10 best self-catering stays for wild swimming across the UK

Abigail Blasi
·5-min read
best self-catering accommodation wild swimming 2021 summer holidays uk - Getty
best self-catering accommodation wild swimming 2021 summer holidays uk - Getty

Wild swimming is a passion for many and the UK has a plethora of holiday lets where you can swim in tinglingly fresh water just a few metres from your front door. For more information on safe wild swimming see the Wild Swimming Society.

Best self-catering UK wild swimming stays

1. Your own private waterfall

The Swaledale Yurts are as Mongolian as Yorkshire gets, with wood-carved doors, central wood burners, and fur rugs. On the banks of the River Swale, this Yorkshire Dales meadow has its own private waterfall, Rainby Force, which descends into a large pool that gets the heat of the sun. There’s even a link up with Dales Dipper, run by Les Pickles, who takes groups on guided wild swimming sessions.

Doubles from £89/119 midweek/weekends; good availability Apr-Aug.

Idyllic Swaledale - Getty
Idyllic Swaledale - Getty

2. Suffolk houseboat

A 1897 Dutch sailing skutsje, Twee Gebroeders is a houseboat on the River Alde in Suffolk. It’s moored next to the former holiday home of Arthur Ransome, setting for two of his children’s stories, so this is an ideal location for channelling Swallows and Amazons as you splash.

Sleeps 4; price starts from £550/990 for 4 nights in low/high season; good availability Apr-Aug.

The River Alde - Getty
The River Alde - Getty

3. Lakes escape

Poet, critic, artist and conservationist John Ruskin loved the Lake District so much he bought the Brantwood Estate and set about making it his own, adding a turret and laying out a garden. His former home has 500 acres of land, sits on the banks of Coniston Water, and has a Grade II-listed lodge to rent, right at the water’s edge. The Lodge at Brantwood has soul-feeding views over lake and fell, and plenty of nearby swimming spots.

Sleeps 9; starts from £525/670 (4/9 people) for 3 nights; good availability Apr, May, Jun, some in Jul & Sep.

4. Quirky Cornwall

Kudhva in Cornwall is a 45-acre former quarry, overtaken by gorse and greenery. Views sweep over the periwinkle blue Cornish coastline, overlooked by an Grade II-listed engine house. There are four otherworldly, angular architectural pods and a larger Danish cabin, as well as simple-life tipis. The cabins intertwine with ancient trees and have wicker hanging chairs on shady terraces, and the quarry has two wild swimming lakes, and a hidden waterfall.

Kudhva pods sleep 2; £246-314 for 2 nights; good availability Apr-Aug.

Taking a dip at Kudhva
Taking a dip at Kudhva

5. Irish bubble

Stay in a giant bubble to gaze at the stars at Finn Lough Resort, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland. These forest pods are set in woods on the banks of Lough Erne – the second biggest lake system in Northern Ireland. A digital detox, the domes are nonetheless as lush as it gets, featuring a four-poster bed, waterfall shower, vintage record player, under-floor heating and telescope. At the resort’s ‘forest concept spa’, you can refresh via the float cabin; traditional Finnish sauna and lake plunge.

Forest bubble dome from £275/night double; some availability Apr-Aug.

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6. Cheshire chic

Combermere Abbey is a grand monastical estate in Cheshire, with Gothic arched windows, emerald-green grounds that wrap up orchards, woodland, lawns and formal gardens, and crenellated walls reminiscent of a particularly fine wedding cake. There are 10 self-catering country-chic, antique-filled cottages, and the UK’s largest private lake, so you’re ideally placed for invigorating wild swims in mirror-flat water.

Sleeps 4; 4 bed cottage 3 nights £405; good availability April & May, plus 2 & 3-night breaks June-August.

Combermere Abbey
Combermere Abbey

7. Hot and cold

At the edge of the Argyll Forest Park, pine-covered mountains meet shimmering Loch Long where 40 wood cabins sit at the water’s edge. Beyond, there are 720 square miles of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park to explore. In case the water’s too chilly for your taste, you can eagle spot and overlook the loch from your hot tub.

Sleep up to 6; 4pp cabin £2060 7 nights in Aug; Some availability Apr-Aug.

Argyll Forest Park - Getty
Argyll Forest Park - Getty

8. Off-grid Wales

Eco One Cat Farm is only three miles from the coast and the pastel-painted Georgian Harbour town of Aberaeron, in mid-West Wales. The farm’s meadowlands have wooden cabin glamping options, all simple places where you will wake up to the sound of birdsong before heading down to swim in the lilypad-dotted pool. Wood-fired hot tubs and roaring campfires complete the off-grid idyll.

Cabins sleep 4-5; 2 nights £198; availability Apr-June, limited in July & Aug.

9. Scottish boathouse

Immersed in Cairngorms glory, the whitewashed Boat House at Rothie is a dreamy countryside house, with wood burners, sprigged wallpaper, wood panels, soft blankets, fur rugs, velvet sofas, and rolltop bathtubs. It’s surrounded by wilderness where you can spot shaggy highland cattle, red squirrels, herons and roe deer, and take the plunge into the beautiful chill of the River Spey.

Sleeps 6; £2500-4000 per week; good availability Apr-June, limited in July & Aug.

Inside the Boat House at Rothie
Inside the Boat House at Rothie

10. Norfolk treehouse

In Norfolk, the eco-friendly West Lexham Treehouses are seven wood-built structures set in 21 acres of woodland, meadows, ancient trees, lakes and formal gardens. ‘Tree temples’ sit close to the ground, while the treehouses are on stilts in the canopy, but all are hidden in greenery and have open campfires for nights of stargazing. There’s a wild swimming lake with rowing boats.

Sleeps 2-6; £250-400/night; some availability Apr-Aug.