Lake District Wild Swimming
20 May 2024

With the Great North Swim in Lake Windermere just a couple of weeks away, it got us thinking about all some of the incredible wild swimming spots in the Lake District. With so many lakes and tarns in the Lake District, it's hardly surprising that wild swimming is proving more and more popular. And with so many benefits associated with wild swimming and cold water immersion, perhaps it's time you gave it a go (if you haven't already!)

Among the health benefits are improved circulation; a boost to your brain power; a boost to your immune system; reduced anxiety and stress; feelings of euphoria and achievement; and if you're swimming with others, a sense of community.

But where are the best spots for a bit of Lake District wild swimming? 

We've tried to keep our choices relatively local to our Matson Ground cottages in Windermere and Ullswater. We've also included Wastwater because no Lake District wild swimming list would be complete without it. 

Coniston Water

We'll start with Coniston Water. For somewhere a little quieter, Coniston Water is often less busy than some of the other major lakes and with plenty of small bays and beaches, it's a great option for Lake District wild swimming. The eastern shore in particular has a number of parking spots and shallow water, perfect for those who are new to wild swimming. 

Loughrigg Tarn

Loughrigg Tarn is considered by many as one of the best places to swim in the Lake District. And with the Langdale Pikes as a backdrop, it's easy to see why. What's more, the waters are relatively warm (we say relatively - this is not a hot spring), making it the perfect spot to cool down after a hard day's hiking.

Rydal Water

Sheltered on all sides by Lake District fells, Rydal Water is often a little stiller than other Lake District wild swimming spots. It's also a touch warmer thanks to its lower altitude. This is a great place to swim for novices - the shallow beach on the far side of the water from the road is about twenty minutes on foot, so despite the lake's proximity to the road, swimming here still feels like you're slightly off the beaten track. 

Blea Tarn

When it comes to picturesque spots for wild swimming, Blea Tarn is right up there with the best of them. This is one of the most photographed locations in the Lake District, with the Langdale Pikes perfectly reflected in the cool, still water. Arguably one of the best views in the Lake District, and with a stony beach on the southern shore, it's perfect for wild swimming. 


For those of you staying in one of our Ullswater cottages, Glenridding at the southern end of Ullswater throws up a host of possibilities. Here, gently sloping beaches allow safe access to the water - perfect for families. It's hardly secluded, but with large grassy banks and all the facilities of Glenridding, you'll find a spot you can call your own and enjoy a fabulous day out.


Our final destination is Wastwater. This is wild swimming with added drama. On the eastern shore, the screes rise from the deep, dark water and to the north some of the highest mountains in England, including Scafell Pike, Great Gable and Lingmell. A single track road runs the length of the western shore, with several places to park up and head for the lake. Just be prepared to feel a little chilly.

So, whether you're in the area for the Great North Swim or just looking to find your own wild swimming spot away from the crowds, the Lake District really does deliver some of the most incredible places for an invigorating dip.

In the meantime, next time you're visiting, why not dig out your swimming gear and take a dip? But do be careful. Below is a list of wild swimming tips.

  • Check the weather: conditions can change rapidly in the Lake District, so ensure you check the forecast and avoid swimming in adverse weather.
  • Acclimatise gradually: the lakes can be cold, even in summer. Enter the water slowly to allow your body to adjust to the temperature.
  • Swim with a friend: it's always safer and more enjoyable to swim with a friend.
  • Be visible: a brightly coloured hat or tow float would be ideal
  • Respect nature: leave no trace and be mindful of the local wildlife and environment.

If you would like any further information about Lake District wild swimming, please do get in touch.

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