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Be part of the open water swimming family

The UK's original open water swim event will return to Brockhole on Windermere (LA23 1LJ) on Friday 11 - Sunday 13 June 2021. 

The event will follow strict COVID-secure procedures, ensuring the safety of participants, spectators and Great Swim crew.  As such we will be operating to a reduced capacity and a slightly different timetable to previous years.  

It will be a fantastic weekend of open water swimming in the stunning Lake District. With distances to suit all levels and abilities you can enjoy a weekend in the great outdoors. 

The event will see the return of the popular event village, complete with exhibitor stands, pop-up food stalls and activities & games for all ages. 

It’s been a year and a half since we saw the high-fiving celebrations with friends and family, well-earned medals being worn with pride and beaming smiles on faces.  We can’t wait to see you all again!

We are delighted to be able to open the 10k distance for swimmers in 2021, however there is a notable change. Having reviewed the event in light of the current Covid-19 guidance, we are unable to offer a feed station. As this is an endurance event swimmers will have to agree to swim self-supported. This will mean using a mandatory tow float device such as this, to carry water and appropriate food. Each swimmer must tow their own float, and these will be inspected at check in. If there is a notable change in Covid-19 guidance then this policy may be reviewed.

By entering the 10k event you agree that you will swim with a tow-float containing any nutrition you require to complete your 10k swim.

Which Distance?

1/2 mile

Wetsuit Policy

Wetsuit use is optional at all John West Great Swim events for water temperatures of 15⁰C or above. Swimmers choosing not to wear a wetsuit MUST use an approved high visibility tow float, swimmers wearing wetsuits can also choose to swim with a tow float. This only applies to swimmers aged over 16 years old. Swimmers aged under 16 will be required to wear a wetsuit.

We’ve teamed up with 2XU to provide a wetsuit hire service. For more information, or for day, month or season 2XU wetsuit hire click here.

Great North Swim250

If you’re keen to try an open water swim, but don’t know where to start, the John West Great North Swim250 event is ideal. It's perfect for new new or nervous swimmers, families, and children aged 8 and over, where you can literally test the water and get a feel for swimming in the great outdoors. 
What is it? 
250 metres (the equivalent of 10 lengths of a standard 25 metre pool) of open water swimming/splashing/doggy-paddling in the bay area of Windermere.
Please note: Wetsuits are compulsory and every child aged 11 and under must be accompanied by one adult (per child). Anyone aged 18+ years old is classified as an adult.

Payment information: For children aged 8 - 11 years old the entry payment is £19 and accompanying adults must also purchase an entry at a cost of £19. For anyone aged 12 years old and over the entry is £19 per entry.

What swimmers get: All entrants will receive a swim cap, a shiny new medal and a finisher's t-shirt, included in the entry price.

Places are limited for this fun, family-focussed event so make sure you secure yours today!


8 - 11 year olds sign up here  

12 years old and over sign up here  

Great North Swim250

Event location

Bigger. Better. Brockhole!

Over the last decade the event has grown from just 3,000 swimmers to almost 10,000 and our location at Brockhole on Windermere allows us to continue to improve the John West Great Swim experience for participants and spectators alike.

Activities at Brockhole

There's plenty of activities for the whole family including adventure playgrounds, trails and orienteering, bike hire, a shop and exhibitions. Many activities are covered so there is lots to do, whatever the weather. Find out more about the activites on offer here>.

Fuelling up

Brockhole has a great selection of food on offer to suit all tastes and budgets. Ingredients are locally sourced where possible, and skilfully prepared by their experienced team of chefs. There’ll also be a wide range of independent local food producers on site especially for the John West Great North Swim weekend.

Brockhole is also dog friendly but please keep your furry friends on the lead and out of the water. Find out more at


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 John West Great North Swim is an inspiring outdoor swim. With large screens around the event site, family and friends can watch all the action.

Make a weekend of it in the Lakes

Why not turn your trip into a great weekend away. Take time to explore the land that has inspired world-renowned poets and writers such as Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. The breathtaking scenery of the Lake District acts as a natural adventure playground - as well as Windermere being England's longest lake, it also boasts England's highest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater) and steepest road (Hardknott Pass). Where else could you find such a variety of world-class outdoor activities in such an accessible and compact region?

Top 5 Attractions in the Lake District National Park:

  1. Mountain Biking-The Loughrigg fell tour - The Lake District is one of the most exciting places in the world to come mountain biking. If you want to challenge yourself on England's highest peaks, to enjoy an epic day out over endless miles of stunning countryside, or to journey for several days, barely touching tarmac, this is the place to visit.The fells just west of Ambleside are gentler than the higher fells and offer a good introduction to those new to the Lake District. The Loughrigg Fell circular mountain bike tour takes in the pretty mix of lakes, woodland fells and lanes that surround the base of Loughrigg Fell.
  2. Rydal Mount and Gardens- Rydal, Ambleside, Cumbria - Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's best loved home for 37 years. Here he wrote many of his poems and revised and improved much of his earlier works including the Prelude and the famous 'Daffodils' poem. This historic home offers, large beautiful terraced gardens landscaped by the poet, magnificent views of lake Windermere and Rydal Water.
  3. Derwent Water Marina - Keswick, Cumbria - This busy marina on Derwentwater offers watersports tuition, boat hire, sailing, kayaking and canoeing.
  4. The World of Beatrix Potter - Bowness-on-Windermere Windermere, Cumbria - A magical indoor attraction that brings to life all 23 Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit tales. Meet all your favourite characters and find out more about Beatrix Potter herself.
  5. Townend -Troutbeck, Windermere, Cumbria - A real Lakeland hidden treasure set in the beautiful village of Troutbeck, this 17th century solid stone and slate house sits imposingly on the hillside, its huge chimneys typical of the area.
About Windermere


We've put together a comprehensive list of questions and answers around the Great North Swim.

Priority Car Parking will go on sale closer to the time, with a variety of other transport options also available. We are working with the local transport partners to ensure there are a range of options to get to the event site. We will communicate with all entrants when the priority car parking goes on sale.

Whilst plans are still to be finalised it is not anticipated that face masks will be compulsory around the general site, due to the open air nature of it. This will be confirmed closer to the event date based on wider Covid restrictions, as well as any areas where masks may be compulsory (such as public transport, Brockhole House etc).

Hand sanitizer will be available around the event site.

There are no specific plans to limit spectators coming to the event at present, however there will be areas within the event site itself that are reserved for swimmers only. At this stage we are not able to guarantee that friends and family will be able to view swimmers in the water, due to the nature of the event site.

We are hoping to deliver an exciting event village, including sponsors and partners, as well as food and activities for all.

The exact format of the warm up is yet to be confirmed, and will be communicated nearer the event date. We will of course be holding our usual safety briefings prior to each swim.

At this stage we are unable to provide exact details of what viewing will be available for spectators and supporters.

All waves will have sufficient time and space to assemble in a socially distanced manner, with 1m+ space for all. In addition swimmers will be slowly released over the start line to ensure distancing can continue in the water.

We will work closely with Windermere Lake Cruises to ensure ferries are one of the range of travel options available to our participants, however they will only be able to operate subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines for public transport.

Our safety systems will undergo a full review to ensure they are in line with current Covid-19 guidelines. Safety of swimmers, spectators, volunteers and staff will be at the centre of any decisions.

Our safety systems will undergo a full review to ensure they are in line with current Covid-19 guidelines. Safety of swimmers, spectators, volunteers and staff will be at the centre of any decisions.

If the 2021 event is cancelled we will automatically roll your place over into the subsequent staging of the event.