by Chris Leadbeater, The Telegraph, August 22, 2018
Fancy making waves next time you’re away? Telegraph Travel dives into the options around the world.
1. Narrows minded
OK, we all agree that the Caribbean is a holiday destination, yes? So what of an escape to St Kitts and Nevis that includes a little swimming? The Narrows, the two-mile channel between the two islands, is tackled every year in a popular swim-athon. Entry fees for 2019 (March; nevistostkittscrosschannelswim.com) start at $85 (£65). A week to match at Montpelier Plantation on Nevis is £1,919pp (tropicalsky.co.uk).
2. Make a splash
In a month when the British weather seems to have been reading the Old Testament, and is now mood-swinging between smiting us with wild heat or dousing us in biblical downpours, the idea of a swimming break is oddly compelling. Hell, if we have a few more of the thunderstorms which have taken over in the last couple of weeks, swimming may end up being less “holiday idea” and more “that’s how I commute”. But let’s assume for now that you want to jump into a body of water for pleasure and leisure. Try wildswimming.co.uk – which reveals some of the best places to try an impromptu dip in the UK and Europe.
3. Crete expectations
The Big Blue Swim (thebigblueswim.com) sells swimming breaks in Greece such as “The Big Swim Week” it has planned for Sept 23-30. It includes the Minoan Trail, a series of front crawls around the untamed coastline of Crete’s Sfakia region. From £820, including a hotel base (flights extra).
4. Northern exposure
Swimquest (swimquest.uk.com) has a three-night “Christmas Weekend” from November 30 at Traigh House, Arisaig in the Highlands (£550pp, full board – with daily dips).
5. Out of your shell
Convention dictates that the ideal way to enjoy the Galapagos islands is by boat, looking politely at the big tortoises. Swim Trek (swimtrek.com) throws convention into the sea with its seven-day group swimming tours of Ecuador’s most feted archipelago – and has spaces left on two trips in March, from £3,450pp (flights extra). It’s a bit Reverse Darwin – man goes back to water; tortoise looks puzzled - but what the hey.
6. Nothing Toulouse
The world’s largest swimming pool is thought to be the Crystal Lagoons complex in Sharm El Sheikh – a tricky option for Britons due to FCO advice on flying to the Egyptian resort. So you’ll have to try Europe’s biggest – the Piscine Alfred Nakache in Toulouse (toulouse.fr/web/sports/piscines/nakache-ete). A three-night trip this month to the four-star Hotel des Beaux Arts is about £264pp, with flights (expedia.co.uk).
7. Armband aid
The trouble with swimming breaks is that you need to be able to swim. Or do you? Tuition specialists Swimming Without Stress (swimmingwithoutstress.co.uk) offer residential learning holidays at Croft Farm (croft-holiday-cottages.co.uk), a cluster of holiday cottages near Cardigan. A package of eight lessons costs £450; four nights in a cottage from £320. Courses are primarily aimed at adults, but children can also be taught.
8. Mouse party
Does it count as a swimming holiday if you’ve gone to Disney World and plonked your children in a water park? Try telling your offspring it doesn’t. Mr Mickey’s Orlando operation has two such slide-and-splash enclaves – Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Seven nights for a family of four at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, leaving Heathrow next Saturday, starts at £5,559 (virginholidays.co.uk).
9. Slide away
You don’t need to go to Florida to whizz down a chute into a chlorinated tank. Alton Towers (altontowers.com) in Staffordshire has a water park – with rides such as “Master Blaster”, “Rush” and “Rampage”. A weekend stay (one night at the Alton Towers Hotel – August 25) for a family of four, with two days’ park and water park entry, is £467.
10. New rules
Does a hotel with a glorious pool make for a swimming holiday? It does when it’s the 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, which has a rooftop swimming hole with such a great view of Manhattan that you may forget to swim. Telegraph Travel included it in a “Top 10 New York hotels with pools” article earlier this year. From £233 a night (telegraph.co.uk/tt-1-hotel).