Buckinghamshire is a beautiful county that lies just north-west of London. The ideal location for enjoying the peace of the countryside while being just a stone's throw away from the hustle and bustle of London. With a range of lakes and rivers dotted across the county, whether you live towards Milton Keynes in the north or towards the Chiltern Hills in the south, your next wild swimming location is closer than you think.
When you go swimming in open water, it’s vital that you’re aware of the dangers around you and that you follow safety precautions so you can have an enjoyable, safe swim.
Denham Waterski Club
- Location: Denham
- Price: £8-10
- Swim course length: 370m & 500m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat
Denham Waterski Club offers a variety of water sports as well as open water swimming on their 20 acre lake. Although you don’t have to be a NOWCA member to swim here, it is recommended for safety reasons (you’ll also get a £2 discount per swim). Facilities at the club include changing rooms and showers to help you warm up after your swim. You could also have a post swim drink at the bar.
- Location: Milton Keynes
- Price: £6
- Swim course length: 400m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat & tow float/bag
Towards the east of Milton Keynes you’ll find the beautiful Willen Lake. Nestled within 6,000 acres of parkland, this lake offers a triangular swim circuit of 400m. Before being able to swim at Willen Lake, you will need to get NOWCA membership (and pre-book your swims online) and you’ll need to take a few minutes to attend the venue's pre-swimming safety briefing.
This is a great wild swimming location with excellent facilities like changing rooms, showers, lockers (bring your own padlock), and a cafe. You could also combine your swim with a family day out due to the range of children's activities available both on the lake, and in the surrounding parkland.
Westhorpe Water Sports
- Location: Marlow
- Price: £5
- Swim course length: 400m, 750m, & 1500m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat & wetsuit or tow float/bag (must use tow float/bag on 1500m circuit)
Westhorpe Water Sports is another outdoor venue that offers water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding as well as wild swimming. With a swim session costing just £5, this is one of the cheapest swim venues on this list. This venue is also open all year round so you can pop in for an open water swimming throughout the seasons. However, if you’re just starting out in open water, or you don’t swim in open water regularly, we recommend starting in the warmer summer weather.
As you will need a tow float or dry bag to swim the largest circuit, and you’ll either need to wear a wetsuit or use a float on the other circuits, we recommend making life easier by always using a float. This will not only make you safer in the water, but it gives you the freedom of swimming any of the three circuits and changing circuits while in the water.
- Location: Maidenhead
- Price: £6.50
- Swim course length: 100m & 400m
- Requirements: Bright coloured swim hat (not green) & wetsuit or tow float/bag (must use tow float/bag in water under 10°C)
On the southern border of Buckinghamshire with Berkshire is Taplow Lakeside. This family owned business offers wild swimming sessions as well as wild swimming courses, including general wild swimming skills, front crawl technique, and introduction courses. There’s also the option of having a buddy swim with you on your first few swims, ideal for those new to open water swimming.
Olney Swimming Steps
- Location: Olney
Located next to the Olney recreation ground are a number of wide concrete steps leading into the River Great Ouse. People have been happily swimming off these steps for decades. Although there is a sign here advising against swimming, swimming is not banned on this stretch of the River Great Ouse. However, we would recommend only swimming here if you are confident in open water. This is due to the slight current and the occasional weeds as well as the usual dangers of wild swimming.