5 of the best places to walk and swim banner image

5 of the best places to walk and swim

​What could be better on a day off than getting out into the countryside for a walk in the sunshine, and finishing it off with a refreshing swim?

The UK offers plenty of opportunities where you can experience both beautiful countryside as well as a perfect swimming spot, whether it be rivers or coastline. Some of Britain’s landscapes are even home to tumbling waterfalls, deep plunge pools and hidden gorges, so what’s stopping you?

Dive in!

1. Walk from Folkestone to Dover, Kent

With ample opportunity to take a dip, the walk from Folkestone to Dover is perfect and offers plenty of beautiful sea views. Starting at Folkestone station, you can encounter your first swim, whether that be Mermaid Beach near Mill Point, or Sunny Sands located on the other side of the harbour.

Once you’re ready get your feet on dry land again, you can either enjoy the stunning sea views by climbing up to the cliff tops to join the North Downs Way, passing the Battle of Britain Memorial and some fascinating World War II installations, or you can enter the Warren, a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

This route takes you into an area of wild coastline and climbs the hidden paths that re-joins the North Downs way off the clifftop.


2. Visit Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye

A popular attraction and enticing visitors from around the world, especially in the summer months, the Fairy Pools in the Isle of Skye are well worth a visit. The beautifully clear blue pools are on the River Brittle, and if you’re brave enough to plunge into the cold water, are idea for a spot of wild swimming.

From its starting point, the road to Glen Brittle, the walk to the Fairy Pools involves a hike across the moors following the course of a stream where you will discover the waterfalls and pools - and the sight is no less than magical.

The waters are unbelievably tempting, and some pools are deep enough for underwater swimming, but be warned – the water is cold, so wetsuits are advised!

Fairy Pools OS MAP: EXPLORER 411

3. Venture from Ambleside to Loughrigg Tarn, the Lake District

Famous for its gorgeous clear waters, we couldn’t leave the Lake District off the list! This 7-mile walk from Ambleside is a popular one and, as it is suitable for all ages and abilities, is perfect for a family day out. Starting from Ambleside church, the walk takes you through Lily Tarn, an idyllic picnic spot, and ends with views down Windermere and over Ambleside.

Taking the signed path over the hills to Loughrigg Tarn will lead you the perfect location for a swim which is relatively warm, under the skyline of Langdale Pikes.

The Lake District OS MAP: EXPLORER OL7

4. Take a stroll from Shepreth to Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

Starting at Shepreth train station, this 9.5-mile walk will take you through East Anglian farmland and quaint villages via Grantchester, to beautiful Cambridge where you can reward your efforts with a dip in the clear River Cam. Easy to navigate, signposted footpaths will lead the way through Barrington, Harston, Hasslingfield and towards Grantchester before letting the river direct you into the heart of Cambridge.

Passing Scudamore’s boat station, you could punt to Grantchester, or even do a long swim downstream from Grantchester to Newnham.

The River Cam OS MAP: EXPLORER 209

5. Take in the stunning views from Teignmouth along the Dawlish Railway

This walk along the South Devon Railway Sea Wall boasts amazing views over Dawlish as well as a stroll through Teignmouth’s Eastcliff Park, a designated Area of Great Landscape Value.

Running along the sea wall, the walk across Britain’s most photographed stretch of railway line ends at Dawlish Railway Station and has plenty of opportunities for a paddle or a swim along the way, including the beautiful Lea Mount which is popular with swimmers and sailors alike.

Dawlish Seafront OS MAP: EXPLORER OL44

If you’re heading out for a spot of wild swimming or fancy a stroll around the beautiful British countryside, why not check out our guides?

Edited: 04/08/2020