The Best Places to Go Open Water Swimming in Nottingham

The Best Places to Go Open Water Swimming in Nottingham

As the warmer summer weather approaches, it’s tempting to go for a dip in any lake or river you can find. However, this is extremely dangerous (and is often fatal). Safety is of utmost importance when swimming in open water and that starts with swimming in safer locations. Here you’ll find a list of the best spots to go open water swimming in Nottingham.

Read more about how to be safe on your outdoor swims here.

Spring Lakes Watersports and Leisure Centre

  • Location: Long Eaton, south-west Nottingham
  • Price: £5
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Tow float/bag & brightly coloured swim hat

Whether you’re new to open water swimming or an experienced, confident swimmer, you’ll fit right in at Spring Lakes. Offering a variety of water sports as well as open water swimming, this centre is a hub of aqua activity and all the safety precautions that come with it. 

Make sure you bring a padlock with you if you’re planning on storing your belongings in a locker instead of leaving them in your car or bringing them in your dry bag. You can also bring your dog along for your swim. Dog entry to the lake costs £2.50 and you’ll need to bring a lifejacket for your dog.

After your swim in the beautiful clear waters, you can warm up in the cafe with a hot drink and snack. Changing facilities and toilets are also available, making the preparation before your swim and the recovery after your swim easier and more comfortable.

Colwick Lake

  • Location: Colwick Country Park, east Nottingham
  • Price: £6 
  • Swim course length: Up to 600m
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Tow float/bag & brightly coloured swim hat

To regularly swim at Colwick Lake you will need to be a member of Whole Health. This membership only costs £25 a year but you will also need to pay £6 per swim. Whole Health do offer an initial first swim without membership for £10 if you want to see what the swimming venue is like before committing for the year.

One of the main benefits of wild swimming at Colwick Lake is that there are lots of different types of swimming sessions available. If you’re new to open water swimming, you might want to start with the beginners sessions. Whereas, if you’re an experienced outdoor swimmer, you might prefer to go to the long distance swimming sessions which follow the 600m swim circuit. On the other hand, if you enjoy swimming in open water because of the physical and mental health benefits, you might enjoy the mindfulness dips.

Whichever swim sessions appeal to you, or whether you want to mix and match, always make sure you bring your swim hat and tow float. You also need to be aware that there are no changing facilities at this venue. Therefore we recommend coming swim ready or bringing a changing robe.

Notts County Sailing Club

  • Location: Hoveringham Lake, north-east Nottingham
  • Price: £6.50
  • Swim course length: 100m & 500m
  • Supervised?: Yes
  • Requirements: Orange tow float/bag, brightly coloured swim hat, & NOWCA wristband

Managed by Love Open Water, at Hoveringham Lake you have the option of swimming different distances during the organised swim sessions. You will need to book your sessions in advance on the ACTIO app and have membership with NOWCA (to get your required wristband).

These swimming sessions are lifeguarded and continue throughout the year. During the summer months, you won’t need an induction to swim in the lake, however if you plan to swim between October and March, you will need to take part in a cold water induction.

Facilities at this venue are limited. There are toilets available in the club which swimmers can use. However, swimmers aren’t allowed to use the toilets for changing. Hot drinks are provided after the swimming sessions but you’ll need to bring your own mug.

River Trent

The River Trent is the 3rd largest river in the UK, with its source in Staffordshire and ending at the Humber Estuary which flows into the North Sea. On its journey, the River Trent flows through the south of Nottingham and offers some beautiful spots for open water swimming. 

However, the River Trent is a fast flowing river and there are no supervised swim locations along the Nottingham stretch of the Trent. Therefore, you should only swim here if you are a strong, experienced swimmer and you have good knowledge of the river and its condition before getting in. We strongly recommend having someone on the riverside to spot you in the water so if you get into difficulty, they can call for help. We also recommend wearing a tow float or dry bag to reduce the risks.

If you do decide to swim in the River Trent despite its risks, some of the best places to go for a dip are off Victoria Embankment, at the Ferry Boat Inn Pub at Burton Joyce, in the river next to Attenborough Nature Reserve, and where the river passes through Holme Pierrepont.

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