London’s craziest swimmers prepare for Peter Pan Cup

Peter Pan is a regular fixture in London at Christmas time, with pantomime productions of JM Barrie's famous tale of the boy who never grows up being a firm favourite among festive audiences.

However, what some people may not know is that there is also a Peter Pan Cup, which is presented each year on Christmas Day following a competition that is every bit as much of a spectacle as a stage performance of Hook.

The competition takes its name from the fact that it was Barrie himself who first donated the trophy, and the nature of the event is something that may strike some people as somewhat crazy.

A 100-yard swimming in the icy waters of London's Serpentine – which can be found in Hyde Park – will be taking place at 9am tomorrow (Christmas Day), with members of the Serpentine Swimming Club competing for the famous cup.

This Peter Pan Cup has been awarded every year since the Scottish author first provided the trophy back in 1904 – the year that Peter Pan first appeared on stage in London – although the race actually predates this, with swimmers taking to the lake each Christmas since 1864.

While the contest is not open to members of the public, anyone can turn up as a spectator, and with the water temperature expected to be just a couple of degrees above freezing it's unlikely that you'd want to take part anyway.

The race will start at 9.00 am at the southern end of the Serpentine, and watching the swimmers get into the water can be quite a sight – and one that may just give you goosebumps.

Aside from watching the swimming race, visitors to Hyde Park on Christmas morning will also be able to enjoy the peace and quiet of London's most famous green space, right in the heart of the city, so this could be a great way to kick off the day.

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