Best Christmas wild swims in the UK

Photo credit: Photo by Šárka Jonášová on Unsplash
Photo credit: Photo by Šárka Jonášová on Unsplash

From Red Online

Bude, Cornwall

The Christmas Day swim in Crooklets Beach in Bude is not for the faint-hearted, not only is it a bracing dip in chilly waters, it also has a ‘no wetsuits’ policy. The whole swim is a fundraising event for Bude Life Saving Club and there’s a brilliant atmosphere with over 500 participants every year. There’ll be warming hot chocolate, mulled wine, and mince pies on offer post-swim.

Date: Tuesday 25th December 2018 Time: 11am Price: Donations

Tenby North Beach, Wales

The beautiful Tenby North Beach is a firm favourite in Pembrokeshire with its iconic pinnacle of Goskar rock rising up out of the sand. Its legendary Boxing Day dip sees swimmers plunging into the wintry waters to emerge refreshed and ready for the beach bonfire and a spot of soul restoring soup afterwards. It’s guaranteed to be a Boxing Day you’ll never forget.

Date: Wednesday 26th December 2018 Time: From 11am Price: Sponsor a swimmer

Sutton Park - Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham

Birmingham’s Sutton Park is one of the UK’s biggest urban parks and has seven huge man-made lakes within its grounds. Come Christmas Day, the park’s 18th century Blackroot Pool, becomes one of the few freshwater lakes that draws the crowds for a festive dip. Join the swimmers (and the spectators) that gather at the gates at 9:30am in the morning, before jumping into the freezing waters.

Date: Tuesday 25th December 2018 Time: 9:30am (swimming between 10 and 10:30am) Price: Free

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Firth of Forth – Scotland

The brilliant Loony Dook (dook is a Scottish word for a dip) is something of a New Year’s Day tradition in Edinburgh’s South Queensferry. The brave swimmers plunge themselves into the icy waters of the Firth of Forth, looking out onto the striking Forth Bridge. £1 from every ticket sale is donated to the RNLI and spectators are more than welcome to join in the festivities. It’s a sure-fire hangover cure for those Hogmanay revellers.

Date: Tuesday 1st January 2019 Time: 12:30pm Price: £12

Scarlet Hotel - Mawgan Porth, Cornwall

The Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall is upping the festive wild swimming stakes with a little slice of luxury. Their Christmas break package offers four nights in the Scarlet Hotel and a Christmas packed with leisurely breakfasts, lazy afternoon teas and three-course dinners with paired wines. Come Christmas Day, The Scarlet Hotel’s Christmas Day swim is taken down at the gorgeous Mawgan Porth beach, wetsuits will be provided, and guests will be met from the swim with fluffy white towels, brandy and hot chocolate, followed by a dip in the wooden outdoor hot hub to warm up. This is wild swimming in style.

Dates: Sunday 23rd December - 27th December 2018 Price: £556 per night based on two people sharing a Just Right room.

Serpentine Swimming Club – London

The Serpentine Swimming Club is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the country and every year holds its famous Christmas Day race for its members. Dating back to 1864, the race is dubbed the ‘Peter Pan Cup’ and swimmers have to be prepared for its waters, which can get down as cold as four degrees. Non-members can cheer on the swimmers from the south bank of the lake.

Date: Tuesday 25th December 2018 Time: 9am Price: Free for members

Hampstead Ponds - London

Another London wild swimming favourite (this one is open to everyone…) is the annual

Christmas Day swim in Hampstead Ponds. The day kicks off with a member of the Highgate Lifebuoys swimming club playing a Hark the Herald Angels on the bugle. At 11am the ladies’ swimming race commences, followed by a men’s swimming race straight after. Don’t worry they’re all only a 40-yard dash. All races take place in the men’s ponds.

Date: Tuesday 25th December 2018 Time: Arrive for 10:45am Price: Free

Boscombe Pier – Bournemouth

Down in Bournemouth, the Grade II listed Boscombe Pier becomes the meeting place for the annual Macmillan White Christmas Dip with over 1000 swimmers heading to its shores. Dive in in just your swimsuit or dress up (there’s been everything from elves to a pantomime horse taking to the waves). Participants aim to hit the water at 10:30am, although you’ll be out just a couple of minutes later…

Date: Tuesday 25th December 2018 Time: From 9:45am Price: Donation to the Macmillan Caring Locally Charity.

Cromer, Norfolk

Organised by the North Norfolk Beach Runners, the Cromer Boxing Day swim is an event that’s fast-gaining momentum, with more and more swimmers joining each year. It starts bright and early on Boxing Day morning at 9am with a brisk warm-up run to get the circulation going followed by a 10am run into the sea. Proceeds for the fundraiser will go towards the Stoke Association.

Date: Wednesday 26th December Time: 9am Price: Donations going towards charity

Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

Over in Saundersfoot the New Year’s Day swim has been running for over 34 years. Last year saw over 2, 000 swimmers in varying states of fancy dress (the winners of the 2018 prize were a swarm of jellyfish…). There was a Mexican wave and a pre-swim disco to get warmed up. This year’s fancy dress theme is yellow, so get your thinking caps on.

Date: Tuesday 1st January 2019 Time: 9am Price: Donations going towards charity

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