Shopping for swimwear is a little different this year. With summer holidays looking unlikely and retail stores currently still closed, finding the perfect swimsuit is all about online shopping.
Happily, we’ve scoured the internet to find the best swimwear for girls and put each item to the test – at the beach, in the paddling pool and, when necessary, in the bath.
Whether you’re splashing around in the garden during a heatwave or braving a post-lockdown trip to the beach, finding the right swimsuit for a little girl is all about striking the right note between style and comfort.
Any self-respecting pool goer wants to look cool in her cossie, but comfort is everything when it comes to keeping your cool at the seaside or in the paddling pool.
These days, kids’ swimwear is pretty impressive. From super soft fabrics that dry quickly between dips and offer serious sun protection to snazzy designs that will take you from beach barbecue to bodyboard and back again, there’s something to suit everyone.
Best of all, there are now plenty of planet-friendly swimwear options for kids, too. Why just stay sun-safe and stylish in the water when you can do your bit to save the planet at the same time?
Remember that your kid is the one who’ll be wearing the swimsuit you choose, so make sure it wows them and not just you. Our little testers liked swimsuits we didn’t expect them to and turned their noses up at things we thought they’d love. Don’t just assume you know what your child will like when it comes to swimsuits; get their input before you click “add to basket”.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Girls' sporty three-piece swim set
This swimwear set really appealed to our sports-mad seven-year old tester. The bikini has cross-back, adjustable elasticated straps so it’s very much for active kids – think surfing rather than sunbathing – and the print isn’t too girly.
The combination of bikini and rash top is great value, making it quick and easy to cover up when it’s time to get out of the sun or come indoors for lunch. The fabric is quick-drying and offers UPF 50 sun protection, too.
Lola ruffle back swimsuit
This swimwear company specialises in sustainable and ethically-made swimwear with UPF50+ for girls aged three to eight years old. The Lola swimsuit comes in “Frozen” blue with a signature ruffle skirt on the back.
We love the silky soft fabric and the fact that there’s a matching Bella rash vest available. Seriously stylish and reasonably priced for such beautiful swimwear.
Girls' flamingo no nappy swimsuit
Perfect for little ones who are hitting the beach or paddling pool without a nappy for the first time, this cute one-piece swimsuit comes in a range of colourful prints. We found this really well-cut with a super comfy fit on our little tester, no matter how high-energy her poolside antics.
This new brand specialises in sustainable and eco-friendly yet high fashion swimsuits for girls aged 3-14 years. We love this seriously stylish swimsuit. It’s such a striking design in gorgeous bold colours but it’s still practical for surfing and swimming with plenty of sun protection. The fabric is beautifully soft and it dries quickly and retains its shape.
Junior junglespeak tieback swimsuit
Our tester needed a little help to get this on – the tie-back design is really stylish and helps keep the swimsuit in place, but putting it on takes some practice. We love the bold, stylish rainbow leopard print and the adjustable straps. It’s also 100 per cent chlorine resistant so when the pools eventually reopen, this is a good choice for serious swimmers.
Our teenage tester liked this swimsuit because it’s trendy without trying too hard. The crossover back straps are adjustable and stay in place well, and the cut is generous without being prudish. This one has lightly padded cups.
Liewood Alice blush swimsuit
Scandiborn, as the name suggests, specialises in Scandinavian inspired design, and we love the simplicity of this suit. The fabric used for this swimsuit protects against the sun’s rays with the highest ultraviolet protection factor UPF 50+ and the swimsuit is fully lined. The fabric is wonderfully soft but the straps aren’t adjustable.
Kuling pink crocodile algarve swimsuit
The cute croc print on this girls’ swimsuit really made us smile. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water… The Oeko-Tex certified fabric (every part of it has been tested for harmful substances) provides SPF50+ sun protection and is lined at the front with ruffle detail at the waist. This swimsuit dries really quickly, too.
Liewood otto swim pants shorts
We weren’t sure whether these were designed for boys or girls, but our seven-year-old (female) tester took an instant shine to them and absolutely loves wearing them with the matching rash vest.
Sometimes a bikini just doesn’t offer quite enough coverage for an active girl, whereas this kept her protected from the sun and free to focus on her swimming technique.
Children's mermaid tankini set
This is so much fun – it’s a tankini that changes colour when you wear it in the water. Our tester tried it out in the bath initially, thanks to lockdown and bad weather, but she’s since been wearing it in the paddling pool and the novelty hasn’t yet worn off.
Special note – we love how easy this is to put on and how well cut it is – not too skimpy, unlike some tankinis. It’s also double layered for increased sun protection.
More than 20 million bottle caps and lids have been found during beach cleaning activities around the world over the last 30 years. J&A joined forces with artist and environmentalist, Saif Chilmiran to design this swimsuit to help highlight the issue. We love that matching prints are available for the rest of the family!
2-Piece printed swimsuit
Bang on trend, this tie-dye print bikini made our list because the crop-top style bikini top is stylist but really practical for active girls and the adjustable shoestring straps allow for a perfect fit.
UPF 50 kids rash vest
This brand’s entire range of swimwear is made using recycled plastic and fishing nets. The rash vest is made from lightweight, breathable sun-safe fabric that dries quickly and has a UPF rating of 50+ to block out 98 per cent of the sun’s harmful rays. A matching hat and swim shorts are available separately.
The verdict: Swimwear for girls
Our seven-year-old tester loves the girls' sporty three-piece swim set from Lands’ End. It’s the perfect combination of sporty, stylish and practical for an active day outdoors. We also think the UPF 50 kids rash vest from Polarn O.Pyret deserves a special mention for its eco-credentials and excellent value for money. And for unrivalled beach chic and striking swimwear designs, the KRYSTYNA from Riviera Kids is something special.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.