Wild water swimming in chilly climates may sound a little crazy. Yet, it’s a dose of fresh air that’ll certainly wake you up, as well as nurse any hangovers. Encourage your friends and family to get involved; decide on your team outfit and enjoy the spectacle. An (admittedly) chilly dip, albeit a fun one.
Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham
This festive swim is located in one of the country’s biggest urban parks. Sutton Park features plenty of freshwater lakes, making it the perfect spot to draw in the local crowds.
A Christmas day occasion that dates back for more than a century. It has become renowned for its charitable fundraising and accumulation of fancy dress and speedos. An early 9:30am start so make sure you grab your swimming costumes, towels and many hot flasks. Don’t worry if taking part in the swim doesn’t appeal to you, you can easily admire the spectacle from the banks.
Serpentine Swimming Club, London
Price: Members only
The Serpentine Swimming Club in Hyde Park, London, holds the annual Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day. As one of the oldest sporting institutions in the country, dating back to 1864, the club and its Christmas Cup – like the name suggests – has taken on legendary status.
A 91-metre swim in temperatures as low as four degrees, this one isn’t for the faint-hearted. As this swim is part of the club, you do need to be a member to take part. Yet, spectators are welcome. Remember to wrap up warm and get your voice ready for lots of festive singing and cheering.
Boscombe Pier, Bournemouth
Price: £5 donation
The annual Macmillan White Christmas dip takes place in Boscombe pier. This event attracts around 1,000 swimmers to the icy shores on Christmas day.
In aid of Macmillan caring locally, the special event heads up proceeds to aid the local community. This year, it plans to raise £50,000 to go towards the Brick by Brick appeal – helping to rebuild a tired public building with some love and TLC. They ask for a minimum donation of £5 to take part in the swim, which will help them to reach their £50,000 goal.
By making its do-good standpoint, there’s no doubt this swim is only gaining in popularity every year, with last Christmas marking its tenth anniversary. Expect crazy costumes, from Santas, elves and even pantomime horses and of course, plenty of unforgettable memories.
Dorset’s well-known festive swim is on Charmouth Beach. The event raises money to support the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and their continued hard work across the coast.
Locals often dress for the occasion, doting Christmas themed fancy dress costumes, to brave the typically freezing sea temperatures.
A 10am start, yet with such frosty waters, it’s over pretty quickly – so make sure you’re on time and ready to go.
Polzeath, North Cornwall
This North Cornwall Christmas day swim has a strict no wetsuit policy. Swimming costumes and fancy dress are encouraged. So, make sure you come prepared with towels, dry clothes and lots of mulled wine.
A Christmas tradition dating back to 1970. This swim encourages families to get involved and brave the cold Devon waters.
This local event has become somewhat of a local tradition over the years, with around 1,000 courageous swimmers daring to take the Christmas dip.
It isn’t an organised event, so there is no fee to join in. Simply your good will and a brave face. If you’re not sure whether to take part this year, this Christmas Day swim is live-streamed online, so you can enjoy the phenomenon and decide whether you’re up to it next year.
Porthcawl, Sandy Bay, Wales
One of the UK’s largest Christmas day swims is in Sandy Bay in Wales. This Christmas will be its 54th year, and it’s set to see over 1,000 locals grace the shores for the dip.
As a renowned tradition for so many years, the locals honour its fancy-dress attire. Each year this festive swim raises money towards a chosen charity, often one that helps give back to the local area.
So, whether you dare to try the festive swim or venture out to support your family and friends. A Christmas Day beach dip is a great way to mix up tradition with unforgettable laughs with the people closest to you.
Tell us if you plan to take a Christmas swim this year on Twitter or Facebook. Or if you’re looking for some tips on preparing for the dip, why not read our blog post on open water swimming essentials for everything you need to know.