Dive in here to the five best sites about swimming in the open air.

Imagine if there was a simple way to feel healthier, fitter and happier? There is! All you need is to take a swim outdoors.

The poet Lord Byron put it on the map in 1810 when he swam several miles to cross the Dardenelles. In the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the swimming competition was held in open water. Today – perhaps as an antidote to an increasingly sedentary culture – people of all ages and abilities have a serious passion for splashing. It’s a full body workout, does wonders for your general wellbeing and can cost nothing – so it is no wonder that wild swimming is having a wildly popular moment.

Here we select the five best sites about swimming in the open air.

WILD SWIMMING


Wherever you are in the UK, this website will guide you to the best rivers, lakes and coves for an open-water swim. The blog is brilliant, too, for tips on how to make the most of the wild-swimming experience.

THE OUTDOOR SWIMMING SOCIETY


Created in 2006, the Outdoor Swimming Society extols the virtues of swimming outside. With beautiful pictures and uplifting articles (on, for example, the joy of lidos or the best river swims), it provides a space for a community of independent spirits to share their pleasure.

RUDE HEALTH


You probably know Rude Health as a trendy, London-based food and drinks company and café – but it is also a passionate proponent of the wild-swimming movement. Visit their perky site for information on the wild swims they run up and down the country, all year round. The research alone is rejuvenating.

THE WILD SWIMMING BROTHERS


The website of three brothers who promote wild swimming and conservation, this one is a visual delight. The middle brother, Calum Hudson, says: “We want to inspire people of all ages to take part in wild swimming. It holds a special place in all three of our hearts. It has changed our lives. By swimming different rivers, ponds, lakes and seas we hope to encourage others to live more creatively, whilst also reconnecting with the natural world.” Their articles, reviews and upbeat style are endlessly encouraging.

SWIM ENGLAND


What this site lacks in gorgeous, whimsical photography and motivational language, it makes up for in practical information, news, advice and shopping opportunities.

If you need further inspiration to take the plunge, read The Lido by Libby Page, a heart-warming novel about a friendship made beside the pool, and Leap In: A Woman, Some Waves and the Will to Swim, in which Alexandra Heminsley conquers her fear of swimming in the ocean.

July 2018