Wild swimming in Cornwall

As people get more into nature, wild swimming is becoming the latest craze. Nothing is more refreshing than getting to swim in open water or waterfalls. Cornwall has some of the most stunning and unique swimming spots to explore, but they can be hard to find, so we've made a list of amazing places across Cornwall that we think are worth visiting for your next adventure.

Camel Quarry


Abandoned quarries are often left to be reclaimed by nature. In some cases, they're left to fill with water from springs, creating beautiful pools of vibrant greens, turquoise and striking blues. They also provide a rush for adrenaline junkies who wish to jump off ledges into the deep waters below.

Goldiggins Quarry - Not far from Minions on Bodmin Moor, Goldiggins Quarry is an excellent place for everyone of all ages to visit. A 15-minute walk from Hurlers car park, this quarry has high granite ledges to jump off, a shallow area for younger children to swim, and grassy areas to sunbathe.

Camel Quarry - Accessible via the Camel Trail, this hidden gem is a secret hidden spot loved by the locals. A short ride from Padstow, you arrive at the old quarry where the cute café, the Atlantic Coastal Express, is based. Here you can park up your bikes and head through the shrubbery opposite the estuary. Then you will go through a fence and walk down a slate path into the trees where It will open up into a little walkway that meets the water. This quarry is a bit harder to access but has jumps at the heights of two, eight and 30 feet. 

Bakers Clay Pit - This old China clay pit in Nancledra, near Penzance, is a spring-fed quarry surrounded by moorland. With plenty of places to jump off and sunbathe, this is a great quarry to spend the day. It also isn't too far from the ancient Chysauster village.

Waterfalls and rivers

Ever wanted to experience a more mystical setting? These waterfalls and rivers promise a more mythical feel that gave birth to the legends and folklore of a Cornwall home to giants, pinkies and knockers.

St Nectans Kieve - This is probably one of the most magical swimming locations on this list. The beautiful waterfall, feeding into a plunge pool, is a short walk away from Trethevy near Tintagel. After a walk up the river through the stunning woodland, you reach the entrance where its guardians require you to pay for a ticket to enter, but it is well worth it. With ribbons tied to trees, stacks of pebbles and benches embedded with pennies, this location is sacred. At the top, you can swap your shoes for wellies, visit the fantastic café, and feel at peace in its shrine. If it's too busy to swim, then you can walk back down towards the rocky valley where the river flows through and dip in the pools and waterfalls near the mouth of the ocean.

St Nectans Glen

Respryn Bridge - Found in the woodland of the National Trust’s Lanhydrock estate in Bodmin, this is easily accessible by a footpath just a short walk away from the car park. With a small beach near the footbridge, this swim is uniquely beautiful in the spring when the forest floor is covered in a carpet of bluebells. 

Golitha Falls - Found along the River Fowey, towards Liskeard, is a series of incredible waterfalls cascading through the ancient oak forest known as Draynes Wood. This area is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. Down the river, there is also an incredible gorge, where the water falls as high as 90 metres. There is also a car park and toilet nearby, making these falls very accessible.

Bude Sea Pool

Tidal pools and coves

For those who are fancying a beach day, these spots are some of the most beautiful and peaceful places to go for a dip. 

Bude Sea Pool - This half natural, half man-made tidal pool is located in the most popular seaside town in north Cornwall. Built into the cliffs of Summerleaze Beach in the 1930s, this tidal pool provides a safe way to swim in the saltwater protected from the large waves brought in by the Atlantic. With several large car parks nearby, cafés and beach huts, this pool provides terrific fun for the whole family. 

Porthtowan Tidal Pool - Hidden at high tide, this tidal pool, created due to a high concrete wall, is secluded and peaceful. Close to Porthtowan’s main beach, this tidal pool is filled with barnacles and anemones.

Trevone - Located at Trevone’s second beach (also known as Rocky Beach), hidden amongst rock pools and only accessible during low tide, is a fantastic tidal pool which is perfect for teaching little ones how to swim on holiday. If you don't fancy clambering across the rocks, then this tidal pool is also available via the coast path. With a car park, beach shop, and toilets nearby, as well as being located in an AONB, this tidal pool is a guaranteed fun family day out.

Bossiney - This secluded cove is only available during low tide, and is located in Bossiney Haven, between Rocky Valley and Tintagel. With a car park 10 minutes away, this beach is brilliant if you fancy a quiet dip surrounded by tall cliffs. The only access is via some steep steps, which can be quite slippery, but the waterfall and golden sands make the climb worth it.

Jubilee Pool - The UK’s largest saltwater lido is located in Penzance. With a café and a schedule of events throughout the year, this lido is an amazing find if you fancy an ocean dip tucked away from the crashing waves. In spring 2020, Jubilee Pool will also be opening its geothermal pool. Run by the community, Jubilee Pool has operated as a charity since 2017, aiming to provide health and wellbeing to all. 

If you want to have a go at wild swimming, Cornwall is the place to be. Browse our collection of holiday cottages in Cornwall, so you can try out all these unique places.