Soak up plenty of seasonal cheer with our guide to what to do in London on Christmas Day. You could be celebrating with Londoners in cosy restaurants over Christmas dinner, wandering streets adorned with shimmering Christmas lights or taking in the festive atmosphere by a crackling fire in London’s pubs.
Take a peek at what presents London had under wraps in previous years and check back closer to the time for confirmation of events on Christmas Day 2021.
Christmas Day transport in London
Just as Santa takes a well-earned rest, so does London’s public transport on Christmas Day, with no services running. But there are alternative ways to explore the city:
- Hop on a Santander Cycle and take a ride beneath the festive decorations lining central London’s nearly deserted streets.
- Walk off those Christmas calories (and make room for more) by exploring London on foot; you’ll have the city’s beautiful architecture, street art and parks largely to yourself.
- Rest your feet and fill your feed as you snuggle up on a Christmas Day bus tour and cruise.
- Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour, allowing you to explore the city at your own pace over 24 hours.
- Treat yourself to a ride in a traditional black cab or minicab – but be aware, the fares are generally higher than usual.
Enjoy a Christmas Day out in London
Make this Christmas Day even more memorable with special tours and day trips.
- Experience London’s spectacular sights and sounds during a morning tour or night-time tour aboard a luxurious coach. You'll spot iconic spots such as the Tower of London, Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square.
- Sing along to carols as you sip on bubbly and munch on traditional Christmas lunch in London, on a Christmas Day river cruise.
- Cause FOMO back home with colourful snaps of sparkling London Christmas lights on an open-top bus tour.
What is open on Christmas day in London?
Most London attractions are closed on Christmas Day, but some continue to open their doors at this special time of year.
JW3 ice rink in north London is usually one of the city's only ice-skating rinks open on Christmas Day.
If you fancy a family walk, London's Royal Parks remain open on 25 December. Or head to The Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, where the tough members of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the Peter Pan Cup race every Christmas Day morning.
Christmas Day church services in London
Attend one of the many Christmas Day services in London’s cathedrals and churches, including the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, atmospheric St Martin-in-the-Fields church, pretty All Hallows by the Tower and historic Southwark Cathedral.
Remember to check timings with the individual venues in advance and arrive early, as Christmas services can be very busy due to limited space.
Which restaurants open on Christmas Day in London?
- Check if your favourite London restaurant is open on Christmas Day, and book in advance for Christmas Day lunch or dinner in London.
- Head to Chinatown – where some restaurants are open as usual on 25 December – to indulge in a delicious alternative to your traditional Christmas fill.
- If you prefer to nestle in a cosy pub, some London pubs are open for a few hours around lunchtime, but most will be closed or ticketed in the evening – so make sure to check the 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 in London on Boxing Day
Once the gifts are unpacked and bellies are filled, it’s time for the Boxing Day extravaganza, which is also a public holiday, on 26 December.
Last year, for the first time on Boxing Day, London Overground services were running across the city – TfL services for Boxing Day 2021 are yet to be confirmed.
Although many attractions are usually still closed, there are many fun things to do in London on Boxing Day:
- Hit the shops: there’s nothing like a January and Boxing Day sale in London! Check out the unmissable spots to visit on the day.
- Take a spin on one of London's best ice-skating rinks, many of which re-open on 26 December.
- If you managed to book tickets beforehand, lose yourself in the magic of a top West End show or musical.
Find out more about transport and opening times over the festive season with this essential guide to Christmas and New Year in London, and plan your festive break with top tips for Christmas in London.