The Best Places for Outdoor Swimming in Norfolk

The Best Places for Outdoor Swimming in Norfolk

Norfolk County, situated on England's eastern coast, is renowned for its stunning coastline, enchanting towns, and vast network of waterways. These attributes render it a perfect destination within the UK for individuals seeking to indulge in wild swimming. Whether you fancy meandering rivers, picturesque lakes, or delightful beaches, you'll always be in close proximity to your next treasured spot for outdoor swimming.

Nonetheless, it is crucial to recognise that outdoor swimming entails certain risks. Prior to venturing into open water, it is imperative that you familiarise yourself with safety advice and guidelines.


Little Ouse River

  • Location: Santon Downham
  • Supervised?: No

If you park your vehicle in Santon Downham and take a leisurely stroll to St. Helen's picnic site, you'll discover a couple of sandy beach sections where you can access the Little Ouse River. This charming stretch of water, adorned with trees, offers the opportunity to swim in either direction for several miles. Whether you seek a brief refreshing dip during your picnic or a more extended river swim, you'll undoubtedly relish this picturesque location. 

River Bure

  • Location: Wroxham
  • Supervised?: No

Located in Wroxham, Caen Meadow features a small sandy beach area that gradually slopes into the River Bure, providing an excellent spot for a refreshing wild swim. This swim location is conveniently situated next to a meadow, making it a perfect place to combine your swim with a family picnic or even a leisurely dog walk.

It's important to note that boats frequently navigate along this river. To ensure your safety in the water, we strongly advise wearing a brightly colored swim cap and utilizing a tow float or dry bag. These measures will enhance your visibility to boats in the vicinity, minimising potential risks and ensuring a safer swimming experience.

River Tas

  • Location: Shotesham Ford
  • Supervised?: No

If you're in search of a river that offers both a designated paddling area and a separate spot for swimming, look no further than the River Tas at Shotesham Ford. Here, the kids can relish a refreshing dip in the shallow paddling area while you take a swim in the deeper pool located in the middle of the river. Although the swimming area is compact, you can still enjoy a few laps around the deeper section. The enchantment of the overhanging trees and the convenience of the nearby shallow paddling area make it all worthwhile.

River Wensum

  • Location: Anderson’s Meadow, Norwich
  • Supervised?: No

Anderson's Meadow, situated in the city centre of Norwich, is bordered on its southern side by the River Wensum. The most suitable entry point to the river is the slipway across from the Eagle Canoe pub. However, it's important to note that the current in the River Wensum can be robust. Therefore, we advise swimming in this area only if you possess confidence and experience as a river swimmer.

To prioritise safety, we strongly recommend swimming in the company of others. If you don't have anyone to join you for a wild swim, consider becoming a member of the Norfolk and Norwich Swimmers Club. This club organises and partakes in wild swims along the River Wensum, providing a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for outdoor swimming.


Fairhaven Water Gardens

  • Location: South Walsham
  • Price: £24 annual membership
  • Swim course length: 200m & 400m
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Brightly coloured swim cap & tow float/bag

Encompassing 130 acres of stunning woodland and water, Fairhaven Water Gardens offers access to the scenic South Walsham Broads. With an annual membership to Fairhaven Gardens priced at £24, you have the freedom to partake in supervised swim sessions as frequently as you desire, without any additional fees. During your initial visit, the team will evaluate your ability to swim unassisted to ensure your safety. Once approved, you are welcome to embark on invigorating swims along the 200m or 400m circuits around the captivating waters.

Whitlingham Country Park

  • Location: Norwich
  • Price: £5
  • Swim course length: 75m, 400m, & 800m
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Brightly coloured swim cap & wetsuit

If you're seeking an open water swimming venue specifically tailored for triathlon training rather than recreational swimming, Whitlingham Country Park's lake is the ideal destination.

Tri-Anglia organises summer swim sessions here exclusively for triathlon training purposes. To participate, pre-booking is necessary, and the cost is £5 per session, granting you access to the 75m, 400m, and 800m swim circuits. After your swim, you can enjoy hot beverages; however, please remember to bring your own cup.

A swim cap is required for swimming in this venue. Tri-Anglia follows a colour-coded swim cap system, so it's essential to choose the appropriate cap. For instance, junior or novice swimmers should wear a purple cap, swimmers with permission to swim without a wetsuit should wear a bright green cap, and regular swimmers should wear a red cap. If you're unsure about the colour of the swim cap you should wear, don't hesitate to contact Tri-Anglia for clarification.


Norfolk boasts a remarkable 90-mile coastline, offering an abundance of picturesque beaches to discover. However, if you're looking for the best beaches for sea swimming, we prioritise safety by recommending those supervised by lifeguards.

Among the Norfolk beaches, Cromer, Sheringham, and Mundesley are particularly beloved choices, as they provide lifeguard services. Additionally, you can find cozy cafes nearby, perfect for enjoying a warming drink after your refreshing swim.

When engaging in sea swimming, it's crucial to remain vigilant about currents. We encourage you to explore our blog, where we provide valuable insights on rip currents and effective methods to escape them.

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