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A man wearing a goggles and a swimming cap open water swimming

Renowned for its many glistening waters, it’s no surprise that Lake District wild swimming has grown to be such a popular activity across the region.

Whether you’re looking to bask under a cascading waterfall, discover secret spots or enjoy the tranquillity of open water swimming, you’re sure to find it here.

We’ve compiled a handy list of some of the best Lake District wild swimming spots. Keep reading to find out more…

Can you swim in the Lake District?

A body jumping into a body of water with grassy mountains in the background

The rural landscape of the Lake District National Park is home to nearly 100 bodies of water, each varying in size. Comprising of lakes, reservoirs, and tarns, that’s a lot of opportunity to enjoy a spot of wild swimming in the Lake District.

However accessible the sport may be, it’s not without its dangers. There are many privately owned bodies of water, and the reservoirs can be extremely dangerous. Hidden currents and freezing temperatures can affect the ability of even the strongest swimmers.

Take precautions when Lake District wild swimming. Bring a friend along to join the fun, wear a tow float and ensure you’re rigged out in the right gear for the terrain and temperature. Safety aside, be sure to have fun and make memories that will last a lifetime!

The best spots in the Lake District for wild swimming

Use our quick links below to jump to your favourite Lake District wild swimming spot:

1. Lake Windermere, Windermere

Two wooden jetties stretching into Lake Windermere below a stormy sky

Renowned as being England’s largest lake, Lake Windermere is one of the best places to go wild swimming in the Lake District. Stretching over 10 miles long, there’s plenty of space to practice your stroke!

Windermere hosts many guided swims and wild swimming events in the Lake District, including the Great North Swim. The largest open water swimming challenge in the UK, this annual competition sees participants race to swim a mile.

For a more leisurely swim in Lake Windermere, we’d recommend accessing the shore at Millerground. A woodland walk gives way to a shingle beach with shallow edges and wooden jetties. Away from the madding crowds, Millerground is a lovely spot to go open water swimming in the Lake District.

2. Loughrigg Tarn, Loughrigg

Loughrigg Tarn surrounded by green countryside and trees

Dubbed “one of the most secluded of tarns” by renowned fell-walker Alfred Waintwright, Loughrigg Tarn is idyllic for those looking for a secluded swimming spot.

Loughrigg Tarn is a pint-sized lake tucked beneath the flank of Loughrigg Fell. With mountainous surroundings and calming waters, where better to relax aching muscles after a hike to the summit?

A natural Lake District wild swimming area, it’s a peaceful place to take a dip and soak in the scenery. The Langdale Pikes are visible from the water, providing an awe-inspiring backdrop for pictures!

3. Black Moss Pot, Keswick

Black Moss Pot wild water swimming pool surrounded by rocky cliffs and green mountains

A truly jaw-dropping Lake District wild swimming spot, Black Moss Pot is without a doubt one of our favourites. Sitting at the heart of the Langstrath Valley, this body of picture-perfect blue water is encircled by 6-metre-tall rocky walls.

The narrow channel doesn’t provide much area for swimming. However, popular with thrill seekers, the deep lagoon is an ideal spot for diving.

Because of the deep water here, Black Moss Pot is best suited to strong and confident swimmers. For those less skilled, there is a waterfall and a rocky beach sitting at opposite ends of the lagoon, perfect for paddling or making a splash.

4. Stanley Ghyll Force, Lower Eskdale

Stanley Ghyll Force waterfall cascading down a rockface into a pool of water

One of the region’s most iconic landmarks, Stanley Ghyll Force should sit at the top of your list when considering wild swimming in the Lake District. This dramatic waterfall tumbles 60ft through a narrow gorge, cascading into Stanley Ghyll Beck.

A Site of Special Scientific Interest, the surrounding woodland greenery is truly idyllic. One of the Lake Districts best wild swimming spots, Stanley Ghyll Force offers a much-needed escape from the hustle and bustle.

The plunge pool that sits at the base of the falls is perfect for paddling. Deeper water that is better suited for swimming can be found further along, closer to Dalegarth Bridge.

5. Crummock Water, Buttermere

A view across the still water of Crummock Water to the mountains beyond

One of the less-known lakes in Cumbria, Crummock Water sits between Buttermere and Loweswater. Two and a half miles long, Crummock Water is a fraction of the size of Lake Windermere. Regardless of it’s size, this magnificent body of waters is as equally as picturesque.

Enveloped by rolling fells and rural greenery, Crummock Water is an awe-inpsiring place to try wild swimming in the Lake District.

The lake is remote and there is little access. Be aware that swimmers are required to walk to find a safe location on the shoreline before entering the water. Its deepest point is 140ft, so safety measures are necessary to ensure an enjoyable swimming experience for all.

Rowing boats, canoes and kayaks are permitted on Crummcok Water. Keep an eye out and steer clear of their path.

6. Rydal Water, Ambleside

A view across a gravel foot path towards Rydal Water from the south shore of the lake

One of the smallest lakes in the National Park, Rydal Water is one of the best locations for open water swimming in the Lake District for beginners.

Surrounded by mountains, the water is noticably calmer at Rydal Water than some other Lake Districts wild swimming spots. For this reason, we’d recommend a serene morning swim to soak in the jaw-dropping beauty of its surroundings.

The lake is easily accessible, with a gravelley beach providing a gradual descent into the water. You might want to consider bringing some water shoes here!

There’s a lot to enjoy away from the shore too. You’ll find a handful of running, biking and walking trails, along with grassy banks to indulge in a post-swim picnic.

7. Tongue Pot, Eskdale

A hidden gem in the Eskdale Valley, Tongue Pot sits amongst our favourites of the Lake Districts outdoor pools.

This swimming spot isn’t the easiest to reach. Visitors are required to walk through the valley alongside the River Esk from Hardknott Pass, stopping before Lingcove Bridge.

A series of pools sit beneath the mountainous peak of Scafell Pike, where the River Esk meets Lingcove Beck. Fed by a cascading waterfall, Tongue Pot in Eskdale is a truly magical place.

Popular with adrenalin junkies, visitors flock to Tongue Pot throughout the warmer months in order to plunge into the water from the five-meter-high cliffs that sit at it’s top end. If that’s not your thing, there’s plenty of space to enjoy a leisurely swim.

Are you ready to don your wetsuit and visit one of these Lake District wild swimming spots? Browse our wonderful selection of Lake District holiday cottages and secure your next getaway!

To learn more about one of our favourite Lake District swimming locations, give our guide on must-visit Lake District waterfalls: Stanley Ghyll Waterfall a read!

Images courtesy of: Pexels; Peakpx; Diliff(CC BY-SA 3.0); Lis Burke(CC BY-SA 2.0); Steve Partridge(CC BY-SA 2.0); Richard Thomas(CC BY-SA 2.0); Bill Boaden(CC BY-SA 2.0);