Where to Swim in the Lake District

2 May 2019

There are numerous places you can wild swim in the Lakes. Popular locations include Langdale Tarn, Rydal Water and Black Moss Pot. When wild swimming it is imperative to exercise caution as the normal safety features of indoor swimming are missing.

What is Wild Swimming?

Wild swimming is a thrilling – if not chilly – form of exercise that families, couples and friends enjoy worldwide, but sometimes a prospective swim can be filled with doubt. By asking the question of where exactly you can swim in the Lake District before your journey, you are already one step ahead and fast approaching a holiday free-from disappointment.

Where Can You Swim in the Lake District?

There are plenty of places where you can swim in the Lake District, but you don’t want to chance being caught somewhere you shouldn’t be; for a simple trip full of free swimming you should consider Langdale tarn, Black Moss Pot or Rydal Water. Next, we will explain why these places are so great for wild swimming.

Langdale Tarn

It will be quite the trek up a steep and rocky mountain path in order to reach this gorgeous tarn, but you will agree that it was well worth the effort when you finally get there. Although the route to Langdale Tarn requires you to be a fairly fit individual, the water itself starts with a slope so it’s a good place for young children to have a paddle and for less confident swimmers to slowly edge themselves into the water.

Once you start swimming towards the centre of the mountain lake, however, the floor does drop significantly so you won’t be able to put your feet down for a short rest. If you ever feel tired while wild swimming in a lake, remember not to panic and instead try to recoup some strength by floating on your back – unlike swimming in the sea; you’re not going to be dragged away from the shore while you float.

A visit to Langdale Tarn is at least an afternoon out, if not a full day, so make sure to bring snacks and food to keep you going once you get to the top!

Rydal Water

Unlike Langdale Tarn, Rydal Water is easy to reach whether you are travelling by car, bus or foot from your luxury holiday cottage in the Lake District. If you are going by car then there is a nearby car park, near which the bus between Grasmere and Ambleside stops. You can also enjoy a dip in Rydal Water as a chance to cool off on a hot day walking between Ambleside and Grasmere.

The walked route between Ambleside and Grasmere is an easy one, so a day out walking to Rydal Water is the perfect choice for adventurous swimmers who dislike tough hikes. The best spot to go for a dip is on the walked route between Grasmere and Ambleside where the land slopes quite heavily; this is because of the few benches situates nearby which make for a great post-swim picnic.

Black Moss Pot

For an atmospheric swim like no other, Black Moss Pot is where you want to be. It’s a deep plunge with steep cliffs on all sides making it rather difficult to enter, as well as attracting some scarily adventurous divers. Nonetheless, the stunning beauty of this pool means that it is regularly busy during the summer months and shouldn’t be missed if you’re looking for a swim specifically in the northern regions of the Lake District.

Where Am I Forbidden to Swim in the Lake District

You are prevented from swimming in Ennerdale Water, Haweswater and Thirlmere, so please bear this in mind before you rush into the nearest lake. It is also important to exercise caution when wild swimming because you won’t be protected by the same safety measures that are found regulating popular beaches and swimming pools.

For example, we haven’t mentioned or found any preventative measures stopping people from swimming at the Aira Force waterfalls, but we would hope that you avoid this treacherous waterfall as a swimming spot. You should always be careful where water is fast-flowing and never assume the depth of the water. Surfaces are deceptive so don’t assume that you’ll be able to touch the bottom if you’re not a confident swimmer, and similarly you should always check the depth before attempting any dives or jumps. Similarly, swimming at high altitudes – such as tarns – can quickly drain your energy in a place where emergency services are difficult to find. Always exercise caution.

Overall, the best warning is never to swim alone, not only because having extra people around means that you will be swimming in greater safety, but also because wild swimming is an event best enjoyed as a group. At the end of the day, you’ll enjoy nothing more than retreating back to the luxury of a Lake District waterside cottage with thick comfy cushions and a hot water bath. Don’t miss out this summer, book one of our self-catering holiday cottages. We have the perfect cottages for two in the Lake District, or if there are more than just you and your loved one, you can enjoy our family accommodation and group accommodation options! 

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