In the north-western region of England, spanning across the counties of Cumbria and Lancashire, lies a place known as the Lake District. As the name itself suggests, it is an area filled with numerous lakes and other bodies of water. However, if you are wondering which of these locations are the best.
You might have heard of some of the most popular wild swimming destinations in the Lake District, such as Windermere, Derwentwater, Coniston Water, and Ullswater. While these places offer breathtaking views and beautiful swimming locations, they can often get crowded during the summer season, with several boats and water sport enthusiasts present, making it challenging to have a peaceful and enjoyable swim.
To help you enjoy a peaceful and uninterrupted swimming experience, we have compiled a list of quieter open water swimming spots in the Lake District that offer breathtaking views and a serene environment.
However, it is crucial to remember that open water swimming can be extremely dangerous, and safety should be your top priority. Please ensure that you follow all the necessary safety guidelines before diving in. We strongly recommend that you bring a tow float or dry bag and wear a brightly colored swim cap to make yourself more visible to watercraft, other swimmers, and rescue teams.
With its 15 meter depths, Rydal Water is one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District and is ideal for those who prefer a smaller and slightly warmer swimming environment without invasive motorboats. Relax in the serene atmosphere as you take in the breath-taking panoramic views of the majestic surrounding mountains. The lower altitude makes it easier for the lake's water to be kept warm, making it an even more inviting spot for an enjoyable swim.
The River Esk offers several delightful locations, such as Tongue Pot and Gill Force, with plenty of plunge pools and waterfalls for a refreshing swim in the cool water.
If you walk for 2 miles along the river from Hardknott Pass, you'll discover a sequence of pools, including Tongue Pot. Tongue Pot boasts a small pebble beach and a magnificent waterfall. As this pool is situated in a remote area, chances are high that you can relish the clear emerald waters without any company.
Stanley Ghyll Force
Nestled in a rocky gorge enveloped by thick forests lies the splendor of Stanley Ghyll Force. You can immerse yourself in the plunge pool situated beneath the 20-meter-high waterfall. Nonetheless, as the pool is quite deep, the water can become rather cold.
Taking a dive into the crisp waters of the Langstrath Valley is an experience like no other. From Stonethwaite to Borrowdale, this valley has some of the best wild swimming spots in England. Make sure to visit Galleny Force and Black Moss Pot while you're there!
Discover the enchanting Fairy Glen, home to the spellbinding Galleny Force waterfalls and pools! Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters, which stretch for 30 meters and are 1.2 meters deep. The lush, grassy hills that surround the pools provide the perfect setting for a refreshing summer swim.
Black Moss Pot
Take a stroll upstream from Galleny Force and you'll reach the deeper, colder waters of Black Moss Pot. It's a popular spot for swimmers and divers, so don't be surprised to see a few other people taking a dip - even the occasional skinny-dipper!
Although Buttermere is one of the smallest lakes in Cumbria, it boasts stunning and breathtaking scenery. It is widely considered as one of the UK's best views, and even a brief visit is worth your time. However, due to the lake's steep edges, we recommend swimming only to the strong and experienced swimmers.
Suppose you're in Buttermere and feel uncertain about swimming there. In that case, you can travel a mile northwest and discover Crummock Water, another lake that prohibits watercraft, making it perfect for outdoor swimming. Unlike Buttermere, the lake features a gradual slope into the water from the small beach instead of steep edges, making it easier for amateur wild swimmers to enter and exit the water. Additionally, swimmers can opt to swim in the shallows while taking in the breathtaking landscape.
Would you be interested in taking on the challenge of swimming in the deepest lake in England? Wastwater, with a depth of approximately 79 meters, presents the perfect opportunity for such a feat. This three-mile-long lake was formed by a glacier and is surrounded by hills that tower as high as 610 meters and appear to be emerging from the water. Nonetheless, due to its significant depth, the water can be quite cold. As a result, we advise that you wear a wetsuit to keep warm while you swim.
Where not to swim
In addition to identifying the most stunning swimming spots, it's equally crucial to pinpoint the areas where swimming is strictly prohibited. While you enjoy your visit to the Lake District, it's essential to note that swimming is not permitted in the following areas:
- Thirlmere Reservoir
- Kentmere Reservoir
- Ennerdale Water