Top 10 Christmas and New Year’s Day swims in the UK

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People around the country will be plunging into icy pools, lakes and the sea in the name of fun and charity.

And although immersing yourself in freezing waters might seem a little daunting it's a thoroughly refreshing experience and it's great for your health.

Immersing yourself in very cold water can help you lose weight as your body is working twice as hard to keep warm and therefore you burn more calories.

It can also boost your immune system, get your blood pumping and give you a natural high, as your body releases endorphins to cope with the pain.

And there are plenty of places to go for a frosty dip, so why not join a festively clad crew at one of these top 10 Christmas swims.

1. Lowestoft, Suffolk – Christmas day swim, 10am

After an uncertain future Lowestoft Christmas charity swim has been given a new lease of life as Sentinal Leisure Trust stepped in to run the event.

The fun-filled day will once again see people plunging into the chilly North Sea. To register see

2. Sandford Parks Lido, Cheltenham – Christmas day swim, 11-11.30am

This swim is perfect for those who fancy a quick cold dip in a pool before heading home for your Christmas dinner.

There is no charge to enter this event but there will be collection buckets at the entrance raising money for Sandford Lido Ltd, the charitable trust that operates the lido.

Spectators are welcome. If you are planning to take part you will need to print off the liability form and bring the completed form with you on the day. For more information see

3. Exmouth, East Devon – Christmas day swim, 11am

The annual event attracts thousands of people brave enough to take the plunge and go for a swim in the waters just off Exmouth beach. But if you don't fancy braving the icy waters there is a webcam for you to view so it is also a great spectator sport. For more information on where to meet and to see hilarious photos from previous years go to

4. Bude, North Cornwall – Christmas day swim, 11am

On Christmas morning, hundreds of swimmers from across Cornwall and beyond will go for a refreshing dip in the sea to help raise money for the Northern Hemisphere's oldest Surf Life Saving Club at Crooklets Beach, Bude.

Organised by the Bude Surf Life Saving Club, the community-spirited act of madness is rapidly growing as a spectator event. For more information see

5. Sennen Cove, Cornwall– Christmas day swim, 11am

Grab you santa hat and swimmers and head down to this scenic Cornish beach. In the summer, Sennen offers golden sands and warm seas.

In the winter it's a rather different prospect, but this doesn't deter several hundred keen swimmers from heading in for the annual Christmas Day swim. There's plenty of Cornish wildlife to keep an eye out for, if the screaming doesn't scare it off.

For more information see

6. Porthcawl, WalesPorthcawl, Wales- Christmas day swim, 10.30am

This swim is now in its 49th year and swimmers who take part will receive a commemorative mug as a souvenir of their chilly dip. There will also be festive carols and warm drinks for participants to enjoy before they take the plunge. See for information.

7. Hunstanton Promenade, Norfolk – Christmas day swim, 10am

Hundreds of people dressed in bizarre and outrageous costumes head to the Hunstanton Promenade swim ever year and a prize of £25 is given to the best dressed individual – so give your costume some thought.

The event, which has been running for 50 years is free but swimmers must raise and give all sponsorship money to Round Table for distribution. See for information.

8. Whitby District Lions, Scarborough – Boxing Day dip, 10am

The Whitby dip is the perfect exercise after a few days of overindulgence and is a swim with an emphasis on charitable fundraising alongside the usual fun, bravado and icy waters.

There is also a fancy-dress competition – so grab your best costumes and fling yourself into the icy waters. For more information see

9. Firth of Forth, Scotland – New Year's Day swim, 11am

This New Year's day swim isn't for the faint hearted and braving the North sea is quite a feat but braving the freezing waters will no doubt work wonders for even the most horrific of New Year's eve hangovers. For more information and pictures from previous years go to

10. Saundersfoot, Wales – New Year's Day swim, 12.30pm

The Saundersfoot New Year's Day event, that started out with 17 people, saw nearly two thousand people hit the beach last year.

Thousands turned up in fancy dress to brave the cold for charity and this year the Christmas dip is expected to be even bigger as it celebrates its 30th birthday. For more information see

Festive swims are a joyful celebration in the middle of winter's darkness – just like Christmas but swimming when their is no lifeguard can be dangerous so make sure you follow safety advice and if you fancy a chilly dip make sure you take part in an organised event.

  • Cheltenham

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