure to stay safe in the water; don’t swim alone or under the influence of alcohol, stay close to the bank or shore, and you should be a strong swimmer. The water can be cold and depths can be unknown, so don’t jump or dive in.

1. Loch Lomond, Scotland

Playing host to the Great Scottish Swim later this summer, why not get some training in at Loch Lomond? As the largest expanse of freshwater in Great Britain, the limits for wild swimming are infinite at this impressive loch. Surrounded by soaring mountains and forests, a swim in Loch Lomond can be made into a day trip by making the most of the nearby hiking routes.

2. Forty Foot, County Dublin

A renowned swimming spot in Ireland, the Forty Foot was made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses, where character Buck Mulligan takes a dip at the once men-only bathing area. Steps and handrails make rock surfaces accessible so you can get in. Take a dip as the sun goes down –  the sunset here is sublime.

3. Black Moss Pot, Lake District

Explorers, Black Moss Pot is the place for you. Accessible following a two mile valley walk, the spot is a particularly popular swimming spot in Langstrath, with wild swimmers travelling from far across the Lake District for the deep waters. Remember your waterproof camera – the waters here are clear as can be, perfect for some underwater action shots.

4. Serpentine Lido, London

Avoid the stifling tubes and overcrowded streets with a dip in the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Open to the public from 10am – 6pm every day until the beginning of September, the lake has an accompanying paddling pool and play area so is perfect for families. Those looking for a regular dip may be interested in the oldest swimming club in Britain, who take to the waters early every morning – ideal for those wanting an active start to the day.

5. St Mary’s, Isles of Scilly

Situated around 30 miles from the Cornish coast, the largest island of the Isles of Scilly is a major swimming destination. There are plenty of opportunities to cool off, with glorious beaches and tidal inlets like Porth Hellick. If you’re feeling particularly brave, there is even potential to swim from island to island in the Scilly Swim Challenge. Ferries depart daily from Penzance.

6. Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire

Welsh beauty

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Pembrokeshire is a hub for wild swimming and it’s easy to see why looking at  the idyllic waters of the Blue Lagoon. The site was formerly a slate quarry until its channel to the sea was destroyed, resulting in the ultimate spot for adrenaline seekers. The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series have been held here multiple times, making it the first British site to host the series,  but those just wanting a paddle are catered for too.

7. Castle Island, County Roscommon

Swimming meets history in Lough Key Forest Park, where a fairy tale island inhabited hundreds of years ago stands.  Set in the southeastern corner of Lough Key, the waters around Castle Island are for those wanting to get a closer glimpse of the 19th century castle that remains in ruins out on the lake. Experienced wild swimmers may fancy taking the 1.5km route that loops around the island, featured in the 2018 Global Swim Series.

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