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Things to Do on Christmas Eve in London

Whether you need to do some last-minute shopping, fancy one last spin on the ice, or you're getting into the spirit with a carol concert, squeeze the most out of the London festivities with these great things to do in London on Christmas Eve.

Getting Around on Christmas Eve

There will be changes to some public transport services on Christmas Eve, so check before you travel. On the Tube, some services will be reduced during the afternoon and evening; while on buses, there will be no night service available. Travel on the London Overground, DLR, MBNA Thames Clippers, National Rail, Gatwick Express, trams and coaches will also be affected. For more information on public transport on Christmas Eve visit tfl.gov.uk 

See more of London lit up with Christmas illuminations and soak in the festive atmosphere by picking up a Santander Cycle, or going for a walk around the city.

Festive Tours

Make the most of Christmas Eve’s magical atmosphere to get some serious sightseeing done on a Christmas Eve tour. Take the ultimate tour of London's famous landmarks, go sightseeing on land and river, marvel at the Christmas illuminations on a night-time tour, or take a closer look at the lights with an open-top bus tour. Make a day of it on a Christmas Eve day trip outside of London to regal towns, grand castles and sleepy villages dressed up for Christmas.

Christmas Eve Carols and Concerts

Nothing gets you into the Christmas spirit like a carol concert. Expect to queue if you want to attend the 4pm carol service at St Paul’s Cathedral, or you can head over to the Royal Albert Hall or St Martin-in-the-Fields for a candlelit concert. Westminster Abbey also has services and carols on Christmas Eve.

Royal Albert Hall: Raymond Gubbay presents Carols by Candlelight #christmascarol #royalalberthall #christmas

A photo posted by Janet Tejo (@tejojanet) on

London Christmas Eve Shows

Many of London’s theatres and performance venues put on one last show the day before Christmas, most of which are morning or early afternoon matinee performances. Catch one of London’s top Christmas shows such as The Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House, Cinderella the pantomime or Disney On Ice Presents Frozen. Or enjoy one of the West End’s smash-hit musicals on Christmas Eve from Matilda The Musical to Dreamgirls.

Alternatively, sit back and enjoy a Christmas movie in the dark, warm embrace of a cinema. Curzon cinemas and Phoenix Cinema often screen classic Christmas movies in the run up to Christmas.

Ice Skating in London

London’s top ice skating rinks are open on Christmas Eve. Skate under the shadow of the Natural History Museum, Somerset House or Tower of London, or visit Winter Wonderland for the full festive experience.

Last-Minute Christmas Shopping in London

If you’re that person that still has Christmas shopping to do on Christmas Eve then don’t despair, London has you covered! Our Christmas Shopping itinerary is a good place to start, or you can take a look at our Christmas shopping hotpots, including Oxford Street, Regent StreetBond Street and more top places for London Christmas shopping. 

Eating and Drinking on Christmas Eve

If you want to get Christmas off to a cracking start, or prefer to celebrate on Christmas Eve, book a table at one of London's restaurants for a Christmas Eve meal.

Or for a quick catch up with friends over a drink on Christmas Eve, enjoy a nice pint of ale, warm mulled wine or cider in front of an open fire in one of London's best cosy pubs. Alternatively head to one of London's bars for a festive cocktail.

Remember to book in advance and always check opening times and Christmas closures with the venue.

For more things to do over the festive period in London, take a look at our guide to Christmas in London, or check out our roundup of things to do in London on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Plus, find more essential Christmas and New Year’s Eve information with our guide to transport and opening times.