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Swim Holidays in The South West

Wild Swim in Devon and Cornwall

Our swimming holidays are for the “water babies”, “the explorers”, the “swimmers” and the “dippers”.

We offer two types of swim tours – one is geared towards the ‘wild dippers’ and our newly launched longer swim trips are for the ‘explorer swimmer’. One highlight of both tours includes swimming or dipping the mythical Bantham Swoosh, a swim journey down the Avon estuary to Bantham Beach, inspired by The Outdoor Swimming Society. 

Our small group tours (maximum 16 people) are the perfect balance of exploration and adventure and are designed to immerse guests in some of the most iconic swims in Devon and Cornwall. Fuelled by cake, wonderful food and good company, we’ll take you on a journey like no other – we link the most stunning sea, estuary, lake, river, lido and sea pool swims into a magical tour that you’ll remember for a lifetime.

Join one of our friendly groups, meet like-minded people and discover new and swim spots and landscapes – from the water up!

Choose your Swimming Holiday in England Here

Short Swims

Devon Swimming Weekend

3 Day - FORTNIGHTLY - Starting Fridays

Devon Mid-Week Swimming Break

4 Day - FORTNIGHTLY - Starting Tuesdays

Cornwall Mid-Week Swimming Break

4 Day - FORTNIGHTLY - Starting Tuesdays

Long Swims

LONG SWIMS – Devon Weekend Swimming Break

3 Day - SELECTED DATES - Starting Fridays

LONG Swims – Devon Mid-Week Swimming Break

4 Day - SELECTED DATES - Starting Tuesdays

Our Tours Are Rated 97% Excellent by Trip Advisor

  • star rating  Fabulous, fun packed weekend with experienced guides. We swam in beautiful locations and were fed well and thoroughly looked after. Swimming ability was not an issue as there were always... read more

    Jo M
    9/25/2021

    star rating  We had a fantastic 3 day weekend in South Devon. The guides were very friendly, helpful and informative. They took us to lots of unique and different locations and we... read more

    EBlow
    9/11/2021

    star rating  Amazing trip. Super well organized and fantastic guides and driver. So much fun. The sites were good, swimming was not too difficult, the water was chilly so definitely recommend... read more

    adelefrancesca
    8/31/2021
  • star rating  I chose the 3 day swimming trip in Devon and it was fabulous! Varied swims in rivers, the sea and an outdoor lido and no pressure to do longer swims... read more

    katesH6367IS
    8/26/2021

    star rating  Great guides who made our trip really enjoyable. There was no pressure to swim beyond your ability and we had time to chill. I really liked the variety of locations... read more

    I3906NEjop
    8/26/2021

    star rating  My short midweek break was a delightful experience throughout with beautiful swimming and excellent organisation. The team were efficient yet relaxed and friendly, helpful and accommodating. The group was possibly... read more

    jodY76RO
    8/25/2021
  • star rating  The variety was great - from coasts to rivers to lidos. However what elevated this to a fantastic few days was our guides. They were professional, fun, and paid such... read more

    Kath S
    8/24/2021

    star rating  Devon Swim Tour. A fantastic experience, wonderful variety of swims. A fun bunch of people to swim with and great itinerary. The whole experience superbly executed by... read more

    L2872QMlynnr
    8/24/2021

    star rating  This is our 3rd time traveling with Active England and we wouldn’t travel thru England any other way. They are incredibly thoughtful to work with. They made the stressful planning... read more

    rhondagreenberg
    8/13/2021
  • star rating  The swimming weekend in Devon was a joy from start to finish. Locations, local knowledge, and the expertise and good humour of the guides made it an experience I... read more

    mimmmihe
    8/12/2021

    star rating  I thoroughly enjoyed the 4 day swim trip with fabulous guides and friendly fellow swimmers, amazing locations and varied, highly enjoyable swims in clear waters. The guides were super friendly... read more

    Bea_Sti7
    8/10/2021

    star rating  Fabulous swim locations, expert guidance, congenial company, comfortable hotel - all put together with thorough planning and lots of smiles

    155jennier
    8/09/2021
  • star rating  Brilliant 3 day swimming trip to South Devon. Excellent organisation, value for money and leadership by enthusiastic, knowledgeable and fun guides. There was a good range of swimming... read more

    lindarW9525KU
    8/09/2021

    star rating  A fantastic weekend of swims led by enthusiastic, experienced and friendly guides. The two leaders and our driver could not have done more to make the weekend a memorable and... read more

    Elaine K
    8/09/2021

    star rating  We took the 4 days swimming tour in Cornwall. It was a great experience with plenty of opportunities to swim in this beautiful part of England. The tour was very... read more

    Mariaswimm
    8/05/2021
  • star rating  We had the most wonderful short break on Dartmoor, swimming and walking, our guides were enthusiastic and very well informed on local knowledge.

    sallypope1954
    7/22/2021

    star rating  We had the most fantastic 4-day Devon swim tour with Active England - everything was perfectly organised making everything so easy for us, the swims were beautiful, varied and... read more

    bronwynf503
    7/21/2021

    star rating  My 6-day cycling trip in Kent was wonderful. This was my 4th trip with Active England (2 in the Cotswolds, 1 in the Cotswolds/Devon/Cornwall - a custom made trip -... read more

    LH1957
    1/16/2020

What is Wild Swimming?

Wild Swimming is “the practice or activity of swimming for pleasure in natural waters”, and in England we are spoilt for choice! Discover the best hidden away lakes, pools, beaches, coves and rivers for a splash, swim, dip or float. Each day we’ll have 2 or 3 swims, walking to those isolated places you can only access by foot!

We’re for all swimmers, from the head-up breast-strokers to the triathletes, there’s an abundance of swimming options on all tours, each day. We’re not competitive, this trip is all about the journey and exploring some fantastic wild swimming spots in our favourite places. Finish each day in a country pub or a cosy hotel with some  wonderful food and in great company.

A Joyful World of Watery Adventure

Guided by our outstanding team, we know every beach and cove, bend in the river, lake, lagoon and sea pool. We’ve found the best beach picnic stops, local pubs, walking routes and more! You won’t need to worry about any of your luggage transfers, bookings or equipment – we’ve got that all taken care of. 

What you need to know before your Swim Holiday - FAQs

Do I need to be good at swimming to go on a wild swimming holiday?

We require guests to be competent swimmers and walkers. All guests must be able to swim 400m unsupported before joining this tour. Each day we have short and long swimming options to suit different types and strengths of guests, our guides are there to help you enjoy your holiday with us, swimming at your own pace and in your own time!

Do I need to be a fast swimmer to go wild swimming?

Not at all – we are not racers! You can swim as much or as little as you like! For safety, we require that you are a competent swimmer (see the above question and answer) however this tour is designed to be a great mix of swimming and walking (to access the swims) each day, with plenty of time to relax in the evenings. 

How safe is the swimming?

We make sure that the swimming is as safe as possible

  • Our groups are a maximum of 16 people
  • We will have at least one guide per 8 swimmers and support will be always with you either on the shore of kayak / SUP
  • All our guides are qualifies RLSS lifeguards and have in date First Aid Qualifications
  • We only swim when it is safe and at the discretion of our guides, taking into account tide and weather conditions

Do you provide wetsuits and tow floats on your wild swimming holidays?

No. We strongly recommend that you bring a wetsuit on these trips – even for the hardy skin-swimmers, you’ll get much more out of our Swim-Walk tours with the option of a wetsuit. All guests are required to bring their own tow floats – these are essential for safety and visability.

What do I need to bring for my wild swimming adventure; do you have kit list?

For all our tours we will send out kit lists in plenty of time before your tour. 

  • It’s completely up to guests what they swim in, however we recommend wetsuits in April – June as the waters are still chilly! For “skins” swimmers, we ask for evidence that they are swimming regularly in advance of the tour. 
  • We provide brightly coloured hats for all guests
  • Tow-floats are mandatory, for visibility purposes 

What else do I need to bring?

  • We highly recommend bringing warm clothes – Dry robe / dressing gown etc – for after you have swum
  • Hats / warm shoes are also highly recommended
  • Beach shoes – such as crocs are required although flip flops are not recommended (to flimsy on rocky beaches)
  • Walking shoes / a strong pair of trainers are required as there are walks of up to 2 miles to access the more remote swimming locations
  • A walking jacket / trousers, should the weather be inclement
  • Relaxed evening attire – nothing smart needed!

Can I join as a solo traveller?

All our trips are open for single travellers to join, these trips are a great way to meet social, like-minded people, active and looking for a great holiday. “As a single female, I would not hesitate to go on another Active England trip as a solo traveller”. S.G. Over 30% of our guests travel alone and swimmers are always very accommodating and welcoming. Solo guests have the option to have a room on their own or share with another guest.

What do you do if the sea is too rough?

We assess, daily, the sea conditions and only swim when it is safe

  • There are alternative swims available each day in lakes / rivers / lidos / sea pools etc
  • We are very flexible with our timing and will often have a pre-breakfast swim if we know the weather is closing in

Do I have to be a certain age?

All guests have to be over the age of 18 for our group departures. We do run private family tours, where children are allowed, if accompanied by an an adult.

Do we wear wetsuits or 'skins'?

It’s completely up to guests what they swim in, however we recommend wetsuits in April – June as the waters are still chilly! For “skins” swimmers, we ask for evidence that they are swimming regularly in advance of the tour. 

  • We provide brightly coloured hats for all guests
  • Tow-floats are mandatory, for visibility purposes 

What is included on a swim holiday?

We try and make our swimming tours as simple as possible, with the following included on all tours

  • All accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
  • One or two picnic lunches, depending on the length of the tour
  • One or two dinners, depending on the length of the tours
  • Fully qualified Guides on every swim, either on the shore/ bank or on sea craft
  • Guides for all other needs – from early in the morning till last thing at night
  • All transport – we have a fleet of vehicles to transport you between swims 
  • Luggage transfers 

What is not included on a swim holiday?

  • All meals not indicated as above
  • Swimming equipment, e.g. wetsuit, googles, tow floats (which are mandatory)
  • Evening drinks

Wild Swimming Photo Gallery