Life

6 places to try open water swimming in the UK

In association with
Nike Swim

Water, nature, bang for your buck. Does it get any better?

How do you recover from a hard day at work? A night on the sofa? A 100-metre sprint to the bar? 

Both great options, but for an altogether more invigorating evening, there’s nothing like diving into a post-work swim, particularly when you’re escaping to the open water.

Swimming in cold water forces your heart to pump faster as your body works harder to keep your temperature up, burning through more calories in the process. 

Not only that, but it’s far more freeing than slogging through lengths in an indoor pool, which is why swimming in safe, monitored environments makes it such a fun challenge.

Looking for inspiration? Here are six great spots for a spot of al fresco swimming…

Before you go

There are a couple of things you need to do before you can make the most of outdoor swimming - 1) check you’re doing it safely 2) have the right kit. 

Your beach bikini isn’t best placed for diving out of the office and into the blue, so invest in a bit of proper kit. From one-pieces to hydroguards, goggles to headwear, Nike Swim has got you covered:

Best for scenery

London’s Royal Dock

Looking for a picturesque backdrop for your after-work dip? 

At London’s Royal Docks, you can swim in the shadow of the O2 and Canary Wharf.

Swim sessions run three nights per week, with more available during daytime, and coaches are on hand to help you brush up on your backstroke. 

You’ll need to get an electronically-tagged wristband before you can get in the water (buy one at nowca.org), designed to keep you safe and track your performance. Clever.

Best for water quality

Salford Quays

Sure, on first reflection, swimming in the industrial surrounds of Salford Quays might not seem as appealing as a splash in the local lido, but in fact, the water quality is rigorously monitored by field scientists from environmental consultancy APEM. 

So, dive on in there, friends. 

You’ve also got your choice of organisers, with swim sessions run by both the Helly Hansen Watersports Centre and swimming collective Uswim.

 The former is a little more slick; the latter a little more charming. Take your pick.

Best for price

Liverpool Watersports Centre

As part of charitable organisation Local Solutions, Liverpool Watersports Centre operates as a not-for-profit initiative designed to make watersports as accessible as possible. 

Open-water swim sessions take place on Wednesday evenings in Queens Dock, right in the heart of the city centre, and cost just £5. 

Better still, your fee is reinvested to support local disadvantaged groups, as part of the charity’s efforts to introduce more people to the sport.

Best for escapism

Shepperton Open Water

Shepperton Open Water Swim

Hop on a train out to leafy Shepperton and you can treat yourself to some authentically wild swimming just a few miles out of London. 

The lake is dedicated to swimmers (no marauding boats to contend with here), so it’s a great place to kick off your new post-work hobby.

Best for before work

Serpentine Lido, London

An open-water swim is a great way to unwind, but it also does wonders for waking you up in the morning. 

The Serpentine Lido closes at 6pm every day, so it might be a stretch to make it from the office, but the Serpentine Swimming Club convenes there every single morning from 6.30am to 9am. 

Day well and truly kick-started, you can also reward yourself with breakfast at the waterfront café. 

Best for sea swimming

Portobello Beach, Edinburgh

Edinburgh isn’t overburdened with outdoor pools, but what it offer is a bracing dip in the North Sea. 

Portobello is a sandy beach a couple of miles and a 15-minute bus ride from the city centre. 

Temperatures are, shall we say, brisk, but nothing a nip of Talisker won’t fix once you’re back on dry land. 

If you don’t want to go it alone, a group of dedicated sea swimmers known as The Wild Ones meet on Sunday mornings to take the weekly plunge.

To help you escape to the water, shop the full Nike Swim collection at Asos.

Win a £200 Nike Swim bundle and an outdoor swimming pass

Nike Swim are offering one lucky winner a Nike Swim bundle including 3 swimsuits as well as an outdoor swimming pass to spots in London, Bristol, Manchester or Liverpool. 

To be in with a chance of winning simply answer the question below: 

Oh no, you’re a little late!

Sorry, the promotion closed 3 months ago. Don’t worry, you’re still a winner to us. We have loads of other competitions running every week.

UK18+ only. Normal exclusions apply. Opens: 01 August 2018. Closes 11:59pm 31 August 2018. 1 x prize winners each receive 3 x Nike Swimsuits on ASOS which Nike Swim will fulfil and an outdoor swimming pass of their choice in London, Bristol, Manchester or Liverpool. One entry per person. Winners randomly selected and notified by email within 14 days of the closing date. Full terms and conditions here. Promoter: Shortlist Media. Supplier: Nike Swim.