The 10 Best Outdoor Swimming Spots In The UK

Tom Macklin invites you outside to take the plunge

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Summer is here, bringing with it exciting new sporting pursuits. Outdoor swimming is a burgeoning trend, prompting local councils and businesses to invest in Britain's most iconic pools, lidos and lakes. 

These stylish social havens are perfect for daily swimming and are located in picturesque destinations ideal for an adventurous weekend away.

If I can tempt you out of the gym, I've chosen 10 I recommend you visit right now.

Llyn Y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons, Wales
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Llyn Y Fan Fach,
Brecon Beacons, Wales 

For those seeking adventure, the hike to this cobalt blue glacier lake, set amid the Black Mountain in Carmarthenshire, will surely be worth it. It's 18m deep and crisp, even on the warmest day (at 500m altitude); just be sure you stay long enough to witness the breathtaking sunset. 

Lido, Bristol 

In 2008, and after 20 years of closure, one of the oldest lidos in the UK re-opened as a state-of- the-art fitness destination. It also features a gym and spa. Members only but day passes are available. 

Check it out here.

The Berkeley,

Architect Spencer Fung has created an idyllic white and gold paradise on the seventh floor of The Berkeley hotel with stunning views of west London. In addition to the pool, covered in bad weather with a sliding roof, it provides loungers, healthy cuisine and a spa. 

Check it out here.

Gormire Lake,
North Yorkshire 

Easy to drive to, this quiet and pleasantly warm-watered lake in the heart of James Herriot country is surrounded by woodland and overlooked by Sutton Bank. Bustling with wildlife, the lake reaches a depth of 5m and the area boasts plenty of walking paths if you want to explore the terrain.

London Fields Lido, Hackney

London Fields
Lido, Hackney

Opened in 1932 but closed due to disrepair in 1988, its successful refurbishment in 2003 has seen the Olympic- sized heated pool become one of London's most popular with swimmers. It's open all year round and lane swimming is available; amenities include a café and sun deck. 

Check it out here.

Bude sea pool,
North Cornwall 

Opened in 1930, this enormous 90m x 45m salt water swimming haven is carved into the rocks on Summerleaze Beach and refreshed by the Atlantic at high tide. One of the last remaining seawater lidos in the UK. 

Check it out here.

Wastwater, Cumbria


Three miles long, half a mile wide and, at 79m, Wastwater is the deepest English lake. Swim out and take in the awe-inspiring landscape in the shadow of Scafell Pike, England's highest peak. National Trust-owned, this is definitely the most mountainous (and thus, manly) lake on my list. 


The UK's only open-air heated saltwater lido is maintained at 29°C from May to September. Opened in 1933, the Olympic-sized pool is these days best enjoyed during child-free night sessions every Wednesday, 10pm till midnight. 

Check it out here.

Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire

Blue Lagoon,

A breached quarry on Abereiddy beach, just west of Porthgain village, is now a picturesque deep blue seawater lake. If you're feeling brave, the old worksite wheelhouse offers three platforms for diving into the postcard perfect water. A cliff-diving competition is held here every September. 

Brockwell Park, Brixton

Brockwell Park,

This 50m pool originally opened in 1937, but fell into disrepair and closed in 1990. After extensive refurbishment it reopened in 1994 and has recently added a state-of- the-art gym and award-winning poolside café.

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