Cancelled your holiday plans abroad? This summer, it's all about the UK. From quirky London hotels to pretty cycling routes and animal-spotting on a city safari, it’s about time you made the most of what these isles have to offer. Up next on our post-lockdown list? The wild swimming spots in and around London… for when you've finally had enough of the beer gardens and balconies at home.
Divers Cove Reservoir, Surrey
Just as beautiful as it sounds, Divers Cove in Surrey is a must-visit when it comes to wild swimming near London. The reservoir spans over 7 acres, with spots for swimming, diving and even a café. Whether it’s a swim session or hot drinks and snacks, make sure you book in advance. Slots are available from Tuesday to Sunday so you can decide between a mid-week or weekend dip.
London Royal Docks, Docklands
Not one for those of you looking for a little toe-dipping action, London Royal Docks are dedicated to hardcore open-water swimming. Grab those goggles, bring your wetsuit and be sure to pre-book for a socially-distanced swim. Choose between 400m, 750m and 100m loops before a rest in the 'casual dip' area.
River Colne, Rickmansworth
If you’re after open-water swimming in Hertfordshire, then the River Colne should be on your hit list. Located within the M25, the natural beauty touts plenty of space for bathing, as well as a circular 6-mile walk offering a little escapism. If getting the tube to Rickmansworth isn’t an option, then it’s only an hour’s drive from Central London.
West Reservoir Centre, Hackney
Straddling Finsbury Park and Clissold Park, the West Reservoir Centre is a great choice for wild swimming in London. With the likes of Hampstead ponds and London Fields Lido being closed during the pandemic, head to N4 for swimming, watersports and even paddleboard yoga sessions in this public water sports centre.
Frensham Great Pond, Surrey
If you live in South or West London, then Frensham Great Pond is easily within an hour’s drive. Sandwiched between Farnham and Hindhead, this Green Flag-winning space is one for a UK visit; think dedicated dog routes, sandy scenes and Insta-worthy views that’ll have you feeling like you’re on a seaside retreat.
River Medway by Ensfield Bridge, Tonbridge
Just past the M25, the River Medway runs through Tonbridge in Kent. You’ll probably want to drive here, where open stretches and deep water make for a great swim. But for a real challenge, grab your bicycle and follow the regional cycle route downstream to the lakes.
For more alfresco inspo, check out our extensive guide on the most unmissable things to do outdoors.