With proclaimed health benefits such as lowered stress levels and a boosted immune system, cold water swimming is a growing wellness trend across the world that has long been a daily activity for many islanders.
We are very fortunate to have a variety of outdoor swimming options across The Islands of Guernsey. There are many pretty little coves, ideal for wild swimming in fresh clean water. It may also be worth noting that our water is the English Channel, which can be chilly, especially during the winter months. Having said that, many islanders and tourists alike enjoy a daily dip in the sea.
Here are just a few wild swimming options in the islands of Guernsey:
The Bathing Pools
Since 1865, La Vallette bathing pools have offered a safe and contained area for saltwater swimming, suitable for the whole family. In its earlier years, the pools were often visited by many people of great significance, including legendary “Les Misérables” writer Victor Hugo and famous Renaissance painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir.
The water in the pool comes directly from the sea at high tide and the height of the pool walls allows a certain amount of water to remain in the pool as the tide lowers. These walls also stop an excess of seaweed or sea creatures from finding their way into the pools, making it a pleasant and safe area for wild swimming, suitable for the whole family.
The pools and surrounding area have slowly been renovated over the last few years and are now in great condition with changing rooms, a terrace with seating and a kiosk serving drinks, food and ice creams.
Cobo Bay is one of Guernsey’s treasures. It is one of the island’s most popular beaches, hosting not only white sands and crystal clear waters, but also a handful of amenities just across the road.
The bay attracts people from all different age groups for all the right reasons. The beach is easily accessible with a slipway at each end of the beach and a couple of stairways leading down to the beach dotted along the sea wall. It is a great place to go to take a dip, or, if you’re there at the right time, go and explore the rock pools that are unveiled at low tide. This is also where the traditional Christmas and New Year dips take place each year.
Fermain Valley holds one of the most beautiful tucked-away beaches and cafes on Guernsey. The pebbly bay is hidden on the rugged east coast and is a delightful walk from St Peter Port along the cliff path. The inviting waters are delightful to swim in and the Fermain Beach Cafe is a fabulous place to sit and relax with friends whilst enjoying a jug of Pimms in the sun or a bite to eat.
Moulin Huet Bay is located in the depths of St. Martin, with shallow waters and breathtaking views of the cliffs. Legendary renaissance painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, fell in love with the secluded cove while visiting Guernsey in September 1883 and painted 15 famous pieces of Moulin Huet during his stay. Enjoy the stunning views of the cliffs and see what inspired him so much in what is now nicknamed ‘Renoir’s Bay’.
Venus Pool, Lihou
The Venus Pool is a natural pool that forms at low tide. It is deep enough to jump into and is a really special, secluded spot to enjoy wild swimming.
Lihou offers a real Famous Five adventure. The island is accessed by a cobbled causeway from Guernsey at low tides throughout the year. Check the tides, pack your sandwiches, pop on your most sensible shoes and trek across the causeway, whilst exploring the interesting wildlife, both above the water and below.
Wherever you are in the Islands of Guernsey, you will always find a special place for wild swimming. From Belvoir Bay in Herm to the Venus Pool on Sark, our smaller islands also offer a variety of unique spots to take a dip. Saye and Corblets with their crystal clear waters and shallow rock pools are ideal places for outdoor swimming on Alderney.
Visit Alderney have recently published a Locals Guide to Sea Swimming blog. Put together with help from a hardy bunch of year-round swimmers, this blog highlights all you need to know about swimming in Alderney's waters.
If you are new to wild swimming, read our beginner's guide.
Wherever you choose to swim in Guernsey, please stay safe and enjoy the waters of our Islands.