Experience a different side of London as everyone gathers to celebrate Christmas on 25 December. Wander the peaceful streets adorned with shimmering Christmas lights, enjoy a traditional Christmas Day lunch or a pint at one of London’s restaurants and pubs, or go on 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. Below are some of our favourite things to do from 2017 - check back nearer the time for Christmas 2018 events and activities.
London 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.
- Walk off those Christmas calories by exploring London on foot; you’ll have the city’s beautiful architecture, street art and parks largely to yourself.
- Travel between London's most popular sights on a Christmas Day hop on hop off bus tour.
- There are also a few taxis and minicabs available for hire, but fares will be higher than usual.
Christmas Day tours of London
Go on a sightseeing tour of London's famous attractions and unusually empty streets, sail down the Thames with City Cruises or take a day trip beyond London on a Christmas Day tour. Check back nearer the time for tours on Christmas Day 2018.
London attractions open on Christmas Day
You can also enjoy a spin on the JW3 ice rink in north London, one of London's only ice skating rinks open on Christmas Day; or 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 in London
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
- 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.
- Some restaurants in Chinatown are open as usual on 25 December, offering a delicious alternative to the traditional Christmas lunch.
- Enjoy a traditional four-course Christmas Day lunch on the Thames with City Cruises.
- 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 still 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 service available on this day, but there are still plenty of things to do on Boxing Day:
- Hit the shops, as most retailers start their January sales on Boxing Day.
- Take a spin on one of London's best ice skating rinks, which are all open on 26 December.
- Watch a top West End show or musical.
- 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, and discover what else is on during Christmas in London.