With the promise of warmer water temperatures on their way, it’s time to take the plunge. CHRISSY HARRIS rounds up some of the UK’s best coastal wild swimming spots.

  1. Cullykhan Bay, Pennan, Aberdeenshire

Dramatic cliff scenery surrounds this sheltered beach. Castle Point, also known as Fort Fiddes, overlooks the bay and is worth a post-swim climb. Look out further west and you’ll see the gaping black mouth of Hell’s Lum, a collapsed sea cave at the end of a tunnel. Back in the water, the swimming here is good at high or low tide. Explore the edges and enjoy peering into the submerged rock pools and caves.

  1. Wardie Bay, Edinburgh

This is a popular choice and great for all ages and abilities. Sheltered by the breakwater, Wardie is usually calm and the water is easy to reach, even at low tide. Serious swimmers make a beeline for the various buoys in the bay, others bob around near the beach. Best to swim to the right side of the breakwater to avoid the boats and occasional seals on the harbourside.

  1. Longsands, Tynemouth

Longsands or Long Sands, depending on who you talk to, has been named one of UK and Ireland’s best wild swimming spots in terms of water quality and visitor experience. The crowd dispersing beach has plenty of space to spread out and pick your base camp area before wading into the easy-to-access shallow waters. There’s lifeguard cover from May to September.

  1. Seacombe Cliff and Winspit, Dorset

Intrepid types and those of good open water competence will be able to trek down and enjoy swimming off the rocks at this rugged spot.

Conditions have to be right and the water has to be completely flat for this sea swim session but the backdrop is worth it – even if you’re not planning on getting wet. “Just being there is really rather special,” says Fay Edgar, of Jurassic Coast Swimming. “You’re surrounded by all of this beautiful scenery. It’s so peaceful.”

  1. Porth Eirias, Conwy

A slightly tamer wild swim awaits at this man-made beach on the north Wales coast. Port Eirias was a multi-million-pound regeneration project aimed at bringing new energy to the ‘Welsh Riviera’. Thousands of tonnes of golden sand were pumped onto the seafront at Colwyn Bay in 2013 as part of a flood defence strategy but also to create a seaside haven for locals and visitors. The swimming here is safe and steady and a regular meeting point for the Wild Water Babes group.

The art of wild swimming

  1. Birling Gap, East Sussex

If you like a bit of drama going on in the background, this is the place to swim. Birling Gap is located between the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters and Beachy Head. The area features a secluded cove, hidden away from the busier parts of the beach (note: certain sections of the beach are used by nudists).

  1. Blackrock Beach and Diving Tower, Salthill, County Galway

Blackrock beach boasts breath-taking views of the ocean, offering swimmers a chance to watch the sunset from the water. Throw caution (but not your trunks) to the Atlantic breeze and leap into the bracing waters from one of the three boards on the diving tower. Its origins can be traced back to 1885 and plunging into the depths has become a rite of passage for brave souls visiting this picturesque stretch of coast.

  1. Firestone Bay, Plymouth, Devon


This is a small pebble beach to the West of Plymouth Sound next to Devil’s Point. Swimming these waters will give you great views of Mount Edgcumbe and Drake’s Island. Jason Quiterio, founder of Ace Swimming based at nearby Firestone Arches in Plymouth’s historic Royal William Yard, is a regular here and runs regular coaching sessions in the bay for all ages and abilities.

  1. Trebah Beach (Polgwidden Cove), Cornwall

This is the private beach at the bottom of the rather spectacular Trebah Gardens. Visitors can bring their cozzies and take a dip at this secluded and sheltered spot on the Helford River.

Make time to explore the sub-tropical valley gardens which come alive at this time of year with a colourful array of 100-year-old rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias.

There’s a restaurant on site for a post-swim refuel.

  1. Morecambe Bay, Lancashire

Take a selfie next to the Eric Morecambe statue before dancing into the waves. You’ll be in good company. Morecambe and Lancaster Lancashire Open Water Swimmers (M.A.L.L.O.W.S) are regulars here. The open water swimming group was founded by Jon Gibirdi in 2017 and now has more than 2,000 members spread across the county. They usually follow a course parallel to the shore and pay close attention to the strong currents and changing tides here.