Top Five Spots for Wild Swimming an Hour Outside London

Top Five Spots for Wild Swimming an Hour Outside London

There are several idyllic spots just an hour’s drive from London where you can take a dip in nature’s pool.

As summer approaches, Londoners are eagerly seeking refreshing escapes from the bustling city heat. Wild swimming, is growing in popularity among those looking to combine fitness with a touch of adventure. We’ve got you covered. Here are the top five locations for wild swimming near the capital.

1. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire

Located about an hour west of London, Henley-on-Thames offers a picturesque stretch of the River Thames perfect for wild swimming. Known for its famous rowing regatta, this historic town provides tranquil spots along the riverbank. The clear, slow-moving water is ideal for a leisurely swim, with the backdrop of lush greenery and charming riverside homes adding to the serene atmosphere.

2. Frensham Great Pond, Surrey

Situated near Farnham, Surrey, Frensham Great Pond is a popular spot for both swimming and sunbathing. The sandy shores and shallow waters make it family-friendly, while more experienced swimmers can venture further out into the deeper parts of the pond. Surrounded by heathland and woodland, Frensham offers a delightful natural escape, complete with designated swimming areas to ensure safety.

3. Beckenham Place Park, Kent

A mere 10 miles from central London, Beckenham Place Park in Kent is a hidden gem for wild swimming enthusiasts. The park features a restored 285-meter-long lake, originally built in the late 18th century. It’s now a thriving hub for open-water swimmers, with clear water and lifeguard supervision during the summer months. The surrounding parkland is perfect for picnicking and post-swim relaxation.

4. The River Wey, Guildford, Surrey

The River Wey, flowing through Guildford in Surrey, is a tranquil spot for a refreshing swim. The meandering river offers several entry points, with gentle currents and lush vegetation creating a peaceful environment. The stretch near Guildford’s picturesque town center combines convenience with the charm of nature, making it a favorite for both locals and visitors.

5. Shadwell Basin, East London

For those preferring a swim closer to home, Shadwell Basin in East London offers an urban wild swimming experience. Once part of the London Docks, this expansive water body now hosts open-water swimming sessions. The basin’s deep, clean water and the striking cityscape backdrop provide a unique and invigorating swimming experience without the need to venture far from the capital.

These five locations offer a range of experiences, from riverside tranquility to urban aquatic adventures, each providing a perfect retreat from the summer heat. Whether you’re a seasoned swimmer or a novice looking to dip your toes into wild swimming, these spots promise refreshing and memorable outings just a short trip from London. So, pack your swimsuit, gather your friends, and dive into nature’s cool embrace. Remember to always be safe when wild water swimming.

Read our guide on how to stay safe when cold water swimming.

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