Christmas Day goes swimmingly in sun and snow

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The Independent Online

With temperatures dropping to -18C in parts of north-east England and Scotland, even the prospect of the coldest winter since 1890 was not enough to dampen the spirits of Britain's intrepid adventurers eager to mark Christmas Day.

In Brighton, Santa suits peppered the English Channel where swimmers braced the freezing temperatures during their annual Christmas Day dip. Others were seen limbering up in London's Hyde Park even though the official race in the Serpentine's Lido was cancelled due to freezing conditions.

In Norfolk, well-wrapped-up children presented the Queen with flowers after attending the church service at St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.

Elsewhere meanwhile, locals and tourists made the most of Sydney's perfect weather on Bondi Beach, where lifeguards tended to a Christmas tree. Santas were also spotted in Barcelona's Old Harbour, where athletes competed for the 101st Traditional Swimming Cup.