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Falmouth’s outdoor swimming spots

Thrilling. Bracing. Refreshing. There’s nothing better than a wild swim to revive and wake you up. We swear by an early morning alfresco dive into cool clear open waters of the sea or nearby rivers, surrounded by nothing but silence. It’s all about reconnecting to yourself, boosting your health and giving yourself a full body and mind work out. Choose your place, pace and friends. Then grab your goggles and take the plunge. We promise you won’t regret it.

Here’s our top 8 favourite wild swim spots in Falmouth…



Visit this gorgeous garden on our doorstep for a full day of exploring. Polgwiddon Cove is private and sheltered, looking out on views of the Helford and Falmouth Bay beyond. Awash with scenery, the water here is so clean and clear that you can see to the bottom. There’s nothing better than a summer back-crawl whilst looking skywards or doggy paddle in the azure salt waters.



This gently sloping beach with beautifully clear waters is well worth a whole day of sheltered swims, rock pooling and snorkelling. Bob past the buoys and head westside (to the right) where you’ll find a sandy seabed and low rocks whilst you take a quick breather. Bring swimming goggles or snorkels so you can spot huge ballan wrasse, or hire a kayak from Gylly Adventures and search through the caves and rock faces.



Choose the Falmouth Triathlon in July, Trident Swim Challenge in August (part of Falmouth Week), the traditional New Year’s Day swim, or more impromptu and intimate days in between. This golden sandy beach on our doorstep is famous for its calm swims, kayaking and paddle boarding. Work up an appetite before heading to Gylly Beach Café for a drink or St Michaels for lunch.



Fringed by gardens and ancient woodland, the deep River Fal is ideal for paddling or exploring by canoe. It’s very tidal, wild, and when we go we rarely see another soul. Discover secluded creeks and tucked-away coves – hire your equipment from Loe Beach Watersports Centre or St Mawes Kayaks. Find a low hanging branch to tie your canoe to and jump out for a brisk dip amongst the egrets, fish and herons.

There’s also access to many small tributaries of the Fal which offer intimate swims and great views. Strong swimmers can kick their way up the Fal to Halwyn’s Tea Garden to enjoy a Cornish cream tea, milkshake or local crab lunch.



Near the mouth of the Helford River, this quiet beach can be found via the South West Coast Path or after a day trip at Glendurgan Garden. Made from shingle and pebbles, it’s a concealed and rustic spot sitting at the foot of the sub-tropical gardens. Soak up the peace then break it with a wild plunge. Submerge in the white bubbles, let the seaweed tickle your feet and hide amongst the sheer rocks around you. From Durgan, the coast path leads to nearby beaches such as Prisk Cove and Maenporth.



A shelving sandy beach where you can enjoy the gentle ebb and flow of the sea. The shallow water offers a safe and warm summer spot which is ideal for bringing along the little ones for their first wild swim experience. When the tide is low, pack the snorkels and discover the wreck of the freezer trawler Ben Asdale.



This is a prime secret spot by Durgan Beach. Access to Grebe is via a steep path and as a consequence is the less popular of the two beaches. This means it’s the perfect opportunity for hidden swims. Pack your waterproof camera and splash over to Grebe Rock which offers top views. Best to arrive here mid evening in the summer months after the sun has been blasting its rays on the sea all day.



Craving a daring adventure? Carrick Roads, the vast tidal estuary of the River Fal, is an oasis of tranquility. Don your swimming caps and cruise like an otter from Tolverne upstream to Ruan Lanihorne. This organised swim is taking place on 30th August just after 4pm when the tide will be in the swimmers’ favour. Opt for the slow, medium or fast lane and get racing, then top it off with an evening barbecue in St Mawes.


Do you have a secret spot you’d like to share? We’d love to hear your tips and see your pics – just Instagram or tweet to @stmichaelshotel using #wildswimfal.
Need more info? Fully immerse yourself in the Wild Guide Book.

Please note: these recommended wild spots might not have lifeguards on duty, so respect and an understanding of the water is essential for your safety.

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