By STEVE ROBSON
While most of the country was snuggling under a duvet or pulling on a Christmas jumper, these hardened swimmers were squeezing into their costumes.
Hundreds of hardened bathers have been braving wet and wintry conditions across the country to take a Christmas Day dip.
Despite torrential rain, winds of up to 30mph and temperatures as low as seven degrees - determined swimmers took the plunge at traditional swims in locations around Britain.
Around a 100 people from the Serpentine swimming club jumped into the lake at Hyde Park for the annual 100-yard dash which has been held every year since 1864.
And a group of determined swimmers took their annual Christmas dip at Brighton beach this morning - despite orders from the council not to enter the water because of dangerous weather conditions.
Brighton and Hove City Council had announced yesterday that the traditional Christmas Day swim - which dates back to 1860 - could not go ahead with winds of up to 30mph predicted and 'volatile sea conditions'.
But these pictures reveal how a handful of hardy individuals got up at 7.30am to defy the ban and dive into water temperatures of only five degrees.
Council officials had said they were planning to be on the beach warning off swimmers from 8.30am ahead of the traditional start time of 11am.
Seafront manager Viki Miller said yesterday: 'It can be tempting to have a splash in the sea at Christmas, but it’s absolutely not worth putting yourself at risk. Not only could you be caught out by the strong currents, but the sea temperature is extremely cold this time of year.
'We will be monitoring the weather on the day and will be advising people about safety. The conditions are already hazardous, with the forecast set to get worse, so as a last resort we will be closing the beach tomorrow.
'We want people to be able to enjoy the beach, but safety is a top priority.'
Brighton and Hove Swimming Club has organised the event every year since 1860.
President of Brighton Swimming Club Margaret Tuppen said: 'We are quite happy with the responsible decision the council has made - safety comes first.'
But it seems several swimmers weren't to be told that this year was any different and took a dip nonetheless.
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