Introducing Active England’s Swimming Holidays – With Will Cairns

Swim Trips Throughout Devon and Cornwall

Hi, I’m Will and I run Active England.

It’s been a long held ambition of mine to launch swimming tours into the UK market to complement the range of cycling, walking and adventure tours we have been running for the last 10 years.

The inspiration for our new tours was a solo swim from Mullion Cove, Cornwall, post lockdown where I finally figured out that there are so many iconic and inspirational swims right on our doorstep and we have the means (the guides, vehicles, accommodation, insurances and operational expertise) to put swimming tours together. In my B&B that night I listed down all the great swims I knew in Devon and Cornwall – there were about 40. I drew a map and figured that two swims a day, some walking to access the swims and with beach cafes and seaside pubs and restaurants thrown in, we could make the perfect swimming holiday.

Mullion Cove

Some of the swims and dips are well-known – but normally swum early morning or late afternoon – and some are just iconic, for example Broadsands Beach (North Devon) and Sharrah Pool (Dartmoor), Carbis Bay (St Ives) and Lantic Bay (nr Fowey). Our legendary lunchtime beach picnics, cafes, sundowner pubs and restaurants are all part of the experience but at the end of the day the tours are only as good as the people on them and the guides!

The most important ingredient of a swimming tour is the people – and no tour works well without a mixture of like-minded souls who corral themselves into a big, sometimes slightly dysfunctional family over a week long experience. There is a wonderful community in outdoor / wild swimming, and you only have to go to your local river/lake (in my case the Thames in Oxford), or lake (Queenford near Oxford) to see the sheer joy that swimming brings for all, whether you are a “dipper”, an all year round “Polar Bear” or a hardcore triathlete smashing out 10k.

As part of our guide training, we tell new guides that “we are a people business, not a cycling, walking or swimming business,” and as a guide, if you get and love people then you will probably be a great guide. We take our training very seriously and all guides have First Aid, and Water Safety Training through the NWSMP to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our guests.

My two mantras at Active England are “love what you do” and “don’t be a di*k,” and I still have not met a swimmer who is!

In 2015 I was apprehensive of the cold water and did not understand how my body would react to the cold, so I took a lesson from Tri Swim Coaching and was hooked straight away. My swimming is OK, but no more than that, but it has improved steadily over the years and after a couple of longer 10k swims down the Dart (with thanks to Kate Rew and the wonderful OSS team), the Thames Marathon in 2019 (with thanks to Henley Swim and Selkie) and a couple of Swimtrek holidays (the Gold Standard swimming holiday). I’m still hooked and determined to share my passion with the wider swimming community.

Inclusive and for everyone, our swimming holidays are starting in May 2021 and we look forward to welcoming like-minded people who are up for a swimming adventure.

With kind regards


Cornwall Wild Swimming – 6 Day Holiday

Devon Wild Swimming – 6 Day Holiday

Cornwall Wild Swimming – 4 Day Holiday

Devon Wild Swimming – 4 Day Holiday

Devon Swimming – 3 Day Wild Swimming Weekend

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