It’s summertime! That means two things: 1) exams are done and 2) it’s hot again. Because it’s hot again, that means you’ll need methods of cooling down in the heat. Open water swimming can be a great way to do this. It combines the fun of going swimming in a large lake with the perfect aesthetics for an Instagram story, with the added benefit of cooling you down in a heatwave. If you have no idea where to start, let this article guide you. Here are some of the best places to go open water swimming in Nottingham. 


Where to go open water swimming in Nottingham
Source: LoveOpenWater Swimming

This one is a little out of the way at Hoveringham Lake, but it is just a 20-minute train ride from Nottingham Station. LoveOpenWater operates open water swimming there, in a peaceful lake in the heart of the countryside. To be able to swim here, you need to first pay the £15 annual NOWCA (National Open Water Coaching Association) membership, then each swim will cost you £6.50. While that may seem like a lot, the annual membership allows you to go open-water swimming across the country. There are a number of different safety measures, which should provide you with the comfort and reassurance you need to enjoy open water swimming here. 

Address: Notts County Sailing Club, NG14 7JX

Spring Lakes Watersports Centre

Where to go open water swimming in Nottingham
Source: Spring Lakes

Spring Lakes Watersports Centre is in Long Eaton, about 45 minutes away from the University of Nottingham’s University Park campus by public transport. To swim here, it costs £5 for a membership card and then £6.50 per swim, meaning that the whole thing comes out to about £11.50. That’s a reasonable rate if you ask me. Plus, if you happen to have a dog, you can bring them with you! Dogs can swim here for the small price of £2.50, provided they (and you) follow all of the safety measures of course. 

Address: Pasture Lane, NG10 2FZ

Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre

Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre
Source: Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre Facebook

Nottingham City Open Water Swimming Centre is in Colwick Park, just east of the city centre. This differs from the other options on the list as it is coached open-water swimming. So, this is the perfect option if you want to try open-water swimming but may not be as confident in the water. You still have to pay to swim, but you have the option to “try before you buy” with a one-off swim for £10. The full membership costs are on the more expensive side though, as the annual adult open water membership is £25, then each swim is £6. 

Address: Colwick Country Park, NG2 4BH

Safety Tips:

Of course, open-water swimming can be risky if you don’t know the risks. So, here are some safety tips you should follow if you want to try out open-water swimming in Nottingham:

  • Always go with at least one other person, or join a wild swimming community for additional help and support.
  • Know your spot – i.e. never jump into a lake without knowing what the water may be like or what could be below the surface
  • Have a basic swim kit to get started. The experts recommend a bright tow-float (to hold belongings/make you visible to other people in the water), wetsuit boots (to protect your feet) and a dry robe (to warm you up after your swim) to start.
  • Make smart decisions – i.e. swim upstream first so your return to shore is easier as you get more tired, start in the summer so it is easier to get used to the cold water gradually
  • Avoid swimming in rivers for a few days after heavy rain – this allows the water to clear and helps you to void stomach bugs

So if you’re wondering where should you go open water swimming in Nottingham, these places are a great place to start. While they are quite far from the city centre, that is what you’d expect for an open-water setting. But, the quality makes up for it. Just remember to stay safe, and have fun! And why not make it a day trip – there are lots of great day trips to go on from Nottingham.

Now that exams are all but finished, everyone will start to head home for the summer break. If you want one last hang out with your friends before you go, check out this article with the best places to enjoy the sun in Nottingham after exams.

Last Updated on March 21, 2024