Wild Swimming in the Lake District and the North of England + Free Map

Welcome to our detailed guide exploring the best wild and open water swimming locations in the Lake District and North of England. This region, known for its breathtaking landscapes, is home to serene lakes, inviting rivers and fascinating reservoirs. Whether you’re an experienced swimmer looking for a new challenge or a novice seeking a tranquil dip, these destinations offer something for everyone. Delve into the beauty of Buttermere in the Lake District, the peacefulness of Ladyburn Lake at Druridge Bay or the thrill of the River Tyne at Chollerford. Always remember, safety comes first in these adventures, but the fun and relaxation are never far behind.

We have detailed guides to other areas of the UK:

Wild Swimming in London and the South East of England

Wild Swimming in Wales and the South West of England

Wild Swimming in the Midlands and Yorkshire

Wild Swimming in Scotland and Ireland

Table of Contents

Map of Wild Swimming in the Lake District and the North of England

Lake District

With its stunning lakes and picturesque landscapes, the Lake District is a wild swimmer’s paradise. The beauty of the region is unsurpassed, from the serene shores of Buttermere, famed for its crystal-clear waters, to the tranquillity of Loweswater, nestled amongst woodland. Grasmere and Rydal Water are prized for their accessibility and vibrant aquatic life, while Loughrigg Tarn is a hidden gem, slightly warmer due to its shallowness. The region offers both tranquil dips and more adventurous swims amidst the spectacular mountain scenery. Each lake has nearby amenities, including car parks, cafes, and toilets, ensuring a comfortable visit. Always remember to swim safely, respect the natural environment, and leave no trace behind.

Buttermere, Cumbria, CA13 9UZ

Three swimmers in Buttermere in the Lake District

Buttermere, in the Lake District, is a serene and inviting lake, perfect for those seeking a wild swimming experience. Encased by rolling hills, it offers a peaceful setting, ideal for gentle swimming.  The waters are clear and calm, providing an excellent environment for both beginners and experienced swimmers. Being relatively shallow, the lake can warm up in the summer months, making for a more comfortable swim compared to other locations.

The surrounding scenery is a huge draw too. Enclosed by an amphitheatre of fells, the beauty of the location adds to the experience, making it not just a swim, but a communion with nature. For the more adventurous, there’s the option of swimming from one end to the other, a distance of about 1.5 miles.

To access Buttermere, you can park at the National Trust car park, located at the northern tip of the lake (postcode CA13 9UZ). From here, it’s a short walk to the lake through a scenic footpath. Always be mindful of livestock and follow the countryside code.

For post-swim refreshments, ‘Croft House Farm Cafe’ is a popular choice, found in the village of Buttermere. They offer hot drinks, baked goods, and other tasty items. You’ll find public toilets next to the car park. Please remember to respect the local environment and keep it clean for everyone’s enjoyment.

Lastly, Buttermere is a quieter lake compared to some of the others in the Lake District, often giving swimmers a more peaceful and personal experience. But remember, no matter how inviting Buttermere or any wild swimming spot looks, always consider safety first. Check the water for hidden obstructions, never swim alone, and if you’re new to wild swimming, consider joining a group.


Crummock Water, Cumbria, CA13 9UY

Two outdoor swimmers finishing a swim in Crummock Water in the Lake DIstrict

Crummock Water in the Lake District is a wonderful location for wild swimming, offering a unique blend of natural beauty and accessibility. The expansive lake stretches approximately 2.5 miles long and 0.75 miles wide, presenting a fantastic playground for both novice and experienced swimmers. The water is renowned for its clarity and cleanliness, providing a fantastic underwater view for those who like to explore beneath the surface.

The landscape surrounding Crummock Water is nothing short of stunning. Encircled by fells and hills, the backdrop makes for a memorable swimming experience, allowing you to connect deeply with nature.

Accessing Crummock Water is straightforward, with nearby car parks available. The most convenient one is located at the National Trust’s Buttermere village, which is just a short walk to the lake. From there, you can choose from various entry points along the shore, with the area near the boathouse being a popular choice.

In terms of facilities, there are toilets available in Buttermere village, and when it comes to refuelling post-swim, there are a couple of charming cafes in the village too, offering delicious, warming refreshments.

Please remember, as beautiful as it is, Crummock Water is still a wild swimming location. Always prioritise safety, never swim alone, and make sure to check for any potential hazards in the water.


Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9PZ

Grasmere in the Lake District


Grasmere is a charming spot for wild swimming that combines the thrill of the open water with a truly picturesque environment. The lake is a moderate size, measuring approximately one mile in length and half a mile in width, providing ample space for both leisurely swimmers and those looking to cover more distance. Grasmere is particularly known for its clean, clear water, which offers a refreshing, invigorating dip.

The landscape surrounding Grasmere is quintessentially English, with rolling hills, verdant woodland, and a sense of tranquillity that adds an extra layer of pleasure to your wild swimming experience. The lake’s central location in the Lake District also makes it an ideal base for exploring the local area.

For access, there’s a pay and display car park at Broadgate Meadow (postcode LA22 9TA), just a few minutes walk from the lake. From the car park, follow Stock Lane then take a left onto Red Bank Road which leads to the lake.

When it comes to amenities, Grasmere village is well equipped. There are public toilets located next to the Broadgate Meadow car park. As for cafes, Grasmere has plenty to choose from. Baldry’s Tea Room, near the car park, comes highly recommended, with a range of hot and cold refreshments to replenish your energy after your swim.

As always, be sure to take safety precautions when wild swimming. Never swim alone, be aware of potential hazards, and always respect the local environment.


Loweswater, Cumbria, CA13 0RU

Loweswater in the Lake District


Loweswater is a tranquil and somewhat hidden gem in the Lake District, making it a fantastic place for wild swimming. The lake, being smaller and less well-known compared to others in the region, tends to be less crowded, offering an intimate and serene swimming experience. Surrounded by fells, woodlands, and farmland, it’s the perfect escape for a peaceful swim.

The lake’s water is typically calm and refreshing, with a shallow entry that gradually deepens – great for cautious entries or cooling paddles. The scenic beauty, combined with the relative tranquility of the water, makes it a perfect wild swimming location.

The main access to Loweswater is through the National Trust car park located at the lake’s northeastern end (postcode CA13 0RU). From the car park, a short walk along the trail takes you directly to the lake, with several points of easy access to the water.

For amenities, while there are no public toilets at Loweswater itself, the nearby village of Mockerkin, just a short drive away, has facilities. There’s also the charming Kirkstile Inn nearby, a traditional Lake District pub that offers a warm welcome and a great selection of local food and drink. It’s the perfect spot to warm up and recharge after a refreshing dip in Loweswater.

Remember to always be safety conscious when wild swimming – don’t swim alone, be aware of water depth and temperature changes, and always respect the beautiful environment that you’re in.


Rydal Water, Cumbria, LA22 9SE

Rydal Water in the Lake District

Nestled between Grasmere and Ambleside, Rydal Water offers a charming spot for wild swimming. Known for its clear, clean waters and stunning surrounding scenery, it makes a peaceful and picturesque swim location. The lake is relatively shallow, which allows it to warm up a little in the summer months compared to deeper lakes, making it more inviting for a swim.

You can access Rydal Water easily from the White Moss car park (postcode LA22 9SE). From the car park, a short, pleasant walk through woodland leads you down to the lake. There are a couple of small beaches on the northeastern shore that provide ideal access points for swimmers.

In terms of amenities, you’ll find public toilets located at the car park itself. For a bite to eat or a warm drink post-swim, head towards the village of Rydal, just a short walk from the lake. Here you’ll find the delightful Rydal Hall Tea Shop, set in the estate’s beautiful historic gardens, offering refreshments and a selection of homemade cakes and snacks.

As with all wild swimming, remember to be mindful of your own safety, respect local regulations, and preserve the natural beauty of the area by leaving no trace.


Loughrigg Tarn, Cumbria, LA22 9HF

Loughrigg Tarn in the Lake District

Located just north of Skelwith Bridge, Loughrigg Tarn is a hidden gem, offering a tranquil and scenic spot for wild swimming. It’s a relatively small and shallow lake, making it slightly warmer than some of the larger bodies of water in the area. The surrounding fells provide a fantastic backdrop for a refreshing swim.

Access to Loughrigg Tarn is from the small, free roadside car park located on the minor road to High Close, just off the A593 (nearest postcode is LA22 9HF). From there, it’s a short walk of about 500 metres down a footpath directly to the Tarn.

For amenities, there are no public toilets at the tarn itself, but facilities can be found a short drive away in the village of Elterwater. After your swim, you can visit the cosy Skelwith Bridge Hotel and Chester’s By The River cafe, both located nearby and known for their delicious refreshments and meals.

As with all wild swimming spots, it’s essential to consider your safety, respect local wildlife, and leave no trace to help maintain the beauty of this special place. Loughrigg Tarn, with its peaceful atmosphere and beautiful surroundings, is a truly delightful spot for a wild swim.


North West England

The North West of England is a wild swimmer’s paradise, boasting an impressive array of locations, both inland and coastal. Venues such as Pennington Flash in Leigh and Sale Water Park in Manchester offer well-managed, easily accessible wild swimming experiences with convenient facilities. For the more adventurous, there’s Capernwray Diving Centre, a clear-water site ideal for open-water training. With such a diverse range of spots, the North West is a fantastic region for wild swimming, catering to both novices and experienced swimmers alike.

Pennington Flash, Greater Manchester, WA3 1BQ

The lake at Pennington Flash in Greater Manchester

Welcome to Pennington Flash, a popular wild swimming site nestled in Leigh, Greater Manchester. This 70-hectare lake was created by mining subsidence and is now a Local Nature Reserve offering a variety of activities including wild swimming. The main car park is conveniently located at the visitor centre, postcode WN7 3PA. From here, follow the well-marked footpaths leading directly to the lake.

A great place for both beginners and experienced swimmers, the site offers a designated swimming area, managed by Leigh & Lowton Sailing Club. Please note that swimming is only allowed during official supervised sessions and participants must be members of the club or British Triathlon Federation.

The site offers excellent amenities. The visitor centre houses toilets and changing facilities. There’s also a lovely café for post-swim refreshments. For safety, lifeguards are present during swimming sessions and everyone is required to wear a brightly coloured swim cap to be visible in the water.


Sale Water Park, Greater Manchester, M33 2LX

Sale Water Park in Greater Manchester

Welcome to Sale Water Park, a fantastic destination for wild swimming located in Trafford, Greater Manchester. This spot is home to a large lake resulting from gravel extraction, now perfectly suited for a delightful swimming experience. The main car park is just a short stroll from the water’s edge, located at Rifle Road, postcode M33 2LX.

The park boasts a designated open water swimming area managed by Trafford Water Sports Centre. Swimming sessions are held regularly and cater to all levels, with lifeguards present to ensure safety. For participation, it’s a requirement to be a member of the British Triathlon Federation, or you can pay per swim.

Excellent facilities are on hand to make your swimming experience comfortable. Toilets and changing rooms are available at the visitor centre near the car park. The on-site café, the Boathouse, is ideal for a post-swim snack or a warm drink.


Boundary Water Park, Cheshire, CW4 8HT

The lake at Boundary Water Park in Cheshire

Boundary Water Park is a great location for wild swimming situated in Cheshire, between Holmes Chapel and Knutsford. The park offers a tranquil lake environment for swimmers, perfect for those seeking an invigorating open water experience.

The nearest car park to the swimming area can be found at the postcode CW4 8HT. To access the water, simply follow the well-marked footpath leading from the car park to the lake.

Boundary Water Park provides excellent facilities for swimmers. Clean and easily accessible toilets and changing rooms are located near the car park for your convenience.

The swimming area is designated and managed by the Uswim Adventure, which offers a secure, buoyed course with safety kayakers and water safety officers to ensure everyone’s well-being in the water. To swim, you’ll need to register for a membership or pay per swim.

There isn’t a café on site, but Holmes Chapel and Knutsford are just a short drive away, offering a range of eateries perfect for a post-swim meal.


Knutsford Mere, Cheshire, WA16 6LJ

Swimmers in wetsuits with tow floats and swimming caps starting a swim in Knutsford Mere

Knutsford Mere is a charming lake nestled within the bustling market town of Knutsford in Cheshire. Its serene setting and clear waters make it a delightful spot for open water swimming.  Members can book online but you can also pay cash on arrival without booking.

Parking facilities are available close by at the postcode WA16 6HA. To reach the Mere from the car park, simply follow the signs and a short walk will bring you to the water’s edge.  For amenities, there are public toilets near the car park. However, please note that there are no dedicated changing facilities at the site, so swimmers should plan accordingly.

Tow floats must be used and swimmers should wear brightly coloured swimming caps.  A powerboat or kayak for support is on duty at most sessions, as well as first aid trained land crew.  The water at the Knutsford Mere is regularly quality-tested.

The Mere is near Knutsford’s town centre, which hosts a variety of cafes and eateries, perfect for a relaxing treat after your swim.


Capernwray Diving Centre, Lancashire, LA6 1AD

Capernwray Diving Centre in Lancashire

Capernwray Diving Centre, with its exceptionally clear water and vibrant aquatic life, offers a sublime wild swimming experience unlike any other. Its depth and expanse make it ideal for both novices and experienced swimmers.

For parking, there’s ample space provided at the Centre itself, located at postcode LA6 1AD. After parking, a short stroll will bring you directly to the water’s edge.

The Centre is equipped with excellent facilities, including toilets and changing areas for swimmers. They also run an on-site cafe serving hot and cold refreshments — perfect for refuelling post-swim.

The Centre provides a range of safety measures including trained staff on duty during swimming sessions, buoyancy aids, and a marked swimming area. Please note that pre-booking is often required for swimming sessions, so be sure to check their website for the most current information.


Wyresdale Park, Lancashire PR3 1BA

Swimmers in Wyresdale Park near Preston

Wyresdale Park has beautifully clear, spring-fed lake nestled in the rolling countryside, offers a fantastic wild swimming experience. The serene setting makes it perfect for a relaxing dip or an invigorating swim.  Booking is via the website and swimming is only allowed at the designated times.

There is parking available at Wyresdale Park itself, located at the postcode PR3 1BA. From the car park, it’s just a short walk to the lake where the swimming takes place.  There are toilets near the Apple Store Cafe but no changing rooms.  Swimmers should change by their car and not take their gear down to the jetty as there is limited room.

A team of volunteer kayak support staff and qualified bank based staff  are on hand for advise and support.  There are designated swimming areas and swimmers are required to wear a bright swim cap for visibility. Additionally, they have life buoys around the lake for added safety.  Websuits are not compulory but they would be a sensible idea and it is also suggested that you should wear gloves and socks.

Please note, it’s always a good idea to check ahead with Wyresdale Park for any changes to their swimming schedule or rules, and to ensure you have the most up-to-date information.

The Apple Store Cafe, located within the grounds, offers a range of refreshments, perfect for refuelling after a swim.



Salford Water Sports Centre, Greater Machester, M50 3SQ

Swimmers in the water at Salford Water Sports Centre in Greater Manchester

Salford Water Sports Centre, located in the heart of Greater Manchester, offers a fantastic wild swimming experience within its clean, supervised waters, making it ideal for swimmers of all abilities.  You can prebook your open water session on the website.

Supervised by qualified lifeguards, the centre ensures a safe environment for all its swimmers. Swimmers are required to wear a brightly coloured swim cap for visibility and must sign in and out of each session. Buoyancy aids are also available if required.  Wetsuits are recommended but if you choose not to wear one then you must have a tow float.  You can hire a wetsuit from the Sports Centre

Parking is available onsite at Salford Water Sports Centre. The water sports centre and open water swimming area are just a short walk from the car park.  There are onsite toilets and changing facilities, making your visit as comfortable as possible.  There are also lockers for stowing your belongings.For refreshments, you can find a cafe within the centre itself, perfect for a post-swim snack or a hot drink.


North East England

The North East of England, characterised by its rugged landscapes, offers a variety of ideal wild swimming locations. Among the abundant lakes, reservoirs, and rivers, noteworthy spots include Ladyburn Lake at Druridge Bay for its calm, clear waters, and the Derwent Reservoir in County Durham, which offers a vast and scenic swim. Bishopton Lake is a tranquil spot, perfect for beginners. For river enthusiasts, the River Tyne at Chollerford and the River Tees at Preston Park both provide invigorating swim experiences. The daring can even venture to Linhope Spout for a dip beneath a towering waterfall.

Sweethope Lough, Hexham, Northumberland, NE48 2TE

Sweethope Lough in Hexham, Northumberland

Sweethope Lough, in the heart of Northumberland, offers an invigorating wild swimming experience in its crystal clear waters. It’s a haven for those seeking tranquillity and natural beauty.  Swimming is only allowed at the designated times and you must prebook on the website.  Swimming sessions are called ‘Dip Sessions’ and they offer a variety of sessions and courses.

The car park is situated close by, with the postcode NE19 2PN leading you to your destination. From the car park, it’s just a brief stroll to reach the serene waters of Sweethope Lough.

For your comfort and convenience, you can find public toilets in the nearby village of Kirkwhelpington, about 7 miles away. Please note, there are no changing facilities on site, so plan accordingly.  Wetsuits are optional but strongly suggested.

For a delightful bite to eat or a warm beverage after your swim, head to the nearby village of Belsay where you can find a welcoming cafe.


QE2 Lake at Woodhorn, Northumberland, NE63 9AT

Swimmers entering the lake at QE2 Lake, Woodhorn, Northumberland

QE2 Lake at Woodhorn is a splendid spot for wild swimming, offering a sizeable, open body of water surrounded by a beautiful park. It’s a tranquil and pleasant setting perfect for enjoying nature’s pool.  You must pre-register on the website and sign in at the desk prior to your swim.  All levels of swimmers are welcome from beginners to those training for a triathlon.  Swimming is only allowed in the QE2 Lake at the specified time, usually Thursday evening.

Safety craft will be in the water during the swimming sessions. Wetsuits must be worn at all times and it is suggested you wear a brightly coloured swim cap to enhance visibility.  There is a choice of a long or a short swimming course tha is clearly marked with bouys.

The car park for accessing the lake is at the Woodhorn Museum, with the postcode NE63 9YF guiding you right to it. From the car park, it’s a short, easy walk through the museum grounds to reach the lake’s edge.

There are convenient facilities available at the museum, including public toilets and a cafe where you can refuel with a snack or a hot drink. While there are no designated changing facilities, the ample space around the lake provides opportunities for discreet changing.


Ladyburn Lake, Northumberland, NE61 5BX

Ladyburn Lake, near Druridge Bay, in Northumberland

Ladyburn Lake, located at Druridge Bay Country Park, is a fantastic destination for wild swimming, offering tranquil, crystal clear waters surrounded by an idyllic setting. A large freshwater lake, it’s noted for its well-managed environment and accessibility.

The closest car park to Ladyburn Lake is the Druridge Bay Country Park car park, with the postcode NE61 5BX. This car park is a brief walk away from the lake and provides easy access.

In terms of facilities, the park has well-maintained toilets and changing facilities conveniently located near the lake. For those feeling peckish post-swim, the Visitor Centre café offers a range of hot and cold snacks, plus drinks.

When it comes to safety, please remember that while the lake is generally considered safe for swimming, it’s important to stay vigilant, especially as there are no lifeguards on duty. Ensure you are comfortable with open water swimming and are aware of any potential risks.


The River Tyne at Chollerford, Northumberland, NE46 4EW


Swimming in the The bridge over the River Tyne at Chollerford is an invigorating experience, offering refreshing waters against a backdrop of scenic countryside. The river here is wide and slow-flowing, making it a perfect spot for both seasoned swimmers and beginners seeking a calm and enjoyable wild swimming experience.

The nearest car park to the River Tyne at Chollerford is the George Hotel car park, with the postcode NE46 4EW. It’s an easy, short walk to the riverside from the car park.

As for amenities, there are toilet and changing facilities available at the George Hotel for customers. Speaking of the George Hotel, it houses a wonderful café where you can enjoy a bite to eat or a hot drink after your swim.

Regarding safety measures, the river is generally calm, but always keep an eye on the current, especially after heavy rainfall. There are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s essential that you’re comfortable with open water swimming and aware of the potential risks. If you’re swimming with a group, be sure to have a safety plan in place and look out for each other. Always respect the natural environment and remember to check local bylaws and any signs near the water for additional safety information and guidelines.


Derwent Reservoir, County Durham, DH8 9PT

Derwent Reservoir in County Durham

Derwent Reservoir, County Durham, is a haven for wild swimmers seeking serene waters set amidst the stunning scenery. The reservoir provides a delightful balance of tranquil open waters and beautiful wildlife, making it an excellent location for a wild swimming adventure.

Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club organise a week day swimming session and two weekend swimming sessions.  You must prebook on the website as numbers are limited to 20 swimmers and you have to be a member of the club.  The swimming course is 200m.  Two safety craft are on the water during teh swimming sessions.  Brightly coloured swimming caps, wetsuits and tow floats are required.

You can park at the Derwent Reservoir Car Park (postcode: DH8 9TT). From the car park, the reservoir is just a short walk, with well-signposted paths leading you directly to the water’s edge.

After your swim, you can head over to the nearby visitor centre, where you will find toilet facilities and a small café serving hot drinks and snacks. There are, however, no formal changing facilities at the reservoir, so it might be a good idea to bring a changing robe or similar for privacy.

Safety-wise, it’s important to note that while the waters of Derwent Reservoir are calm, they can be quite cold, even in the summer months. Always ensure that you are well prepared for this. As this is a wild swimming spot stick to the designated swimming areas and never swim alone. Always be aware of the reservoir’s changing conditions, particularly in terms of depth and temperature, and follow the local signs and advice.


The River Tees at Preston Park, County Durham, TS18 3RH

The River Tees at Preston Park

The River Tees at Preston Park is an enticing location for wild swimmers. The river provides a refreshing and tranquil experience, encapsulated by picturesque green surroundings that make for a truly wonderful swim.

You can park at the Preston Park Car Park (postcode: TS18 3RH). The River Tees is easily accessible from the car park, with clear paths leading towards the water. It’s a short, scenic walk that brings you straight to the riverbank.

For your post-swim refreshments, there is a delightful café within Preston Park itself, offering warm drinks and delicious snacks. Toilet facilities are available near the café, but there are no official changing facilities, so bringing a changing robe or similar would be advisable.

Safety is key when it comes to wild swimming. The River Tees is generally calm but can have strong currents in places, especially after heavy rain. Make sure to assess the water conditions before entering and stay within your comfort zone. As there are no lifeguards present, always swim with a buddy if possible and let someone know where you are. Be aware of the risk of cold water shock, and get out if you start to feel cold.

By following these safety measures and guidelines, your wild swimming experience at the River Tees in Preston Park should be both safe and enjoyable, allowing you to take full advantage of the serene river and beautiful park surroundings.


Bishopton Lake, County Durham, TS21 1EY

Bishopton Lake in County Durham

Bishopton Lake, also known as Bishopton Mill Lake, is a haven for wild swimmers with its clear, peaceful waters and natural setting. Nestled away in the countryside, it’s a lovely location for a refreshing dip, framed by lush greenery which lends a secluded feel.  There is a car park near the lake, located off Bishopton Mill Lane (postcode: TS21 1HA). From the car park, it’s a short, easy walk to the lake.

Booking is online via the website.  The swimming course is about 750m.  A rescue boat is on the water at all times and a trained first aid qualified member of is staff available. The advice is to wear a wetsuit and a tow float must be used at all times.  These are available for hire.  You are also required to wear a brightly coloured swimcap.

In terms of facilities, the nearest café is a short drive away in the village of Bishopton. Toilet facilities are also available there. As for changing facilities, none are provided at the lake, so consider bringing a changing robe for convenience.



Hetton Lyons Country Park, County Durham, DH5 9DT

Swimmers in wetsuits and swimming caps entering the lake at Hetton Lyons in County Durham

Hetton Lyons Country Park is an attractive and welcoming location for wild swimming. Boasting a clean, clear lake nestled amidst sprawling green landscapes, the park offers a rejuvenating escape for all nature-loving swimmers.  The water is tested regularly and swimming sessions are only held if it is up to standard.  The swimming course is a 400m loop and swimmers sign in and pay at the centre before swimming.  Swimming is allowed outside of the orgainised sessions but only if you have insurance.

For those arriving by car, the car park is easily accessible via Downs Pit Lane (postcode: DH5 9AR). From there, it’s a straightforward and scenic walk to the lake within the park.

Facilities are conveniently close by. The park has an on-site café, perfect for refuelling after your swim. Toilets and changing facilities are in the park area, making your wild swimming experience all the more comfortable.


The River Tees at Low Force, County Durham, DL12 0XF

The River Tees at Low Force in County DUrham

The River Tees at Low Force is an inviting spot for wild swimming enthusiasts. Offering an invigorating combination of smaller rapids and calm pools set against a stunning backdrop, it’s a must-visit location.

Parking is available near the Bowlees Visitor Centre, located at Newbiggin, Barnard Castle, Durham (postcode: DL12 0XE). From the car park, a short, scenic walk will take you directly to Low Force.

For refreshments post-swim, the Bowlees Visitor Centre houses a cafe that serves a variety of hot and cold refreshments. Toilet facilities are also available here. However, changing facilities are somewhat limited, so come prepared.

While the water generally remains calm, swimmers should always check for changing water conditions and hidden hazards. It’s also advised to enter the water gradually to acclimate to the temperature and to never swim alone.


Linhope Spout, Northumberland, NE66 4LZ

The pool below Linhope Spout in Northumberland is popular for swimming

Linhope Spout in Northumberland, with its beautiful 60 foot waterfall, provides a striking and secluded wild swimming spot. It’s a hidden gem offering a serene pool at the foot of the waterfall, which is perfect for a refreshing dip.

Parking is available at Hartside Farm, Ingram Valley, Northumberland (postcode: NE66 4LT). After parking, you will need to walk for approximately 1.5 miles following the signs to Linhope Spout.

The Ingram Cafe is the nearest spot for refreshments, situated back at the start of the walk. Public toilets can be found in the same location. There are no changing facilities available, so it’s recommended to come prepared.

In terms of safety, due to the rural nature of Linhope Spout, mobile signal can be poor. Therefore, it’s advised to let someone know of your plans before you set off. The water can be chilly, so acclimatise to the water temperature slowly. Also, be aware of the depth and any potential underwater hazards. Be mindful to leave no trace, leaving this beautiful spot as clean and welcoming as you found it.


In conclusion, the Lake District and the North of England, with their stunning landscapes, offer a plethora of delightful spots for wild and open water swimming. From the calm serenity of Buttermere to the stimulating chill of the River Tyne at Chollerford, there’s a destination to satisfy every swimming desire. Stay safe, respect nature, and most importantly, enjoy your journey into the beautiful world of outdoor swimming in these picturesque regions.

We have detailed guides to other areas of the UK:

Wild Swimming in London and the South East of England

Wild Swimming in Wales and the South West of England

Wild Swimming in the Midlands and Yorkshire


Is it safe to swim in the Lake District?

It’s generally safe, but you should always consider factors like water temperature, weather conditions, your swimming ability, and local regulations.

What is the cleanest lake to swim in the Lake District?

Buttermere is often considered one of the cleanest and clearest.

Can you swim in waterfalls in Lake District?

Swimming in waterfalls can be dangerous due to strong currents. Check local regulations and stay safe.

What is the warmest lake to swim in the Lake District?

Water temperatures vary, but shallow lakes like Esthwaite Water may warm up more in the summer.

Do you need a wetsuit for Lake District?

It is a sensible idea to wear a wetsuit for wild swimming.  Most of the lakes are very deep and they do not warm up even in hot weather.  Wetsuits can help maintain body heat, especially in colder months.

Is it safe to swim in a cold lake?

Cold water can cause shock or hypothermia. Always acclimatise slowly and know your limits.  Never go swimming alone and make sure you have a hot drink and warm, dry clothes for when you finish.

What temperature are the lakes in the Lake District?

Temperatures vary by season, but expect around 4°C in winter to 20°C in summer.

Where can I wild swim North East?

Locations include River Tyne at Chollerford, and Ladyburn Lake, among others.

Is it safe to swim in the River Tyne?

Yes, if you check water conditions, currents, and water quality.

What month should I start wild swimming?

Summer months are warmer and safer for beginners, but many swim all year with proper preparation and gear.

Is the River Tyne clean?

It’s generally clean but always check local information about water quality.

Is the River Wyre safe to swim in?

The best and safest places to swim on the River Wyre are at the Fleetwood and Cleveleys bathing beaches.  Safety depends on water conditions, your abilities, and local regulations.

Can you swim in the River Ribble?

Yes, in suitable locations and when the water conditions are safe.  Brungerley Bridge near Clitheroe is often recommended as the best place to swim in the Ribble.