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Helmsley outdoor swimming pool by Chris J ParkerHelmsley outdoor swimming pool by Chris J Parker

Outdoor swimming experiences

Wetting your toes with a quick paddle is standard practice on a day out to any of our beaches. If you're thinking of taking a dip in the briny, sea swimming on the east coast is not for the faint-hearted, but it's perfect for experienced and hardy dippers who want to swim against a spectacular backdrop. Wetsuits and neoprene swim cap recommended.

For a bit of fun (and charity fundraising), you can take part in the annual north sea dips organised by the Lions in Scarborough (New Year's Day Dip) and Whitby (Boxing Day Dip).

A little further south, Scarborough Surf School now offers coasteering, a combination of adventure swimming along sea cliffs, exploring gullies, caves, and rock formations, traversing the lower level sea cliffs on foot above deep water, and climbing the cliffs to different jumping locations, anywhere from 1–10m high.

This is an activity best tackled with local, trained group leaders, where all safety equipment is provided. Remember the unspoilt Heritage Coast needs to be respected to allow sustainable use of this very special location; it's also a dangerous sport and one not without risk, so we recommend going only with these well-trained experts. 

If the North sea sounds a little cold even when the sun's shining, maybe a heated pool is the answer? The Helmlsey Open Air Swimming Pool’s freshwater is held at around 28 degrees. Originally built in the 1960s, the 20m x 80m pool now comes complete with small café (and new changing facilities), making it the perfect place to laze away summer days. 

The pool is normally open every day from the middle of June until the first week in September, depending on the weather. The heating is then switched off and you can enjoy 'Cool Pool' sessions every Sunday until the middle of October as the pool gradually cools down, wetsuits welcome. Keep an eye on their website for the latest news.

Indoor swimming 

If you prefer the warmth and safety of an indoor swimming pool and a great place for a splash around with the kids on a rainy day, see contact details for local swimming pools.