Swimming wild in the city - our favourite urban swim events

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Think of wild swimming and your first thought might not be a dock in east London. But our capital city has a plethora of outdoor swimming options for Londoners and tourists - so on your next trip, don't forget to pack your swimming kit!

As well as London Royal Docks, a swimming tour of the capital should include the Ponds on Hampstead Heath. For a taste of lido culture, try Brockwell, Parliament Hill or Tooting (members only in winter) - or if you prefer heated lidos, try Charlton or London Fields. Membership of the Serpentine Swimming Club will get you access to the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, or travel south to the new wild swimming pond in Beckenham Place Park. Many venues are open all year round. Head further out of London for a choice of lakes that offer safe wild swimming, including Shepperton, Heron, Bray and Dorney lakes.

London isn't the only European capital city with wild swimming opportunities. We feature some great urban swim locations each month in Outdoor Swimmer magazine, including Berlin, Paris, Helsinki and more!

In the meantime, here are some of our favourite urban swim events, a great way to get to know local swimming communities.

Swim Serpentine, London

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Raise money for Children with Cancer UK by taking part in a half-mile, one-mile or two-mile swim at the Serpentine in Hyde park – the venue for the open water swimming competition at the London 2012 Olympic Games. https://www.swimserpentine.co.uk/

Dock2Dock, London

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A perfect challenge for those with open water training, the Dock2Dock race offers 10K, 5K, and 1.5K distances to suit open water swimmers of all abilities, starting from the Royal Victoria Docks. https://dock2dock.co.uk/

City Swim, Amsterdam

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Swim with 3000 others through the 400-year-old canals of Amsterdam and the Amstel to raise money for ALS disease. https://www.amsterdamcityswim.nl/

TrygFonden, Copenhagen

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Take part in a 2km open water swim through the canals of Copenhagen and around the iconic Danish Parliament buildings, in either the 2000m individual race or 4*500m team race. http://copenhagenswim.com/

2 Bridges Swim Under the Walkway, USA

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A 2.5 and 5k swim in the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie in the state of New York. You’ll follow a rectangular 2.5k course, circling the eastern stanchions of the Mid-Hudson and Walkway Over the Hudson Bridges. https://www.nyopenwater.org/events/

Portland Bridge Swim, USA

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Compete in a marathon swimming race through the heart of Portland, Oregon. Part nature experience, part sight-seeing tour and an all physical and mental challenge. http://portlandbridgeswim.com/

Cover March2020

Issue 36 March 2020

  • Breaking Boundaries - stories from the global outdoor swimming community
  • Alice Dearing - Team GB's only black swimmer
  • Towards North – wild swimming in Finland
  • Better Breaststroke - tune up your stroke
  • Swimrunner - new magazine section!

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