A swim and a stay makes the perfect summer escape. Spend your days splashing about in Britain’s most beautiful lakes, rivers and coves and your night bedded down in a cosy hut, a yurt, tree house or even a refurbished vintage train carriage – at these unique camping and glamping wild swim stays chosen by Chelsea Davies you’ll find tempting wild water right on your doorstep.
11 OF THE BEST WILD SWIMMING STAYS AND HOLIDAYS IN BRITAIN
Cornish Tipi Holidays and Camping, North Cornwall, England
This uber-cool Cornish tipi campsite comes complete with a perfectly clear lake to splash around in. Have a pre-breakfast dip, laze away an afternoon by the water or rent a rowboat and go exploring. You can choose to bring your own tent or rent one of the twenty tipis spread across this stunning twenty-acre site near Port Isaac – they come with thick rugs, kitchen essentials, fire pits and fancy showers. If you need some vitamin sea, the coast is a scant ten-minute drive away. Tregardock Beach is perfect for swimming at low tide, and even has a waterfall tumbling down the cliff for a wild shower to wash off the sand.
Stay here: From £160 for two nights in a tipi, sleeps two to six. BOOK HERE.
Nightingale Camp, Gloucestershire, England
Experience a night aboard a sleeper train without the noisy rattling of rails in this charming converted carriage. Nightingale Camp comes complete with a wooden deck, a canopied kitchen and a fire pit for a night of cooking under the trees and the stars. The camp is tucked away by a bend of the River Coln in the Cotswolds, which is perfect for leisurely swims in slow water. All aboard for a spot of slow living and rediscovering your wild roots.
Stay here: From £95 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE
Myrtle Shepherd’s Hut, Herefordshire, England
This unique stay is a little slice of middle eastern glam on the banks of the River Wye in Hertfordshire. Inside Myrtle the shepherd’s hut you’ll find brass fixtures, twinkling lamps and dark wood furnishings. Outside, the wrought-iron table in the shade of the trees encourages al fresco eating – accompanied by the sun setting slowly over the river. Ready for a dip? A private path leads down to the water and grants easy access to a secluded wild swim, while the banks of the river make for an ideal picnic spot on a balmy afternoon.
Stay there: For £80 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE
Smuggler’s Cove Boatyard, Aberdovey, North Wales
Set sail for a night or two aboard the Boy John – he may not leave dry land, but this beached boat, run aground on the shores of the Dyfi Valley Estuary in mid Wales, is the perfect stay for lovers of the sea. This fully-equipped four-berth boat sits in a boatyard known as Smuggler’s Cove, and wild sea swims are just a step away from its bows. The estuary may be a little chilly, but be rewarded with incredible views the towering peaks of Snowdonia National Park.
Stay here: For £100 per night, sleeps four. BOOK HERE
Ditchling Cabin, Suffolk
Dive straight in to your very own lake from the doorstep of this beautiful cabin hideaway – wild swimmers will never want to leave. Ditchling Cabin, perched on the edge of a four-acre fishing lake, is all about life on the water, with pontoons you can dive off and a rowing boat, raft and canoes tied up right next to the cabin for you to paddle about in. Inside is just as special, with a cosy sitting room, wood-clad kitchen and, upstairs, a huge bed and a bath looking out over the lake. Read my full review here of one of my favourite wild swimming stays in Britain.
Stay there: From £320 per night, sleeps four. BOOK HERE.
Pantechnicon Powys, Powys, Mid Wales
Wild swim stays don’t get much nicer than this tiny cabin on a lavender farm with its own limpid pond. Take a dip surrounded by the rolling hills of the Brecon Beacons National Park at this amazingly peaceful site – the pond itself is like a natural infinity pool, with a wooden jetty for practising your dive bombs or drying off from your dip with a book and a flask of tea from the on-site café. A night here is especially stunning in late summer, when the lavender is bursting into colour and water is less chilly.
Stay here: For £90 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE.
Farr’s Meadow, Dorset
Campsites don’t get more laid-back than Farr’s Meadow. This bucolic tent-only site in Dorset is all about the Good Life, with a big open meadow surrounded by shady woodland, lots of space for bell tents and fire pits, eco loos and posh showers in converted horseboxes. The River Stour runs right by the campsite, perfect for morning dips, and the campsite can also arrange fishing if you fancy catching your own supper.
Stay here: £25 per night for two people, yurts from £100 per night. BOOK HERE.
Inshriach Yurt, Badenoch and Strathspey, Scotland
Swim in the cold waters of the River Spey then warm up by the wood stove in this little yurt tucked away in the Scottish Highlands,. You won’t want to stay inside for long, though – Inshriach perches above jaw-dropping views of the Cairngorms National park, with snow-dusted peaks as far as the eye can see come winter. This spot is very far from the madding crowds, but also makes the perfect base for hiking, biking, boating, skiing and even dog sledding in the mountains. Cosy upcycled furnishings and that warming fire make this a comfortable stay in all weathers – perfect for lovers of year-round swims. An on-site bar means you can do as the locals do and stave off any chill with a wee dram of whiskey before bed.
Stay here: For £72 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE.
West Lexham, Norfolk
Love to swim but hate to rough it? West Lexham’s rambling estate is home to delightful tree houses, bell tents and stone cottages and is the perfect place to stay with bigger groups of friends, or if you like your creature comforts along with adventures in the wild. The site’s safe wild swimming lake is a lovely place to introduce children to the joys of an outdoor dip, and the seaside at Holkham and Wells-next-the-Sea is only 30 minutes away.
Stay here: Bell tents from £290 and treehouses from £410 for two nights, each sleeping two. BOOK HERE.
The 76er, Carmarthenshire, South Wales
Glamping doesn’t get more retro than a stay in genuine American Airstream caravan. The 76er, so named after the year it was made, has found its forever home in the woodland of the Towy Valley, and makes the perfect base for exploring the western stretches of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Splash in the sea on the Gower Peninsula, a short drive away, or take a wild dip in the River Towy, right next to the Airstream. Hungry after your swim? The glampsite also sells tasty homemade produce.
Stay here: For £75 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE
Faraway Treehouse, Cumbria, England
Anyone who remembers reading The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton will fall in love with this treehouse escape in the borderlands between England and Scotland. Whimsical touches like branches festooned in string lights, green velvet furnishings and mismatched ceramics add to the storybook feel of Faraway Tree, and the balcony, complete with a table and chairs for atmospheric dining, gives a panoramic view of the winding River Lyne – and it’s a five-minute walk from the treehouse to the river itself if you fancy a midnight dip.
Stay here: For £165 per night, sleeps two. BOOK HERE.
Chelsea Davies is a writer, blogger and postcard enthusiast. When she’s not climbing mountains, you can find her planning her next budget-conscious escape with her travel buddy of choice, her twin.