Splash! 9 wild swimming spots in Suffolk and Cambs
It's getting hot in here, so take off all your clothes! Now dive into our guide to the best open water swimming locations in Suffolk and Cambs. Just kindly refrain from bombing, running or petting please.
It’s scorchio weather and the summer holidays are here – how better to fill this time than a spot of open water swimming? We have plenty of idyllic lakes, coastline and stretches of river in our area to take the plunge, but remember to stay safe (don’t swim alone) and do your due diligence before you rock up. Sunscreen. Towels. Drinking water. Salty snacks. Go!
Fritton Lake, part of the Somerleyton Estate, Suffolk
Who needs Soho Farmhouse when you’ve got this sustainable, must-join private members club on your doorstep? Straddling the border with Norfolk at Fritton and Someleyton, Fritton Lake has a collection of high end holiday lodges around the gin-clear waters of a beautiful lake. If you stay here (or buy a membership) you can enjoy all sorts of activities too, including open water swimming.
Little Ouse River at Santon Downham, near Brandon
This little village on the Norfolk border is one of the prettiest places in Suffolk. Nestled in Thetford Forest and along the Little Ouse River, there are miles of Forestry Commission maintained walking, cycling and horse riding routes to enjoy. If you park at St Helen’s Picnic Site you’ll be able to directly access the river from a little beach area and head off for a wild swim (or paddle as we did this summer!).
Dedham and Flatford on the River Stour
Want to swim in the most picturesque of places? How about a dip in Constable Country’s river at Dedham and Flatford. Take the plunge in the two-metre deep river pools near Fen Bridge (the footbridge is currently closed, but you can still access the water). Just watch out for the weeds and rowing boats that are always bobbing past – or you can always hire one from The Kitchen @ Dedham if you want to play on the water as well as in it.
The River Waveney at Outney Common, Bungay
There’s a 3km stretch of idyllic river for open water swimming in the River Waveney at Outney Common. An early pioneer of wild swimming said this was his favourite stretch of river to swim in in the entire country!
Walberswick Beach at the mouth of the River Blyth
Totally scenic place to swim with wild, marram-grass covered dunes as your backdrop. Definitely an Insta-worthy dip and when you’re finished and craving carbs, nip into Walberswick village to pick up some finger-licking good halloumi fries from The Anchor.
Grantchester Meadows isn’t just for a leisurely stroll after filling your boots with scones at The Orchard Tea Rooms or enjoying a roast dinner at one of the many gorgeous pubs (The Rupert Brooke being our top pick). The deep banks mean strong swimmers can dive in, but being a river there’s some mud and weeds to contend with. But the lure of those scones ought to keep you going!
The Mill Pond by the Houghton Mill NT is an idyllic stretch of river flowing through traditional water meadows though we wouldn’t recommend going in if the water mill is working (not all that often, don’t worry). It’s a great spot for launching a kayak or canoe, if you prefer to stay dry and there’s a handy car park nearby.
Milton Country Park
You can swim in Todd’s Pit, a former chalk pit at Milton Country Park Milton Country Park, which has crystal clear waters and isn’t scarily deep so it’s a good place to start out on your wild swimming journey. Plus the water is regularly tested and is “excellent” quality so you can be sure you’re not picking up any nasties. You have to book an organised session here, so don’t just pitch up with your wetsuit!
You can get some pro coaching in wild swimming at Ride Leisure at Wyboston Lakes. There are ex athletes and triathletes on hand to guide you in the best ways to open water swim and the lake is a clean and idyllic place to learn or take your swimming to the next level.