The Best Places To Go Open Water Swimming In Manchester

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With summer on the way, many people are looking to make the most of open water swimming. Even if you live in a city like Manchester, there are lots of accessible locations nearby. We've created this handy guide to tell you all about the best wild swimming spots. It's important to remember safety is key when swimming outdoors, so make sure you take the necessary safety precautions and be aware of the risks involved. With an abundance of fantastic UK wild swimming sites available, now's the perfect time to explore them!

Dock 9

Location: Salford Quays, west Manchester

Price: £7-10

Swim course length: 250m, 500m, 750m, & 1000m

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Tow float/bag

If you're looking for an exciting spot to go swimming, the Salford Quays are a great option. Just a short distance from Manchester city centre, this wild swimming spot is quality tested and conveniently located at Dock 9. Those wishing to take a dip will find their swim session organized and supervised by USwim group, with prices ranging from £7 to £10 depending on whether you pre-book or opt for paying on the day. Additionally, wetsuits are available for hire if you prefer to use one - it's entirely up to you!

Helly Hansen Watersports Centre

Location: Dock 8, Salford Quays, west Manchester

Price: £5

Swim course length: 300m & 500m

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit or tow float/bag (When water is 14 degrees or colder)

The Helly Hansen Watersports Centre, located on Dock 8 at Salford Quays, offers shorter swim circuits than its neighbour dock, reaching lengths of up to 500m which can be swum multiple times for a longer swim. However it is essential that during colder months when the water reaches temperatures below 14 degrees, a wetsuit must be worn or else an additional tow float or dry bag should be taken into the water with you if needed.

Lockers and cages can also be used to store personal items such as towels and clothing, £1 is required for lockers and a padlock for the cages but valuable items should not be left here, instead they are suggested to stay safely at home or in your car or in a dry bag.

Sale Water Park

Location: Sale, south-west Manchester

Price: £7

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit & brightly coloured swim hat

Open Swim UK offers swimmers the possibility for a thrilling open water swimming experience at the Trafford Watersports Centre at Sale Water Park during the warmer months (April to September), or winter swimming sessions (October to March). For those who are new to wild swimming, an introductory session is offered, as well as training sessions for any who are less confident. For added safety and convenience, there are also changing rooms, lockers, hot showers and even a cafe available! 

Elton Reservoir

Location: Bury, north Manchester

Price: £5

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit & brightly coloured swim hat

During the warm Spring and Summer months, Elton Reservoir is a veritable oasis for swimmers looking to recharge and unwind. The Bolton Triathlon Club run guided sessions throughout the warmer months lasting from May to September which provide not only an opportunity to take a dip in the tranquil waters of the reservoir. Be sure to bring along your wetsuit and bright swim cap or you may be denied access. Post-swim, hot showers await eager swimmers before retreating back home with a refreshed body and spirit.

The Secret Lake

Location: Levenshulme, south-east Manchester

Supervised?: No

Tucked away in the bustling industrial estate of Levenshulme lies the Secret Lake, a hidden sanctuary for wild swimmers. Although not as well-kept a secret as its name might suggest, it remains a tranquil escape from the chaos of city life. For 8 years, locals have come together to keep this beautiful spot as safe as possible, but visitors should still take extra care to watch out for any underwater debris that could be a hazard - no life guards are present here. The easiest way to access the lake is via the charming Fallowfield Loop, though it can also be accessed from Longford Lane.

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