Best places to go outdoor swimming in and around Derbyshire (2024)

Outdoor swimming is a joy that many people relish, whether it's in one of the few remaining open-air pools or beautiful natural bodies of water. Even when the weather turns colder, there are still opportunities for swimmers to enjoy the thrill of swimming under the open sky.

Whether you're looking to cool down and have some fun or you're training for a specific event in your wetsuit, there's bound to be an outdoor swimming spot that fits your needs. Some locations offer changing rooms, showers, and refreshments, while others provide more basic facilities.

Spring Lakes Watersports and Leisure Centre

Spring Lakes Watersports and Leisure Centre, located on Pasture Lane in Long Eaton, is currently open from Monday to Sunday for open-water swimming, as well as on bank holidays. If you're new to open-water swimming, Spring Lakes is a great place to start.

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They offer wetsuit, swimming cap, and tow float rentals, and they also have changing and toilet facilities. In addition to open-water swimming, they offer a variety of other activities - and their cafe is quite lovely.

There's ample space for both competitive swimmers and those who prefer a leisurely breaststroke and a chat. The first lake, known as Mutiny Bay on the Strava training app, has been divided into two sections by a bridge or pontoon.

This leads from the shore to the second lake, which now features changing facilities and a decked area where towels can be hung up. The second lake is approximately 1,500m in distance, although this can vary depending on the swimmer's route. A waiver must be signed and a membership card purchased for £5.

Each swim costs £6.50, with wetsuit hire available for £4, though not mandatory. Tow floats can be hired for £2 and swimming hats are sold for £10. Dogs are welcome for an additional £2.50, but they must wear a lifejacket, which is not provided.

Hathersage Swimming Pool

Located on Oddfellows Road in Hathersage, Derbyshire, the pool is an outdoor pool heated to a comfortable 27C during the summer months. It is open to the public daily from April 1 to September 30.

The pool, built in the 1930s, measures 100ft by 33ft, differing from the conventional 25m size. Efforts have been made by Hathersage Parish Council and local residents to modernise the facilities in recent years, including replacing the original changing rooms and installing disabled toilets.

Admission prices are £7.50 for adults, £6.50 for over-65s, disabled swimmers and students, £4 for those aged between four and 18, and free for those under four. A family ticket for two adults and two juniors is priced at £21. However, booking in advance is necessary as sessions sell out quickly.

Lavender Patch

Hall Croft Farm, situated on Uttoxeter Road in Hilton, is home to the Lavender Patch, a lake frequented by open-water swimming enthusiasts who swim around a circuit of about 450m. Evening swimming is organised by Derby Triathlon Club, who welcome non-members to the lake.

All participants are required to sign a waiver. A charming lake set in a scenic location, even if there's no actual lavender to be seen.

There are no changing facilities so do try to maintain your dignity when getting changed. The friendly triathlon folks will kindly look after your car keys for you.

The rates for open water swimming are generally £4 per swim for members and £5.50 per swim for non-members. For more details, including the necessary forms to fill in before swimming, check out the MVH Facebook page.

Under 18s are required to use a tow buoy. A brightly coloured swimming hat is mandatory and booking must be done online.

Midlands Open Water Swim Centre

Located in Kingsbury, Staffordshire, this pristine lake, just a 50-minute drive from Derby, offers three open-water swimming sessions a week during the summer. Sessions are available on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Parking is free but there are no changing rooms. Sessions cost £7 per hour and are ideal for those learning about open-water swimming or training for long-distance swims and triathlons. All sessions require a £20 annual insurance payment, excluding lessons, and swimmers must be over 16 years old.

David Lloyd

This health club on on Riverside Road, Pride Park, boasts a 20m heated outdoor pool that is open throughout the year. It also features an outdoor bar and sun loungers.

Throughout the summer, the outdoor pool at David Lloyd fitness club is typically open from 6am to 8pm on weekdays and from 7am to 7pm on weekends. The club is members-only, but trial period deals are often available.

The New Bath Hotel

Matlock's 1930s 100ft spring-water fed pool rarely drops below 17 degrees. Now open to the public (pre-booking required), hotel guests can use the pool for free.

The changing facilities are basic and unless you're an experienced open-water swimmer, a wetsuit is recommended. Tickets are priced at £10 and the pool is only open to those aged 18 and over.

Each session starts on the hour and lasts for 45 minutes.

Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre

For those who enjoy the exhilarating chill of cold water, the Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre at Colwick Country Park is open all year round. Membership is required for health and safety reasons, and swimmers can participate in beginners sessions, mindfulness dips, as well as early morning, evening and weekend two-hour sessions for longer distance swimming.

Mindfulness dips sound appealing. Cold water has been proven to positively affect people's mood and mental health - here's a link to some legitimate research from the British Medical Journal if you're intrigued.

It's a secure environment with coaches available, and you must have a cap and tow float. Each session costs £6 or £5 for annual affiliate members.

There are no facilities so come 'beach ready' and park at the Racecourse Road car park. You can find out more here.

Stoney Cove

An old quarry that's now a national dive centre, Stoney Cove, in Leicestershire, also welcomes open-water swimmers. The 1,000m circuit is scenic, the surroundings picturesque and there's a cafe and restaurant on site.

Being an old quarry, it is deep and quite chilly. It can also be a bit startling to see divers swimming beneath you and the sunken car, aircraft co*ckpit and even a submarine through the clear water and the showers and changing rooms are known to be excellent.

Droitwich Spa Lido

This Worcestershire spot is one of the UK's last remaining open-air saltwater swimming pools and is an 80-minute drive from Derby. There is a 40m pool, heated to 23C, and a wet play area with water cannons and fountains for children.

Entry fees are £8.50 for adults and £6.50 for children aged between two and 15, with discounts available for early morning swims. Please note that parking charges apply.

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Best places to go outdoor swimming in and around Derbyshire (2024)
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