The Islands of Guernsey are one of the best places to get involved in year round wild swimming. With stunning coves, secluded beaches and natural pools, there is something unique and beautiful around every corner.
Loads of people enjoy Wild Swimming, reporting lowered stress levels, clarity of mind and boosted immune system. Cold Water Swimming is proven to boost dopamine levels and release endorphins to give you a rush of happiness that lasts all day. Swimming outdoors in the winter can be an endurance test, so you will need to prepare - grab your fluffiest hats, flasks of tea and lots of layers before heading to the beach.
From organised community events to mindful individual challenges, there is something for everyone. If you are looking for a quick dip, lots of fun and community spirit, you can take part in some of the festive dips which are guaranteed to leave a smile on your face:
Christmas Day Polar Bear Swim
Join the Guernsey Swimming Club on Christmas Morning at La Vallette Bathing Pools in St Peter Port to get your celebrations started. Starting at 9.30am until 11am, the swim is free to enter and all participants will get a certificate, enjoying the beautiful early morning sun on the East Coast of Guernsey. Pop in for a quick dip and to soak up joyful, festive atmosphere! Warm drinks and snacks are encouraged as well as lots of courage!
Boxing Day Cobo Dip
A beloved Guernsey tradition, the Boxing Day dip is held on one of Guernseys most spectacular beaches, Cobo, on the west coast, where hundreds of brave participants line up to run into the sea. Fancy dress is highly encouraged, and you will spot many Santa hats bobbing in the water, all in support of the Guernsey Cheshire Home, a local care home for disabled individuals in the community.
Starting at 9.30am, there are shuttles available from 8am from North Beach in St Peter Port if you are staying in town, and mince pies and mulled wine will be available to all chilly participants after the swim to help you warm up!
New Year’s Dip, Alderney
There will be a New Year's Day Dip at Braye Beach in Alderney from 12pm. Keep an eye out for more details!
Visit Alderney have recently published a Locals Guide to Sea Swimming blog. Put together with help from a hardy bunch of year-round swimmers, this blog highlights all you need to know about swimming in Alderney's waters.
12 Bays of Christmas
If you are looking to take a personal challenge, enjoy mindful moments and explore all the different swimming spots in Guernsey on your visit, how about challenging yourself to the 12 Bays of Christmas?
An excellent event to take part in, the 12 Bays of Christmas invites you to adventure around the island with your travel companions, whilst supporting local charity, Les Bourgs Hospice. The 12 Bays is recommended for those who have been sea swimming since September or those who are seasoned year-round swimmers, to ensure you are well acclimatised and prepared.
This year’s bays are:
- Vaz-on the first day of Christmas - Vazon Bay
- Rocquaine around the Christmas Tree - Rocquaine Bay
- Bathing Yules - The Bathing Pools
- Baby it's Cobo Outside - Cobo Bay
- Porte-let it Snow - Portelet Harbour
- Away in Fermain-ger - Fermain Bay
- Saint Nick's Bay - Saint’s Bay
- Chestnuts Rousse-ing on an Open Fire - Rousse Headland
- I'm Dreaming of a Moulin Huet Christmas - Moulin Huet Bay
- Cheese & Port Soif - Port Soif
- Grandes Rocques-in Robin - Grandes Rocques
- Bordeaux-ho-ho - Bordeaux
There is no set length of time or distance, and you can wear wetsuits and take everything at your own pace.
If you are visiting Guernsey in the winter, get in touch with Guernsey Swim Adventures, who provide a supportive and encouraging environment for sea swimming, organising group outings and events year round!
Outdoor swimming can be wonderful, but does require you to make sure you are adequately prepared and know what to expect. Here are some helpful tips to prepare for winter swimming:
1. Make sure you are warm before and after your swim - bring lots of warm clothing and a hot drink with you.
2. Go into the sea slowly and feet first to let your body adjust, taking care when you are entering the water to keep your breathing under control.
3. Dry off quickly and get into your layers to let yourself warm up slowly.
4. Don’t stay in for too long!
5. Make sure to check the conditions - this website provides updates on local swim spots: https://seeker.gg/Tides/Swim
Here are some helpful articles to prepare you if you are thinking about sea swimming this winter: