Outdoor swimming has experienced a surge in popularity following the closure of swimming pools during the Covid-19 lockdowns. As the world gradually reopens, this trend continues to thrive as individuals seek out new swimming spots.
This blog focuses on wild swimming in Bristol, a city known for its iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and the annual balloon fiesta. Bristol's southwestern region offers a variety of enchanting outdoor swimming destinations.
Note: It's crucial to acknowledge that open water can pose risks. To mitigate these dangers, it's important to adhere to safety advice and utilise appropriate safety equipment.
West Country Water Park
- Location: North Bristol
- Price: £5-8
- Swim course length: 100m (winter) & 500m (summer)
- Supervised?: Yes
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim cap & wetsuit or tow float/dry bag
Experience year-round open access to West Country Water Park, an expansive 11-acre lake boasting pristine waters, essential amenities, and an ideal environment for exhilarating wild swimming.
The well-equipped facility includes changing rooms, toilets, hot showers, and lifeguards trained by the Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS). By choosing the supervised venue, not only will you enjoy a safer swimming experience compared to unsupervised locations, but you'll also have the convenience of the facilities to warm up after your invigorating swim.
The cost of each swim varies based on the time of your visit. An off-peak swim is priced at £5, while a high-peak swim is £8. Additionally, the time of year determines the available swim circuits. During the summer, you can take on the 500m loop, while the 100m loop awaits you in the winter. For winter swims, we highly recommend wearing a wetsuit (alongside a tow float or dry bag) to provide an extra layer of protection against the cold water. Wetsuits are available for hire at the venue.
Whether you're training for a swimming challenge or competition, seeking exercise and health benefits, or simply craving adventurous and community-oriented experiences, West Country Water Park's supervised swim sessions cater to your needs—and go above and beyond. We also offer exciting water toy sessions, full moon night swims, and charity fancy dress swims for those seeking a more thrilling and engaging aquatic experience. Truly, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
- Location: Cromhall
- Price: £6
- Requirements: Long wetsuit or tow float/dry bag
For an offbeat wild swimming spot just outside of Bristol, venture into the serene countryside and explore Cromhall Quarry. This enchanting flooded quarry, spanning across 4 hectares, offers depths of up to 17 meters. To enjoy a swim in this idyllic location, stick to the designated swim circuit and ensure you equip yourself with either a complete wetsuit or utilise a tow float or dry bag (for added caution, consider wearing both). Once you've relished your aquatic adventure, take advantage of the convenient changing tent and indulge in some refreshing treats.
- Location: Pensford
- Supervised?: No
The River Chew meanders just south of Bristol, flowing from the villages of Chew Magna to Keynsham.
Along its picturesque journey through the countryside, the river passes through the delightful village of Pensford. While you can stroll along the riverside footpath for the entire length of the river, offering various swimming spots, we highly recommend the one in Pensford.
Adjacent to the charming Rising Sun pub, there is a captivating outdoor swimming area that provides stunning views of the arched viaduct, a graceful stone bridge, and a gentle trickling waterfall.
This swim spot caters to both children, with shallower areas for play, and adults, with deeper sections for swimming.
It promises a delightful day out for the whole family. After your refreshing summer swim, you can also indulge in a cool beverage at the pub.
Clevedon Marine Lake
- Location: Clevedon
- Supervised?: No
Clevedon Marine Lake, located on the Somerset coast, offers a unique open water swimming experience. While it may not be entirely untouched, it closely resembles a natural setting.
Overlooking the Bristol Channel towards Cardiff and Newport, this tidal pool spans 200 meters and is filled with saltwater. During high tides, the channel replenishes the lake, which is regularly tested to guarantee safe swimming conditions.
Despite the potential chilliness of the water, the opportunity to witness the mesmerising transformation of the water into shades of pink and red during sunset makes it well worth a visit.
Best of all, swimming in Clevedon Marine Lake is free of charge.