Lakes and rivers for swimming in or around London

Discussion in 'London and the South East' started by littleseb, Jul 10, 2019.

  1. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    There aren't many 'wild' swimming spots in London and I'm not the biggest fan of Hampstead and the Serpentine.

    So - where can I go swimming in the suburbs or just outside? Any recommendations for lakes, rivers, reservoirs, canals, or similar?

    I don't drive so need public transport nearby, or of course I can cycle.

    I fancy a dip!
     
    Fez909 likes this.
  2. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    People were swimming in Millwall Dock last summer. Not sure I’d dare though.
     
  3. clicker

    clicker nanook rubs it....

  4. TopCat

    TopCat It's hard now...do it faster

    I visited when they were making this lake as part of massive landscaping in the park. It was an impressive effort and showed original thinking, rare for a Council.

    I love the way they think everyone will pay to swim.
     
    Anju, Pickman's model and littleseb like this.
  5. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    anybody done swimming in the Wey by Goldaming?
     
  6. pinkmonkey

    pinkmonkey 2.4 hour party person

    Redricks Lakes in Harlow has legit wild swimming in an old gravel pit. You'll need to wear a wetsuit or have a float and you've got to do an induction. They have an open water swimming club and a Facebook page.
    We swim in a gravel pit opposite the Lower Lock on the River Stort. Nearest stations are Roydon and Rye House. If the park security spot you, they'll make you get out, they're enforcing the park bylaws, so weekdays are better as it can be a bit cat n mouse on hot summer weekends. Usual caveats apply, its very deep, don't swim alone, don't swim after drinking, don't attempt to swim accross (very cold in the middle). Folk do drown in the gravel pits. There are a few other swimming places up the river Lea but if I tell you where, then I will have to kill you. Where I don't recommend is the Hackney Beach (off a branch of the Lea on Hackney Marsh) or swimming in the lea in London, theres too much raw sewage in the water. It might look clean, but it isn't.
     
  7. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    (Smug Devon resident... And even worse, former Londoner)

    :p
     
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  8. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    fantastic, thank you!
     
    pinkmonkey likes this.
  9. Supine

    Supine Rough Like Badger

    Walk up the Thames. At some point Londoners stop shitting in it and the swimming is good.
     
    pinkmonkey likes this.
  10. tim

    tim Well-Known Member


    The point being around 600 AD, post-Roman but before Lundenwick for goibg
     
    Artaxerxes and krtek a houby like this.
  11. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    It's OK, but shallow, there's a small beach about a mile and a half from Godalming on the towpath towards Guildford.

    I know of two cracking swimming spots in Staines, if that's any use to you?
     
  12. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    yes please!
     
  13. Anju

    Anju Well-Known Member

    £5 is a bit steep and £10 for half an hour canoe hire is way too much. Apparently there are half price concessions but I've not seen that on their website. There is the free bit but it's only going to be about a meter deep and not sure how large. It's being run by a private company as well which seems odd considering how much public money has been spent.

    Also disappointed you'll have to swim a circuit.

    Still looks great for a sunny day.
     
    littleseb likes this.
  14. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    Train to Staines, if you have a bike with you it is quicker but an easy walk if not. Head to Wheatsheaf Lane, go to the bottom bit which is private but you are allowed down there, get to the towpath and turn left, about 300m on is a large field with small beach, known locally as Silver Sands.

    At the Laleham Road end of Wheatsheaf Lane, just past the football club is Penton Hook Road, also private but again fine to walk or cycle down (we drive and never get hassle), get to the end and turn left on to the towpath, 100m on is the lock, you are allowed to cross the lock gates then the two weirs to Penton Hook Island, head to the far end of the Island for a nice beach :)
     
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  15. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    great, thanks!! next day off will be spent there :thumbs:
     
    marty21, TopCat and Bahnhof Strasse like this.
  16. TopCat

    TopCat It's hard now...do it faster

    I swum at Chelsea 40 years ago and it did me no harm. Used to float under Battersea bridge. I did smell a bit after and still only one bath a week.
     
    Badgers likes this.
  17. Fez909

    Fez909 toilet expert

    Maybe things were different 40 years ago....Now, I wouldn't risk it.

    River Thames swimmers 'risk illness'
     
    TopCat likes this.
  18. TopCat

    TopCat It's hard now...do it faster

    I wouldn't go in now in the week after a big storm.
     
  19. TopCat

    TopCat It's hard now...do it faster

    The Thames Tide tunnel will clear it right up though.
     
  20. TopCat

    TopCat It's hard now...do it faster

    London had a lot less people and less pressure on the sewer system.
     
    Fez909 likes this.
  21. krtek a houby

    krtek a houby Share knowledge, don't weaponize it

    littleseb likes this.
  22. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

    The lake I swim at charges £6 a time, has marked 450m and 750m circuits that you have to swim anticlockwise.

    It has safety kayakers etc. Is dead friendly, puts on events and is a great little place.

    But it's open water swimming, not wild swimming.
     
  23. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    Where's that? Roadford?
     
  24. chilango

    chilango Neither Westminster nor Brussels....

  25. pinkmonkey

    pinkmonkey 2.4 hour party person

    Anywhere upstream of Teddington Lock is great. The best swimming, for me is well out of London. Medmenham, Wallingford both have ‘beaches’, Both sides of Port Meadow in Oxford on a sunny day you will see lots of swimmers and theres also a swimming race up there once a year. You can even book a three day swimming holiday where you swim and they take your luggage ahead for you.
     
  26. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    train to Hampton then strolling down to the river is do-able.
     
  27. Bahnhof Strasse

    Bahnhof Strasse A-wob a-bob bob

    clicker and littleseb like this.
  28. littleseb

    littleseb littleseb

    haha great!
     
  29. Anju

    Anju Well-Known Member

    I suppose it depends how many people use the lake and how long the season is but it could be a real money spinner for the company running it as they haven't had to contribute to the cost of opening it. I'd just prefer it to be publicly run.

    The lake you swim in sounds great and hopefully this one will be similar.
     
  30. gaijingirl

    gaijingirl Well-Known Member

    The lake in Beckenham Place Park is opening next week (20 July).

    I've swum at lots of the London open water places but there is a marked difference between places like Shepperton Lake (for triathletes, marked course, one way swimming in laps - the one time I went there I was the only person not in a wetsuit) and say Hampstead Ponds/The Serpentine where you can swim laps if you want but there are plenty of swimmers there for more sedate swimming.

    There are quite a few places now opening up but mostly it is catering for the former type of swimmer. Sadly it currently looks like BPP lake is aspiring to that style - but this remains to be seen.

    I was once the former but now very much the latter - or somewhere in between. I still swim for exercise but I no longer want to wear a wetsuit or get into lanes.
     

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