The Best Places To Go Open Water Swimming in Manchester

The Best Places To Go Open Water Swimming in Manchester

As the days get longer and the temperatures climb, many people are taking to open water swimming spots across the UK. If you live in a city, you may feel that access can be tricky - but you'll be surprised to hear that there is always a suitable place for an outdoor swim nearby. Here's your guide to the wildest Manchester swimming spots; perfect for some summer and weekend adventures! Of course, safety must come first before taking a dip. Ensure that you follow all safety advice to reduce potential danger when swimming in open water.

Dock 9

Location: Salford Quays, west Manchester

Price: £7-10

Swim course length: 250m, 500m, 750m, & 1000m

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Tow float/bag

Salford Quays provides swimmers with a one-of-a kind experience; located just west of Manchester city centre, this wild swimming spot is quality water tested and supervised by the USwim group. If you're looking for a more immersive experience, why not hire one of their optional wetsuits? Whether you prefer to pre-book your swim or pay on the day, it's sure to be worth it - swimming sessions cost between £7 and £10, no matter what you decide!

Helly Hansen Watersports Centre

Location: Dock 8, Salford Quays, west Manchester

Price: £5

Swim course length: 300m & 500m

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit or tow float/bag (When water is 14 degrees or colder)


The Helly Hansen Watersports Centre is also located at Salford Quays, specifically at Dock 8. Unlike Dock 9, there are fewer swim circuits available here, and they are also shorter. However, 300m and 500m are still considered good swimming lengths, and swimmers can always opt to swim the circuit multiple times to extend their swim.

It is important to note that when the water temperature drops below 14 degrees, it is mandatory to wear a wetsuit or bring a tow float or dry bag into the water with you. If you need to store your belongings, such as a towel and a change of clothes, there are lockers available for £1 or cages that require a padlock. However, it is not recommended to store your valuables in these lockers or cages. Instead, it is best to leave them at home, in your car, or bring them in your dry bag.

Sale Water Park

Location: Sale, south-west Manchester

Price: £7

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit & brightly coloured swim hat

Open Swim UK offers open water swimming sessions at the Trafford Watersports Centre located in Sale Water Park, between April and September. During the colder months of October to March, winter swimming sessions are available. If it is your first time swimming at Sale Water Park, it is necessary to have a safety talk before getting into the water. 

While a full introductory swimming session is not required, it is available for those who are less confident or new to wild swimming, along with training sessions. Plus, with its hot showers, lockers and cafe on offer, post swim relaxation couldn't get much better. 

Elton Reservoir

Location: Bury, north Manchester

Price: £5

Supervised?: Yes

Requirements: Wetsuit & brightly coloured swim hat

Swimming at Elton Reservoir is a great opportunity for swimmers of all levels, especially in the late spring to fall months. Run by the Bolton Triathlon Club, these guided swimming sessions ensure that even those without experienced swimming skills can enjoy this activity safely. However, it's important to remember to bring along your wetsuit and swim cap - without them you won't be allowed in the water! After finishing up your session, you'll have access to showers and changing facilities so you can cool down and get ready before heading home

The Secret Lake

Location: Levenshulme, south-east Manchester

Supervised?: No

The Secret Lake in Levenshulme might not be as secret as its name suggests, but it sure is a hidden gem. Despite being located next to an industrial estate, this gorgeous wild swimming spot stands out from the crowd thanks to a remarkable 8 year effort by the community to make it safe for visitors to enjoy. Of course, when taking a dip there you still need to keep an eye out for any debris and keep in mind there are no lifeguards on hand. Those looking for an easier way in should take the Fallowfield Loop and can also travel along Longford Lane to find the lake's entrance.

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