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Lake in Lake District

Looking to make a splash in the Lake District? Then dive right into our guide on the best places for wild swimming in the Lake District.

With 16 lakes and endless other stretches of water, it’s not surprising that wild swimming in the Lake District is popular. Whether you prefer bustling lakes, quieter pools, or an array of hidden gems, there is something for everyone!

Find the best wild swimming spots in the Lake District below…


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Wild Swimming Lake District FAQs
The Best Lake District Wild Swimming Locations
Wild Swimming Lake District Map


Wild Swimming Lake District FAQs

Can you swim in the Lake District?

Yes of course! The Lake District is bursting at the seams with beautiful bodies of water ranging from its famous lakes to quaint tarns, trickling rivers and picturesque waterfalls. All idyllic spots for wild swimming in the Lake District.

Can you swim in Lake Windermere?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Windermere. Arguably the most famous lake in the Lake District, Lake Windermere is a wonderful place for Lake District wild swimming. Enjoy a refreshing dip in its waters before embarking on a day full of adventure.

What is the cleanest lake to swim in the Lake District?

The cleanest wild swimming spot in the Lake District is Ullswater. Renowned for its crystal clear waters, Ullswater is a pristine wild swimming spot in the Lake District.


The Best Lake District Wild Swimming Locations

1. Buttermere, Buttermere

Buttermere Lake

The first swimming lake in our guide to Lake District wild swimming is Buttermere. Set in the quaint village, this delightful 2km long lake is one of the best wild swimming spots in the UK thanks to its position amongst breath-taking scenery.

There are no boats in the lake meaning you can swim safely, without being disturbed. Suzanna Swims offers guided swims for swimmers of all levels; ideal if you’d rather swim with company.

Admire the iconic fells and rolling farmland from the water before climbing out and enjoying a stroll around the lake. Be sure to refuel after your wild swim by stopping at Syke Farm which serves refreshments and local ice cream.

Co-ordinates: 54.5300182, -3.2697452
Parking: National Trust car park in Buttermere Village, Lanthwaite Wood and Honister Pass.
Parking Charge: Parking is free for members who scan their cards. There is also pay and display parking.


2. Coniston Water, Coniston

Coniston Water

Overlooked by the imposing Old Man of Coniston, one of the top peaks in the Lake District, Coniston Water is a beautiful five-mile-long lake just outside of Coniston.

Its stunning setting and vast clear waters make this lake one of the best spots for wild swimming in the Lake District.

This wild swimming hotspot is the fifth-largest lake in the Lake District and is about half a mile from the village where you can park. With a depth of 184 feet, enjoy a dip after a tranquil walk around the lake.

You can also hire boats, from the Coniston Boating Centre to experience the beauty of the lake on kayaks, paddleboards or motor boats.

After wild swimming in Coniston Water, head back into the village where you can end your day with food at Steam Bistro or The Crown Inn. The perfect end to a day spent wild swimming and exploring the fells of Coniston.

Co-ordinates: 54.341701, -3.066509
Parking: LA21 8HL, car park offering 250 spaces.
Parking Charge: £6 all-day.


3. Crummock Water, Loweswater

Crummock Water

The next lake on our guide to wild swimming in the Lake District is Crummock Water. Once connected to Buttermere, Crummock Water is a 2.5-mile-long and 140-foot-deep lake and is the start of the River Cocker, which flows through Cockermouth.

You can park in Laithwaite Wood and enjoy a scenic walk through the dense trees with glimpses of the river and the lake. When you reach the lake shore, take the plunge! Bask in the serenity of the refreshing water and the surrounding fells of Mellbreak.

With unbeatable views, it’s not surprising that Crummock Water is a popular choice for wild swimming in the Lake District. Rowing boats are also available to hire, so enjoy a paddle around the lake before heading back to the village or Syke Farm for well-earned refreshments.

Co-ordinates: 54.554547, -3.307579
Parking: Parking is available along the B5289, at Scalehill Bridge CA13 0RT, Lanthwaite Green Farm CA13 9UY and Laithewaite Wood 54.581301, -3.318399.
Parking Charge: Free roadside parking and pay and display. Please check charges on arrival.


4. Derwentwater, Keswick

Derwentwater

A popular choice for wild swimming in the Lake District, Derwentwater lies just a short walk from the centre of Keswick. This swimming lake is 5 miles long and 72 feet at its deepest, creating ample swimming space as well as room for watersports and boating, which are hugely popular here.

This bustling lake is surrounded by beautiful fells, peaks, and ancient woodland which can all be explored. Join the Derwentwater Circular Walk spanning 10 miles and discover Frair’s Crag viewpoint, The Hundred Year Stone, and a variety of sculptures and memorials.

Return to the town of Keswick after your wild swimming adventure and dry off before indulging in delicious food in the town’s many eateries or a well-deserved coffee.

After, why not continue exploring the town which is brimming with attractions?

Co-ordinates: 54.595469, -3.141552
Parking: A variety of National Trust car parks including Great Wood, CA12 5UP and Kettlewell CA12 5UN.
Parking Charge: Parking is free for National Trust members or £5 for up to 2 hours, £7 for up to 4 hours and £8.50 for all day.


5. Grasmere, Grasmere

Grasmere Lake

Next on our list of best places for wild swimming in the Lake District is Grasmere. This quaint village is famous for its literary connections to the lake poet Wordsworth. With its breath-taking lake, it’s easy to see why he fell in love with Grasmere and called it his home.

Explore the countryside that encompasses the lake before taking to the water for a spot of wild swimming. Despite being one of the smaller lakes in the Lake District, there is plenty of room for swimming and even rowing. Boats can be hired, weather permitting, on the southwest shore.

After wild swimming in Grasmere, venture back into the village where you can explore the village’s literary connections at the Wordsworth Museum. Here, you will uncover lots of things you probably didn’t know about William Wordsworth.

Alternatively, why not treat yourself to the village’s famous Grasmere Gingerbread? The recipe dates back to the Victorian era!

Co-ordinates: 54.455045, -3.029471
Parking: Parking is available in the village, LA22 9PU.
Parking Charge: £1.80 for up to an hour, £3.20 for up to 2 hours, £4.20 for up to 3 hours, £5.40 for up to 4 hours, £6.60 for up to 6 hours and £8.00 for up to 10 hours.


6. Lake Windermere, Windermere

Lake Windermere

Arguably the most famous Lake District lake on our guide to wild swimming locations in the Lake District is Lake Windermere.

Recognised as England’s largest lake at 10.5 miles long and 219 feet deep, it is no surprise that Windermere is a popular choice for Lake District wild swimming and other outdoor activities.

This vast lake is popular with both locals and tourists and offers canoeing, kayaking, boating and paddle boarding. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet to start wild swimming, head to the Ambleside part of the lake where Borrans Park at Waterhead provides shallower waters with fewer boats.

Other great entry points for lake swimming include Millerground, Harrowslack, Low Wray and Fell Foot. If you’re looking to swim with like-minded wild swimmers, why not join the Great North Swim which happens at Windermere?

Co-ordinates: 54.381400, -2.921909
Parking: Rayrigg Meadow, LA23 1BP and Broad Street Car Park, LA23 2AB.
Parking Charge: £1.80 for up to an hour, £3.20 for up to 2 hours, £4.20 for up to 3 hours, £5.40 for up to 4 hours, £6.60 for up to 6 hours and £8.00 for up to 10 hours.


7. Buttermere Infinity Pool, Buttermere/Gatesgarth

 

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The next spot on our guide to Lake District wild swimming takes us to Buttermere Infinity Pools. Located off the beaten track, Buttermere Infinity Pool is an idyllic wild swimming location thanks to its clear water and breath-taking views across Buttermere, the fells, and even Buttermere Lake!

Despite being one of the many pools formed in Wansdale Beck, Buttermere Infinity Pool has gained notoriety amongst wild swimmers as a scenic location with a picture-perfect waterfall. However, there is a walk to find this hidden gem, but its beauty makes it worth the hike.

Park at Gatesgarth Farm before following Honister Pass left until you see a sign for Honister House. Continue along the path and marvel at the breath-taking views until you spot the waterfall in the distance.

Find a grassy path leading up to a small bridge, then continue up the slightly rockier path to find Buttermere Infinity Pool and a collection of other serene wild swimming spots.

Co-ordinates: 54.511342, -3.236525
Parking: Gatesgarth Farm, CA13 9XA.
Parking Charge: £4 for 24 hours.


8. Tongue Pot, Eskdale

 

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Nestled deep in the Eskdale Valley is our next secret Lake District wild swimming spot, Tongue Pot. Encircled by grassy hillsides and rocky slopes, this emerald pool is an idyllic Lake District wild swimming spot.

Boasting clear water and deep patches, Tongue Pot is the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely swim away from the hustle and bustle of some of the larger lakes in the Lake District. It can be accessed after a walk through the Eskdale valley, an indulgent treat after a hike!

Park in either of the two main parking areas before embarking on your wild swimming adventure. Follow Hardknott Pass and turn off when you reach a red phone box.

Continue past the farmhouse, walk past the bridge on the dirt track, and bask in the stunning scenery of the Lake District while following the rocky terrain.

Passing through a gate then over a stile you can follow the river where pools are beginning to form, around 3km from the parking area you’ll find Tongue Pot; its refreshing waters are well worth the wait!

Co-ordinates: 54.511342, -3.236525
Parking: Two main parking areas, a large lay-by at 54.3997956, -3.2154583 and a flat grassy area, CA19 1TH.
Parking Charge: Free.


9. Wasdale Emerald Pool (Fairy Pools), Wasdale Head

The last entry in our to guide to wild swimming in the Lake District is the Wasdale Emerald Pool in the Wasdale Valley.

Likened to the breath-taking fairy pools on the Isle of Skye, this stunning pool boasts views across the rolling countryside and is overlooked by the famous Scafell Pike. A wild swimming spot like no other.

To reach Wasdale Emerald Pool, follow the trail past Lingmell House until you cross the wooden bridge. Continue straight on the path until you reach a fork in the road, then choose the right-hand path running alongside the beck. Be sure to wear suitable shoes as this trail can be rocky and wet.

Follow the beck until you reach Wasdale Emerald Pools, the home of two cascading Lake District waterfalls.

Although it looks small, this wild swimming spot is the perfect place to soothe aching muscles after a hike. Rejoice in its crystal clear waters and admire the unbeatable views across the fells.

A truly magical and picturesque wild swimming setting.

Co-ordinates: 54.511342, -3.236525
Parking: Wasdale Head Car Park for Scarfell Pike, CA20 1EX
Parking Charge: Free


Wild Swimming Lake District Map


Ready to make a splash? Begin your wild swimming adventure in the Lake District! Alternatively, browse these cottages in the Lake District with a pool, so you can enjoy swimming whatever the weather!

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