For enthusiasts and newbies looking for wild swimming destinations, nowhere really comes close to the Lake District in Cumbria.

Wild swimming has seen a rise in popularity with 6 million views on TikTok and a 140% increase in searches for ‘wild swimming near me’ over the past 30 days.

Of the sixteen lakes in the Lake District, four have been determined the very best in the UK for wild swimming.

Although Bassenthwaite is the only lake by name, most agree that for example Windermere and Buttermere are as well.

Lee Heard, Charity Director at the RLSS UK, offers tips on staying safe whilst wild swimming this summer.

Outdoor enthusiasts at Sally’s Cottages analysed 62 popular wild swimming spots across the UK and ranked them based on the number of times they’ve been viewed on TikTok, to reveal the UK’s trending wild swimming spots to visit.

Sally’s has also worked with Lee Heard, Charity Director at the RLSS UK, to highlight some of the key risks budding swimmers need to look out for before heading into the open water.

The top 10 UK wild swimming spots were revealed as:

  1. Windermere, Lake District (39 million views)
  2. Falls Of Falloch, Scotland (11 million views)
  3. Pedn Vounder, Cornwall (4 million views)
  4. Buttermere, Lake District (3 million views)
  5. Wastwater, Lake District (3 million views)
  6. Loch Morlich, Scottish Highlands (2 million views)
  7. Derwentwater, Lake District (1 million views)
  8. St. Nectan’s Kieve, Cornwall (1 million views)
  9. Bude Sea Pool, Cornwall (1 million views)
  10. llyn Fan Fach, Brecon beacons (1 million views)       

The dangers of wild swimming:

Although wild swimming is a fun experience, it is really important to stay safe when swimming in the open water.

If you’re wondering how to stay safe while wild swimming, Lee Heard advises: “If swimmers are aware of the potential risks and dangers then this enables them to do a risk assessment before entering the water.

“We always recommend going swimming with a friend and wearing appropriate clothing such as a wetsuit, a tow float and a brightly coloured swimming hat."

Some of the risks Lee suggests considering include:

  • The shock of cold water can make swimming difficult and make it more difficult to get out of the water
  • A lack of safety equipment can make a rescue more difficult
  • The depth of the water can be unpredictable
  • Underwater objects and hazards which may not be visible
  • Obstacles or other people in the water
  • Strong currents which can rapidly sweep people away
  • Uneven banks and riverbeds
  • Water quality, e.g., toxic algal blooms and industrial/agricultural pollution

"It’s vital to also ensure that when you get out you have appropriate clothing to keep you warm after the swim,” Heard added.