Together SWIM: A Beginners Guide To Outdoor Swimming #2

Together SWIM: A Beginners Guide To Outdoor Swimming #2

Hello! Welcome to the second edit of the Together SWIM: A Beginner’s Guide To Outdoors Swimming.

In the last post we discussed the reasons that you might want to give open water swimming a go. In this blog we’ll discuss how to find the best swimming spot near you.

Wild Swimming Spots Near Me

How do you find wild swimming spots to you? The best way to get to know outdoor swimming spots near you is to get involved in the outdoor swimming community. We’d recommend checking out the following resources to find your local swimming spot.

Social Media

Facebook groups: most clubs, groups, lidos and outdoor swimming companies have pages where they post regular updates about meet ups, local regulations and water quality. Simply search your location and outdoor swimming and you’ll be met with a wall of info.

Follow the hashtags:  search instagram for #sharetheswimlove #wildswimminguk and #outdoorswimmingsociety. These will open up a wealth of information about swimming influencers, races, locations, groups and equipment. Hopefully, they’ll also inspire you to get your togs on when it’s looking a bit gloomy outside.

Online Swim Maps wildswim is a worldwide crowd sourced swimming map. It’ll give you dropped pins of open water  swimming spots and has a lot of well recommended swims on there. Each spot usually has an initial comment about water quality, space etc and has different categories e.g. whether it is an endurance swim spot or just for a dip.  Usually flags can be applied too, this will tell you if there is associated risk or legal limits, for example if it is a ‘no swimming’ reservoir.

You can find the site here:, you can also access it through the Outdoor Swimming Society.

Wild Swimming Guide: This is a book, facebook group and website that gives expert published advice on swimming. Their Wild Swimming guides cover the UK and other European countries, they also do an edition called Wild Running that provides some great trail routes. On their website you’ll find a map of local swim spots with a star rating.

You can check out their website here:

Societies and Groups

The Outdoor Swimming Society: The Outdoors Swimming Soc is a community website that offers essentially all of the advice that you’ll need for a new hobby. It’s a volunteer orientated society that offers safety advice, events, social media groups, features on kit, films and media in the outdoor swimming realm. Plus they host!  

Local Triathlon Clubs: Most triathlons require entrants to swim for approx. 1.5km in open water and as a result many triathlon clubs offer the opportunity to train at outdoor swimming spots. Some clubs use organised outdoor swimming facilities at lakes, quarries and waterparks. Others run outdoor swimming sessions with boat cover or volunteer ‘spotters’ and first aiders. Local swimming baths, running tracks and cycling clubs often have information about local triathlon groups. You’ll have to speak to the club organisers to see if casual swimming is permitted.

Go Local

Outdoor Stores: Local outdoor shops will sometimes be able to give hints on local swimming spots if they have regular customers, community involvement or staff who are wild swimmers.

Explore The Area: Some of the best swimming spots are well-kept secrets. These are often the ones that make great picnicking spots on warm summer days and are great family hang-outs. Taking a stroll along water courses in your area might give you some surprising places for a dip. If you’re lucky enough to live near a swimming spot that’s open for swimming like lakes, lochs and the sea then keep an eye out for information on tides, current and algae which might cause a problem.

Friends and Family: there may be a secret swimmer amongst your friends and family or grandparents might half-remember a spot they used to play at as children. Local knowledge from neighbours can be invaluable and who knows, maybe you’ll find a companion for your swims!

Thanks for reading the second instalment of our Beginners Guide to outdoor swimming. If you’d like us to change anything in the article or have feedback then we’d love to hear from you.

Check out our next blogpost for information on what kit and equipment you need for an outdoor swim.

Remember to be safe on your swim. Research the area, take a shore spotting buddy and use floats and kit where needed. Swim to the conditions and your capability, don’t take unnecessary risks.

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