London Drum

Peter Pan Cup – Serpentine swimming race on Christmas Day

Peter Pan Swimming Cup
Where? Hyde Park When? 25th December 2024 The race starts at 9 AM Price? Free to watch, but only swimming club members are allowed to take part · See Parking: Nearby car parks Bus routes: Buses do not run on Christmas Day Trains: Trains do not run on Christmas Day

If you're fed up with the in-laws already, or you just fancy going out for a stroll on a crispy Christmas morning, then why not head over to the south-side of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park for the annual Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race?

JM Barrie and the Peter Pan Cup

Members of the Serpentine Swimming Club have been plunging themselves into the freezing lake every Christmas Day since 1864, making it the oldest continuously swam race in the world.

Members of the Serpentine Swimming ClubPhoto:

The author of Peter Pan, JM Barrie, started watching in 1903 and presented the cup all the way up to 1932, after which the honour fell to club member Albert Greenbury. Greenbury's descendants kept up the tradition and his granddaughter continues to present the cup to this very day.

It's always a very jolly affair and some of the swimmers wear red bobble hats to get in the seasonal spirit. (Or maybe they just want their hats to match their red noses... the 100-yard race takes place in waters reaching minus four degrees!)

Members of the Serpentine Swimming ClubPhoto:

Can you take part in the swimming race?

Spectators are always welcome to watch from the bank, but only existing members of the Serpentine Swimming Club are allowed to take part. If they want to compete for the cup then they also have to complete some of the previous races in the Winter Series.

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