Fancy a dip? Grab your swimsuit and seek out my seven favourite wild swimming spots in Wales. From tranquil river swims to huge marine pools, these eight wild swimming spots are the perfect places to while away a hot summer’s day, or to head to for some cold water therapy in autumn and winter. I’ve included information on how to get to all of these magical places.
Eight of the best places to go wild swimming in Wales
Skenfrith Castle, Monmouthshire
The River Monnow forms a wide pool just outside the ruined walls of Skenfrith Castle (free to enter). There’s an easy walk into the water from under the shady trees, making this spot perfect for big and little swimmers like, and you’ll often spot families complete with inflatables splashing about or jumping off the rope swing. Swimming in the shadow of a 13th century castle is a pretty special experience, and this is one of my favourite laid-back swim spots for a picnic and a dip on a sunny day
How to get there: Walk through the ruins of the castle in the village of Skenfrith in Monmouthshire to reach the river bank.
Blue Lagoon, Pembrokeshire
Prove your swimming mettle with a skin-tingling swim in Pembrokeshire’s Blue Lagoon, hidden in the cliffs above Abereiddy Beach. Walk up a little path past ruined slate worker’s cottages and you’ll suddenly stumble upon this man-made sea-water lagoon of deep, sapphire blue. The water is refreshing to say the least, but those brave enough to dive in and swim across it are rewarded with jutting steps of black slate to clamber up for a heart-stopping leap into the depths – the lagoon is home to the Red Bull Cliff Diving Champs, and it’s easy to see why.
How to get there: Park at the Abereiddy Beach car park, and walk the coastal path to the lagoon.
Sgwd Gwladys/Lady Falls
Ten metres of rushing water cascade down into this idyllic deep forest pool. You may see locals jumping from the top of the falls but I definitely don’t recommend you try it yourself – just go for a splash about or swim under the waterfall. It’s a beautiful walk along the river and passing various plunge pools to reach Lady Falls, making it a dreamy wild swimming walk on a hot day.
How to get there: Find my five-mile waterfall walking route on Komoot. Otherwise Lady Falls is easily reached in a 30 minute walk from the visitor centre and Angel pub in Pontneddfechan, where you’ll find the trail head.
Llyn Cau, Cadair Idris
They say that anyone who sleeps in the shadow of Cadair Idris will awake a madman or a poet. Who knows if the same is true of Lyn Cau, the deep (so deep it is rumoured to be bottomless) lake that sits below the summit? Either way this storied place is an incredibly beautiful spot for a swim, and lovely for a wild camp followed by a morning dip.
How to get there: It’s a steep three mile loop to and from Llyn Cau from the main car park along the Minfordd path.
Ystradfellte waterfalls – Sgwd Yr Eira
One of my favourite walks in the Brecon Beacons National Park is the 9.3 mile Four Waterfalls hike through glorious woodland to the Ystradfellte waterfalls (here’s my post on the walk). The last waterfall, Sgwd Yr Eira, is a towering beast that you can stand behind, before diving through the churning water into a tempting pool – perfect for cooling off after a hot hike.
How to get there: The beginning of the walk is at Gwaun Hepste car park. Walking route here.
Blue Pool, Gower
Blue Pool Bay, reachable only at low tide or via a stiff scramble from the cliffs, is home to its namesake swimming spot, a gem-like tidal pool surrounded by tall rocks and perfect for a plunge. Legend has it that the pool is bottomless – the jury’s out, but it’s deep enough that you can jump in from the rocks if you’re careful. Walk to the other end of the beach to explore the dramatic Three Chimneys cliff arches.
How to get there: Walk to Blue Pool Bay at low tide from Broughton Bay or follow my five mile Komoot walk along the coast path to reach the bay.
Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons
Another perfect bracing swim spot for lovers of wild camping. Llyn y Fan Fach in the heart of the green mountains of the Brecon Beacons is easily reached on a short steep hike, and is also the perfect overnight stop on a two-day walk. Legend has it that it’s home to the Lady of The Lake, but she doesn’t seem to mind swimmers. There are shingly beaches for easy access. Worth swimming even in chilly water for the stupendous mountain views all around you.
How to get there: Here’s a four-mile circular mapped route to reach the lake.
Pembrokeshire is best known for its incredible coastline, but if you travel a little further inland you’ll be rewarded with a fairytale hidden pool. From the village of Rosebush you can hike through woodland to reach the summit of Foel Cwmcerwyn hill for panoramic views of the surrounding Preseli Hills. Then descend into Rosebush quarry, now disused and taken over by nature. Totally hidden from view but reachable by footpath is this flooded quarry pool, its deep waters the most beautiful azure blue. The water here is always very cold, so you may want to wear a wetsuit. You can clamber into the shallows or dive in from the deeper bank. Back in Rosebush the Tafarn Sinc pub is a brilliant place to warm up by the fire.
How to get there: Follow my Komoot route here. It’s an easy walk from Tafarn Sinc.