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Things to do on Christmas Eve in London

Whether you're looking for last-minute shopping ideas or festive carol concerts, find things to do in London on Christmas Eve with our guide.

From sightseeing tours that showcase the best of London's Christmas lights, to hilarious pantomimes and festive shows, there are plenty of things to do on Christmas Eve in London. 

Check back later in the year for events and activities on Christmas Eve 2018.

Getting around in London on Christmas Eve

There are changes to some public transport services on Christmas Eve, so check before you travel. On the Tube, some services are reduced during the afternoon and evening; while on buses, there is no night service available. Travel on the London Overground, DLR, MBNA Thames Clippers, National Rail, Gatwick Express, trams and coaches is also affected. For more information on Christmas Eve travel read our guide to transport over the festive season, or visit the Transport for London website.   

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

Festive tours on 24 December

Make the most of Christmas Eve’s magical atmosphere and get some serious sightseeing done on a Christmas Eve tour: take a day trip from London or enjoy an open-top bus tour. Check back nearer the time for tours on Christmas Eve 2018. 

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.

Ice skating in London

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

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:


London... the best kind of #Christmas present 😉🎁... Who agrees? 🎄[photo: @tmnikonian] #christmasinlondon #visitlondon

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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! Our Christmas shopping itinerary is a good place to start, or you can take a look at our Christmas shopping hotspots, including Oxford StreetRegent StreetBond Street and more top places for London Christmas shopping. 

For unique hand-crafted gifts, browse one of the many picture-perfect Christmas markets in London. Tick off your list at the Nordic-inspired chalets at Southbank Centre's Winter Market, find handmade crafts in the twinkling cabins at Christmas By The River at London Bridge City and tuck into festive treats at Christmas in Leicester Square.

London winter festivals

Head to one of London's winter festivals to experience the ultimate festive atmosphere. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park has everything from an ice kingdom to a Bavarian village to get you in the Christmas spirit. 

Alternatively, venture to the Greenwich Wintertime Festival to feast on street food and be amazed by performing acrobats. 

For a more traditional Christmas experience, visit Christmas at Kew and admire the famous botanical gardens as they're lit up by more than a million twinkling lights. 

If you're visiting with children, make sure to make some time to meet Santa at a Christmas grotto. Winter Wonderland, Greenwich and Kew all have grottos, but there are plenty more to visit in the capital including ones at the Royal Albert Hall and ZSL London Zoo

Eating and drinking on Christmas Eve

Get Christmas off to a cracking start with a Christmas Eve meal at one of London's top restaurants. Treat yourself to sumptuous food from a Michelin-starred restaurant, a feast created by a celebrity chef or a dinner at one of London's most romantic restaurants.

Continue the festivities with a drink in front of a stunning view at one of London's rooftop bars and celebrate in style over a glass of champagne or a luxury cocktail.

Alternatively, snuggle up in front of an open fire in one of London's best cosy pubs and enjoy a warmed mulled wine or cider. 

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.

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