The Best Places to go Wild Swimming with Your Dog

Rising temperatures, record-breaking heatwaves and long sunny days… there’s no better time than the summer holidays for a refreshing splash around with your furry friend. From lakes and tidal pools to pooch-friendly beaches and watering holes, there’s no end of places to go wild swimming with your dog. Here’s our pick of some of the best places to take a dip with your water-loving canine. 

The River Gannel, Newquay, Cornwall

A watery parting between Newquay’s beaches and the sugar-white sands of Crantock in Cornwall, The Gannel Estuary is a little like the Cornish Riviera as the tide floods in. Hemmed by sub-tropical plants, it’s a picture-postcard respite from the busy beaches and one of our go-to spots for a swim with the dog. There are plenty of entry points off the rocks or the jetty, just be careful of strong currents as the tide ebbs and flows.

Where to stay: Estuary View sleeps 5 guests and 2 dogs, a short walk from the banks of the River Gannel.

Marloes Sands, Pembrokeshire, Wales

The Pembrokeshire coastline can get quite congested come the summer holidays, with flocks of holidaymakers descending on the resorts of Tenby and Milford Haven, and dog bans on many of the beaches. However, seek out the secluded Marloes Sands, where you can descend the cliffs to a sheltered, dog-friendly stretch of golden shoreline made for dipping and diving in cerulean waters framed by dramatic rock formations. 

Where to stay: Just five minutes’ drive from the National Trust car park at Marloes Sands, relax in the dog-friendly haven of the Blue Anchor Annexe, sleeping 2. 

Embleton Bay, Northumberland

Unfolding beneath the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, the sandy sweep of Embleton Bay beckons dog walkers and swimmers to enjoy one of Northumberland’s most spectacular beaches. Pad along the shoreline and revel in the views while playing fetch with Fido, then take the plunge for a bracing dip in the breakers. Despite its outstanding beauty, you’ll often find Embleton Bay deserted, but you can find civilisation a mile north along the beach at the isolated Ship Inn.

Where to stay: Squirrel away in the petite Primrose Cottage in Embleton, which sleeps 2 guests plus 2 dogs.


River Wharfe, Appletreewick, Yorkshire

After a yomp with your four-legged friend in the Yorkshire Dales, cool off in the gentle rapids of the River Wharfe at Appletreewick. Once you’ve dried off under the dappled canopies of the waterside trees, you can follow the track back into the idyllic village and quench your thirst at the dog-friendly New Inn. You can also plunge into the River Wharfe on the shores of Bolton Abbey, after a day out at this popular dog-friendly attraction.

Where to stay: There’s easy access to the riverbank from the charming Prospect Farm Cottage, which sleeps 3 guests and 3 dogs in Appletreewick. 

River Waveney, Norfolk

Follow the wild swimming trail of Waterlog author Roger Deakin along the River Waveney, which traces the border between Norfolk and Suffolk. A sublime summer’s walk through waterside meadows and shady woodland will take you to the dog-friendly watering hole at Geldeston Locks, where you can slide into the river from the sandy bank and paws in the dog-friendly pub. 

Where to stay: Slip into country cottage comforts at Wilma Cottage in Geldeston village, which sleeps 4 guests and 2 dogs a short walk from the marina.

Loch Morlich, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland 

Scotland heartily welcomes wild swimmers and dogs, with lenient open-access laws that allow you to dip in nearly all of its shimmering lochs and watering holes. Take the plunge in Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms National Park and you can launch yourself in from Britain’s highest beach and swim with a backdrop of the UK’s largest mountain range. 

Where to stay: Lap up the scenery in luxury at Wild Cat Lodge, sleeping 8 guests and a dog in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

Llyn Cwm Bychan, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

With its rugged peaks, winding trails and dramatic beauty, Snowdonia National Park is a sublime destination for a summer holiday with the dog. And if you follow the white water along the Afon Artro you’ll be rewarded with a dip in the remote and refreshing Llyn Cwm Bychan swimming hole. Wade out from the eastern end of the lake and soak up the stunning views of the rolling hills while you swim.

Where to stay: Make the most of the beach and the peaks from a charming cottage by the seaside in Harlech, sleeping 3 guests and a dog. 

Easedale Tarn, Lake District, England

There are plenty of places to go wild swimming with your dog in the Lake District – and a splash around is often needed after a hike in the hills on a summer’s day. However, while plenty of people head to the larger lakes and swimming holes, it’s worth stepping out to the cool waters and shelving beaches of the lesser-known Easedale Tarn – a wild swimmers’ paradise where you can enjoy a different angle of the fells reflecting in the glassy waters.

Where to stay: Up to 10 guests and 2 dogs can enjoy chic interiors, doorstep hikes and dipping in Easedale Tarn from the luxurious Little Parrock

Want to cool off with your dog in these watering holes?

Book a Dog Friendly Retreat and enjoy a splash with your pooch this summer. 

Share this article:

Leave a Reply