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Clandeblog Beautiful wild swimming spots in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's coastlines make it a haven for wild swimming. Known for its health benefits, more people are embracing cold water dipping in Northern Ireland. For tips and advice on how to enjoy the open water safely please visit RNLI.

Near the scenic North Down coastline and Clandeboye Lodge lie some of the most beautiful spots for wild swimming in Northern Ireland. Whether you're a cold water dipper or a seasoned swimmer, these locations promise a refreshing cold water plunge!

1. Helen’s Bay

A couple at Helen's Bay beach, a popular wild swimming spot in Northern Ireland

Helen’s Bay beach is renowned for wild swimming. This sheltered bay is a great, scenic spot for swimmers, no matter if you're a pro or new to the wild swimming scene. Whether you're looking for a leisurely swim or a family outing, Helen’s Bay is perfect. Plenty of car parking is also available.

2. Brompton Bay, Bangor

On the Bangor coast lies Brompton Beach, also known as Bromptom Bay or Jenny Watts Cove. This spot is not just about the swim; it's about the community. Home to the Brompton Belles and Beaux Dippers, this area sees swimmers all year round, regardless of the weather!

3. Donaghadee Harbour

Donaghadee Harbour wild swimming spot in Northern Ireland
Bernie Brown bbphotographic for Tourism Ireland

Donaghadee Harbour offers a unique swimming experience with a blend of history and natural beauty. With its historic lighthouse and vibrant harbour life, swimmers can enjoy calm waters and stunning sunsets.

4. Kilclief Beach, Downpatrick

People open water swimming in Northern Ireland
Anna Neill Photography

Kilclief Beach, located along the scenic Strangford Lough, is a haven for wild swimmers. The beach provides not only stunning views of the lough but also an ancient castle dating back to 1413. A hidden gem with crystal clear water.

5. Orlock Point, Groomsport

Orlock Point is a secluded cove along the North Down coastal path. It offers swimmers clear waters and a protected swimming area. Perfect for those seeking a quieter wild swimming experience, away from the busier spots.

6. Portavoe Beach, Donaghadee

A woman wild swimming at Portavoe Beach in Northern Ireland
Liane Radcliffe Photography

You can find Portavoe Beach between Groomsport and Donaghadee. Swimmers and locals looking for a quieter place love this spot over the busier beaches in North Down. Although access may involve narrow paths and heights, the peaceful waters make it a journey worth taking!

7. Skippingstone Beach, Bangor

Skippingstone Beach, a beautiful wild swimming spot in Northern Ireland, lies just a short walk from Bangor centre. Its proximity to local amenities, such as Pickie Park, adds to its convenience and charm.

8. Groomsport Beach

Groomsport Beach a wild swimming spot in Northern Ireland
Courtesy of Ards North Down Borough Council

Known for its excellent bathing water quality, Groomsport Beach is a top choice for swimmers. To the west of the bathing area lies a harbour with a children's play park which is perfect for families.

What to bring with you

Some things to consider bringing with you:

  • A changing robe
  • Flask of tea or a hot beverage
  • Warm socks, gloves and hat
  • Waterproof dry bag
  • Tow float / Swim buoy

When you book the Wild Escape package at Clandeboye Lodge, you can borrow the hotel's branded Bleubird changing robes. We also have a tow float available to borrow upon request.

Wild Escape at Clandeboye Lodge

A couple wearing dry robes at Helen's Bay beach, a popular wild swimming spot in Northern Ireland

Combine a cold water dip with indulgent relaxation at Clandeboye Lodge. Conveniently located near several wild swimming spots, Clandeboye Lodge is the perfect base for a restorative getaway.

Warm up with a decadent hot chocolate, savour homemade shortbread, and rejuvenate with a nourishing VOYA seaweed eye mask. When you’re ready, enjoy a meal at the Coq & Bull, where the finest local and seasonal ingredients come to life. You’ll wake up the next day feeling thoroughly refreshed and energised. Book now!

Travellers Choice 2023 Good Hotel 202324 1 Green Tourism 9.3 Superb - Georgina Campbell Award 2023