The UK has been blessed with warm weather for weeks now. And while we're struggling to sleep through the heat, we're also hoping it stays like this all summer.
Yet, those wanting some cool relief from the muggy heat may want to head to one of these wild swimming spots near London.
Here, wild swimmer Daniel Start shares his edit of the best places to make a splash.
Frensham Great Pond, Farnham
Nearest train station: Bentley
I first glimpsed Frensham Great Pond on a fuggy summer afternoon. This shallow, warmish lake has two bays with natural sandy beaches marked out for swimming. The pond, built by the Bishop of Winchester in 1246, is set among forest and open heathland, and has parking, a café and a small museum nearby. It is popular with young families in the summer.
Find it: 5 miles south of Farnham (A287) signed Frensham Pond Hotel on the right, then first left after ½ mile. 5 mins , 51.1575, -0.7919
Pangbourne, River Thames
Nearest train station: Pangbourne
Meandering through rolling countryside and stone villages, the River Thames offers some of the most civilised swims in England. The river is as unspoilt as it was 100 years ago, and a whole lot cleaner. At Pangbourne you can find an undeveloped and picturesque stretch of river along the edge of the Chiltern Hills, with chalk beaches.
Find it: Walk from Pangbourne to Goring on the north east bank (and return by train), or you can gain access from opposite the bank at Lower Basildon (signed off A329 north of Pangbourne). 40 mins, 51.5080, -1.1109.
Grantchester Meadows, River Cam
Nearest train station: Cambridge
A wonderful spot for a wild swim with over two miles of meadows and swimming from Sheep’s Green down to the Orchard Tea Gardens in Grantchester. On a hot summers day the languid mile-long stretch of river is dotted with leisurely picnic parties, while punts and canoes glide by. Deep banks make this a good spot for diving too, but it can be muddy!
Find it: From A603 / Barton Rd take Grantchester St by lights and find the footpath at the bottom, left, heading to the river and a fallen tree 200m (Paradise Pool). Continue on and park at the bottom of Grantchester Meadows. 5 mins, 52.1907, 0.1046
Houghton Mill and Brampton, River Great Ouse
Nearest train station: Huntingdon Wide meadows and calm deep water make for the perfect long swim. There are fun millstreams for paddling too. At Brampton you can find a wide, secluded stretch of bucolic river bank with a few beaches.
Find it: The Mill is signed from A1123 between Huntingdon and St Ives. Park and walk down the path, beyond the caravan site, bearing right across the wooded mill streams to reach open riverbank. The opposite bank is accessible from Hemingford Abbots. Or you can walk the river path, an hour from Huntingdon train station. 10 mins, 52.3282, -0.1171 For Brampton, turn down River Lane by Frosts, as approaching from south on the B1514. At the bottom head right, upstream. 2 mins, 52.3142, -0.2116
Ulting and Hoemill Bridge, River Chelmer
Nearest train station: Hatfield Peverel
Weaving to the west are rivers and streams rich in wildlife. The river Chelmer offers lovely clean swimming and canoeing, for up to two miles downstream of the bridge, or opposite a pretty church. Watch out for the boats!
Find it: Signed Nounsley/Ulting off B1019 at the south end of Hatfield Peverel. From Ulting (after CM9 6QU) head south to the causeway and lock. Follow the footpath downstream. Limited parking, cycle route 1. Also explore downstream from Boreham Bridge, upstream (51.7485, 0.5596). 5 mins, 51.7485, 0.6081
Fordwich, River Great Stour
Nearest train station: Sturry Flowing through England’s smallest town the river is first open and sunny, then becomes wooded and secretive, leading to a wild lake. This is a great spot for canoeing.
Find it: Off A23, 2 miles north east of Canterbury (Sturry train station). Follow the river’s left bank from the bridge to an easy entry point after ½ mile or continue another ½ mile to find a wooded glade on the right. Westbere Marshes lake is accessible to the left, though best reached on the north shore from Westbere (turn down Walnut Tree Lane after Ye Old Yew Tree Inn, CT2 0HH, 01227 710501, over railway line then continue along lake shore to 51.3047, 1.1462). Cycle route 1. 40 mins, 51.3001, 1.1513
Barcombe Mills, River Ouse
Nearest train station: Lewes
Just north of Rodmell and Charleston, upstream on the Ouse, the open fields of Barcombe Mills are a perfect place for cricket, leapfrog and other riverside games. The Ouse here is deep with pretty grassy banks, ideal for cooling down after cartwheels or diving in for a long swim among the rushes. You can hire a blue rowing boat from the Anchor Inn or swim for over two miles through remote countryside, the spire of Isfield church the only building in sight for the entire journey.
Find it: Off A26, 2 miles north of Lewes. Park on the left after a mile and head upstream past sluices to meadow. Another mile leads to the Anchor Inn. 5 mins, 50.9151, 0.0411
The Wild Guide (£15.99, Wild Things Publishing) features over 1000 wild places to explore, eat and stay in southern and eastern England. A South-West edition is also available. From wildthingspublishing.com