Guided Wild Swimming Holiday in Devon

At a Glance

Take the plunge and immerse yourself in some of Devon’s most tantalising swimming spots, coves and beaches

The perfect blend of exploration and relaxation, with at least two swims planned per day. Embark on a journey through South Devon like no other as you discover the most stunning sea and estuary swims, and enjoy some of the South West Coast Path’s most incredible views.

Along the way, enjoy excellent local cuisine, great company and our favourite hotels and B&B’s. With hand-picked local experts guiding you every step of the way, Active England promises a 4-day swimming adventure that’ll leave you refreshed and revived.

Your Itinerary

Arriving into Exeter St Davids for 12pm, our guides will meet you at the station and take a short transfer into the heart of Dartmoor. We’ll take a picnic lunch with us and walk to the tucked-away Sharrah Pool. A local gem and an incredible swimming experience, we hike through beautiful woodland walk in the National Park to reach the pool’s otherworldly location. As the afternoon draws to a close, we transfer toward the rural South Hams, where we’ll spend our first evening together as a group.

We start our first full day by joining the friendly Tinside outdoor swimming community for an early-morning dip in the sea, sticking around after for a warm cuppa and a chat about their sea-swimming adventures. In poor weather, or if you would simply prefer, the Tinside lido is also well worth a visit. We then take the ferry over to Cornwall, for a spot of lunch and a refreshing swim between the attractive villages of Kingsand and Cawsand. We board the ferry again toward the end of the afternoon, for our return journey to Plymouth.

We transfer to Hope Cove for a brisk morning swim in the stunning surroundings of the horseshoe bay. Lunching in a charming seaside café, if the tide is low we then have the option to visit the goldensands of Bigbury Beach, where we float down the famous Avon Estuary “Swoosh.” We may also swim to the beautiful village of Challaborough, making the most of the crystal-clear waters before returning to Bigbury. Our exact itinerary will be dependent on the tides, but whatever the conditions, our local guides will ensure you make the absolute most of the day.

If time allows, we’ll have one last early-morning swim before saying our goodbyes. From there, your guide will return you back to Exeter St David’s for your onward travel.


Handpicked Accommodation

Swim Devon - 3* Option
Northgate House

Devon - 3* Option

Northgate House
Situated within the gardens of magnificent Buckfast Abbey on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, Northgate House Hotel offers comfortable bedrooms, an à la carte dinner menu, traditional English or continental breakfast, a relaxing bar area and sun terrace.

What our guides say...

Swimming in Devon is magical: hidden pools on Dartmoor, glorious beaches and sandy coves.

  • All accommodation as indicated on the itinerary
  • All breakfasts
  • All special events, iconic points of interests, expert guests and entrance fees
  • All transportation from rendezvous to farewell locations
  • All baggage transportation
  • All gratuities for baggage, porters and hotel service
  • Services of a professional local guide

We stay in 3* hotels or B&Bs on our swim trips.

This tour is rated moderate, meaning it’s appropriate for guests who enjoy a good swim or a gentle wild dip. Your holiday will be tailored by your guide to suit your individual preferences. Rewarding views are guaranteed!

Please bring a tow float, swim cap and wetsuit.

Pick-up location: Exeter St Davids railway station. Our swimming holidays are designed to be completely relaxing, with the start of our tours sitting within easy reach of London, Bristol or the Midlands. This tour begins from Exeter St Davids, a direct 2-hour train journey out of London, so that you can begin your holiday stress-free.
End-of-tour location: Exeter St Davids or Plymouth railway station.

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 trained by the Royal Life Saving Society 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 from April until 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 (too 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?
Absolutely! 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 from April until June as the waters are still chilly! For “skins” swimmers, we ask for evidence that they are swimming regularly in advance of the tour.

What’s 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
  • 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’s 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

Make this trip private

Our private tours offer complete freedom to customize your trip. Base your tour on one of our scheduled departures, or tailor a bespoke experience to match your every expectation. We love combining our knowledge of England with our expertise in planning and delivering the best adventure trips.

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