As the signs of winter start to appear and the temperature dip sees us reaching for our cosy jumpers and mugs of tea, it seems like the wrong time to be pondering the best places for a swim. But, for the world’s cold water swimming enthusiasts, the warm waters of September aren’t the highlight of the year; it’s the icy, take your breath away shock of the winter months that they are seeking, and it’s never been so popular.
Wander down to the beach at Crantock in the morning and you will find the usual early risers, exercisers and dog walkers but added to the ‘crowds’ are the dry robe clad early morning dippers.
Whether you need the camaraderie of a group dip to get your toes into the November sea, or are more of a solo swimmer – there is something about the sting of the cold water refresh that has people hooked.
But as the water gets cooler, the sea tends to get more wild and it’s important to swim safely, especially if you are new to an area. Here are our favourite spots for a calm(er) winter splash to get you ready for the winter months from sheltered coves to sea pools:
Also known as Polly Joke, it’s one of our favourite beaches. Tucked between West Pentire Head and Kelsey Head. It’s a beautiful, unspoilt beach with no cafe, no toilets and a walk from the closest car park which means – no crowds! Porth Joke stays relatively sheltered from the major swells.
To the West of Padstow you will find Trevone Bay beach which is home to the brilliantly named Tinker Bunny’s Bathing Pool, a large tidal pool right on the beach so you can have a sheltered swim and stare out to sea away from the waves.
Towan / Newquay harbour:
Right in the centre of Newquay, the harbour is a local favourite in the winter. High Tide is the best time to go and the harbour wall provides protection from most swells so it’s normally pretty calm waters. So many delicious coffee spots for a warm drink after too.
Often overwhelmingly busy in the summer months, this 3km long sandy beach has easy parking and is a popular spot for families. In the winter, the crowds have gone and at low tide you can enjoy a calm swim in the tidal pool which is nestled into Chapel Rock (the big rock on the beach with the Cornish flag flying on top). Perfect for a quiet early morning dip as you watch the waves crash in front of you.
Remember the lifeguards finish for the season after October half term so there are no lifeguards patrolling our beaches during winter. We strongly recommend telling someone where you’re going or better yet, bringing a friend along for an endorphin boosting adventure.