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Where to go wild swimming in Wales holiday cottages

Where to go wild swimming in Wales

Kate W 27 July 2020

If you’re seeking a holiday destination where you can go wild swimming, you’ll be spoilt for choice with a break to Wales. After all, this country is brimming with crystal clear plunge pools, magical waterfalls and enchanting seaside haunts, so you’ll soon find a place for wild swimming to suit you.

Wild swimming has steadily gained in popularity over the last few years, yet many wild swim spots remain relatively unknown and boast an unspoilt beauty. We’ve uncovered a few of these lesser-known places to wild swim throughout rugged North Wales, rural Mid Wales and scenic South Wales, often in tranquil or remote destinations where you can be sure of peace and quiet alongside spectacular scenery.

Every one of these fantastic regions we recommend could be just as easily enjoyed with a bit of paddling and a picnic if you don’t fancy diving in and due to the remote nature of some of these beauty spots, please take precautions to ensure you are safe. 

Read on and pick a beautiful destination for a dip during your Wales getaway. If you are ready to find your perfect hideaway for your next wild swimming holiday, take a peek at our collection of cottages in Wales.

1. Keeper’s Pond, Blaenavon

Set atop a hill above Blaenavon, manmade Keeper’s Pond was originally created in the early 19th century to provide water for a local forge. While the forge has long since disappeared, the glistening waters of this unique wild swimming destination continue to entrance visitors, and this pond has become a renowned beauty spot for walkers and wild swimmers in Wales.

It’s easy to see what makes this place so special for wild swimming. The surrounding landscape is composed of the Blaenavon World Heritage Site and the views are spectacular, while the pond itself stretches to the edge of the hill similar to an infinity pool.

Facilities: Car park – no other facilities.

Walk: The Iron Mountain Trail – a challenging 12-mile route that takes you around the Blorenge Mountain and can be split into two smaller circular trails if you prefer. The car park is right next to Keeper’s Pond, so no need to walk to reach this wild swimming spot.

2. Criccieth Beach, Llyn Peninsula

An enchanting sandy beach set in the remote reaches of North Wales, Criccieth Beach feels like a destination that belongs in a fairy tale. The curved bay has shallow waters and golden sands and is backed by ancient castle ruins which are set on a rocky headland, providing a remarkable backdrop to days by the sea.

There are wonderful amenities in the relaxed small-town setting of Criccieth, with cafes, shops and a train station so you can explore the region without relying on the car.

Facilities: A promenade runs along the back of the beach with access points for those with limited mobility. There are cafes, shops and pubs in the town of Criccieth.

Walk: Circular Walk around Criccieth – explore the town and visit the magnificent castle while following this walking route.

3. Devil's Bridge Falls, Aberystwyth

Glide through freshwater pools beneath a tumbling waterfall at this magical wild swimming spot in Mid Wales. The Three Bridges, which are built one on top of the other, are a unique attraction at the heart of this beauty spot, so ensure you visit before diving into the freshwater pool below Devil’s Bridge Falls. According to legend, the Devil built the first bridge for an old lady in return for the soul of the first person to cross…

Writers and artists including William Wordsworth and George Borrow have been inspired by this stunning setting and we’ve no doubt you will be too during your North Wales wild swim. It’s just 500 metres from the Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway Station – a fantastic way to travel through this region.

Facilities: Free car park and no other facilities; nearest café is at the train station (500 metres).

Walk: Devil’s Bridge Falls Walk – follow this nature trail to get to know this excellent beauty spot.

4. Barafundle Bay, Pembrokeshire

Down south in Pembrokeshire National Park you can seek out Barafundle Bay for a sea swim at one of Wales’ best beaches. The nearest car park is half a mile away, but that only adds to the tranquillity and unspoilt beauty of this South Wales wild swimming destination.

Barafundle Bay is part of the Stackpole Estate, cared for by the National Trust, and there are two other exquisite beaches on the estate where you might like to enjoy a wild swim during your holiday: Broadhaven South and Freshwater West. Visit this picture-postcard coastline out of season when it is more likely to be empty and you can feel as though you’re the only people left in the world.

Facilities: Few facilities due to the remote location. Toilets and café at the Stackpole Quay Car Park, half a mile from the beach.

Walk: Barafundle Bay Walk – this is the route from Stackpole Quay to Barafundle Beach.

5. Llyn Idwal and the Devils Kitchen, Snowdonia

Hidden in the Glyderau mountain range you’ll find the small freshwater lake of Llyn Idwal, a dramatic place for wild swimming in Snowdonia with a dark legend – it was named after an ancient prince who drowned there.

The sad story doesn’t detract from this lake’s enchanting beauty. Mountains tower over the lake and provide an epic backdrop for freshwater swimming in Wales with friends and family, and while there, you can also see the Devil’s Kitchen, a crag that splits the rock of Clogwyn y Geifr nearby. Despite the remote location of this wild swimming spot, the scenic landscape is very popular with walkers.

Facilities: There’s a car park, toilets and a visitor centre about a mile from this lake in North Wales.

Walk: Cwm Idwal Walk – 3-mile circular walk that takes you from the visitor centre around Llyn Idwal and past the Devil’s Kitchen.

6. Blue Lagoon, Abereiddi, Pembrokeshire

Another fantastic Pembrokeshire location, the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi offers – as you might have already guessed – wonderfully blue waters for a wild swim in South Wales. It was once a slate quarry and ancient quarry buildings still line the clifftop, while today, the lagoon has become a popular place for holidaymakers to enjoy days out by the sea.

It has also become a water sports hot spot, so you could rent kayaks or book a coasteering tour if you’d like to try a few other activities during your Pembrokeshire holiday. The Blue Lagoon has even hosted The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series three times.

Facilities: There are toilets and a car park behind Abereiddi Bay beach, but otherwise limited facilities.

Walk: Porthgain to Abereiddi Coastal Walk – follow the Wales Coast Path for a 4-mile walk with breathtaking ocean views.

7. Llyn Gwynant and Elephant Rock, Snowdonia

This stunning lake, with cliffs to one side and a sloping beach to the other, is a delightful place for wild swimming in North Wales. With a trip to Llyn Gwynant, you’re just 3 miles from Snowdonia Peak, perfect if you’re planning some serious walking during your holiday.

It is managed by Llyn Gwynant Campsite but day visitors are welcome to explore and take a dip in the tranquil water for a charge. The sandy beach makes it a wonderful wild swim spot for families; kids and adults can paddle up to their knees if they don’t feel like taking the plunge during your day out.

Facilities: Car park and boat hire available for day visitors.

Walk: Nant Gwynant Circular Walk – enjoy this circular stroll around the edge of one of Wales’ most beautiful lakes.

8. Mwnt Beach, Cardigan Bay, Pembrokeshire

A perfect place for wildlife watching during your Wales wild swim, Mwnt Beach on the west coast is a quiet destination where you might spot dolphins diving through the sea or seals playing in the waves.

Escape for a day trip to this serene secluded bay, protected by cliffs and a grassy headland, and you could build sandcastles, soak up the sun or relax with a walk along the shore before going for a swim through the shallow, turquoise waters of this alluring cove.

Facilities: Small café/shop and toilets

Walk: Circular Walk Cardigan / Mwnt – take in the Teifi Estuary, Mwnt Chapel, and this National Trust-managed beach with this circular walking route.

9. Watkin Path Waterfall Pools, Snowdonia

A series of amazing pools with crystal clear water so you can see the bottom as you paddle around; take your pick of places to swim or paddle along this Snowdonia trail. The Watkin Path Waterfall Pools offers wonderful wild swimming spots in North Wales and is a great way to spend your day in one of the UK’s most spectacular national parks.

The Watkin Path can take you all the way to the top of Mount Snowdon, but if you prefer swimming to hiking, you can simply head straight to the plunge pools for an afternoon’s wild swim in Snowdonia before returning the way you came.

Facilities: At Pont Bethania Car Park there is a café but no other facilities due to the remote nature of this region.

Walk: Watkins Path Waterfalls Walk – walk up Mount Snowdon by following this scenic route past waterfalls and natural pools.

10. Llyn y Fan Fach, Brecon Beacons

In the picturesque Brecon Beacons National Park, there’s a host of scenic surroundings, breathtaking views and wonderful wildlife, and a place where you can discover all of this is Llyn y Fan Fach, meaning ‘Lake of the small Beacon Hill’.

This glacial lake set below scenic mountains boasts its own intriguing legend – it’s not hard to see why this beautiful destination would inspire folk tales of otherworldly creatures. Visit to enjoy a wild swim in the Brecon Beacons and take in this region’s natural beauty for yourself.

Facilities: Due to its remote location there is a car park but no other facilities.

Walk: Llyn y Fan Fach Walk – head off on this easy 4-mile walk to take in a winding river, impressive mountain ridge, and views of picturesque Carmarthenshire.  

Take a look at our map of where to go wild swimming in Wales


Seek out a holiday cottage where you can cosy up after a long day of wild swimming in Wales. You might like to unwind in a luxury holiday let, a rustic log cabin or a stylish apartment; whatever holiday home you prefer, you’ll find it in our collection of Wales accommodation.

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Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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