Explore London as everyone gathers to celebrate Christmas Day and experience a different side of the city. Wander the peaceful streets adorned with shimmering Christmas lights, enjoy a festive meal or a pint at one of London’s restaurants and pubs, or take a festive tour of London on this very magical day.
Take a look below for ideas on what to do in London on Christmas Day.
Transport on Christmas Day
There's no public transport on Christmas Day, but there are several alternative ways to explore the city:
- Hire a Santander Cycle and take a ride beneath the festive decorations of Central London with much less traffic around.
- With thousands of Christmas calories consumed, walking might be your best bet and you’ll have London’s beautiful architecture, street art and Christmas lights largely to yourself.
- Travel to London's most popular sights on a Christmas Day hop on hop off bus tour.
- There are also a few taxis and mini-cabs available for hire.
Christmas Day Tours of London
- Soak up the unique atmosphere of London on Christmas Day with a morning or afternoon Sights and Sounds of London tour.
- Relax with a Christmas Day lunch cruise, as you take in London’s iconic riverside sights.
- Go on a morning tour of London's top sights, before setting sail for lunch on the Thames.
- See Central London sparkling with festive lights on a night open-top bus tour.
- Explore London at your own pace on Christmas Day with a hop on hop off bus tour.
- Enjoy a one-hour Christmas Day sightseeing cruise along the Thames.
- Spend the day around Canterbury, Dover and Greenwich, stopping off at Canterbury Cathedral for the spectacular Sung Eucharist and for Christmas lunch in Dover.
- Take a day trip to Windsor, Bath, Stonehenge and Salisbury or Oxford, Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon, both of which include a Christmas lunch.
Attractions Open on Christmas Day
You can also go ice skating at JW3's ice rink in West Hampstead, one of the only London ice rink open on Christmas Day. Alternatively, head to the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park to cheer on the tough members of the Serpentine Swimming Club who take part in the Peter Pan Cup race every 25 December.
Christmas Day Church Services
Attend one of the many Christmas Day services in London’s wonderful cathedrals and churches, including the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, beautiful St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, and historic All Hallows by the Tower and Southwark Cathedral. Remember to check timings with the individual church in advance, and arrive early, as Christmas services can be very busy and there is limited space.
Eating and Drinking on Christmas Day
- Take a look at our guide to Where to Eat on Christmas Day in London, or check if your favourite London restaurant is open on Christmas Day. Make sure to book in advance for Christmas Day lunch or dinner in London.
- The majority of restaurants in Chinatown are open as usual on 25 December, offering a delicious alternative to the traditional Christmas Lunch.
- Some pubs open for a few hours around lunchtime, but most will be closed or ticketed in the evening, so make sure you check for opening hours.
- Hotel bars are a good bet for a drink on Christmas Day, though it's best to check with the venue in advance.
Things To Do On Boxing Day in London
The day after Christmas Day (26 December) is known as Boxing Day in the UK and is also a public holiday. Many attractions are still closed and there is a reduced public transport available on this day, but there are still plenty of things to do on Boxing Day:
- Hit the shops, with most retailers starting their January sales on Boxing Day.
- Take a spin on one of London's best ice skating rinks, all of which are open on 26 December.
- Catch a top West End show, such as Aladdin, Wicked or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
- Soak up the festive spirit at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.
Find out more about transport and opening times over the festive season with our essential guide to Christmas and New Year in London, or discover more things to do over the festive period with our guide to Christmas in London.