Where Can You Go Swimming On Christmas Day 2023 In London?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 6 months ago

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Last Updated 17 November 2023

Where Can You Go Swimming On Christmas Day 2023 In London?
A woman swimming front crawl in a swimming pool
Get in a few laps before Christmas lunch. Photo: Marcus Ng via Unsplash.

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 Christmas moonlight dip instead. They run throughout December, including 1, 9, 15 and 23 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 2023 details haven't been announced yet. Keep an eye on the website and social media for updates.

Christmas Day at Brockwell Lido

Exterior of Brockwell Lido building
Image: Steve Cadman under a Creative Commons license

South London swimmers willing to brave an al fresco dip are usually blessed with a Christmas Day opening at Brockwell Lido, for two hours in the morning. Details for 2023 haven't been announced yet, but they usually go on sale in early December and sell out fast. Keep an eye on the website and social media for updates.

Christmas Day at Parliament Hill Lido

Hampstead Heath's open-air Parliament Hill Lido usually opens on the morning of 25 December, though you'll have to be up early to have a dip; in the past, Christmas Day opening times have been 7am-9.30am, with last entry at 9am. Keep an eye on the website for 2023 details.

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 usually open 7.30am-12pm (last entry at 11.30am), while the Men's Pond is normally open 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 were last year's hours — check for Christmas Day 2023 closer to the time.

Swimming at the Serpentine on Christmas Day

Christmas Day 2023 in London: swimmers - some wearing Santa hats- in the water
Hardy swimmers taking part in the Peter Pan Cup 2019. Photo: Burçin Ergünt/Unsplash

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. Members who do not qualify are free to swim before or after the race on Christmas Day, but not between 8.30am-9.15am.

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, in November 2022, Tooting Bec Lido closed for a large refurbishment project, which is taking longer than planned. At time of writing, it's hoped the pool will reopen towards the end of 2023, but whether there's a Christmas Day swim this year remains to be seen.

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.