Festive Swim List 2023

End your swimming year with the communal joy of a festive dip

Cameron Alexander

Nature and giving have always been part of our mid-winter festivities  – and what can be better than ending your swimming year with the communal joy of a festive dip?

There was a time when a Christmas Day swim or New Year’s Day loony dook might be the only time many of us would get in the water outside of summer. Now we love swimming outdoors all year round, yet still the festive dip still has some mid-winter magic about it.

Many of the traditional swims listed here have been kept alive for 30, 50 or 100+ years and started as a seemingly crazy bet or dare; now, they are a seasonal favourite entertaining 100s of spectators and raising £1000s for local charities.

This Festive Swim List will grow during December, is just the start of what’s out there! Take a look at our wild swim groups list to help find a seasonal dip near you.

A WORD ON LOGISTICS – some of these swims are traditional with no fixed organiser – they just always happen at 11am on Christmas Day for example. Others are now more organised with pre-online registration and a fee, which variously goes to charity, safety cover and insurance, and one or two are run like paid open water events. Register your interest or buy a ticket in advance to avoid disappointment.

Please tread lightly and give generously. Take responsibility for your own health and your own safety – read Festive Swims Dos and Don’ts. Follow the organisers’ advice in advance such as instructions on parking. Arrangements for festive swims can change or can be cancelled at short notice due to poor weather. Do check for updates with event organisers or your local swim groups in the days leading up to the swim. Let’s preserve these swims for the future – they are wonderful events.

DID WE MISS ONE? Please send additions and corrections to hello@outdoorswimmingsociety.com.

Santa swimmers with the Outdoor Swimming Society banner Santa swimmers with the Outdoor Swimming Society banner


Cobo Bay Boxing Day Dip

Location – Cobo Bay
Time and date – 10.30am on December 26th
Price – Donations to Guernsey Cheshire Home
More info

St Peter Port Polar Bear Swim

Location – La Vallette Bathing Pools
Time and date – 9.30am-10.30am on December 25th
Price – Free
Description – Guernsey Swimming Club has held its Polar Bear Swim on Christmas Day for more than 50 years
More info

Christmas Eve swim at The Cove, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland Christmas Eve swim at The Cove, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland



The South West is like the Wild West when it comes to festive swims – there many more traditionally held in Devon and Cornwall. Often these events are communal uprisings, with no one person is the organiser. You may find events on Christmas Day in Falmouth, Coverack, St Agnes, Polzeath, Sennen, Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton; on Boxing Day in Poldhu, Charleston, Paignton, Teignmouth and Torquay; and New Year in Newquay. Details can be found through local swim groups, press and social media.

Boscombe Macmillan White Christmas Dip

Location – Right of Boscombe Pier
Time and date – Dip 9.45 on December 25th
Price – £7.5
Description – Dippers must be registered by December 23rd. There’s always pre-dip fun on the beach to warm participants up!
More info

Bude Surf Life Saving Club Christmas Day Swim

Location – Crooklets Beach
Time and date – Register by 10.30am; warm up at 10.45am; swim at 11am
Price – £10
More info

Exmouth Christmas Day Swim

Location – Exmouth beach
Time and date – 10.45am
Price – Free
Description – mass Santa hat wearing event!

More info

Lake 32 Boxing Day Swim

Location – Lake 32, Cirencester
Time and date – Three slots 9am, 10am and 11am on December 26th
Price – £10
Description – Admission includes a hot drink to warm up after the swim and collection buckets will be out in aid of Prospect Hospice at Wroughton.
More info

Hele Bay Merbabes New Year’s Swim

Location – Hele Bay, North Devon
Time and date – 10am on January 1st
Price – Free
Description – Open to all
More info

Lyme New Year’s Day Lunge

Location – Sandy Beach
Time and date – 1pm on January 1st
Price – Donation to charity
Description – Fancy dress is encouraged. The Harbour Inn will be providing hot soup to all swimmers
More info

Paignton Lions Club Boxing Day Walk into the Sea

Location – Paignton Seafront Beach
Time and date – 12 noon on December 26th
Price – £10 for adults; £5 for under-16s
Description – Fancy dress is optional
More info

Portishead Lido

Location – Esplanade Road, Portishead
Time and date – From December 17th  for two weeks.
Price – see Lido website
Description -Christmas lights, spectacular seaside location, mince pies and a cafe with an awesome view across the Bristol Channel.

More info

St Ives Boxing Day Charity Dip

Location – Porthminster Beach
Time and date – 12 noon on Boxing Day
Price – £1 charity donation
Description – Everybody welcome, including the dog!
More info

Weymouth Lions Christmas Day Harbour Swim

Location – Weymouth Harbour
Time and date – 9.30am-12.30pm on December 25th
Price – £12
Description – It’s said this swim dates back to 1948 when two friends – a local publican and a taxi driver – made a bet to see who could swim across the harbour on Christmas Day. 
More info

West Bay Wallow Boxing Day Swim

Location – The Harbour
Time and date – 12noon, December 26th
Price – Free, it’s a fundraiser
Description – Fancy dress and a sense of humour needed!

More info

Crowds heading into the sea at Cromer Crowds heading into the sea at Cromer


Where can you have a Christmas Day dip in London? Here’s a link to the lidos and ponds open in 2023, book in advance as tickets sell out fast!

Camber Sands Festive Dips

Location – Camber Sands
Time and date – Boxing Day and New Years Day, tides will influence the timings
Price – free
Description – Informal, anyone who fancies a dip can just turn up!

Deal Rotary Icebreakers Boxing Day Dip

Location – North side of Deal Pier
Time and date – 1.30pm on December 26th
Price – Advance registration is £7 by December 23rd; on the day costs £10
Description – This swim has raised more than £85,000 for good causes since its inception in 1981. Festive fancy dress is encouraged. The Grinch has been known to put in an appearance in the past
More info

Folkestone Lions Club Boxing Day Dip

Location – Sunny Sands Beach; registration at the Mariners Pub
Time and date – Registration from 9.30am; fancy dress judging at 10.30am; in the water at 11am on Boxing Day
Price – £10 individual, £25 for a family of four
Description – You can also raise funds for the club and/or your preferred charity. Prizes are awarded in the fancy dress competition and for most money raised.
More info

Swimble Shenanigans Festive Swims

Location – Hayling Island
Time and date – 7.30am on December 25th; 8.30am on December 26th; 9.30am on January 1st
Price – Free
Description – The dress code is Christmas hats on Christmas Day; old swim fashions on Boxing Day; optional fancy dress on New Year’s Day
More info

Ventnor Isle of Wight Boxing Day Swim

Location – Ventnor Esplanade
Time and date – 12 noon on December 26th
Price – Free, collection buckets for charity
Description – This swim tradition began in 1980 and encourages fancy dress
More info

Whitstable festive swims

Location – Tankerton slopes
Time and date – 11am Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, 10am Christmas Day
Price – free
Description – Informal gathering 


Aldeburgh Boxing Day Swim

Location – Aldeburgh, Moot Hall
Time and date – 11am Boxing Day
Price – £10 + 4% fee
Description – The event was started in 1988 by Dr Kevork Hopayian, a local GP, to raise funds for the victims of the Armenian earthquake. Since then the event has raised thousands of pounds for charity, and this year we intend to donate funds to the RNLI & Make a wish foundation. The White Lion Hotel is kindly offering swimmers hot chocolate, snacks and warm sofas after the swim.
More info and booking

Beccles Lido Chill Swim

Location – Beccles Lido
Time and date – 8am-11am, New Year’s Day
Price – £6
Description – Lido swims in 12-15 degrees C water
More info

Felixstowe Christmas Day Dip

Location – Felixstowe seafront, opposite Mannings Amusements on Sea Road
Time and date – December 25th from 8.30am. Dipping at 10am
Price – £15 up until December 21st. £20 on the day. Proceeds to St Elizabeth Hospice
Description – Join around 600 people in the sea on Christmas Day for the 19th edition of this dip in aid of the hospice. Friends and family are encouraged to come and cheer you on!
More info

Hunstanton Round Table Christmas Day Swim

Location – Register outside Alive Oasis, Central Promenade, Hunstanton
Time and date – Registration from 10am to 10.30am; fancy dress judging at 10.50am; swimmers take the plunge at 11am; free hot soup for swimmers at 11.15am; and certificates available from 11.30am
Price – Sponsorship
Description – With 60 years of heritage, this annual festival fundraising event is embraced by the entire community.

Lowestoft Christmas Day Swim

Location – East Point Pavilion
Time and date – Registration from 8.30am; swim at 10am on December 25th
Price – Minimum £5 donation. All money goes to local charities
Description – This is the 44th edition of the swim, which has seen more than £10,000 raised for charity in previous events. Fancy dress is welcomed.
More info

North Norfolk Beach Runners Boxing Day Dip

Location – Cromer Pier, Norfolk
Time and date – 11.30am on December 26th
Price – Free to enter, but there will be a collection for this year’s charity
Description – A pre-swim fun run starts at 10am, followed by the sea swim at 11am
More info

Sea Palling Boxing Day Dip

Location – Sea Palling Beach, Norfolk
Time and date – December 26t, arrive at the latest 11.30am to register in the water at 12noon
Price – Free, suggested £5 in the box on the day for the Let’s Do It Anyway charity
Description – Open to everyone, waiver forms need to be signed before entering the water
 More info

Southend RNLI Boxing Day Dip

Location – Jubilee Beach, Marine Parade, Southend on Sea
Time and date – Sign in from 10.15am; swim from 11am
Price – £6 in advance (including a mince pie!); £25 on the day. All proceeds go to the RNLI.
Description – Swimmers are invited to brave the 5 to 6°C waters of Southend for the eight edition of the event.
More info

Southwold Christmas Day Sea Swim

Location – Southwold seafront, on the beach below Gun Hill
Time and date – 10.30 on December 25th
Price – £10 in advance, £12 on the day
Description – In it’s 12th year, in aid of the RNLI Sole Bay and Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Blood Bikes, fancy dress optional

More info


Maplethorpe New Year’s Big Dip

Location – Details are hidden until registration!
Time and date – New Year’s Day (contact the organisers for the time at registration)
Price – A registration fee with a group discount for four or more; or via sponsorship for the Poppy Appeal
Description – A charity event in aid of the Poppy Appeal, run by Flanders Friends who support the Armed Forces and local community. Start early – they are sending out registration packs and paperwork.
More info

Crowds entering the sea in Whitby Crowds entering the sea in Whitby


Knaresborough Swimmers Group Festive Swims

Location – Knaresborough Lido
Time and date – 11 am on December 25th and 11am on  New Year’s Day
Price – Free
Description – Don’t be fooled by the name of the location; this isn’t a pool swim. Knaresborough Lido is a short stretch of the River Nidd
More info


Salford New Year’s Day Charity Swim

Location – Dock 9, MediaCityUK, Salford Quays
Time and date – Registration is from 10.15am to 11am. Swimmers enter the water at intervals between 11am and 12noon. Price – Adults: £25; under-16s: £5 supporting St Ann’s Hospice
Description – There are two courses available for this swim: a 250-metre course for competent swimmers with tow floats and a 100-metre course for those without. Wetsuit swimmers, skin swimmers and those in fancy dress allowed
More info

Alderford Lake Solstice Sunrise Swim

Location – Alderford Lake in Whitchurch
Time and date – 7.30am-9am on December 21st for sunrise at 8.22am
Price – £11 swims & £1.50 for spectators
Description – Pre-booking is essential. Tow floats are mandatory and the organisers recommend putting fairy lights inside them
More info

Morecambe Bay on New Year’s Day

Location – Morecambe Bay
Time and date – Registration from 11.30am, swim start at 1pm
Price – £7 for the dip; £12 for the 500m swim
Description – Swim, splash or stroll for St John’s hospice. Dip (fancy dress optional) and 500m swim (strong swimmers, used to cold water essential)
More info

Openswim Charity Boxing Day Dip

Location – Sale Water Park
Time and date – 12 noon-2pm on December 26th
Price – £24 adults, £12 children, £58 for a family of four with 20% of the proceeds going to Manchester Mind
Description – Entry fee includes a few swim hat
More info

South Lakes Swimming Club Festive Dips

Location – Windermere
Time and date – 10.15am on December 22nd, 9.30am on December 23rd
Price – £6
Description – A great opportunity to swim in a small, calm and friendly group. Swimmers must be fully acclimatised to cold water
More info

North East

Dip Club Officials December Dips

Location – Long Sands Beach, King Edwards Bay and Whitley Beach
Time and date – Various
Price – Free
Description – Informal gatherings by the Dip Club Officials
More info

Little Haven Boxing Day Dip

Location – Little Haven Beach, South Shields
Time and date – 11am on December 26th
Price – Donations to Cancer Connections
Description – Register in advance
More info

Hartlepool Round Table Boxing Day Dip

Location – The Marine Hotel, Seaton Carew
Time and date – Registration from 10am; swim at 11.30am on December 26th
Price – £5
Description – There’s a pre-swim parade and fancy dress is optional
More info

Redcar Rotary Club Boxing Day Dip

Location – Lifeboat Slipway, Redcar
Time and date – Registration from 10.15am in The Hub and closes at 10.55am; swim at 11am
Price – £10 registration fee before or on the day
Description – Now in its 54th year, this annual swim sees hundreds of people join in and raise money for local charities including Redcar RNLI, Redcar Coast Watch and Mountain Rescue Cleveland
More info

Lions Club of Sunderland Boxing Day Dip

Location – The Stack, in Seabrun
Time and date – 10am, plunge at 11am, on December 26th
Price – £10
Description – This swim is expected to be bigger and better this year, attracting hundreds of participants, most of whom will be in fancy dress!
More info

Whitby Lions Boxing Day Dip

Location – Whitby Bandstand, Pier Road
Time and date – Sign in at 10am; fancy dress judging at 10.30am; swim straight after judging
Price – £10
Description – Fancy dress is at the heart of this swim and prizes will be awarded in wide range of categories: adult female, adult male, female under-16, male under-16 and team
More info

Photo by Anna Deacon Wardie Wild Ones


Broughty Ferry YeAABA New Year’s Day Dook

Location – Broughty Ferry Harbour
Time and date – 2.45pm on January 1st
Price – £15 for adults; £10 for juniors
Description – The tradition of jumping into the Tay to welcome in the New Year dates back 140 years!
More info

Burghead Boxing Day Swim

Location – Harbour Office, Burghead
Time and date – 2.30pm on December 26th
Price – Sponsorship, with proceeds going to a selection of local charities
Description – This swim has been going for more than 30 years
More info

Portobello Dook

Location – Portobello Beach, meet at the foot of Bath Street
Time and date – TBC on January 1st
Price – Free
Description – With the cancellation of the Loony Dook at South Queensferry for 2024, it’s expected that the Porty Dook will be busier than ever this year. It’s an informal affair and lots of participants will be clad in fancy dress
More info

Helensburgh New Year Swim

Location – Rhu Marina
Time and date – Checking by 11.30am, in the water at 12 noon on January 1st
Price – Donations to Helensburgh RNLI
Description – Registration by 30 December, adults and children welcome
More info

Mad Piranhas Santa Hat Swim

Location – Portobello Beach, outside Crumbs
Time and date – 7.30am for 8.30am swim on December 11th
Price – Free
Description – Santa hats optional
More info

Mad Piranhas Loony Dook

Location – Seamill Beach, North Ayrshire
Time and date – 10am on December 22nd
Price – Free
Description – Pack your Santa hat and join this inclusive group of swimmers
More info


Like South West England, in addition to the swims listed below, traditional swims may not be listed online yet are happening locally as they are communal traditions, not officially organised events. These may include a Boxing Day swim at Pembrey Park and New Year’s Day swims at Porthmawr, Abersock, Porthdinllaen and Barry Island.

Llandudno Lions Club Boxing Day Dip

Location – Llandudno Beach
Time and date – Registration from 10am; swim at 11.30am on December 26th
Price – Free, but sponsorship encouraged
Description – This swim has been running for more than 25 years. Each participant will receive a memento of the event and there will be prizes for the best fancy dress
More info

Ponty Lido Festive Swims

Pontypridd Lido opens for Boxing Day and New Year’s Day swims book ahead – Boxing Day tickets are available from December 4. 

Porthcawl Christmas Morning Swim

Location – The Hi-Tide Inn, Porthcawl
Time and date – Registration 10.30am, swim at 11.45am, based on the tide, December 25
Price – Free, but fundraising is encouraged
Description – The festive swim has been going since 1965. Register in advance for a free mug! 
More info

Saundersfoot New Year’s Day Swim

Location – North Beach, Saundersfoot
Time and date – 12.30pm to 1.30pm on January 1st
Price – £5 donations to charity
Description – Register in advance or on the day. The swim began in 1984 and medals can be exchanged for the wrist bands by swimmers
More info

Tenby Boxing Day Swim

Location – North Beach, Tenby
Time and date – From 11am; swim at 11.30am on December 26th
Price – Swimmers are encouraged to raise money for charity
Description – This is a legendary swim,is in its 51st year, where fancy dress is very much encouraged. Despite being named as one of Britain’s top ten barmiest winter dips, it’s unlikely the water will actually be warm!
More info

Christmas Eve swim at The Cove, Greystones, Co Wicklow, Ireland.

Northern Ireland

Bangor Cancer Focus NI New Year’s Day Dip

Location – Crawfordsburn Beach
Time and date – Safety announcement at 11.45am; swim at 12 noon on January 1st
Price – £15 in aid of Cancer Focus NI
Description – There will be a prize for the best fancy dress outfit
More info


The COPE Galway Christmas Day swim

Location – Blackrock, Salthill
Time and date – Between 10am and 1pm on December 25th, or anytime between December 20th and 26th
Price – €20 adults and €5 for children. Money raised benefits COPE Galway
Description – In 1989, a group of COPE Galway staff took the plunge into icy waters on Christmas morning to raise funds for their domestic abuse support service. 34 years later the tradition continues and as many as 900 swimmers are expected to take part
More info


Winter swimming and festive swims in particular have risks. Learn how to stay well by reading our swimming dos and donts.

If you have a swim that’s not been listed and would like to invite others to join you, send us the event name, location, date, time, cost, description and a link to more info. Email hello@outdoorswimmingsociety.com to be added to the list or with any corrections that need to be applied to the swims listed above.

Have the best of seasonal swims from all of us at OSS HQ!