Manchester may be known for being wet and cold, but the summer months often bring blazing sunshine and blue skies. There are no outdoor pools in the city itself so when the temperatures soar, but there are several wild swimming destinations within an hour’s drive of the city centre. Here are five of the best spots to cool off close to Manchester.
Pickmere is slightly closer to Manchester, just a 45 minute drive from the city centre. This large lake may flaunt ‘no swimming’ signs, but that doesn’t stop it being a popular wild swimming destination. There are many places where you can enter the water, but one of the best spots is the small jetty through the undergrowth, if you turn right after walking down from the car park. The water drops off suddenly and there is quite a lot of debris on the bottom, so this isn’t the best place to bring children and you’ll definitely want to wear swim shoes.
If you’re looking for a really wild swim, head to Lumb Falls just outside Hebden Bridge (an hour and 15 minute drive from Manchester). Ensure that you have a good Ordnance Survey map with you to find your destination, as it’s a little tricky to locate, despite being just a short walk from the road. You’ll have to walk down a steep cobbled path and scramble down the riverbank, but it’s more than worth it to swim in a pool that looks like something out of a fairy tale. More adventurous types can climb up the waterfall and jump into the deep waters, while anyone looking for a relaxing swim can simply float in the pool.
If you’re a hardened swimmer, own a wet suit and are more bothered about actually swimming outdoors than searching for picturesque surroundings, you don’t even need to leave the city. Salford Watersports Centre hold open water swimming sessions twice a week, allowing serious swimmers to dive into the Manchester Ship Canal. You’ll have to pay to join up and sign several forms before they let you get wet, but if you’re really into your outdoor swimming, what are you waiting for?