Swim Trips Frequently Asked Questions

1) General Swim FAQ’s

2) Adventure Swim Breaks & Weekends FAQ’s


1) General  Swim Questions

How cold will the water be and do I need a wetsuit?

Lake, tarn and river temperatures vary a lot, with higher tarns and rivers averaging about 13 degrees and larger lakes about 16 – 18 degrees C during the main swimming season between May and September. The higher tarns, smaller lakes and river can be as cold as 5-8 degrees C during the season depending on where they lie in a specific catchment area. A lot depends on the local weather conditions.

All our swims are in wetsuits, they add buoyancy and warmth and make for a much safer swim. We recommend a full swimming wetsuit, and would advise against ‘shortie’ type wetsuits. We would advise you to bring your own full wetsuit or hire one from us here: £5 Swimming Wetsuit Hire.


Can I swim without a wetsuit?

You are welcome to swim without a wetsuit once you have confirmed with us and we agree that you are currently conditioned to the water temperatures and duration in the water suitable for the trip. We will need you to confirm this in writing. As a guide, if you have recent and regular non-wetsuit experience at temperatures 10 – 14oc for 1hr ( or up to 4hrs for longer trips) this is what we are looking for. Our duty of care is always to members of the whole group which is why this issue needs careful consideration. There may be periods of time during many of our swims where we will pause to allow other swimmers to catch up or to explore certain features along the way – we wouldn’t want you to become uncomfortably cold because of this.

What will the weather be like?

When  planning our trips we choose the time of year where we hope the weather will be spectacular, but  of course we can expect some rain at any time or year. It could be sunny and still, or it may be windy or raining, one thing we can assure you of is a warm Lake District welcome and some of the best swimming locations in the world.
Check the weather forecast before travelling and pack accordingly. You will need to bring your own rucksack with waterproofs, extra warm clothes, swimming kit/wetsuit etc. Please see kit list below. We always carry group shelters and some spare clothes so we can get out of the worst of the weather if we need a break.


What’s the safety cover?

All trips have been risk assessed and insured. Our instructors are qualified and experienced mountain leaders and / or  lifeguards who are all experienced open water swimmers and outdoor group leaders with many years of experience – you will be glad to know you are in good hands. We use a mix of in water swim guides and kayak/canoe escort when in the water. We may also use swim tow floats to increase visibility of group members. If safety is compromised because of the weather we will modify the day accordingly, while still giving you an exciting wild swimming experience.


Can I hire a wetsuit from you?

Yes, we hire good quality swimming wetsuits and have a very good rate for our swimming clients of £5 per trip. Please let us know as soon as possible if you’d like to hire and at-least 72 hours before your trip starts. We’ll need your height and weight plus UK dress size for ladies & chest size for men.

We also sell wetsuits and are specialists in fitting wetsuits. you can try before you buy at one of our “Wetsuit try on days”  or contact us to arrange a fitting at our Ambleside showroom before you attend your trip / course.
Open Water Swimming accessories are also available.


What’s the recommended kit list?

  • Wetsuit 
  • Swim costume  (2 for some guided swims and breaks)
  • Swim goggles x 2
  • If you get cold, a rash vest or base layer top worn under your wetsuit really makes a difference
  • Big changing towel (we suggest a swim changing robe). Extra warm clothes to change back into e.g. fleece and warm base-layer
  • Footwear for walking e.g. walking boots, trail shoes etc. NOT flip-flops.
  • A rucksack to carry your kit in and waterproof dry-bag or plastic bag
  • Fully Waterproof jacket and trousers
  • Sun hat & sunglasses and/or wooly hat and gloves
  • Waterproof sun cream
  • A flask for hot drinks
  • Snacks and food for the day
  • Any personal medication that you may need (please advise us if this is the case)

Don’t forget to check your confirmation email for specific kit that relates to you particular trip.


What age do participants have to be for your guided swims and trips ?

All participants must be 16 years or over, and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.


What’s the Water quality like?

We enjoy some of the finest water quality in the British Isles here in the Lakes. The presence of any Blue Green Algae is  monitored and tends to present in certain areas under certain conditions. Blue Green Algae & Weil’s Disease, however unlikely, are possible in UK waters. If you do feel unwell at any stage during or after the trip, you should go to your GP immediately, telling them what you have been doing.

Flag alpha open water swimmer

2) Adventure Swim Breaks & Weekends FAQ’s

How fit do I need to be for a Wild Swim Weekend or break?

A reasonable level of physical fitness and hill walking experience will certainly add to your enjoyment of the trips, but it is intended as a holiday, not a boot camp! Check the ‘Swim Ability & Fitness Level’ guide for your trip and if your unsure just give us a call.
Everyone is welcome and we will do our best to make sure everyone in the group gets the most out of the trip without ever sacrificing your safety. We have built in a degree of flexibility so that there is usually an ‘opt out’ if you’d like a break from swimming, we are also just as keen to make time for extra swimming opportunities for keen beans.


Can I bring a non-swimming friend / partner? Yes, some of our trips do have this option. We have links from our bookings page so you can book for non-swimmers too.


Can I book my own accommodation 

All of our trips with accommodation requite us to book and pay for the accommodation in advance,  this means the full trip price will be required whether or not you wish to stay in the accommodation.
A swimming only option may be available on a limited number of trips, please see the specific trip information were it will list this as an option.
If ‘swim only’ is not mentioned on the trip information page then, the full trip price including the accommodation will be required.


What’s included in the swim breaks?

  • 1. Qualified & experienced swimming guides and mountain leaders will accompany you on our swims and the hikes that sometimes link them.
  • 2. We will issue you with a bright Swim the Lakes swim cap so that we can see you in those inky black tarns.
  • 3. For inclusive packages accommodation and full board normally includes breakfasts, lunch and dinner; plus tea & coffee are usually available throughout the day. Please check each trip for variations.
  • 4. Parking at the residential accommodation is usually free and subject to availability

What’s not included?

Pocket money for the bar or shopping in local towns and villages. Transport between some swims where we may car share.

Field of Oaks Sunrise over Waterhead Windermere lake reflections Gale Naze crags


Customer testimonials Find out what our customers think of our Wild Swimming Weekends… Click this link for our Customer Reviews


Tarn swimming in the Lakes

See you in the water soon… The Swim the Lakes team

Tempted? Find out more Adventure Swim Breaks Guided Swims Days and Dips