The Best UK Winter Swim Challenges 2023/24

It is that time of year when we are thinking about winter swim challenges that will keep us motivated through the colder months. Don't fear, we have done the work for you by bringing together seven of the best challenges to suit both beginners and experienced swimmers for the 2023/24 outdoor swimming season. 

1. Chilly Challenge by Immerse Hebrides

Hosted by Immerse Hebrides, the Chilly Challenge is a virtual swim challenge for anyone based in the Northern Hemisphere. 25% of the profits go towards the Western Isles Cancer Care Initiative.

What: Choice of 6 distances ranging from 5km to 100km, wetsuit or non-wetsuit. The entry fee is £25 and a fabric patch and mug is issued on completion. Closing date for entries 31st October 2023.

When: 1st November 2023 - 28th February 2024

2. Frostbite with Wiltshire Wild Swim

This fun challenge was the brainchild of Wiltshire Wild Swim member Julie. Into it's fourth year now, this challenge is perfect for anyone thinking of taking their first winter dips with little pressure and lots of fun along the way. The challenge raises funds for Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The challenge: 12 outdoor swims of any distance. At least one swim needs to be completed per month in wetsuits or skins. A mermaid card gives you the chance to miss one if you need to. If you are in the South West of England, several Frostbite meet ups happen during the challenge. The entry fee is £15 and you receive a cloth badge on completion.

When: 1st November 2023 - 28th February 2024. 

For further details and a registration form email

3. Polar bear challenge

For experienced cold water swimmers. One of the longest and toughest winter swim challenges founded by Pauline 'Mama bear' Barker. A reward of a certificate, cloth badge and medal are provided on completion.

The challenge: A set number of swims and distances outdoors over the winter under rules of the International Ice Swimming Association and the Channel Swimming & Piloting Federation i.e. Swimsuit, single swim hat, goggles (nose clips and earplugs if required).

When: 1st November 2023 to 31st March 2024

4. Penguin challenge

The more relaxed sibling of the Polar Bear Challenge (above) allowing you to wear whatever you like including wetsuits, gloves, boots.

5. Awaken Your Blue Mind with Blue Tonic

If you aren't feeling ready to start swimming through the winter, this challenge has 60 ideas of activities to complete on or near the water. The challenge has been created by Bluetonic and Rachel Andrews (You Tube channel Everyday Athlete Rach) and aims to get people into blue spaces for the positive effect that being around water can have on our health and wellbeing.

The challenge: Complete 21 of the 60 activities to choose from. The activities can be completed by anyone near to water - no matter how busy, unfit, or short of money. An e-journal is included to record your challenges and reflections.  There is opportunity to access communities of like-minded people via Facebook. If you enter the challenge and pay £10 you receive a badge at the end. All proceeds go to the Bluetonic Charity.

When: October 29th 2023 and 31st March 2024 - participants are able to join at any time.

6. Bluetits Arctic Flappers Winter Challenge

What: Choose from completing 25 to 100 swims over the season. The entry fee is £5 and receive a fabric sew on patch and a pin badge on completion. Closing date for entries 1st November 2023.

When: 1st November 2023 - 31st March 2024

7. The Henley Swim Brass Monkeys Challenge

What: A choice of swim challenges of 50m - 1500m in water temperature under 14°C. With an entry fee from £14.50, the challenges are personalised to your individual experience and mood. It is up to you whether you wear a wetsuit, boots, gloves and you can choose to start the season in skins and finish in neoprene. You receive a progress chart, stickers and a woven badge. 

When: Until 30th April 2024


Please note: Your decision to take part in a winter swim challenge is taken at your own risk.  We advise you to carefully consider the level of challenge you wish to take part in with regards to your outdoor swimming experience and health status. Taking time to read up on winter swimming safety is advised.