The Best Open Water Swimming Spots Near Cardiff

If you reside in Cardiff or plan to visit for a vacation, discovering the finest spots for wild swimming in the Welsh waters is essential. We have curated a list of the top locations for open water swimming in and around the capital city of Cardiff.

When engaging in open water swimming, it is crucial to understand the potential hazards and ensure your safety while in the water. While safety equipment may not always be mandatory at these venues, we highly advise wearing a brightly coloured swim cap and utilising a tow float or dry bag at all times.

Radyr Weir

  • Location: Radyr, Cardiff
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

If you reside in Cardiff or plan to visit for a vacation, it's important to discover the finest locations for wild swimming in the Welsh waters. We have gathered a comprehensive list of the top open water swimming spots that you must explore in and around Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

When engaging in open water swimming, it is crucial to understand the risks associated with wild swimming and be knowledgeable about how to ensure your safety in the water. While safety equipment may not be mandatory at all venues, we highly recommend wearing a brightly coloured swim cap and using a tow float or dry bag at all times.


  • Location: Penarth, Cardiff
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

Located on the outskirts of Cardiff, Penarth beach offers yet another swim location where you can choose to swim independently or join a local swim group. For those who enjoy an early morning dip before work, the Dawn Stalkers sea swimming club welcomes you. Every morning, just before dawn, the group gathers at Penarth beach to relish a swim while observing the captivating sunrise over the water.

The beach comprises a mix of sand and pebbles, and occasionally, reaching the water's edge may involve a short walk. To ensure a more convenient and comfortable experience entering and exiting the water, the Dawn Stalkers recommend wearing water shoes. If you opt to swim independently at Penarth, it's important to be mindful of the strong and rapidly changing currents. Whenever possible, it is advisable to avoid them.

Barry Island

  • Location: Barry
  • Price: Free (£11 for organised sessions)
  • Supervised?: Sometimes

Barry Island, situated just down the coast from Cardiff, offers a fantastic swimming destination. While swimming off Barry Island is open to everyone and free of charge, what makes this beach particularly appealing is its supervised wild swimming sessions.

All or Nothing Events organises regular open water swimming sessions throughout the summer season. These sessions cater to swimmers of various proficiency levels, aiming to enhance their skills in cold open water swimming. Topics covered include sighting, currents, waves, cold water immersion, and more. Participating in these hour-long sessions costs £11, and it is mandatory to wear a wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles. 

Jackson’s Bay

  • Location: Barry
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

If Barry Island becomes overly crowded, you have a quieter option just nearby at Jackson's Bay. Jackson's Bay offers a more secluded and picturesque setting for a tranquil open water swim. This sheltered sandy beach stretches 170 meters in length and features a gradual slope into the water, making it easily accessible for swimmers of all ages and abilities.

While enjoying your swim, you can delight in the beautiful views across the Bristol Channel, with Western-super-Mare on one side and the charming cliffs and lush greenery of Jackson's Bay on the other. However, it is important to exercise caution when swimming here due to the presence of submerged rocks and strong currents within the Bristol Channel.

Four Waterfalls Walk

  • Location: Ystradfellte
  • Price: Free 
  • Supervised?: No

The last outdoor swimming destination on our compilation is the series of waterfalls and pools along the Four Waterfalls walk, located just over an hour's drive north of Cardiff. Despite being a bit of a journey from Cardiff, its remarkable beauty compelled us to include it.

Embarking on the 9.3-mile hike through the southern Brecon Beacons treats you to breathtaking landscapes and numerous enticing swimming spots. The ultimate highlight of the journey is reaching Sgd Yr Eira, the finest waterfall and swimming location. Here, you can venture behind the cascading water and dive into the pool below, creating a truly enchanting experience of wild swimming. 

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