Clevedon Pools aerial view by Casey Ryder.2019.jpg

The best outdoor swimming spots in and around Bristol

Last updated on Tuesday 2 July 2024

Bristol, with its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, offers more than just city life. For those seeking refreshing outdoor swimming experiences, the region boasts a variety of beautiful spots.

Whether you're a seasoned wild swimmer or a beginner looking for a splash, here's a guide to the best outdoor swimming locations in and around Bristol.

Best outdoor swimming spots in and around Bristol


Clevedon Marine Lake

Located just 14 miles from Bristol, Clevedon Marine Lake is a popular spot for open-water swimming enthusiasts. This tidal lake offers a unique experience as it's filled by the sea during high tides, providing a refreshing saltwater swim. With its historical charm and scenic views of the Bristol Channel, Clevedon Marine Lake is perfect for a leisurely swim or more rigorous training sessions.


  • Tidal saltwater lake
  • Picturesque views of the Bristol Channel
  • Suitable for all swimming levels


Portishead Open Air Pool

A short drive from Bristol, Portishead Open Air Pool is an ideal spot for those who prefer a more controlled environment while still enjoying the outdoors. This heated, 33-meter pool is perfect for families and serious swimmers alike. Its Art Deco design adds a touch of elegance, and the poolside café is a great place to relax post-swim.


  • Heated pool for year-round swimming
  • Family-friendly facilities
  • Café with poolside views


Warleigh Weir

For a truly wild swimming experience, Warleigh Weir near Bath, just a 30-minute drive from Bristol, is a must-visit. This natural spot along the River Avon offers serene surroundings and clear waters. It's a popular location for picnics and lazy summer afternoons. Just be mindful of the current and always swim with caution.


  • Natural swimming in the River Avon
  • Idyllic countryside setting
  • Great for picnics and relaxation
Warleigh Weir

Chew Valley Lake

Chew Valley Lake, located about 13 miles south of Bristol, is not only a reservoir but also a great spot for open-water swimming. The lake is surrounded by beautiful countryside, making it a peaceful escape from the city. The Bristol Triathlon Club frequently hosts events here, ensuring it's a safe and well-maintained spot for swimming.


  • Scenic lake with countryside views
  • Regular swimming events and triathlons
  • Birdwatching opportunities


Henleaze Lake

A hidden gem within Bristol, Henleaze Lake is a private members-only lake offering a tranquil swimming experience. It's one of the oldest swimming lakes in the UK, with a rich history dating back to 1919. Membership is required, but it's well worth it for the serene and clean waters, along with the sense of community.


  • Exclusive, members-only lake
  • Historical significance
  • Peaceful and clean swimming environment


Vobster Quay

For those willing to travel a bit further, Vobster Quay in Somerset, approximately an hour's drive from Bristol, offers an adventurous swimming experience. This former quarry has been transformed into an inland diving and open-water swimming venue. The clear waters and underwater attractions make it a unique spot for swimming and diving.


  • Crystal-clear quarry waters
  • Ideal for swimming and diving
  • Underwater attractions


Bristol Lido

Nestled in the heart of Clifton, the Bristol Lido is a historic gem offering an outdoor swimming experience with a touch of luxury. Originally opened in 1850, the Lido has been beautifully restored and now features a 24-meter outdoor pool, hot tub, sauna, and steam room. It's a perfect spot for those looking to relax and unwind in an elegant setting.


  • 24-meter heated outdoor pool
  • Spa facilities including hot tub, sauna, and steam room
  • On-site restaurant offering delicious meals and refreshments


Bristol and its surrounding areas offer an array of outdoor swimming spots that cater to all preferences and skill levels.

Whether you prefer the structured environment of a pool or the freedom of wild swimming in rivers and lakes, you're sure to find a perfect spot to dive in. So, grab your swimsuit, embrace the natural beauty, and enjoy the invigorating experience of outdoor swimming in and around Bristol!

Looking for more outdoor activities to try in Bristol? Take a look at our other outdoor experiences.

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