Taking the plunge | outdoor swimming spots in Bristol

The weather’s hotting up, so we’ve rounded up Bristol’s best open air watering holes, perfect for swimming and more!

Clevedon Marine Lake

170 Old Church Road, Clevedon BS21 7TU

Offering the kind of views on a sunny day that can rival that of a European holiday destination, Clevedon Marine Lake is a year-round hotspot for those that love outdoor swimming. A tidal pool, the marine is filled with seawater from the Bristol Channel every spring tide. Owned by North Somerset Council, visitors are welcome to swim, paddleboard, and canoe in the 15,000m² of safe sea, two-thirds of which is less than five foot deep. No need to book, but make sure to look for the flags flying when you arrive or check the website beforehand – red flags equal poor water quality and no swimming.

Portishead Open Air Pool

Esplanade Road, Portishead, BS20 7HD

Portishead Open Air Pool is a 33m heated community pool, situated right next to the Bristol Channel. This pool offers much more than just views, with a paddling pool for children and lanes set up for those looking to do some serious lengths as well as those just wanting to cool off and splash around.  Online pre-booking advised as swim slots get busy particularly in the summer months.

Cromhall Quarry

Cromhall Quarry Woodend, Wotton-Under-Edge GL12 8AA

Home to the South West Maritime Academy, Cromhall Quarry offers a surface area of 9.5 acres of clear turquoise water, at a depth of 55ft. A very popular wild swimming spot, the quarry is open for supervised swimming sessions over the weekends and Thursday evenings. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can also book onto diving sessions here and various other boating qualifications – more details online. 

Bristol Lido

Oakfield Place, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2BJ

If you’re after a more luxurious experience, then Bristol is lucky enough to have its own lido hidden within the streets of Clifton. The refurbished Victorian pool is heated, and also home to a suite of spa facilities and treatments, as well as a highly acclaimed restaurant. Pre-booking essential. 

The Wave

Washingpool Farm Main Road, Easter Compton, Bristol, BS35 5RE

The ultimate inland surfing destination – The Wave Bristol is the first of its kind. Offering lessons for ages and abilities, it’s the perfect place to cool off on a summer’s day and learn a new skill. If you’re unsure, then why not pop down first and soak up the surprisingly beach-like atmosphere with a drink and some lunch at the bar/restaurant.

Paddleboarding at Bristol Harbour

Baltic Wharf Cumberland Road, Bristol BS1 6XG

Is there any better place to learn or expand on a new skill than Bristol’s historic harbourside? From lessons to adventure tours, hire your board, grab a paddle and take to the water! Online pre-booking essential.

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