While families across the country spent Christmas Day tucking into mince pies and snuggling up on sofas watching Home Alone, hundreds of people decided to do something a little less conventional by going for a festive swim instead.

Swimmers of all ages plunged into icy waters across the UK, some just for fun and others as part of annual events, such as the Peter Pan Cup that involves a 110-metre race in the Serpentine Lake in London.

Many of those who took part did so in fancy dress, wearing everything from Santa hats to reindeer ears in a futile attempt to protect them from the chills of the waters.

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A group of 50 took the plunge at Blackroot Pool in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham as part of a tradition that dates back to the 1800s.

The swim typically attracts a large crowd of spectators too, and a lot of participants raise money for their favourite charities as part of the festivities.

People take a Christmas day swim in Blackroot Pool at Sutton Park in Sutton Coldfield. (PA Wire/Aaron Chown)

Meanwhile, an annual swim at Contarf Yacht and Boat Club in Dublin attracted roughly 200 people in a bid to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), one of the UK’s largest water safety charities.

People take part in the Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club annual Christmas swim in aid of the RNLI. (PA/Brian Lawless)

Ian Sargent has been taking part in the swim since its advent 42 years ago, telling the Irish Times that it’s now more popular than ever.

Participants line up for the annual Hyde Park Christmas Day Swim at Hyde Park in London. Traditionally known as the Peter Pan Cup, members of the Hyde Park swimming club take part each year in the frosty waters of the Serpentine Lake. (EPA/Andy Rain)

“Our annual Christmas swim has been going from the 70s and it has been getting bigger every year, with more and more participation,” he said, adding that he would be refraining from actually diving into the water this year.

Over in Bournemouth, the White Christmas Dip, now in its 11th year, saw approximately 960 swimmers dive off Boscombe Pier dressed in an array of festive costumes.

Swimmers dressed in full Santa Claus outfits for the annual swim at Boscombe Pier in Bournemouth(PA)

They were raising money for Macmillan Caring Locally, a charity providing funding to a specialist palliative care unit at Christchurch Hospital in Dorset.

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