Perfect swimming spots

Good pubs

Often the draw of a perfect swimming spot is the surrounding area. A good pub, café or restaurant can turn a simple trip for a brisk swim in the great outdoors into a fantastic day out. These establishments have been hand selected for their close proximity to some iconic swimming locations. The types of cuisine featured in this list vary but traditional pub food is a tried and tested classic and as such, is undeniably the most popular food on this list. All establishments and swimming locations are highly reviewed by diners and swimmers alike and each promises a fantastic day out.

Stanton Lakes

In the midst of Leicestershire’s green farm fields, you can enjoy an open water swim in the tree-fringed Stanton Lakes. The water is always refreshingly bracing so you may choose to wear a wetsuit; swimmers are strongly encouraged to wear a bright swimming cap.  The restaurant at Stanton Lakes is the perfect place to indulge in a hearty post-dip Sunday roast, best enjoyed while looking out over the calming water. 

Clapham, River Great Ouse

Tucked away behind a quiet residential area, this relatively unknown spot on the River Great Ouse is ideal for swimmers to enjoy a scenic swim. Characterised by deep flowing water, a nature rich landscape and an easy to access location, this well-kept secret is a great stop for any visiting swimmer. The river’s edge is only a short walk away from a car park and The Horse and Groom pub, loved by the local residents for its rich character and perfect steaks. The pub grounds bordering the ford are dog and child friendly and there’s an abundance of outdoor seating which is nicely shaded in the summer.

Chasewater Country Park

Located in the centre of Chasewater Country Park, Chasewater lake is an expansive stretch of water which is regularly used for a variety of water-based activities including outdoor swimming. The relaxing clean water is perfect for cooling down on hot summer days. Plenty of spaces are available for picnic within the surrounding area as are numerous cafes and snack stops. A popular location for a meal is the iconic Chasewater Railway located next door to the lake where visitors can enjoy their food while watching the steam trains pass through.

Egglestone Abbey Bridge

Situated near the elegant ruins of Egglestone Abbey, Egglestone Abbey Bridge crosses the tree-lined River Tees. The banks are formed of stone blocks, serving as perfect platforms for jumping or sliding into the river, with points downstream better suited for the scramble out. The beautiful nearby town of Barnard Castle offers a variety of locations perfect for stopping for a meal, but the Bengal Merchant is a fantastic place to head for to enjoy delicious Indian cuisine.

Glencoe Lochan

Tucked away snugly in a patch of woodland beside Loch Leven, Glencoe Lochan is a small lake with muddy but soft banks which serve as easy access points to get into the water, which can be cold due to the shelter provided by the trees. With its wooded shores and majestic peaks in the distance, Glencoe Lochan is the epitome of the Scottish wild swim. You can find a hearty meal afterwards at the Glencoe Gathering, loved for its seasonal traditional Scottish dishes and Jukebox.

No matter where you choose to visit, a day trip to a stunning location combined with some great food is an assured great day out whether you visit alone or with the family. Always check with any establishment before visiting if you have any special dietary requirements and never swim unprepared.

The Outdoor Swimming Guide. Over 400 of the best lidos, wild swimming and open air swimming spots in England, Scotland & Wales