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Swimming In The Thames – 10 Tops Spots With Map

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To actually embrace the good open air within the UK, uncover the delight of untamed swimming within the Thames. We uncover 10 of our favorite spots to take a dip with info to plan an excellent day trip in England.

There’s one thing so revitalising about swimming within the Thames.

Squishy mud squelching between your toes and international objects brushing towards your legs. Dodging slippery rocks to expertise the reduction that comes from discovering a pleasant flat gravel part that offers you time to plot your course into the water.

Then, with steely resolve, plucking up the braveness to defy the numbing sensation in your limbs and dive into the bracing water. Each invigorating and fortifying, wild swimming is sort of a jolt to the senses. A reminder of the therapeutic powers of mom nature and the elation of an excellent journey.

Swimming within the Thames, identical to climbing within the close by Cotswolds, is solely one of many most interesting methods to expertise the good open air in England (Learn our full information of UK out of doors actions).

We’ve developed this record of swimming spots after years of cumulative analysis. Some are perfect for adventurous folks in search of another option to benefit from the isolation of the countryside, others are purpose-built for households with younger children. Some are completely situated with quick access to public transport, others are out-of-the-way idylls – distant atmospheric swimming pools the place the setting takes you away from the every single day.

Listed below are our favorite swimming spots within the Thames.

// Reserving your journey by way of the hyperlinks on this web page (or on our e book web page) will earn us a small fee, at no further value to you. Thanks in your help – Paul & Mark.

IN THIS GUIDE

SCENIC PLACES TO GO WILD SWIMMING IN THE THAMES


IS IT SAFE TO SWIM IN THE THAMES?

The River Thames stretches for 215 miles and is the longest river totally inside England. It winds its approach from the sting of the Cotswolds, via Oxford, Studying, Henley and Windsor earlier than coming into the North Sea simply east of London. Throughout its journey, it modifications from an idyllic reed-fringed brook to a large quick flowing tidal river.

It isn’t beneficial to swim within the tidal part of the Thames (east of Putney Bridge to the North Sea). It’s neither secure nor significantly good. However as you head west the river will get cleaner, safer (much less boat visitors) and extra lovely.

All these 10 wild swimming areas are west of London and simply accessible. Every of them are in lovely areas with a genuinely rural really feel. Observe all our ideas on the finish of this information for staying secure whereas swimming within the Thames and revel in an excellent day trip in England.

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1 – HURLEY LOCK

Finest wild swimming within the Thames with a big shelving seaside and good services for younger households.

Hurley Lock sits on an island in the course of the Thames. Surrounded by giant swathes of inexperienced grass, it’s the proper spot for a picnic with the household. A shallow shelving seaside with virtually no present makes Hurley Lock appropriate for youths of all ages and an excellent place to swim within the Thames safely.

Nonetheless, head a bit additional out and the water progressively deepens permitting for a wonderful wild swim.

The island has patches with each solar and shade, and some picnic tables dotted about. Hurley Lock is simply a 5-minute stroll from the gorgeous village of Hurley; elements of which date again to 1135. The village is properly price trying round.

FACILITIES AT HURLEY LOCK

There’s a tearoom and public bogs making it the proper wild swimming spot on the Thames for anybody who likes to have services close by.

HOW TO GET TO HURLEY LOCK

Hurley Village Automobile Park is a 5-minute stroll to the lock and may get extraordinarily busy on summer time days. To get to Hurley Lock by way of public transport, take the practice to Marlow then get pleasure from a beautiful 1-hour stroll alongside the Thames Footpath to the lock.


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swimmers in a river with boats on the far side

2 – MEDMENHAM

Finest wild swimming within the Thames for a night picnic on a shady enclosed grassy patch

Medmenham is a mile upstream from Hurley Lock on the opposite aspect of the river. On the finish of a lane of posh homes, a beautiful patch of grass opens out in entrance of a very extensive stretch of the Thames. It’s an ideal spot for a picnic with the encompassing timber giving it a beautiful secluded really feel. After a dip, get pleasure from a bottle of wine because the solar drifts behind the timber.

There aren’t any mild shelving seashores right here, nevertheless it’s a few 1-foot step down off the financial institution into the water. Whereas shallow on the edge, the river deepens rapidly. This makes it a great spot for some energetic swimming within the Thames. There are two magnificent homes set on the riverbank which you’ll be able to swim previous and dream of what life may have been.

FACILITIES AT MEDMENHAM

There aren’t any bogs at Mednemham (or another services) nonetheless, it’s a 10-minute stroll to The Canine & Badger pub.

HOW TO GET TO MEDMENHAM

Park the place you possibly can alongside Ferry Lane in Medmenham (location is marked on the map under), then stroll all the way down to the river and switch proper. To get right here by way of public transport, buses run to the Canine & Badger from Excessive Wycombe, Marlow, Henley and Studying.

3 – SHIPLAKE

Finest wild swimming within the Thames with quick access from London

Simply south of Decrease Shiplake, an extended grassy financial institution strains the perimeters of the River Thames. There are many spots to place down a picnic blanket and whereas away a day. Though an extended swim is feasible right here, it’s a well-liked a part of the river, so that you’ll typically want to offer option to boats making their approach downstream in full occasion mode.

Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful spot to take a fast dip and sit on the banks whereas watching a really energetic a part of the river. With such quick access from London, that is much less of a rural idyll, so Shiplake is the kind of wild swimming spot the place you convey a gaggle for a day of catching up within the solar.

FACILITIES AT SHIPLAKE

The Baskerville pub in Decrease Shiplake is a 20-minute stroll from the swimming space.

HOW TO GET TO SHIPLAKE

Park on Mill Lane in Decrease Shiplake then stroll to Sonning lock and take the Thames footpath west for a couple of minutes. Or take a one hour practice from London Paddington station to Decrease Shiplake station. From the station, it’s a 20-minute stroll to the swimming spot.


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4 – MOULSFORD

Finest wild swimming within the Thames with a late afternoon pint

Moulsford is a relaxed wild swimming spot set beside a beautiful meadow whose banks come proper as much as the sting of the river. A number of picnic spots have been marked out within the lengthy grass from earlier swimmers. The river is definitely accessed by way of tracks via the grass that arrives at mild shelving seashores.

Just a little upstream, a swing rope dangles from an outdated giant tree which you’ll be able to swim over to and be part of the queue of individuals hurling themselves into the water. One of the best spot for a boozy lunch or dinner is at The Beetle & Wedge Pub. Perched proper on the river, it’s the perfect location to seize a chew or watch the sundown over an idyllic a part of the Thames. Guide forward and have an excellent day trip in England.

FACILITIES AT MOULSFORD

There are bogs on the Beetle & Wedge pub in Moulsford round quarter-hour from the swimming space.

HOW TO GET TO MOULSFORD

Park on the streets of Moulsford, flip proper after the Beetle & Wedge Pub and stroll for quarter-hour alongside the Thames. To journey by way of public transport, take the practice to Goring & Streatley Station, stroll over the bridge and switch proper. Head upstream for about 25 minutes.

5 – SHILLINGFORD

Finest wild swimming within the Thames for a quiet stretch of idyllic peacefulness

For peace and quiet on a fantastic shady stretch of the river, Shillingford is an under-visited location and a hidden gem on the Thames. Only a 15-minute stroll north of Shillingford Resort, seven secluded picnic spots are nestled into the banks of the river. Each is ready among the many timber, so after getting picked your spot, you’d by no means know anybody else was round.

The reed lined river peacefully meanders at a sluggish tempo and lilies drift aimlessly on the present. With barely a home to be seen it’s the perfect secret idyll we’ve discovered and an excellent spot for swimming on the Thames. You possibly can swim for miles or just take the odd dip. No matter you select it’s pure pleasure.

FACILITIES AT SHILLINGFORD

Shillingford Resort has a bar and bogs which is only a 15-minute stroll from the swimming areas.

HOW TO GET TO SHILLINGFORD

Park at Shillingford Resort, then stroll 15-minute alongside the western financial institution. Please observe, the automobile park solely takes money. To journey on public transport, buses to Shillingford run from Oxford, Studying and Henley.

6 – CLIFTON HAMPDEN

Finest wild swimming within the Thames for a quiet picnic by an enthralling village

Clifton Hampden is an enthralling village stuffed with thatched homes, a beautiful church, a quaint submit workplace and a few pubs. Simply south of the village, a public meadow caresses the banks of the river earlier than dropping all the way down to a number of gently shelving seashores.

A few of the entrances into the water are a bit muddy, however a fast stroll will reveal tiny gravel seashores offering comfy entry to this engaging rural a part of the river. Bushes line the far financial institution with the odd home of the village poking between them. There are few higher locations to spend the afternoon absorbing the rays, snacking on a picnic and cooling off within the river than Clifton Hampden.

FACILITIES AT CLIFTON HAMPDEN

The Barley Mow pub is a 10-minute stroll from the swimming spot at Clifton Hampden.

HOW TO GET TO CLIFTON HAMPDEN

Park at Barley Mow pub, stroll 5 minutes alongside the street in direction of the river. Flip proper on the Thames footpath and stroll one other 5 minutes to discover a spot to leap in. Sadly, it’s not straightforward attending to Clifton Hampden by way of public transport. Buses run from Didcot, however they’re rare.

aerial shot of a man in a wetsuit swimming in a river

7 – PORT MEADOW

Finest wild swimming within the Thames on the sting of Oxford

It’s not typically you possibly can go for a swim in a river that passes via a metropolis, however you possibly can right here. On the northwest fringe of Oxford Metropolis centre, the River Thames flows via Port Meadow. The suitable for Freemen to graze their cattle on this meadow was recorded within the Domesday Guide of 1086 and that proper has been exercised ever since.

So immediately, cattle and horses proceed to graze on the verdant riverbank meadow. This implies you need to seek for a spot with out animal dung. When you do, the sting of the gently shifting river is nice for a paddle. The centre is simply deep sufficient for a number of ‘laps.’

One of the best spot for younger households is on the east financial institution simply subsequent to the Godstow Automobile Park the place there are shallow seashores. For older swimmers stroll down the western financial institution for 15 to twenty minutes and discover a spot on the financial institution within the shade of timber. Both the Perch or the Trout Inn are nice locations to get pleasure from some extent and conclude an glorious day trip in Oxford.

FACILITIES AT PORT MEADOW

The swimming areas at Port Meadow are between The Perch Inn at one finish, and the Trout Inn on the different. Each are round a 30-minute stroll from one another. There are bogs on the Godstow Automobile Park.

HOW TO GET TO PORT MEADOW

Parking at Port Meadow Godstow automobile park is free. Younger households can swim proper subsequent to the automobile park, others ought to cross over the bridge on the Trout Inn, flip left down the footpath and stroll for quarter-hour alongside the west financial institution. To journey by way of public transport to Port Meadow, take the practice to Oxford Station. From Oxford, it’s a 30-minute stroll alongside the Thames.


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8 – BUSCOT WEIR POOL

Finest wild swimming within the Thames in a big, protected pool

The additional upstream you head the smaller the River Thames will get, so discovering spots to swim will get trickier. However Buscot has solved that drawback by constructing a weir within the river which kinds a big pool. Like a big out of doors swimming pool, there’s little or no present, shallow edges and a deep centre. The entire house is surrounded by lush timber and shrubs, giving it a beautiful enclosed really feel and making it a really secure place to swim within the Thames.

Subsequent to the pool, a wide-open meadow offering plenty of house to bask within the solar, laze underneath the shade of a tree or kick a soccer round. It’s an excellent spot for teams or households with a bit of additional house to run round.

FACILITIES AT BUSCOT WEIR POOL

Buscot weir pool is run by the Nationwide Belief which has a handy automobile park, bogs and a tearoom, all situated inside 5 to 10 minutes’ stroll of the pool.

HOW TO GET TO BUSCOT WEIR POOL

Buscot Village automobile park (Nationwide Belief) is a 5-minute stroll to the weir pool. Sadly, public transport will not be a simple possibility. Buses to Lechlade run from Cirencester and Swindon. From Lechlade, it’s a 3-mile stroll.

Weir Pool on the river thames

9 – LECHLADE RIVER PARK

Finest wild swimming within the Thames for enjoyable and video games by a beautiful Cotswolds city

Simply upstream from Buscot, Lechlade River Park is a superb location for a day of enjoyable and video games on the Thames. The river curves round a big meadow with loads of house to get away from everybody or convey the entire gang – no matter takes your fancy. It’s an excellent spot to chill out within the solar and, with a lot house, you would have a recreation of cricket, kick the soccer round, or practise your Tai Chi. The close by Swindon Watersports has kayaks for rent.

After a spot of swimming within the Thames, head into the city of Lechlade – about 10 minutes from the river park. The Lynwood Café is the place to go for glorious espresso and recent pastries. Candy As Can Bee will maintain the kids sugared-up whereas The Swan Inn has an excellent pub menu.

FACILITIES AT LECHLADE RIVER PARK

There are public bogs on Burford Avenue in Lechlade & loads of cafes and pubs only a 10-minute stroll into city.

HOW TO GET TO LECHLADE RIVER PARK

Lechlade Riverside automobile park is a 5-minute stroll to the river. Buses to Lechlade run from Cirencester and Swindon. It’s a 10-minute stroll from Market Place cease.

10 – MINSTER LOVELL

Finest wild swimming close to the Thames with atmospheric, medieval ruins.

Strictly talking, Minster Lovell is on the River Windrush, nevertheless it does movement into the Thames and it’s such a great place that we needed to embody it. There’s no setting by a river within the English countryside, fairly like this.

Minster Lovell is likely one of the prettiest villages within the Cotswolds with a ruined Fifteenth-century manor home set beside the river. It’s the proper place for a picnic. The river across the ruins is waist-high, so it’s extra of a paddle than a swim.

Nonetheless, a couple of minutes’ stroll downstream, a small weir kinds a reed-fringed pool simply past it. Right here the water is deep and the present is robust. When you can’t go very far, by swimming into the movement you possibly can maintain the strokes going till you run out of power. There are extra picnic spots additional downstream for a extra rural, out of the way in which setting. All of it makes for one of many most interesting days out within the Cotswolds.

FACILITIES AT MINSTER LOVELL

The Previous Swan pub is a 10-minute stroll from swimming spots.

HOW TO GET TO MINSTER LOVELL

Park both at Minster Lovell Church (5-minute stroll to the swimming location) or on the village automobile park (a 10-minute stroll). Buses to Minster Lovell run from Oxford (learn our issues to do in Oxford information), Woodstock & Burford. The swimming is a 20-minute stroll from the White Hart cease.


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MAP / SWIMMING IN THE THAMES

That can assist you discover the perfect wild swimming spots on the Thames, we’ve marked every of the parking areas on the map. We’ve additionally indicated what we predict are the perfect spots alongside the river to leap in. Lots of the areas listed on this information have a number of good entry factors, so simply head within the common course of the swim location and discover one thing that works for you.

Easy methods to use this map / Click on on the highest left of the map to show the record of areas, then click on on the areas to show additional info. Click on on the highest proper nook of the map to open a bigger model in a brand new tab or the star to avoid wasting to your Google Maps.  


TIPS FOR SWIMMING IN THE THAMES SAFELY

1Enter the water slowly. The temperature could also be chilly, particularly so in deeper areas. If it’s your first time, keep near the shore whilst you get used to the situations.

2 – By no means soar in except your coronary heart and physique have already grow to be acclimatised, you already know what’s under the floor and have a plan on learn how to get out once more.

3 – When you really feel the present may be too sturdy for you, keep nearer to the financial institution because the water is normally slower shifting. Swim upstream first since you don’t wish to go away the extra tiring work until the top.

4 – Concentrate on the chilly as hypothermia comes on rapidly. For longer swims in summer time or any swims in winter put on a wetsuit and ensure you have heat garments to vary again into when you find yourself completed.

5 – Keep away from swimming after very heavy rain because the river can swell, grow to be harmful and it’ll even be much less clear.

6 When you plan on swimming throughout deep water then don’t go by yourself, it’s safer and extra enjoyable with others.

7 – If you’re swimming on a bit of the Thames with plenty of boats, put on a vibrant hat or take a visibility float.

8 – Keep away from areas of blue-green algae, wading in muddy areas or swimming with an open minimize.

9 – Have enjoyable and take a picnic. It’s an excellent day trip,however beware; being drunk and wild swimming isn’t a very good combine.

MORE BRITAIN READING

We’ve spent a variety of time exploring Britain, from rain-soaked outings within the Lake District to strolling historic centres. Listed below are some extra of our guides from our house nation together with widespread iconic sights and lesser-known hidden gems.

BEST OF THE UK

Finest out of doors actions within the UK

Finest UK weekend breaks

Most lovely locations to go to within the UK

THE COTSWOLDS

Our favorite issues to do within the Cotswolds to encourage your subsequent journey

Discover the perfect of the Cotswolds on these six round walks

The place to remain within the Cotswolds – finest areas & lodges

Grandeur & historical past in our favorite issues to do in Oxford

LAKE DISTRICT

Stroll Scafell Pike by way of the Hall Route for a high Lake District hike

9 adventurous actions to attempt within the Lake District

Our choose of the best walks & scrambles within the Lake District



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