Wild swimming spots around London

Posted in sport on August 7, 2012

Having watched the Brownlee brothers bring home 2 great medals in Today’s triathlon we are more excited than ever to get involved in triathlon (coaches coming soon!). We also thought it would be a great time to look at some of the best wild swimming spots in and around London to hone your open water swimming skills. So we asked our intern Eloise, upmysport’s resident wild swimming expert, to put together her 5 favourite spots and tell us why wild swimming is so good!


“Wild Swimming is an amazing, exhilarating refreshing activity for everyone. Whether you’re diving in to perfect your front crawl technique or just to have a good splash about, the benefits for your mind and body are incredible.

By taking a dip you will soothe muscle aches, boost the immune system and release endorphins giving you an ecstatic natural high. A NASA study said over a 12 week period regular swims in cool waters can bring down blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce fat disposition and inhibit blood clotting.

You may feel a million miles away from lush green pastures and wild springs when sat at your office desk. However, our very own River Thames has been awarded the world’s biggest environmental award, the Theiss River Prize, beating off rivers from Australia and Japan. Believe it or not London itself has some of the hottest wild swimming spots around.

My Top 5 wild swimming spots a stones throw away from London

Hampstead Heath Swimming Ponds

A great central location close to tubes, trains and pubs. Hampstead Heath is a favourite, they are safety conscious with life guards present and offer male, female and mixed ponds.

Hythe End Gravel Pits

A nature reserve in a series of old gravel pits near Staines upon Thames. Only 27 miles from central London perfect place for a dip and a picnic!

The Serpentine Hyde Park

An amazing pre or post work dip! The Serpentine Lido is open all summer and the Serpentine Swimming Club runs morning lesson sessions.

Thorpe Lake, Surrey

A great open water swimming spot for all abilities, it has a picturesque man made beach for basking in the sunshine. The site also boasts a running trail making it a perfect spot for the triathletes to train.

Heron Lake, Middlesex

A beautiful lake suitable for all levels of swimmers from first timers to top triathletes. It is a great venue with a big safety focus, the only lake with full safety cover on the water and dry land.

If you are loving the idea of fresh wild swims then get involved with the OSS. (The Outdoor Swimming Society.) It’s the world’s biggest collective of wild swimmers. Join them for information and inspiration about wild swimming, river swimming, lake swimming, sea swimming, open water and lidos.

And to get you in the mood here’s a quote from wild swimming fanatic Nikki Jackson:

‘Nothing like wild swimming to connect you to your inner self, you feel free and uninhibited the second you step into the water and start to splash – I am a splasher and whooper when I get in!

It washes away anything else that is happening and you are taken up in the moment flopping around in the water like you did when you were a kid.  It feeds the soul, you feel enlivened, enriched and engaged with nature.'”

We hope you’ve been inspired by today’s action and have enjoyed Eloise’s look at some her favourite spots around London. If you have your own favourites please add them below!

Keep you eyes peeled for upmysport adding triathlon coaches soon!