Where Can You Go Swimming On Christmas Day 2021 In London?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 8 months ago

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Where Can You Go Swimming On Christmas Day 2021 In London?
Hampton Pool in the dark, with strings of Christmas lights overhead, and a Christmas tree at the pool edge on the right
Christmas at Hampton Pool

So, you fancy donning your swimsuit and taking to the water on 25 December? As you might expect, options for swimming in London on Christmas Day are limited — understandable, as pool staff and lifeguards most likely appreciate the day off — but we've rounded up your options below.

Oh, and bear in mind that public transport in London is effectively non-existent on Christmas Day, with no buses, trains or tubes (though, depending where you live and where you're going, cycle hire may be an option — triathlon, anyone?).

Christmas Day swim at Hampton Pool

Hampton Pool from above at night, with strings of blue fairy lights above the pool and a Christmas tree with golden lights on the poolside
Christmas at Hampton Pool

This south-west London swimming spot is known for its out-of-hours swimming sessions, specifically its moonlight dips and Christmas Day swims. It's a 36m outdoor (but heated) pool. Hampton Pool usually opens for a few hours in the morning of 25 December, and slots, released late November, sell out well in advance, so plan ahead.

If you miss out on Christmas Day itself, consider booking for a winter moonlight dip instead. With Christmas lights strung across the pool, and an illuminated Christmas tree on the edge, it'll feel festive enough, even it it's not 25 December.

Christmas Day at Brockwell Lido

Brockwell Lido, looking down the pool's surface towards a brick building at the far end
Start your Christmas morning off at Brockwell Lido

South London swimmers willing to brave an al fresco dip are blessed with a Christmas Day opening at Brockwell Lido.

Again, tickets (£8) are available in advance for the 45 minute slots. The first session (10am) sold out immediately, so a second session (10.45am) has been added. These tickets go on sale at 1pm on Friday 3 December, and will likely sell out just as fast.

Christmas Day at Tooting Bec Lido

Tooting Bec Lido, without swimmers, under a blue summer sky
Disclaimer: Tooting Bec Lido probably won't look this bright and sunny in midwinter

South London seems to be the place for seasonal swimmers, as another of its iconic lidos opens on 25 December. First things first — winter swimming at Tooting Bec Lido is only open to members of South London Swimming Club. This applies 1 October-30 April, and includes Christmas Day, so if you want to get a look in at a festive dip, you'll need to become a member.

If you are a member, the pool opens 8am-noon on Christmas Day. All sessions need to be booked in advance, and festive races take place in the pool from 10.30am.

If you're not a member but do want to sample the waters in the depths of winter (rather you than us), you can sign up to take part in the Icebreaker swim for Crisis on 15 January.

Christmas Day at Parliament Hill Lido

Hampstead Heath's open-air Parliament Hill Lido opens on the morning of 25 December, though you'll have to be up early to have a dip; Christmas Day opening times are 7am-9.30am, with last entry at 9am.

Christmas Day at Hampstead Heath Ponds

For a more wild swim in north London, head for the nearby Hampstead Heath ponds. On Christmas Day, the Ladies' Pond is 7.30am-9.30am (last entry at 9am), while the Men's Pond is 7.30am-10.30am, last entry at 10.15am, and women can swim in the Men's pond 8am-10.30am. After this, Lifebuoy races take place in the Men's Pond from 11am, though only those invited can take part.

Swimming at the Serpentine on Christmas Day

Serpentine swim in Hyde Park for the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day in London.
Watch the Peter Pan Cup. Photo: Sinister Dexter

London's most famous Christmas Day dip is the Peter Pan Cup, an historic swimming race which is hotly (or rather, coldly) contested in Hyde Park's Serpentine lake on 25 December each year. Don't dig out your trunks/cossie just yet though — it's only open to members of the Serpentine Swimming Club, the oldest swimming club in Britain. You can, however, cheer those brave souls on from the safety of dry land.

If you're super-keen to get involved, membership is £20 and runs 1 January-31 December each year. It gets you access to the Serpentine during swimming hours year-round. Even that won't guarantee you a spot on the Christmas Day starting line though — only members on the handicap list are allowed to partake.

If you know of a pool or lido in London that's open for swimming on Christmas Day that we've missed, let us know in the comments — your fellow swimmers will thank you. For swimming the rest of the year, take a look at our guide to lidos in London.

Last Updated 02 December 2021

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