25 Dec 2005. Every Christmas Day since 1864 the Serpentine Lido in Hyde Park has hosted the Peter Pan Cup swimming race. The race is swum over 100 yards on a handicap system. Only members of the Serpentine swimming club are eligible to enter the race, as they have had time over the preceding months to acclimatize their bodies to the water which on Christmas day averages a temperature of 4 oC. While most of London is in pyjamas opening Christmas presents, the hardened members of the club are diving into the freezing waters of the lake. The event draws a large crowd of supporters and spectators, and some swimmers even don Santa hats for the occasion. The novelist H M Barrie presented the first Peter Pan Cup to the winner of the race in 1904, replacing the gold medal that was formerly awarded. The race starts at 9.00 from the south bank of the lake close to the Serpentine Caf (the old pavilion). Admission is free.
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Peter Pan Cup at the Serpentine.
The Serpentine Lido is in the centre of Hyde Park London W2. By underground to Knightsbridge Tube Station.