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Things to do in London on Christmas Day

It's the one day of the year when London feels quiet, so immerse yourself in a different side of this enchanting city on Christmas Day in London.

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 has under wraps this Christmas Day.

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:

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.
  • Snap away at top attractions on a bus tour... Then top it off with a London Christmas lunch cruise as part of a guided Christmas Day tour.
  • 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.

The Body Worlds exhibition at Piccadilly Circus is open 365 days a year, while JW3 ice rink in north London is 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.

For the first time on Boxing Day, London Overground services are running across the city – and although many attractions are still closed, there are many fun things to do in London on Boxing Day:

Find out more about transport and opening times over the festive season with our essential guide to Christmas and New Year in London, and plan your festive break with our top tips for Christmas in London.


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