15 places in the South East to swim outside and beat the heat this weekend

WITH temperatures in the UK set to rise to 34C in parts of southern England tomorrow, it’s worth finding a spot for a cool dip.

Fortunately, wild swimming guru Daniel Start has written a new book called Outdoor Swimming London, featuring 140 different places to swim outdoors in the south east.

The Jubilee River in Taplow is a popular spot for wild swimming and paddle boarding

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The Jubilee River in Taplow is a popular spot for wild swimming and paddle boardingCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

We’ve put together a list of some of the best places where you can go for an outdoor dip within easy reach of London, from the book.

1. Jubilee River, TaplowBuckinghamshire

The Marsh Lane weir and Taplow Riverside Park are just two locations along the Jubilee River perfect for wild swimming.

The riverbank above the weir provides a great entry point for swimmers, while kayakers and paddle-boarders are also frequent visitors to this spot.

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The Riverside Park meanwhile has lots of grassy space that would also be great for picnics and plenty of small river beaches to provide easy access to the water.

The Marsh Lane weir can be found by GPS at 51.5144, -0.6848 and parking is available at the nearby Marsh Lane car park, which may cost.

2. Chertsey Mead, ChertseySurrey

People frequently swim in the Thames at Chertsey Mead in Surrey

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People frequently swim in the Thames at Chertsey Mead in SurreyCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

This spot along the Thames in Surrey offers another opportunity for wild swimming, with an inviting river beach to allow swimmers easy access to the water.

The presence of herons, kingfishers and other wildlife add to the wild swimming experience.

GPS coordinates for Chertsey Mead are 51.3882, -0.4793. Parking is available about 200m away at Chertsey Meads car park.

3. Pynesfield Lakes, RickmansworthHertfordshire

Pynesfield lake in Rickmansworth is popular with both swimmers and anglers

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Pynesfield lake in Rickmansworth is popular with both swimmers and anglersCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

A footpath divides two natural lakes at this spot near Rickmansworth in southwest Hertfordshire, providing a great place for people to go for a dip.

Daniel Start warns that the spot is also popular with anglers however, so there could be some lakeside disagreements, with swimmers likely to scare away potential catch.

The lakes can be found by GPS at 51.6093, -0.5038, with parking available along Old Uxbridge Road.

4. Glen Faba, HarlowEssex

Glen Faba lake can be found in Roydon in Harlow

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Glen Faba lake can be found in Roydon in HarlowCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Roydon in Harlow, Essex, is home to a wild lake surrounded by fields.

Access to the lake can be gained along the river Stort and is 1.2 miles walk from Roydon station.

GPS coordinates for Glen Faba are 51.7657, -0.0193. Parking is available at Roydon Marina Village.

5. Beckenham Place Park, Beckenhamsouth London

Beckenham Place Park Lake was built specifically for swimming in 2019

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Beckenham Place Park Lake was built specifically for swimming in 2019Credit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

This is a relatively small lake in a massive area of ​​parkland in south London.

The 237-acre former golf club was made a public park as recently as 2016, while the lake was built specifically for swimming three years after.

According to Daniel Start, this swimming spot does require an entrance fee and must be booked online ahead of arrival.

The lake can be found at GPS 51.4205, -0.0143 and those arriving by car can park at Beckenham Place car park for a fee.

6. Divers Cove, GodstoneSurrey

Divers Cove in Godstone, Surrey, is open for outdoor swimming year-round

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Divers Cove in Godstone, Surrey, is open for outdoor swimming year-roundCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Another place that requires an entrance fee is this reservoir in Surrey that is surrounded by a dense silver birch wood.

The dedicated open-water swimming venue is open year-round, and unlike some of the wilder locations on the list, it combines outdoor swimming with changing rooms, toilets and a cafe serving hot and cold drinks and homemade sausage rolls.

The Cove’s GPS location is 51.2515, -0.0735 and there is on-site parking for cars, accessible from North Park Lane.

7. Guildford Lido, Surrey

The 50-metre outdoor pool in Guildford offers six lanes for swimming

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The 50-metre outdoor pool in Guildford offers six lanes for swimmingCredit: Reuters

For those interested in swimming in less rugged surroundings, lidos offer the outdoor swimming experience without the need to first walk through woods and fields.

The 50-metre outdoor pool in Guildford offers six lanes for swimmers, as well as steps with handrails and a hoist for those with disabilities.

According to Daniel Start, there are also wooden poolside lockers, a small kiosk serving drinks and snacks and separate food outlet selling Mexican food.

Limited on-site parking is on offer at the lido, which can be found by GPS at 51.2469, -0.5699.

8. Sonning DownstreamSonning, Berkshire

Sonning is a popular wild swimming spot along the Thames Path

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Sonning is a popular wild swimming spot along the Thames PathCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Another of several places along the Thames Path suitable for swimming is Sonning in Berkshire, where the calm waters towards Shiplake can be entered via several river beaches.

The nearby Bull Inn offers people another way to refresh themselves after cooling off in the river.

To get to the right bank, use GPS coordinates 51.4850, -0.9023, while the left bank can be found at 51.4855, -0.9020. Parking can be found on the nearby Charvil House Road before a walk along the Thames Path to the river.

9. Oracle Beach, ReadingBerkshire

People frequently use Oracle Beach at Reading for outdoor swimming

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People frequently use Oracle Beach at Reading for outdoor swimmingCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Further along the Thames Path from Sonning is Reading, also in Berkshire, where Oracle Beach offers wild swimming opportunities year-round.

Parking is available on Thames Valley Park Drive, while the beach itself can be found at 51.4624, -0.9372.

10. Highgate Ponds, Hampstead Heathnorth London

Hampstead Heath has male, female and mixed outdoor swimming ponds

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Hampstead Heath has male, female and mixed outdoor swimming pondsCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

The ponds in Hampstead Heath are a year-round big hit with outdoor swimmers in London.

Three ponds provide male-only, female-only and mixed swimming for a small fee.

Those arriving at the Heath by car can park at the East Heath car park.

The ladies’ pond can be found at 51.5672, -0.1590, the men’s pond is at 51.5635, -0.1561 and the mixed pond is at 51.5608, -0.1662.

11. South Lodge Hotel, HorshamSussex

South Lodge Hotel in Horsham has an outdoor swimming pond as well as a hydrotherapy pool

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South Lodge Hotel in Horsham has an outdoor swimming pond as well as a hydrotherapy poolCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Wild swimming may not seem like an elegant hobby, but in this Sussex hotel guests can have a dip in a pond in the surroundings of a Jacobean spa.

A hydrotherapy pool, saunas and steam rooms offer other treatments, while an indoor infinity pool allows less adventurous swimmers the chance to cool off too.

The snack and cocktail bar and restaurant can provide further refreshment. Unsurprisingly, access comes at a cost.

The hotel is at GPS coordinates 51.0155, -0.2641 and parking is free on-site.

12. Hartham Weir, HertfordHertfordshire

The river Beane in Hertford is often used for wild swimming during the summer

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The river Beane in Hertford is often used for wild swimming during the summerCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

A splash in the river Beane is available to people in Hertford, with a sandy beach at Hartham weir the perfect entry point.

According to Daniel Start, bolder swimmers can swing into the water on a rope about 30 meters upstream from the beach.

Swimmers arriving by car should park near St Leonard’s church and follow the path signposted Bengeo Old House.

GPS coordinates for the weir are 51.8063, 0.0687.

13. Wycombe Rye Lido, High WycombeBuckinghamshire

Wycombe Rye read has both a 33-metre pool and a smaller toddler pool

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Wycombe Rye read has both a 33-metre pool and a smaller toddler poolCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

This 33m outdoor pool in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, also offers plenty of sunbathing space in the surrounding grass.

There is also a smaller toddler pool on site so parents can take their children to cool off too.

The lido is at 51.6231, -0.7386, while parking is available on-site for a fee.

14. Royal Docks, near Greenwich, London

Royal Docks in London is now a popular swimming destination

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Royal Docks in London is now a popular swimming destinationCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

What was once the largest docklands in the world is now a giant private lake, open to outdoor swimmers.

Lifeguards in kayaks ensure that it is a safe place for a dip, while 400m, 750m and 1,500m markers are available for anyone planning to cover some distance.

A floating bar that serves pizza is the perfect place to relax following a splash.

The docks can be found at 51.50607, -0.0170 and the nearest available parking is at Dockside Road parking for a fee.

15. Buckland Park Lake, ReigateSurrey

This outdoor lagoon run by the Surrey Hills Adventure Club not only offers swimming, but paddle boarding too.

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The private lake is flanked on either side by tall white cliffs, making it one of the more dramatic locations on our list.

A lakeside van serves food and there is ample sunbathing and picnic space, as well as changing facilities.

Buckland Park can be reached with GPS coordinates 51.2426, -0.2445 and has free on-site parking.

Sonning is a popular wild swimming spot along the Thames Path

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Sonning is a popular wild swimming spot along the Thames PathCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing
Daniel Start's Outdoor Swimming London, features 140 different places to swim outdoors in the south east

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Daniel Start’s Outdoor Swimming London, features 140 different places to swim outdoors in the south eastCredit: Daniel Start / Wild Things Publishing

Daniel Start’s Outdoor Swimming London, featuring 140 different places to swim outdoors in the south east is available to buy for £18.99 now.

Anyone looking for cool off in the sea instead of lidos or rivers can try this list of best hidden beaches in the country, which was also created with help from Daniel Start, while last minute seaside breaks are also available.

Other lidos and outdoor pools can be found across the country, some of which will be quieter than others.

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