Every year members of an exclusive club gather on Christmas morning to enjoy a quick dip in Hyde Park.
For over a century, the Serpentine Swimming Club has been hosting the Peter Pan Cup at 9am on Christmas Day. The 100-metre swimming race takes place in waters of around four degrees Celsius and is probably not everyone’s ideal way to start the festive day.
However, for those staying in central London hotels over the holiday it is a great event to watch while wrapped up warm.
All of the swimmers undergo several training sessions in the run-up to the event and only members are allowed to take the plunge on the actual day.
Jeremy Cavanagh, an Australian living in London, has completed the festive swim for the past six years and explained to TNT Magazine: “It always hurts, even though we swim every week leading up to the race.
“It’s a handicapped race, so everyone gets in at different times – but there are crowds of people cheering every time someone jumps in, which is a great help.”
He added: “It’s a physical challenge. Having grown up in Australia on the beach, living in London, I always missed swimming and I didn’t like indoor pools. After the race, I go home and have my turkey dinner.”
One of the major benefits of being a member of the Serpentine Swimming Club is being allowed to swim every morning before 9am at one of the eight Royal Parks in the capital.