24th July, 2014

One reason why we love to pedal (yes, we love a pun too!) self-guided cycling holidays and walking tours is because they give you the opportunity to travel at your own pace and to make your own decisions.

So if you find yourself freewheeling past a charming Austrian cafe on the shores of a beautiful lake, you can make a spontaneous decision to do an about-turn, chain up your bike and settle at a table to enjoy a freshly-brewed coffee and a slice of the finest local Apfelstrudel (a favourite of The Carter Company team).

Equally, you may be meandering along the historical Thames on one of our self-guided English walking holidays and come across a special interest museum you fancy having a nose around. This you can do, because our tours are all designed with the thoughtful, 'slow traveler' in mind, so we've built in plenty of time each day for you to enjoy the local points of interest without having to hurry along because there are so many miles to cover there isn't time to stop and soak up your surroundings, or because the rest of the group aren't interested and the coach is about to leave, which so often seems to be the case when you take a guided group tour.

One of our all-time favourite things to stop and do en route on our walking holidays or bicycle vacations is wild swimming. It's something that's become increasingly popular in recent years, but this has always been an area of real expertise for the Carter family. There are more than a few individuals in the family who fancy themselves as open water swimmers and take pride in their ability to brave freezing cold fresh waters for an icy dip!

Top wild swimming spots in England

  1. Rhaedr Dhu waterfall in Wales - it's quite a 'bush-wack' down to this remote and secluded little spot but once you arrive it's absolute heaven. The freshest, coldest water you could imagine and not a soul in sight. Completely wild and lush.

  2. Respryn bridge in Cornwall - this is a wooded riverside walk in the National Trust estate of Lanhydrock House. It's great for a splash about as the water isn't too deep, and there's even a shingle beach at one point which you can lay your towel on and catch some rays. You can visit Respryn bridge on one of our cycling holidays in Devon and Corwnwall.

  3. Clifton Hampden on the Thames - this charming bridge and pub is featured in Jerome K's "Three Men in a Boat". Sandy and shallow bays on the nearside and wild and unspoilt flower meadows lie on the farside. Truly idyllic.

  4. Faerie pools, Bla Bheinn on the isle of Skye - a destination on our 'Highlands and Hebrides' cycling holiday, the isle of Skye is home to this amazing waterfall gorge and many smaller pools en route to Bla Bheinn. This is true wild swimming in an amazing location and the water is just crystal clear.

  5. The Witch's Cauldron near Fort William, also on our Highlands and Hebrides cycling holiday. Very accessible as near the road, this is a series of 3 falls and 3 pools set amongst some beautiful rocks. Well worth a visit!

For more info on good wild swimming spots in the UK, check out this website we rate highly. There is also a book and even an app which lists some of the top places with detailed instructions on how to reach these hidden gems - a lot of them are pretty hard to find on your own (which is what makes them so great!)

Book a tailor-made UK cycling holiday or a ready-made walking holiday with us and you too could find yourself wild swimming in a beautiful remote lake in Wales or splashing about in the sea in Cornwall in no time.