‘Tidal pools are the perfect architectural harnessing of nature’ says author Freya Bromley. They’re a natural seawater pool filled by the tide with a manmade element, such as metal steps or a concrete boundary. She spent a year travelling around mainland Britain searching for these saltwater sanctuaries and wrote about her journey. The Tidal Year is a story of love, loss and the restorative power of nature. Here she shares five wild swimming weekends so you can have your own coastal adventure!
If I had to choose a favourite spot for skinny-dipping, this would be it. Hidden in the cliffs, this tidal pool has an amethyst hue from the surrounding rocks. Continue your adventure with walks along the South West Coast Path and if you stay in Polperro, drink at Blue Peter Inn and unearth antique gems at Rosina’s.
Two tidal pools are accessible via tunnels hand-carved by Welsh miners in the 1820s. Hire a deckchair and nap on the beach after your swim. While in Ilfracombe, get a clotted-cream ice cream from a Hockings van and walk to the harbour to see Damien Hirst’s sculpture, Verity. Staying overnight? Try nearby glamping with a wood fired hot tub.
At four acres, this is Britain’s largest tidal pool, so perfect for laps if you’re a ‘goggles on’ kind of swimmer. While in Margate (just a short train from London) alternate between culture and coastal relaxation. Check out the free Haeckles sauna on the beach, explore Turner Contemporary, browse Margate Bookshop and top it all off with a fish supper at Dorys.
This Cornish tidal pool is also known as mermaid pool. It’s so magical that I chose it for the cover of my book. When the tide has just receded, the emerald waters are deep enough to dip and dive. Getting to the tidal pool is an adventure itself and the hike from the coastal path will get your blood pumping before the bracing cold water.
This clay-coloured pool is a spectacular setting for sunset watching. It feels like the edge of the world! Create a good playlist because St Monans is a great starting point for a Scottish road trip. Drive from here to nearby Anstruther for the best fish and chips. Rugged coastlines dotted with more swimming spots await you on the journey ahead.