All over the UK brave souls will be donning their trunks, swimming costumes, and fancy dress outfits as they prepare to take a quick dip in their local waters. Yes, it may be cold and it may be slightly crazy, but that doesn’t stop the hardcore having a swim on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
And so, Contrary Life brings you a round-up of the festive swims and dips taking place this year, beginning with one of the most well-known events.
Christmas Day Race for the Peter Pan Cup
This is one of the most well-known Christmas Day swims and is a race for Serpentine Swimming Club members only. The race has an interesting history and attracts plenty of spectators. It takes place in the morning at The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park. The Serpentine Swimming Club held its first Christmas Day Race in 1864. In 1903 Sir James Barrie donated the first Peter Pan Cup, the same year that his play Peter Pan first appeared in London theatres.
More info: serpentineswimmingclub.com
Bude Christmas Day Swim
Bude’s swim will take place at Crooklets Beach from 11am on Christmas Day. All money raised from the event will go towards the training and education of Bude Surf Life Saving Club members, helping to keep visitors safe. There are usually around 500 sponsored swimmers taking part, most dress in shorts and Christmas hats (no wetsuits are allowed for the swim). The event also attracts several hundred spectators. Sponsorship forms and details on how to donate are available from the website. Everyone is welcome to join in, but children under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult.
More info: www.budeslsc.co.uk
Exmouth Christmas Day Swim
The Christmas Day Swim in Exmouth is something of an unofficial tradition which sees hundreds of festively dressed people take to the water. This year’s event will take place on the beach near the clock tower at 11am. The swim has become quite renowned in the area and is free to take part in. Dippers are recommended to bring a towel and a flask of tea!
More info: www.exmouthchristmasdayswim.co.uk and www.facebook.com/christmasswim
White Christmas Dip
The White Christmas Dip at Boscombe Pier in Dorset takes place annually on Christmas morning, and raises money for Macmillan. This year they hope to have more than 750 swimmers in fancy dress for the event, and spectators are encouraged to come and watch. The White Christmas Dip will begin at 9.45am and anyone can enter as long as they raise the minimum of £10 in sponsorship.
More info: www.whitechristmasdip.co.uk
Seaburn Boxing Day Dip
This dip is organised by Sunderland Lions Club and has been running since the 1970s. Participants raise money for their dedicated charity through sponsorship. The event has grown in popularity over recent years, and is expected to attract more than 1000 dippers this year. People are welcome to watch the spectacle of the fancy dressed crowd jumping into the chilly North Sea.
More info: e-clubhouse.org and www.facebook.com/SunderlandLionsClub
Seaham Boxing Day Dip
The Seaham dip, hosted by East Durham Round Table, takes place at Seaham Marina. Registration begins at 10.30am on the day and the dip begins around 11am. It costs £5 to take part and dippers are able to raise money for their chosen charities. Over the years dippers have turned up in all kinds of fancy dress costumes, including plenty of Santas, reindeer, penguins, pirates, as well as Minnie Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants and Batman.
More info: www.facebook.com/seahamboxingdaydip
Redcar Boxing Day Dip
Redcar Boxing Day Dip takes place annually and is organised by the Rotary Club of Redcar. It costs £10 to take part and this year participants can raise money for their chosen charity. Registration will take place at the Hub (Esplanade) from 10.15am, followed by a procession of dippers, led by a piper, at 11am.
More info: www.rotary-ribi.org
Tenby Boxing Day Swim
This is the oldest of the Boxing Day dips, having started officially in 1970, its origins are thought to date much further back. Again the focus here is to raise money for charity whilst wearing fancy dress. The event usually attracts around 600 participants and many more spectators. The swim begins at 11.30am, and the day usually includes a fancy dress parade and raft races.
More info: www.tenbyboxingdayswim.co.uk and www.facebook.com/BoxingDaySwimTenby
Bridport Boxing Day Swim
Bridport’s swim, also known as the West Bay Wallow, takes place at 12 noon at the West Bay Harbour Slipway. Organised by the Bridport Round Table, the event is a chance for people to raise money for their chosen charity whilst dressing like a loon. Those crazy enough to take part should aim to be at the harbour for 10.30am to sign in. There will be a prize for the best fancy dress outfit.
More info: www.bridportroundtable.co.uk/boxing-day-swim
Aberdeen Nippy Dipper
Organised by Aberdeen Lions Club, hardy souls need to brave the elements for this sponsored dip in the chilly North Sea. This year’s event will take place by the Beach Leisure Centre. The Lord Provost, accompanied by a piper, will lead the participants to the icy waters at around 10.30am. Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the hardy souls. The Nippy Dipper is a fantastic way to blow away the Christmas cobwebs, have some fun and raise money for charity. It’s a dip, not a swim and participants, who must be aged 16 or over, stay within their depth and are in the water for no more than two minutes.
More info: www.facebook.com/nippydipper
Whitby Boxing Day Dip
Whitby Lions Club host this annual dip in the sea on Boxing Day morning. The event has been running for more than 45 years, and attracts around 150 charitable dippers. The day begins at 10am with fancy dress judging, followed by the brave jog into the North Sea.
More info: www.whitbylions.org/boxing-day-dip