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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. The event also features thrilling elite races with some of the world’s best swimmers. 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.


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
Site Map

Event location

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. With large screens around the event site, family and friends can watch all the action while enjoying food and drink from local vendors.

About Windermere

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



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
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
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


Due to overwhelming demand for our brand new 10k swim marathon on Friday 10 June, we can now confirm that we have 50 extra places available! 

More good news!

We are also delighted to introduce an additional 10k swim, limited to 100 places only, which will take place on Sunday 12 June at 08.00.

If you're interested in taking on one of these long distance open water swims, we recommend reading the information below to ensure you're ready for the challenge. 

The 10k will take swimmers on six laps of the existing one mile course in Windermere. There will be a feed station accessible on every lap with water and energy gels as well as medical support should you require it. The entry fee will include entry into the event, a 2016 Great Swim towel and Great North Swim 10k badge, as well as a t-shirt, finisher’s pack and medal. 


This swim is a challenging distance and should be considered carefully before entering.  Please read the following:

  1. You must be able to swim 10k, at least, in one session without stopping.
  2. You must be prepared to be in the water for a prolonged period of time.
  3. All swimmers taking on the 10k challenge must be able to complete the 10k swim continuously and unaided within four hours.
  4. If swimmers have not reached halfway (5k) within two hours they will not be allowed to continue.
  5. Swimmers should be aware that the safety team have the right to extract them from the water at any point around the course on safety and/or medical grounds.

If you think you're ready for the Great North Swim 10k then click here> 

If you'd like to enter one of the 10k waves but are already entered into a different distance, you can contact our customer services team who will help you to make those changes.

Great North Swim 10k

How to enter

1/2 Mile

£35 per entry (inc VAT of £5.83)


1 Mile

£40 per entry (inc VAT of £6.67)


2 Miles

£48 per entry (inc VAT of £8.00)



£55 per entry (inc VAT of £9.17)



£75 per entry (inc VAT of £12.50)