Swimming in open water is a whole different experience from swimming in a pool which makes it both wonderful and challenging. Before you set off make sure you are prepared for the rigours of the natural environment such as cold water, unseen currents, and waves. Join a local club or learn from experts before taking the plunge - we recommend using a guide or swimming supervised with a club in open water. Read more top tips on how to swim safely and how to stay safe on the Welsh coast.
Whether you're a experienced wild swimmer, or looking to dip your toes in for the first time, here are our suggestions for fabulous locations to wild swim in Wales.
Llyn Padarn, Eryri (Snowdonia)
A swim in the glacial Llyn Padarn lake provides a view of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) like no other. This lake is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its geology along with the pretty white flower - floating water plantain and the Arctic Charr, a rare fish that became isolated in the lake after the last Ice Age ended. Llyn Padarn is designated as a Bathing Water, which means its water quality is monitored throughout the summer. A pontoon located in Y Glyn, Llanberis is a great place to swim from. If you are new to wild swimming or want some top tips, sign up for an assisted swim session with Snowdonia Watersports which is located nearby.
Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula
A perfect sandy cove owned by the National Trust. A picture-perfect spot to take a dip, look out for seals basking on the rocks and listen for the mesmeric calls of the oystercatchers and other coastal birds. This beach isn’t lifeguarded so make sure you stay within your limits. Afterwards, recharge your batteries at Tŷ Coch Inn the famous waterfront inn.
Porthor, Llŷn Peninsula
Porthor is known as Whistling Sands because the grains squeak underfoot, piping shrill notes when the wind blows in from the west. This magical spot is one of a string of pearly coves formed as the peninsula’s north-western coastal mountain gives way to moorland. It’s quite remote and not lifeguarded so take care. There is a small National Trust café on the beach so you can keep your energy levels up.
Caswell Bay, Swansea
Caswell Bay beach is an amazing sandy beach, a ten-minute drive from Mumbles. A popular destination for visitors and locals, it can be busy at high tide but head there at mid or low tide and there is room for everyone. The beach is lifeguarded during the summer months, just remember to stay between the red and yellow flags.
Llandegfedd Lake, Pontypool and Llys Y Fran, Pembrokeshire
If you are a ‘swimmer’ rather than a ‘dipper’ head to Llandegfedd Lake or Llys y Fran Lake. Both are owned by Dŵr Cymru and are accredited as Swim Wales S.A.F.E Cymru sites. If you are a confident swimmer you can try out the various courses which range from around 100m – 300m, all with lifeguard supervision. You’ll start with an induction session - these usually take place from May to October, after that you can don your goggles and take the plunge. Unauthorised swimming in reservoirs can pose a danger to life, so these supervised sessions are a perfect way to enjoy the water safely.
Borth beach, Ceredigion
Shallow waters and almost three miles of golden sand make Borth Beach, with its Blue Flag and Seaside Award, one of Ceredigion’s finest spots to brave the waters. The cliffs of Craig yr Wylfa provide shelter at the southern end of the beach from the prevailing south-westerly winds - lifeguards are on duty during the summer months so look out for their flags. If you fancy swimming why not seek out a local club.
Whitesands beach, Pembrokeshire
There can be few more picturesque places to swim than the aptly named Whitesands bay, dominated by the craggy Carn Llidi. Stop off for a dip as you walk the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, or spend the day swimming and watching the surfers ride the waves. Parking is limited so why not pick up the Celtic Coaster shuttle bus. Whitesands is a lifeguarded beach.
Tor Bay, Swansea
Tor Bay beach is not lifeguarded so is one for the more experienced wild swimmer, but if you are confident in your abilities and want to find a beautiful, quieter bay this one is for you. A little off the beaten track you can walk from Penmaen village which will take approximately 20 mins. After your swim take a walk out onto Great Tor for amazing views of Three Cliffs Bay and Oxwich Bay.
The Welsh coast can be fantastic fun and provides great opportunities for adventurous activities, but please read up on the risks and make sure you are prepared.
- Follow these tips from the RNLI for staying safe on the Welsh coast.
- Visit AdventureSmart.uk for further information on how to stay safe whilst exploring Wales.