Our guide to 5 places to swim near Chipping Campden
What could be lovelier than sitting by a river on a hot day, having a bit of a paddle, watching the fish and maybe even joining them for a swim. Our guests often ask about places to swim near Chipping Campden so we have put together some suggestions here.
Campden has it’s own ‘river’ the Cam, but I always feel the desription is misleading…think ‘stream’ and you get a better idea of what it actually looks like. You can catch glimpses of it as it runs from the old silk mill in Sheep Street through to the coneygree by the Old Campden House.. You can paddle in it there, with sheep idly watching on.
There are however some rather more interesting places to get wet in the local area, a few of which I will mention below.
Local rivers for wild swimming
If river swimming is on your mind, then we have a couple of fairly local options.
Stratford-upon-Avon (12 miles away) has the Old Bathing Place, Warwick Road, upstream of the town. The river here is slow moving, shallow and clean, with easy access into the water. Be warned it is busy with motorboats and rowers as well as swimmers too!
Bidford-on-Avon (10 miles away) has a large park with access to the water, just near to the stone bridge that crosses into the town. There is car parking nearby and this proves to be a very popular spot with families using the play park and enjoying bbq’s on the field.
We know of one more spot – the best of all the places to swim near Chipping Campden if you want a quiet river swim. We can give you the details if you request them privately – wouldn’t want to tell the whole world about it here!
Bourton-on-the-Water has to be included in a blog about local rivers! It is one of the most popular places to swim near Chipping Campden and is a beautiful Cotswold town. Admittedly the term ‘swim’ is misleading as the river is shallow where it runs through the town, better suited to paddling and playing in. If you are after a proper swim, hop in the River Windrush at Burford or Minster Lovell.
Known as the ‘Venice of the Cotswolds’, it is certainly a very attractive town, having Cotswold stone buildings, independent shops, cafes and plenty of traditional pubs!
The River Windrush runs through the town, wide and shallow enough to paddle in, and is a real draw for visitors. Thousands of tourists flock to the town each year to enjoy it’s river, history and attractions.
With 5 arched stone bridges crossing the river, you can see why it is likened to Venice. Crossing from side to side you can peruse the cafes and shops and explore the alleyways (one holds a teeny tiny sweet shop, barely big enough for 4 people in it at a time!)
Ducks and seagulls loiter on the river hoping for passers-by to buy some duck food and feed them.
Please do be warned though that Bourton is a VERY popular location and you may struggle to park, or even find a nice bit of grass to sit on alongside the river in summer. People really do flock here in their hundreds each day!
Bourton is also home to the Cotswold Motoring Museum, Birdland & Gardens and the Model Village – a Grade II listed replica of Bourton on the Water.
If you are looking for Open Water places to swim near Chipping Campden but want the security of lifeguards on hand, then 13 miles from Chipping Campden are The Lenches Lakes.
Open during winter but with the main season starting May 1st, you can book swimming sessions in their 3 acre well established and naturalised lakes, which are set amongst forty acres of Worcestershire countryside .
Please do contact Lenches Lakes to check available time slots and requirements – especially if you are new to Open Water swimming. https://lencheslakes.co.uk/
If it’s just a quiet paddle you want then we can recommend the charming Blockley Brook.
Blockley is a nearby village, about 3 miles away, the setting for the much loved Father Brown series (Kembleford) and a lovely place to explore.
Once used to power the silk mills, the Blockley Brook runs through the village appearing and disappearing behind and under buildings and through the gardens of the houses.
Take off your shoes and paddle into the water, stand still and watch the fish swim between your legs. The best spot, known as the Blockly Beach, is where the brook is fairly wide, shallow and fast flowing. It carries on tumbling down through the village via old mills and mill ponds.
Blockley has a lovely cafe in the centre of the village, next door to the village stores so you can treat yourselves to drinks or icecreams if the weather is warm. There are two pubs too. This is definitely a more peaceful place to enjoy a paddle, if you want to avoid the crowds of Bourton-on-the-Water.
Chipping Norton Lido (16 miles away) is a popular place for families to enjoy outdoor fun in the water. It has 2 outdoor heated pools – a 25m pool and a toddler’s paddling pool. Run by local people as a charity the ChippyLido can be a great day out with a cafe onsite and lawn to relax on. Booking is essential: https://chippylido.co.uk/
Cheltenham’s Sandford Park Lido has a 50m heated main pool with slides and a children’s pool. A large lawned area provides space to sit and relax, and there is a sauna and cafe too, all in the heart of Cheltenham. The pool is not heated during winter but is available for cold water swimming. Booking is essential: https://www.sandfordparkslido.org.uk/
If you don’t fancy the thrill of a wild, cold water swim but are interested in more traditional places to swim near Chipping Campden, there are a few good options around.
Chipping Campden’s Leisure Centre has a pool which can be used in the evenings of school hours term time, and during the day during school holidays (always check availability ahead of time).
Stratford-Upon-Avon Leisure Centre has 2 pools – a shallow teaching pool and 33m pool with fun swims and inflatable fun sessions too.
Evesham’s Rivers Leisure Centre has 2 pools – a 25m main pool and their studio pool with warmer water for families and lessons.
Shipston-Upon-Stour Leisure Centre (8 miles away) has a 25m pool.