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
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This south-west London swimming spot is known for its out-of-hours swimming sessions, specifically its moonlight dips... and Christmas Day swims. A 36m outdoor (but heated) pool, Hampton's usually opens for a few hours in the morning of 25 December, and slots, released late November, sell out well in advance (book via the app), so plan ahead.
If you miss out on Christmas Day itself, consider booking for a winter moonlight dip instead. They run throughout December, including Christmas Eve, 27 and 29 December, and New Year's Eve. With Christmas lights strung across the pool, and an illuminated Christmas tree on the edge, it'll feel festive enough, even if it's not 25 December.
Christmas Day 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 are available in advance for the two-hour opening on the morning of 25 December. They went on sale on 1 December 2022, and will likely sell out very fast.
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 swim on the wild side in north London, head for the nearby Hampstead Heath ponds. On Christmas Day, the Ladies' Pond is 7.30am-12pm (last entry at 11.30am), while the Men's Pond is 7.30am-8.30am for men only, and then 8.30am to 10.30am for a joint men's and women's Christmas dip. Those hours are extended from last year, so maybe this Christmas Day swimming malarkey is increasing in popularity.
Swimming at the Serpentine on Christmas Day
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 comfort 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.
Christmas Day at Tooting Bec Lido
Tooting Bec Lido normally offers a Christmas Day dip, albeit only for members of South London Swimming Club.
However, as of 20 November 2022, Tooting Bec Lido is closed for approximately nine months while it undergoes a large refurbishment project, so there will be no Christmas Day swim this year. Fingers crossed it returns for 2023.
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.