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The Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park Free

The Christmas Day Peter Pan Cup in Hyde Park. Credits: Serpentine Swimming Club.
Watch one of the more unusual London events in December, as brave outdoor swimmers compete in the icy waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park at the annual Peter Pan Cup Christmas Day race.


While children across London are eagerly waiting to unwrap their presents, members of the Serpentine Swimming Club are preparing to swim their traditional 100-yard (91-metre) Peter Pan Cup Christmas Day race.

What is the history of The Peter Pan Cup?

Swimmers have met in London's Hyde Park on Christmas morning since 1864 to compete in the Christmas Day swim. The first Christmas Day swimming race was won by H. Coulter. He won a gold medal, which became the customary prize for the winner.

J.M. Barrie donated the first Peter Pan Cup in 1904, the same year that his play Peter Pan made its debut on the London stage. Like the fictional boy who never grew up, the race has taken on a legendary appeal.

What is the Serpentine Swimming Club?

The Serpentine Swimming Club is one of the oldest swimming clubs in the country. The club usually holds races every Saturday morning, with the distance depending on the temperature of the water.

When does The Peter Pan Cup race take place?

The race takes place every year on 25 December and usually starts at 9am.

The Peter Pan Cup is only open to members of the Serpentine Swimming Club who have qualified during the season and who are on the handicap list. The icy Serpentine waters are usually below 4C (40F) degrees in the winter, so swimmers must become acclimatised over a period of time.

Where can I watch The Peter Pan Cup race?

The Peter Pan Cup usually starts and ends on the south bank of the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, close to the Serpentine Lido Cafe. Spectators are welcome, but you're advised to wrap up warm!

Find more things to do on Christmas Day in London.


Event FREE

Venue Details & Map

Hyde Park

Hyde Park
W2 2UH
0300 061 2000
Public transport:
Tube: Hyde Park Corner or Marble Arch.

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