Bath has an ancient love affair with swimming, stretching back to the ancient Celts. The first shrine at the thermal pools was dedicated to the god Sulis and following the Roman invasion this led to Bath being named Aquae Sulis. Whilst you can’t enjoy a dip in the thermal waters of the Roman Baths anymore, you can have amazing swimming experiences all year round. Darroch Davidson from Wild Swim Bike Run has chosen four of his favourites…
1. Wild Swimming at Warleigh Weir
Set in the stunning Avon Valley, this weir can be reached from the Kennet and Avon Canal towpath on foot or bike from Bath. The weir comes alive in late spring with a buzzing world of wildlife allowing you to immerse yourself in the classic English countryside. The weir has a shallow bathing area and a grassy patch for sunbathing. A local farmer allows access to the weir, so make sure you ‘only leave footprints’ and remove all litter!
2. Georgian Bathing at Cleveland Pools
Built in 1815, these are believed to be the oldest outdoor swimming pools in England and are Grade II listed. In 2013, an appeal to raise £3 million was launched with hopes for future visitors to Bath to be able to enjoy the same pleasures as Georgian bathers.
3. Treat yourself at Thermae Bath Spa
After seeing how the Romans bathed at the Roman Baths, treat yourself to a soak in the relaxing waters of Thermae Bath Spa. Enjoy the same waters the Celts and Romans did 2,000 years ago with the benefits of not having to keep a look out for marauding Saxons! With numerous spa packages available this makes for a truly luxurious way to reflect on a trip to Bath.
4. The London 2012 Legacy at Bath University’s Swimming Pool
This amazing 50-metre swimming pool is home to a British Swimming National Training Centre where some of Britain’s top swimmers are based. They include Rio 2016 medallists Jazz Carlin, Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, Chris Walker-Hebborn, James Guy and reigning British Champion Anna Hopkin. Whether you just want a swim or would like to improve your technique through coaching, you are spoilt for choice at this national centre of excellence. Physiotherapy and sports massage sessions are also available for a bit of essential body maintenance!
With the clue being in the name, Wild Swim Bike Run organise active cycling and triathlon holidays in both the UK and New Zealand. They organise bike tours through Bath Guided Cycle Tours, which take in the city’s most famous landmarks and join the Kennet and Avon towpath for scenic journeys through Bath’s countryside. The rides are perfect for individuals or groups of all levels, and the guides are friendly and knowledgeable.