Visit London Blog » boris bikes Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 20 Oct 2014 09:00:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Things To Do in London on Christmas Day 2013 Tue, 03 Dec 2013 16:00:21 +0000

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.

There’s no public transport on Christmas Day, but you could opt for a Boris bike to explore Central London with much less traffic around. There will also be a few taxis and mini-cabs for hire.

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 11am 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 3pm.

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. However, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the Charles Dickens Museum are both open.

Ripley’s is open from 10am until 10pm, with last admission at 8.30pm on Christmas Day. The Charles Dickens Museum is open 10am to 5pm, with last admission at 4pm.

Or, 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.

Christmas Services

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:

Eating and Drinking

Many restaurants close on Christmas Day but check our blog post for Christmas dinner options in London.

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?

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Visiting the Past: London Cycles Fri, 02 Aug 2013 09:30:45 +0000 Three years ago this month London launched its cycle hire scheme. The blue bikes are now a feature of the city, but people have been cycling in London since early ‘boneshaker’ bikes were made here 150 years ago. Now more than half a million journeys are made by bike in London each day, and on some roads in London there are more bikes than any other kind of vehicle.

At the Museum of London we’ve been thinking about how we can collect the experience of cycling. We’ve been collecting bikes themselves for a while, and in January this year the museum collected one of the cycle hire scheme bikes. We can now also collect digital objects about cycling, like film and location data.

This map, made by Professor Jo Wood of City University, shows where the Museum of London’s cycle hire scheme bike was docked last July. It was a busy month for the bike!

See the bikes, the data and the illustrations at the Museum of London’s exhibition, London Cycles until 22September 2013.

A guest blog by the Museum of London as part of the Visiting the Past series. More London history next week

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London Video of the Week: Tiny London by TheWorldsCities Fri, 30 Nov 2012 12:30:58 +0000

This week, I wanted to share this great video from TheWorldCities, which gives some of London’s most famous locations a “toy-town” makeover.

Look out for Liverpool Street Station, the Houses of Parliament, Boris Bikes, Earl’s Court Station, Millenium Bridge, Charing Cross, Monument, Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Tower Bridge as you’ve never seen them before!

Check out more London videos at

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Boris Bike Milestone: 1 Million Hires in July Mon, 06 Aug 2012 11:31:09 +0000 Barclays Cycle Hire, Tower BridgeIt was announced today that the Barclays Cycle Scheme surpassed 1 mission hires in July. There were almost 47,000 hires on 26 July, the most ever hires in one day. Since their launch in 2010, “Boris Bikes” have become a familiar sight on our city’s streets.

Open to everyone – including non-UK residents – the scheme was expanded earlier this year to include more of East London. There are now 8000 bikes and 560 docking stations.

Cycling is a great way to see the city whilst getting some exercise – plus it can often be quicker than other forms of public transport. I’m guessing cycling will become even more popular in London following Team GB’s stellar London 2012 Olympic performance!

Have you tried the bikes? Tell us about your best journey?

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Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme Goes East Thu, 08 Mar 2012 14:51:25 +0000 The Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme is expanding: More than 2,000 new Boris bikes have been added and there are new docking points all over East London.

As of this morning, an additional 2,700 docking points have been added in Tower Hamlets, and in north Shoreditch, Hackney.

You can also cycle further west, as 600 new docking points have been provided at Westfield London shopping centre in Shepherds Bush.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

“Our wonderful blue bikes have changed the face of London and introduced a new form of public transport that has eased getting around our great city for thousands of Londoners and made the capital even more attractive to visitors. I am delighted to have kept my promise to provide a cycle hire scheme for the people of London and today we have made it even bigger and better than ever before.”

Find out more about Barclays Cycle Hire

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Boris Bikes Raise Money for London Poppy Day Wed, 02 Nov 2011 11:45:09 +0000 If you haven’t yet embraced London’s cycle hire scheme, tomorrow would be the perfect time to try it: Barclays is donating £1 to the Royal British Legion for all Boris Bike journeys made on 3 November.

Some of the Barclays Cycle Hire bikes will even be wearing their own poppy, as the usual branding space will be replaced with poppy stickers.

The initiative is part of London Poppy Day, raising money for members of the British Armed Services, past and present, and their dependents. Volunteers will be collecting donations at stations across London tomorrow, and look out for several bands playing in Central London locations including Canary Wharf and Leadenhall Market.

London will mark Remembrance Day with special services and events on and around 13 November 2011.

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Video of the Week: The UKCB Curious London Bike Tour Fri, 25 Mar 2011 13:00:47 +0000

The chaps from VisitBritainTV have taken a tour of some of London’s more unusual places using Boris bikes.

Check out their video above, and learn more about Nelson’s Column, the Hunterian Museum, Lincoln’s Inn Field, Borough Market and more.

Have you got a favourite “curious” attraction or museum in London? Let us know in the comments below.

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Video of the Week: Santa in London on Boris Bikes Fri, 24 Dec 2010 13:00:14 +0000

Yesterday, we had a photo of cycling santas. Today, a video. This feels like a suitably silly festive film for you this Christmas Eve.

See if you can spot the following attractions as this team of santas (and a couple of rudolfs) take their boris bikes for a spin around London:

Well done to the team from the FreshNetworks office for putting together this brilliant bit of seasonal nuttiness. Great soundtrack too. Enjoy.

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London Cycle Hire Scheme Now Open to Casual Users Sun, 05 Dec 2010 13:00:46 +0000 London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire Scheme has moved into the next phase – it’s now open to casual users as well as signed-up members.

Now anyone with a Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card can borrow a “Boris bike” after paying a small access fee (either for 1 day or 7 days). Your first half-hour of riding is free, after which you will be charged.

The best use of the bikes is to take short journeys from A to B in Central London.

Since the scheme launched in late July, it has proven immensely popular with Londoners, who have taken thousands of journeys on the bikes so far.

Read more about the Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme in London.

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