In recent years, the UK has seen a surge in the popularity of wild swimming, transforming tranquil lakes, rivers, and coastal waters into havens for enthusiasts seeking a refreshing escape from urban life. This revival of this age-old practice is fuelled by a desire for a deeper connection with nature and the mental and physical health benefits it brings. Instagram feeds are now brimming with snapshots of swimmers plunging into crystal-clear waters at dawn, braving chilly temperatures, and basking in the serenity of untamed landscapes. Celebrities and wellness influencers too are championing the cause, turning wild swimming into not just a pastime but a cultural phenomenon that celebrates the rugged beauty of the UK's natural waterways. From the remote lakes of the Lake District to the gentle rivers of the South West, wild swimming represents a return to life’s simple pleasures, a plunge into the invigorating embrace of nature.

The First Wild Swimming Festival

Now, channelling our collective love of a wild dip, comes the launch of the Swanage-based Wild Swimming Festival, a two-day event beside the sea that will feature all the festival classics, such as live music and local food and drink, alongside a host of water-based activities.

Dorset Launches Its Inaugural Wild Swimming Festival

For those itching to dive straight in, there will be guided swims with open water coaches and lifeguards, as well as water safety session (on which note, you may wish to leave the imbibing for post swim celebrations). There will also be personal challenges or revellers can choose to join one of the small group guided swims of Swanage's Victorian Piers, Dancing Ledge, Old Harry Rocks or a hike and dip at Durlston Bay. And for those who want to get serious, there will be 4km Jurassic Swim Challenge, from Monkey Beach, past the Town Quay & Banjo Pier to Sheps Hollow and back again.

Swanage, on the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset, is a delightful place to swim due to its clean and safe waters, sandy beach, and sheltered bay, which create calm conditions ideal for families and swimmers of all ages. The picturesque surroundings of the Jurassic Coast add scenic beauty to the experience.

This is one we’ll be back year-on-year for.