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Great North Swim

The Great North Swim is Europe’s biggest open water swimming event with around 10,000 participants and will return to Windermere with two brand new 10k challenges.

Over three days, participants of all abilities take the plunge in stunning Windermere over a range of distances. Get your family and friends along to make a weekend of it in the picturesque surroundings of the Lake District National Park. Suitable for swimmers of all abilities, you can enjoy this event safe in the knowledge expert safety kayakers will be with you every stroke of the way. Why not come along to the Great North Swim training day on Saturday 4 June?


The Course

The Great North Swim course map is shown below including 1/2 mile, 1 mile, 2 mile and 5K distances.

NEW FOR 2016 - 10K SWIM

The 10k marathon swim is suitable for regular swimmers who are capable of taking on longer distances.
The entry age is 18+ and anyone who enters must be able to swim 10k unaided, within 4 hours. This swim will be 6 laps of the standard 1 mile course. Find out more >


Course Map

On the day there will be plenty of things to see and do for spectators and swimmers. Take a look at some of the catering options that will be coming along to the Great North Swim this year to keep you refreshed and fuelled up:

Pappy’s Texas BBQ  (located on the lawn)
Hallsfords Farm Food (located on the lawn)
What the truck? 
Kendal Creperie (based near to the top of the car park by the marquee)


Event site


The latest issue of 220 Triathlon magazine has tested mid-to-high end wet suits and has scored the Aqua Sphere RACER 84%.
According to 220 Triathlon magazine: “The Racer by Aqua Sphere is the most affordable of the mid-to-high-end suits and we also think its the best looking here... the suit is more hard-wearing, so less likely to tear or snag.  In the water we were happy with the flexibility and the suit provided a comfortable can’t go far wrong with the Racer by Aqua Sphere.”   



Event location

The Great North Swim takes place at the Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina, Lake Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LP.

How to get there?

Due to the number of swimmers and spectators visiting the site, traffic around Windermere and Ambleside will be extremely busy. In order to minimise congestion there will be NO parking or dropping off at the event site.

By train:

Travelling to the event on the West Coast Mainline? Then take advantage of the exclusive Virgin Trains discount: For you, your friends and family... whether you’re travelling to an event on your own or up to groups of nine, you can all get up to 50% off Virgin Trains Advance Fares. This exclusive discount on Virgin Trains is the cheapest, easiest and most comfortable way of getting you and your supporters to the start line. Click here to book now -

Park, Sail and Walk:

You should have received your Sail Discount Voucher in your event pack. This entitles each swimmer to use Windermere Lake Cruises services operating from Bowness to Brockhole and Ambleside to Bowness piers at a discounted rate. The voucher is valid for:-Swimmer/competitor to sail at the discounted rate of to be confirmed. Up to 4 persons accompanying the swimmer to sail at the reduced return fares of: to be confirmed.From Brockhole Pier it is just less than a one mile walk to the event site. See back of voucher for more information and sail operating times.

  1. Please allow one hour travelling time from Bowness to the start area;
  2. Follow the car-parking signs in Bowness (applicable car parking rates apply);
  3. Take the Windermere Lake Cruises boat from Bowness to Brockhole;
  4. Follow the signs at Brockhole and walk to the event site (approximately 1 mile);

Note all return departures to Bowness will be from Ambleside Pier only which is a one mile walk north of the event site.

Park and Walk:

It is highly recommended that you use the Park and Sail service, however limited parking is available in Ambleside/Waterhead. Follow the event parking signs. It is a one mile walk to the event site. Applicable car parking rates apply.


A bike park will be available and it will be staffed but we recommend that you bring a suitable bike lock and do not leave any valuables with your bike.


The Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina is proud to host the Great North Swim. We look forward to welcoming participants and supporters to the shore of Lake Windermere. For assistance before the event, telephone 08458 503 502 or visit


Windermere is England's largest lake at 10.5 miles long (17km), stretching from Ambleside in the North to Newby Bridge in the South.

Surrounded by some of the nation’s most spectacular natural scenery - the Lake District National Park - the Great North Swim is an inspiring outdoor swim. Family and friends can watch all the action from the banks of Windermere while enjoying food and drink from local vendors.

About Windermere

National Trust

A warm welcome from the National Trust to all Great North Swimmers

We know that our campsite at Low Wray has long been a favourite base for many swimmers over the past years – thank you for staying with us and helping us to look after the Lakes.

Still looking for accommodation?

Low Wray is fully booked for the swim weekend but space is available at Great Langdale Campsite – a 20 minute drive from Ambleside.

Partnering with the GNS team this year, we plan to make your stay even more enjoyable with some enticing food, drink and activity options. 

Check out our special swim weekend package here >

National Trust - après-swim activities


Please see below for the 2016 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Friday 10 June 2016    
Friday 12:00 Red 5k swim
Friday 13:00 Green 5k swim
Friday 14:00 Yellow 5k swim
Friday 15:00 Pink 10k swim (now full)
Friday 16.00 Orange 2 mile swim
Friday 17.30 White 2 mile swim

*NB. All times are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Friday 10 June 2016

Please see below for the 2016 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Saturday 11 June 2016    
Saturday 09:30 Red Half mile swim
Saturday 10:00 Green 1 mile swim
Saturday 10:30 Yellow 1 mile swim
Saturday 11:00 Pink 1 mile swim
Saturday 11:30 Orange 1 mile swim
Saturday 13:00 White 1 mile swim
Saturday 13:30 Red 1 mile swim
Saturday 14:00 Green 1 mile swim
Saturday 14:30 Yellow 1 mile swim
Saturday 15:00 Orange 1 mile swim
Saturday 15:30 White 1 mile swim
Saturday 16.00 Red 1 mile swim
Saturday 16:30 Green 1 mile swim
Saturday 17:00 Pink Team Relay

*NB. All times and hats colours are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Saturday 11 June 2016

Please see below for the 2016 event day timetable:

Time Swim Hat Colour Distance
Sunday 12 June 2016    
08:00   10k swim (full)
09:00 Red 5k swim
10:00 Green 2 mile swim
11:00 Yellow 2 mile swim
12:00 Pink 1 mile swim
12:30 Orange 1 mile swim
13:00 White 1 mile swim
13:30 Red Half mile swim
14:00 Yellow Half mile swim

*NB. All times and hats colours are subject to change in the lead up to the event

Sunday 12 June 2016

Great North Swim 10k

What will the course be?

The 10k course will consist of 6 laps of the Great Swim course. You will be constantly monitored by our safety team and have the opportunity to finish at the end of any lap should you need to on the day. Your time will stop when you go over the timing mat at the finish. 

If I don’t complete the 10k will I still get my finisher's pack?

Yes – lap counting is an honesty system and down to each individual swimmer. Regardless of when you come through the finish system you are still entitled to your finisher's pack.

Will there be a feed station?

There will be a small pontoon reserved for 10k swimmers that you will pass at the end of each lap. You can stop on any or all of your laps to have a drink of Aqua Pura or take on some Jelly Babies. We recommend you practice taking these on board in your training. To avoid polluting the lake we ask that people replace any bottles back on the pontoon.  

Can I get out or have a rest at any point?

The feed station will be in deep water. You won’t be able to stand up but you will be able to hold on and take a minute to get your breath and receive a few words of encouragement from our Great Swim team. There will not be space for you to exit the water unless you are withdrawing from the swim.

Can friends / family access the feed station?

The feed station is small and adjacent to deep water so only Great Swim staff will be able to access it. Friends and family can support from the Low Wood Bay or near the half mile point at Jenkins Field.

Do I have to finish the Swim inside the 4 hour cut off time?

We will try and allow everyone to safely finish their swim. Due to the safety systems in place should people take longer than 4 hours we may have to ask them to finish a lap early, or have our safety teams bring them in. In addition to this we will be monitoring all swimmers and should our medical and safety team feel it is unsafe for any swimmer to continue at any point we may ask you to come in early. We will work with all swimmers to try and ensure they are able to finish the full 10k if it is safe to do so. Our priority is the well-being of swimmers.

If I’m not confident of completing the 10k distance can I drop down a distance? 

Subject to availability you can swap to a different distance, just email the customer services team at

Can I bring my own hydration and nutrition products for the event? 

Unfortunately we can’t cater for individual requirements as we have limited space on the feed station. Bottles of water and Jelly Babies will be made available for all swimmers. 


Team Relay

We are looking for teams of 3 to take on the Great North Swim Team Relay event on Saturday 11 June.

Whatever your swimming ability the Team Relay is a relaxed event for you to have a bit of fun with your friends and family on Saturday afternoon.

Make the most of your wetsuit and enter today!


Team Relay

How to enter

1/2 Mile

£35 per entry


1 Mile

£40 per entry


2 Miles

£48 per entry



£55 per entry



£75 per entry