All over the UK this festive season, 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 delights in bringing you our annual 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, with the Serpentine Swimming Club holding its first Christmas Day Race in 1864. In 1903 Sir James Barrie donated the Peter Pan Cup, the same year that his play Peter Pan first appeared in London theatres. This year, the swim will take place in the morning at The Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park and is expected to attract plenty of spectators.
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. The swim has become quite renowned in the area and is free to take part in. This year’s event will take place on the beach near the clock tower at 11am. Dippers are recommended to bring a towel and a flask of tea!
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. It costs £10 to enter and everyone is welcome to join in (children under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult).
White Christmas Dip
The White Christmas Dip at Boscombe Pier in Dorset takes place annually on Christmas morning, and this year will be raising money for Macmillan Caring Locally. They once again hope to attract 1,000 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 £50 in sponsorship. Why not get a team together and take the plunge?
Aberdeen Nippy Dipper
Organised by Aberdeen Lions Club, hardy souls need to brave the elements for this sponsored dip in the chilly North Sea. 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. This year’s event will take place on Boxing Day by the Beach Leisure Centre, with participants lead into the icy waters at around 10.30am at the sound of a klaxon. Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the hardy souls.
Seaham Boxing Day Dip
The Seaham dip is hosted by East Durham Round Table and takes place at Seaham Marina. 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. If you fancy joining them, it costs £5 to take part and you will be able to raise money for your chosen charity. Registration begins at 10.30am on the day and the dip begins around 11am.
Seaburn Boxing Day Dip
This dip is organised by Sunderland Lions Club and has been running since the 1970s. It costs £25 to enter and participants raise money for their dedicated charity through sponsorship. The event has grown in popularity over recent years, and hopes to attract more than 1,000 dippers this year. Visitors are very welcome to watch the spectacle of the fancy dressed crowd jumping into the chilly North Sea.
Folkestone Boxing Day Dip
Taking place on the unseasonally named Sunny Sands Beach, Folkestone’s is another charitable event, organised by their local Lions Club. This dip features a fancy dress competition before the actual dip, and all fundraising participants receive a medal for their efforts. There are also prizes for youngest and oldest dippers, as well as for the most money raised. Dippers take to the waters around 1pm.
Tenby Boxing Day Swim
The 49th Tenby Boxing Day Swim will take place on the North Beach, with the stampede of swimmers setting off at 11.30am. This year’s event will feature a fancy dress parade with a Climate Change theme, as well as their quirky raft race. Brave swimmers receive a medal and some much-needed hot soup. The event attracts around 700 participants and raises money for local and international charities.
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 costumed dippers. Registration begins at 10am, followed by the fancy dress judging at 10.30am, before the brave jog into the North Sea. Last year’s event raised about £10,000 for charity.
Cromer Boxing Day Dip
This annual dip is organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, and this year it will be raising money for Cromer Children’s Charity with the hope of raising £1,000. A fun run takes place at 10am before the main event at 11am. The dip usually attracts 300 to 400 dippers. Why not join them?
Redcar Boxing Day Dip
Redcar Boxing Day Dip takes place annually and this year’s event is the 50th! 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) before the procession of dippers head down the slipway into chilly waters at around 11am.
If you are planning to head along to one of the festive dips, we recommend that you check the weather conditions and the organiser’s website beforehand, to make sure you are well-prepared and that the event is going ahead.