London isn’t often described as quiet, but Christmas Day is the one day of the year when the capital can feel that way. But there’s actually no shortage of things to do and Christmas Day is a rare chance to explore and experience a different side of London.
With limited transport options, and thousands of Christmas calories consumed, walking might be your best bet. You’ll have London’s beautiful architecture, street art and Christmas lights largely to yourself, and walking is the best way to experience it. Take a look at these photos of London on Christmas morning by IanVisits, which include Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street and Hyde Park Corner.
You can even go on a guided walking tour. London Walks hosts two walks on Christmas Day: The London of Samuel Pepys at 1pm and Charles Dickens’ London Walk at 2pm. Both walks start at the big Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square and last for two hours.
Westminster guide Peter Berthoud is offering three walking tours on Christmas Day, with the first at 6am for anyone who wants to experience an eerie 28 Days Later-style London! If you’re keen on a Christmas lie-in, you can opt for a post-lunch walk at 4pm.
Fancy a more relaxing tour? Push the boat out and have your Christmas dinner on the Thames, enjoying the sights of the river on a cruise. Or take a luxury coach tour of London with a professional guide.
Almost all of London’s attractions are closed on Christmas Day, but the weird and wonderful world of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is open all year round. Ripley’s is open from 10am with last admission at 8.30pm on Christmas Day (closing time subject to change so check in advance).
Or, for a different kind of weird and wonderful, head to The Serpentine (lake) at Hyde Park where the hardy members of the Serpentine Swimming Club take part in the annual Peter Pan Cup swimming race. The race starts at 9am.
Most London churches will have Christmas Day services. It’s best to check with the individual church in advance but Central London churches with Christmas Day services include:
- St Martin-in-the-Fields
- Southwark Cathedral (closes at 1pm)
- St Paul’s Cathedral (arrive early and be prepared to queue)
Eating and Drinking
Some pubs open for a few hours around lunchtime but most will be closed or ticketed in the evening. Make sure you check in advance for opening hours. Hotel bars are a good bet for a drink on Christmas Day, but again, check with the hotel in advance.
Do you have any advice or suggestions for spending Christmas Day in London?