Winter Dip

Take the plunge with a Winter Dip this December

WaterAid/ Coral Evans

Event information

Take a Winter Dip this December and bring joy to the almost 1 in 10 people who still don’t have clean water close to home.

Every winter, people all over the UK embrace the thrill of cold water swimming – and this festive season, we’re asking you to gather your friends and family and head out for an exhilarating Winter Dip.

Make the challenge your own: pick a day and make it extra special by donning your most festive fancy dress, choose a week to take a daily plunge, or even commit to a dip every day in December – it's totally up to you!

However you take part, make it a dip to remember with fun, friends, and, of course, the knowledge that you're helping to reach the almost 1 in 10 people around the world who still don’t have clean water close to home.

How it works

Cold water safety

  • Check the weather, tides and currents before going for a dip – even if you really want to get in the water, make sure it’s safe to do so before you head on in.
  • Choose a spot with a lifeguard if you can, or find your nearest organised festive dip – they'll be happening up and down the country.
  • Make sure you acclimatise to cooler water temperatures: cold water shock can be deadly, so enter the water slowly and allow time for your body to get used to the cold. Never jump or dive straight in.
  • Have the right equipment. If you're swimming rather than ‘dipping’, consider wearing a wetsuit and a brightly coloured swim cap or woolly hat to keep your head warm and your visibility high.
  • Bring lots of dry layers and warm drinks to warm up safely after your dip, to avoid afterdrop or hypothermia.
  • It is never safe to walk on or swim in bodies of water that have frozen over. Ensure you seek a safe - and preferably managed - venue to dip in.
  • If you don’t feel safe, or you’ve changed your mind, don’t dip. It’s important you feel confident and safe before dipping – your safety comes first.

Your questions answered

Every year, people up and down the country embrace the thrill of cold-water swimming over the festive season. Enjoy a gentle paddle or plunge right in at your local safe open water location, such as the sea, a lake or an open water lido – fancy dress, friends and festivities are all encouraged!

Fundraise as part of your Winter Dip challenge and help bring joy to the 1 in 10 people who still don’t have clean water close to home.

Check out our safety advice to ensure you’re taking on your Winter Dip safely.

The Winter Dip will officially run from 1 December 2023 to 1 January 2024.

You can choose to:

  • dip every day from 1 December to 1 January,
  • commit to a daily dip every day for a week,
  • choose a special day, like Boxing Day or New Year's Day, to take the plunge.

We encourage you to take on your challenge over this period, but if you'd rather, you’re welcome to take your Dip any time over the winter.

If you’d like to take part in the Winter Dip without setting up a Facebook Fundraiser, you can fundraise via JustGiving instead. Our main communications during the challenge will be via our Winter Dip Facebook group, but you can also contact us by emailing [email protected] if you have any questions, or would like any advice.

You can complete your Winter Dip(s) at any safe open water location. This could be in the sea, a lake or reservoir, or an outdoor lido.

For your safety, we recommend using a site with lifeguards, or at an organised Christmas/New Year’s dip location. Please also make sure you've read our safety advice before taking part.

Every participant who raises at least £20 will receive a Winter Dip swimming cap. This will automatically be sent to you at the address provided upon registering once you reach £20. 

Due to office closures over the festive period, if you'd like to receive your cap before Christmas or the New Year you’ll need to raise a minimum of £20 on your Facebook or JustGiving fundraising page before 20 December 2023.

Check out our fundraising ideas to get started, and read stories from our work around the world to learn more about the difference your Winter Dip can make.

Don't be afraid to go all out and let friends and family know all about your challenge, and just how great an impact their support will have!

If you need any tips or support to help with your fundraising, we'll be on hand in the Facebook group.