wild swimming spots near brighton

9 amazing wild swimming spots near Brighton

Swimming is a great form of exercise, and it’s something that’s just so fun to do on a nice day with your friends. Wild swimming is no different, just a little bit more exciting and scenic! So here are 9 amazing wild swimming spots near Brighton. Just make sure you swim safely!

1. Cuckmere Meanders 

cuckmere meanders wild swimming
Source: National Trust

Location: Seven Sisters Country Park 

Near Cuckmere Haven, just down from the Seven Sisters Country Park carpark, this winding river cuts through some of the most gorgeous East Sussex scenery. The waterways allow visitors to explore the place where the South Downs meet the English Channel, and provides a safe place for wild swimming. As well as the meanders themselves, there are oxbow lakes which are large and shallow with average quality water, and the River Cuck which is only suitable for seasoned, confident swimmers.

How to get there:

By bus: From Brighton, hop on the 12X outside Charles Street Tap and ride for 48 minutes (17 stops). Get off at Seven Sisters Country Park, and walk down from the bus stop along the river (towards the sea).

2. Tide Mills 

tide mills wild swimming brighton
Source: Yamp Camp

Location: Between Newhaven and Seaford

This stretch of beach is a paradise away from the busy seafront of Brighton. It is undeveloped and surrounded by low lying grassland. Not only is it a lovely place to wild swim, but it also has a derelict village from the 1700s for all of your Instagram needs.

How to get there: 

By bus: From Brighton, hop on the 12 to Seaford outside Charles Street Tap and ride for 52 minutes (43 stops). Get off at Tide Mills and walk down to the seafront.

3. Barcombe Mills

wild swimming in lewes
Source: Thryve

Location: River Ouse, Lewes 

Barcombe Mills is well-known by East Sussex residents. It is a 5km stretch of deep and clear water. Swimmers should be careful entering the water though, as the banks are steep. People use the river for boating, fishing and swimming due to its lack of current.

How to get here: 

By bus: From Brighton, hop on the 29 Regency at Old Steine and ride for 42 minutes (28 stops). Get off at Barcombe Mills Road and walk for 15 minutes around the fields.

4. Waller’s Haven

walls haven wild swimming
Source: Geograph

Location: Hailsham

This river is slow flowing and is approximately 15 feet deep. It has a concrete jetty and is a beautiful spot for swimming. There are willows surrounding the water, keeping it shaded and cool.

How to get there: 

By bus: From Brighton, hop on the 12X Coaster at Sea Life Centre and ride for 1 hour and 7 minutes (31 stops). Get off at Cornfield Road, and hop on the 99 to Silverhill. Ride for 25 minutes (27 stops) and get off at The Lamb Inn. Walk for 25 minutes.

5. Litlington

Litlington wild swimming
Source: Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals

Location: Polegate

Further inland from the Cuckmere Meanders, the river Cuckmere runs through the quaint little village of Litlington. It is tidal and surrounded by grasslands. At high tide, the river is perfect for swimming. At lowtide, the water is a little muddy.

How to get there: 

By bus: From Brighton, hop on the 12A to Eastbourne Town Centre from the Sea Life Centre and ride for 59 minutes (60 stops). Get off at Hastings Avenue and get on the 126 to Berwick, ride for 5 minutes (2 stops) and get off at Frog Firle Youth Hostel, then walk for 10 minutes.

6. The River Rother

midhurst wild swimming
Source: Weald Tri Club

Location: Midhurst 

Just a short walk from the ruins of Cowdray Castle in Midhurst, this West Sussex river is a favourite amongst wild swimmers. It has a gentle current and is only about 5 feet deep with gentle banks, so it’s perfect for any families or less confident swimmers. Plus, the banks are surrounded by trees, making them the perfect place for a picnic.

How to get there: 

From Brighton station, get a Southern train to Chichester. From there, walk to South Street and get the 60 bus to Midhurst. Ride the bus for 42 minutes (42 stops) and get off at the Bus Station. Then walk for about 5 minutes down the causeway, and then along the river until you reach the grass path which takes you to the beach.

7. Bury

bury wild swimming
Source: Thryve

Location: Pulborough 

Hidden away between the downs, the River Arun and the Pulborough Brooks Nature Reserve, Bury is a tiny little town with a great wild swimming spot. It is tidal and surrounded by grassy fields. The clear water is accessible by stairs down to the river by the church.

How to get there:

From Brighton, get a Southern train to Chichester. Walk from Chichester station to South Street and hop on a 71 bus to Storrington. Ride the bus for 32 minutes (15 stops) to Village Hill, and walk to Church Lane. 

8. Norman’s Bay

Norman's Bay wild swimming
Source: UK Beach Guide

Location: Near Bexhill

Norman’s Bay is an isolated shingle beach with pretty scenery and privacy. If you’re a confident swimmer it is definitely worth a visit, but be aware there are no lifeguards nearby, and if you continue up the coast you may find yourself at the naturist beach Cooden.

How to get there:

From Brighton, get the 29 bus to Tunbridge Wells and ride for 29 minutes (18 stops). Get off at the Law Courts and walk to Lewes train station. Get on the train to Eastbourne and get off at Hampden Park. There, swap to the train to Ashford International and get off at Norman’s Bay.

9. Bosham Hoe

borsham hoe wild swimming
Source: Michael Cornish

Location: Chichester Habour

This stretch of water is surrounded by plenty of interesting things, so you’ll never get bored. It’s a fairly sheltered place to swim and you’ll have plenty of seabird guests whilst you swim. Just make sure you watch out for boats and ensure you are really visible.

How to get there:

From Brighton, get the train to Havant. Once there, get the bus from Havant bus station to Southwood Shops and walk for about 17 minutes.

Once you’re done, or if swimming really isn’t your thing, why not check out all these things to do in Brighton? Or maybe go for a bottomless brunch? Enjoy it whilst you’re there!

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