The Best Open Water Swimming Spots Near Cardiff


Whether you live in Cardiff or you’re travelling there for a holiday, you’re going to want to know the best places to enjoy wild swimming in the Welsh waters. We’ve compiled a list of all the top open water swimming spots you need to try out in and around the Welsh capital of Cardiff. 

When swimming in open water, it’s vital that you’re aware of the dangers of wild swimming and know how to stay safe while out in the water. Although venues don’t always require safety equipment, we strongly recommend always wearing a brightly coloured swim cap and a tow float or dry bag.

Radyr Weir

  • Location: Radyr, Cardiff
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

Along the River Taff in the Cardiff suburb of Radyr is the Radyr Weir. With gentle flowing water, swimming next to the Weir isn’t possible as it’s too shallow. However, further upstream you’ll find 3m deep water, ideal for open water swimming. If you’re looking for more of a social wild swimming experience, the Taffy Dippers often swim in the areas surrounding the Radyr Weir (and know all the best and safest spots along this stretch of water).

It’s important to mention here that the River Taff is prone to flash flooding. Therefore, you should never swim here (or in any river) after heavy rainfall.


  • Location: Penarth, Cardiff
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

Another swim location on the outskirts of Cardiff that you can either swim at independently or part of a local swim group is at Penarth beach. If you’re an early riser and would love an early morning dip before work, you could join the Dawn Stalkers sea swimming club. The group meets every morning just before dawn on Penarth beach and enjoy a swim while watching the sun rise over the water.

This beach is a mixture between sand and pebbles and sometimes it can be a little bit of a walk to the edge of the water. Therefore, the Dawn Stalkers recommend wearing water shoes to make getting in and out of the water easier and more comfortable. If you do decide to swim independently at Penarth, make sure you are aware of the strong and quick changing currents and avoid them where possible.

Barry Island

  • Location: Barry
  • Price: Free (£11 for organised sessions)
  • Supervised?: Sometimes

Just down the coast from Cardiff is Barry Island. Although anyone can swim off Barry Island at any time (it’s free to swim at the beach), we love this beach for its supervised wild swimming sessions.

All or Nothing Events run regular open water swimming sessions throughout the summer season. These sessions are for swimmers of different levels to improve their cold open water swimming skill (including topics like sighting, currents, waves, cold water immersion, and much more). It’s £11 to join the hour-long sessions and you will need to wear a wetsuit, swim cap, and goggles.

Jackson’s Bay

  • Location: Barry
  • Price: Free
  • Supervised?: No

If Barry Island gets too busy for you, there is a quieter option just round the corner at Jackson’s Bay. Jackson’s Bay is more secluded, creating a pretty little get away for a tranquil open water swim. This sheltered sandy beach is 170m long and has a gentle slope into the water. This makes it easy for swimmers of any age and ability to safely be able to get in and out of the water.

Enjoy swimming with the view out across the Bristol channel towards Western-super-Mare on one side and the pretty cliffs and greenery of Jackson’s Bay on the other. However, when swimming here, you do need to be careful of submerged rocks and the strong currents within the Bristol Channel.

Four Waterfalls Walk

  • Location: Ystradfellte
  • Price: Free 
  • Supervised?: No

The final outdoor swimming spot on our list is the waterfalls and pools along the Four Waterfalls walk, just over an hour's drive north of Cardiff. Although this spot is a bit of a trek from Cardiff, it’s so pretty that we couldn’t not mention it. 

The 9.3 mile hike through the southern Brecon Beacons takes you through some beautiful scenery and past some great swimming spots, all the way to the final (and the best) waterfall and swimming spot - Sgd Yr Eira. Here you can walk behind the waterfall and dive through the flowing water into the pool below, making for a magical wild swimming experience.

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