Best Wild Swimming Locations in Buckinghamshire

Buckinghamshire, a stunning county located northwest of London, offers the perfect blend of peaceful countryside living and easy access to the lively atmosphere of the city. The county boasts numerous lakes and rivers scattered throughout, meaning that whether you reside in the northern Milton Keynes area or the southern Chiltern Hills region, your next wild swimming adventure is closer than you might imagine.

It is crucial to exercise caution and take safety measures when swimming in open water, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Denham Waterski Club

  • Location: Denham
  • Price: £8-10
  • Swim course length: 370m & 500m
  • Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat

Denham Waterski Club provides a diverse range of water sports, including the opportunity for open water swimming on their expansive 20-acre lake. Although it is not compulsory to be a NOWCA member to swim at the club, it is advised to prioritise safety and receive a £2 discount per swim. The club's amenities also include changing rooms and showers to ensure that you can warm up after your swim. If you're in the mood, you could even enjoy a refreshing post-swim beverage at the bar.

Willen Lake

  • Location: Milton Keynes
  • Price: £6
  • Swim course length: 400m
  • Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat & tow float/bag

Located to the east of Milton Keynes lies the stunning Willen Lake, surrounded by 6,000 acres of verdant parkland. A 400m triangular swim circuit awaits those who wish to take a dip, but prior to doing so, NOWCA membership is mandatory (and pre-booking of swims online) along with attending a brief safety orientation.

The location is a prime spot for wild swimming enthusiasts, providing top-notch amenities like changing rooms, showers, and lockers (be sure to bring your own padlock), as well as a charming cafe. Moreover, there are numerous children's activities available both on the lake and in the neighbouring parkland, making it a perfect destination for a family day out.

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 offers water sports such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and wild swimming. At just £5 per swim session, it is one of the most affordable swim venues on the list, and it is open throughout the year, providing the opportunity for open water swimming during any season. However, if you are new to open water swimming or do not swim regularly, it is recommended to start during warmer summer weather.

To swim the largest circuit, a tow float or dry bag is necessary, and for the other circuits, a wetsuit or a float is recommended. To simplify things, it is advised to always use a float. Not only does it enhance safety in the water, but it also grants the freedom to swim any of the three circuits and switch between them while in the water.

Taplow Lakeside

  • 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)

Located on the southern border of Buckinghamshire and Berkshire, Taplow Lakeside is a family-owned business that provides wild swimming sessions and courses. The courses cover various aspects of wild swimming, such as general skills, front crawl techniques, and introductory courses. For beginners, a buddy swim is available for the first few swims, making it an ideal option for those new to open water swimming.

Olney Swimming Steps

  • Location: Olney

There are wide concrete steps leading into the River Great Ouse, located beside the Olney recreation ground. People have been joyfully swimming from these steps for many years. Despite a sign cautioning against swimming, it is not prohibited on this part of the River Great Ouse. However, we suggest that only individuals who feel self-assured in open water should swim here. This is because of the mild current, infrequent weeds, and general risks associated with wild swimming.

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