Some people just love the outdoors. Whether that’s any outdoor activity in general, a spontaneous day trip, or a brisk swim in the sea. Swimming as a sport is the typically structured back and forth, one side of the pool to the other. As a form of exercise it gets the job done. Wild swimming on the other hand is just that – wild. While still a way to train your body, wild swimming in Liverpool is also an experience in and of itself. No tiled floors, no heated pools, and certainly no colourless cavern echoing with the screeches of tiny excited children. Just you, nature, and whatever body of water you’ve found to take a dip in. And here are 9 amazing wild swimming spots where you can do just that – all near Liverpool! It’s one of the best things to do in Liverpool before you graduate – so tick it off your student bucket list.

9. Formby Beach

Formby Beach
Source: UK Beach Guide

Location: Victoria Rd, Formby, Liverpool L37 1LJ

A diamond in the dunes, Formby Beach is a well known and popular National Trust seaside reserve where you go can go wild swimming in Liverpool. With clean water and beautiful coastal views, Formby Beach is the perfect spot for wild swimming. With water from the Irish Sea it can get quite nippy, but that could be exactly what’s needed for a refreshing swim. The waters are shallow and calm enough that it’s a safe beginner beach for novices. A perfect destination for a solitary swim, or even a trip with friends. Dogs are welcome, especially if they’re aquatically inclined.

How to get there:

By train: From the Liverpool City Centre railway station, ride the Merseyrail to Southport (platform 2) for 32 minutes (12 stops) and get off at Freshfield. Turn right and walk straight down Victoria Road for 22 minutes until reaching the beach.

8. Manley Mere

Manley Mere
Source: Manley Mere

Location: Manley Ln, Frodsham WA6 0PE8.

While still offering the opportunity for wild swimming, Manley Mere takes a more controlled approach which is best suited to beginners and nervous swimmers near Liverpool. The ‘wild’ part of wild swimming is present in the giant lake, which is inhabited by swans, ducks, and a green surrounding view. The controlled aspect comes in the form of set times for swimming, required wetsuits, and the presence of instructors/life guards to guarantee water safety – this is an important consideration for anyone making the switch from their local leisure to their local lake. Water tinged a bottle green, the lake spans up to 750m across at some points and is appealing beyond its picturesque look to wild swimmers of all kinds.

How to get there:

By train: At Liverpool Central Railway Station take the Merseyrail to Chester (platform 3) and ride for 44 minutes (15 stops). Upon leaving the station, turn right onto Station Road and walk for 7 minutes until you reach the bus stop at Lightfoot Street. Hop on the X30 to Warrington and ride for 15 minutes (19 stops). Walk down Village Road, then turn onto Manley Lane and follow it to Manley Mere.

7. North Wirral Coastal Park

North Wirral Coastal Park
Source: Community Action: Wirral

Location: Green Ln, Wallasey CH45 8NA

Running for four miles along the coast, the North Wirral Coastal Park is a nice foreshore tucked away behind the sand dunes and inland walking trails. Patrolled by a lifeguard in the summer months, this stretch of water is amazing for wild swimming opportunities. A lighthouse is stationed at the heart of the park, built in the 18th century and open to tourists the first and third Sunday of each month.

How to get there:

By train: From Liverpool Central Railway Station, ride the Merseyrail to New Brighton (Platform 3) for 18 minutes (7 stops). Disembark at Wallasey Grove Road and walk for 19 minutes alone Green Lane until you reach Green Lane Car Park.

6. Three Sisters Nature Reserve

Three Sisters Nature Reserve
Source: Twitter

Location: Three Sisters Rd, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan WN4 8DD

This giant lake hosts wild swimming sessions near Liverpool every Wednesday from 7pm to 8:30pm, running coached evenings for everyone from novice to advanced level of experience. Less than an hour away from the city centre, Three Sisters Nature Reserve promises both a lovely view and a brilliant experience – whether you’re there just for the wild swimming or to try your hand at their other activities, like bird watching, hiking, and cycling.

How to get there:

From Liverpool Lime Street Station, take the Northern rail to Wigan North Western (platform 4) and ride for 37 minutes (11 stops). Disembark at Byrn and walk for 16 minutes up Lockett Road.

5. Leasowe Bay

Leasowe Bay

Location: Wallasey CH45 8LW

Leasowe Bay is the flawless example of an amazing wild swimming spot and has lots to offer visitors in the form of a sandy shore and a welcoming surf. If the wild swimming isn’t an option, and the beach fails to meet your photographic needs, try turning your camera towards the sandy dunes or in the direction of the horizon. Swimming at sunset must truly be a beautiful experience when it takes place at Leasowe Bay.

How to get there:

By train: From Liverpool Central Railway Station, hop on the Merseyrail headed to New Brighton (platform 3) and ride it for 17 minutes (6 stops). Disembark at Wallasey Village, and walk for about 27 minutes to the location.

4. West Kirby Beach

West Kirby Beach
Source: Trip Advisor

Location: West Kirby, Wirral CH48 0QG

For being an urbanised area, Liverpool and its surrounding cities have a surprising beach and coastal presence, and West Kirby Beach just happens to be one of the more charming examples. The beach is easily accessible by foot and car, and as a result is a fairly popular spot among both locals and even out-of-town visitors. So, keep in mind when you head out for what you hope to be a quiet swim and find yourself crowded by the masses.

How to get there:

By train: from Liverpool Central Railway Station, hop on the Merseyrail headed to West Kirby (platform 3) and ride it for 32 minutes (12 stops). Disembark, then walk down Dee Lane for 4 minutes until you reach the beach.

3. Crosby Coastal Park

Crosby Coastal Park
Source: Visit Southport

Location: 12 Marmion Rd, Waterloo, Liverpool L22 8QA

Pebbles’ abound along this expanse of the coastline, so take care when putting on your wetsuits unless you fancy having a rather uncomfortable swim. Whether you’re swimming with your friends or by yourself, your time spent at Crosby Coastal Park will never be truly alone. Because, of course, Antony Gormley’s ‘Another Place’ is within walking distance from the park  and so the beaches alone this stretch of coastline are the constant home to iron men.

How to get there:

By bus: At Queen Square Bus Station, hop on the 53Q headed to Great Crosby and ride it for 38 minutes (33 stops). Disembark at Blucher Street and walk for 4 minutes until you reach the Crosby Coastal Park Car Park.

2. Carr Mill Dam

Carr Mill Dam
Source: Walkiees

Location: Billinge, Saint Helens WA11 7LZ

Carr Mill Dam is filled with a freshwater source, bordered by all shades of green foliage. As a result, its still-life presentation has earned it a place on this list of 10 amazing wild swimming spots near Liverpool. Tranquil, refreshing, beautiful – the Carr Mill Dam is near-perfect and has more to offer than just swimming. Experiment with some boating or water skiing, maybe traverse inland for some old-fashioned walking, if the water tips towards the wrong side of ‘brisk’.

How to get there:

By train: From Liverpool Lime Street Station, hop on the northern rail to Blackpool North (platform 4) and ride it for 17 minutes (2 stops). Disembark at St Helen’s Central, and head towards bus station. Hop on the 352 to Wigan and ride it for 10 minutes (12 stops). Disembark at Carr Mill Road.

1. Caldy Beach

Caldy beach
Source: Trip Advisor

Location: Birkenhead, Wirral CH48 2JL

Just up the road from West Kirby Beach, Caldy Beach offers the chance for a more solitary swim. With small, tucked-away sections of sand, Caldy promises a less crowded experience no matter the time of day. With an entourage of mostly seagulls for company, it’s all the more possible to truly enjoy your wild swimming experience at his beach.

How to get there:

By train: From Liverpool Central Railway Station, hop on the Merseyrail headed towards West Kirby (platform 3) for 32 minutes (12 stops). Disembark at West Kirby and walk for 2 minutes until you reach the West Kirby bus station. Then, hop on the 82 going to Caldy and ride for 9 minutes (7 stops) until you reach Croft Drive West. Walk along Croft Drive for 10 minutes until you reach the beach.

If you’re big into wild swimming and want to try some more places, check out these guides: