• Our 2011 swimmers before going on stage...
  • One of the swimmers gliding through the sea...
  • Debut swimmer Doddy before the big jump off!
  • Another happy swimmer...
  • Limbering up!
Here are some of our most frequently asked questions. Click on the question to reveal the answer.

Should I wear a wetsuit?

It is up to you if you wear a wetsuit. The majority of swimmers do, but we advise you to go with what feels comfortable. Either way make sure you have practiced swimming in your wetsuit, or if swimming without one make sure you’ve done a sea swim or two without one, it’s colder than it looks!

Should I wear a swimming hat?

All swimmers will be provided with a silicone swimming hat which you will have to wear during the event. It’ll keep you a bit warmer and help us to spot you easily in the water.

How do we get to Hurst Castle?

You will be taken by one of our support boats to Hurst Castle and dropped in the water, ready for the start of your swim.

Can I meet you at Hurst Castle?

No, we need to brief all participants before the swim which means we all need to be together for this. You will need to be able to make your own way to Yarmouth on the day of the swim. Exact times will be communicated to you nearer the time.

How far is the swim?

The direct distance is around 1.3 miles, but this will vary due to the tide and currents.

How long will I have to complete the swim?

The tides through the Hurst Straits can get very strong so we have timed the swim for the most favourable conditions. We have around an hour and a quarter to complete the swim in order to take advantage of optimum tidal conditions. Any swimmers still in the water after this time may begin to struggle swimming against the tides and begin to get further away from the Island...and further away from Bestival!

Towards the end of the swim we will monitor any swimmers still in the water and assistance will be provided if necessary.

What happens if I’m slower than everyone else?

It’s not a race so it doesn’t matter! As long as you can do the distance in around an hour and a quarter, you’ll get there and a kayak and a lifeboat will stay with you.

What stroke should I swim?

Do whatever you feel comfortable doing. As long as you are confident swimming the distance in under an hour and a quarter then you’ll be fine doing any stroke or a mixture.

What happens if I get very cold or want to stop?

No problems. Just let one of the kayakers know. They will notify one of the support boats who will come and get you and take you to land where a warm drink and friendly face will be waiting. Most swimmers chill off pretty quickly after swimming so we recommend you have some warm clothes to hand for after your swim.

What if I already have my Bestival ticket and I am selected to swim?

Although Swim2Bestival does operate in conjunction with Bestival we are a separate entity therefore we are unable to offer refunds to team members who already have tickets. Best thing to do is give it to a friend so they can join you for the festival fun! Alternatively you can sell your existing ticket through one of the many ticket reselling platforms.

What’s the temperature of the water?

The average sea temperature in the Solent in September is around 17ºC.

Can friends and family watch the swim?

Yes, the more the merrier. They can support you from Colwell Bay or see the start of the swim from Hurst Castle. Please bear in mind that there is no vehicle access at Hurst Castle, it’s either a 1.5 mile walk from Milford-on-Sea or you can get the Hurst Castle Ferry. For more info please click here.

Friends and family are not permitted on the support boats.

I don’t know if I can raise £350?

You will, provided you work at it! Circulate the link to your Virgin Money fundraising page to all you friends and family and talk to people about what you are doing. Swim2Bestival is a unique and exciting event, all in aid of some very worthy causes, you’ll be amazed at people’s generosity.

Does the charity I choose to support need to be set up on Virgin Money Giving (VMG)?

Yes this is a requirement that we can’t avoid. VMG is the only online donation tool that allows users to donate to more than one charity. You’ll find most charities are now registered with VMG but if not you can ask them to register here.

Do I need to train in the sea?

Yes, it is imperative that you do some open water swimming before Swim2Bestival, whether that’s in a river, lake or in the sea. Open water swimming is a lot different to swimming in a pool, and we’d hate for you to struggle on the big day as you haven’t put in the necessary prep beforehand. When swimming outdoors, always make sure you do it safely! The Outdoor Swimming Society has some great places for outdoor places to swim and also offers safety advice for open water swimming.

What happens after the swim?

Once you have finished your swim you will be able to refuel with some hot food and a drink. Once all swimmers are done we will travel to the festival site by coach where you will receive your accreditation and details of when you will be presented your medal on the main stage...yes, medals will be presented to swimmers on the main stage. You’ll be able to revel in the glory knowing that you swam to Bestival!

What happens if the swim is cancelled?

We shall do all we can to keep the swim going, however the event of bad weather or other situations out of our control we may have to cancel. We have Friday 11th September as a back-up date. If the Friday is also not possible we shall postpone the swim until the following year and all swimmers will have the opportunity to swim again.

Please note that should the event be cancelled due to extreme conditions which includes, but is not limited to, pollution in the water and bad weather which means it is unsafe for the swimmers or kayakers to take part, no refunds will be given. Taking out full event insurance that would allow refunds in this unlikely situation would add significantly to the costs, and we therefore do not hold it. Please be aware of this when applying.