9 Joyful Things to do in London on Christmas Day
Looking for things to do in London on Christmas Day 2017?
If you are thinking about spending Christmas Day 2017 in London and considering how to spend your time, there are plenty of things to do. From guided walks, to museums and charitable causes – spending Christmas in the capital is a wonderful experience!
This year, Christmas Day falls on a Monday 25 December. Unfortunately public transportation shuts down, most attractions close their doors to visitors and the bank is closed. However, you can still walk places or hire a taxi. Find some inspiration for activities below.
1. Treat yourself to a drink in a London pub
There is nothing else warmer or friendlier then visiting a London pub at Christmas time. Tuck up close to a fire, grab a local brew and get a bit merry!
Here is a list of pubs open during Christmas Day:
- The Founders Arms in Southwark (open from 12 to 5pm)
- The Spread Eagle in Camden (open until 5pm)
- The Flask in Hampstead (12 to 4pm)
- The Dove in East London
- The Only Running Footman in Mayfair, where you can book a three course meal (at £74)
2. Dine in style at London’s best restaurants
Why not let someone else take over the cooking this year? Take the responsibility off your shoulders and visit a London restaurant instead. Let’s face it – Christmas can get hectic and your time in the kitchen is better spent enjoying time with loved ones.
You can find restaurants nearby that will be serving up Christmas dinner with Timeout’s Christmas Day 2017 Restaurant Guide (compiled by their food editors).
3. Take a Christmas walk
If you like your food as much as I do, then you might need a walk to work of that festive feast. For those of you looking for some maps and inspiration, you can find a guide to a few London walks here.
The tour company, London Walks are also offering some festive walks on Christmas Day. They will have a traditional ‘Christmas Morning 1660’ walk about Samuel Pepys London, starting at 11am. There is also a Dickens walk at 2pm. Both walks start at Trafalgar Square. You can find more details regarding their Christmas walks here.
4. Give back & volunteer
There are lots of charities around London who need extra support at Christmas. London charities need a hand in the kitchen and helping vulnerable people have a happier holiday.
The homelessness charity Crisis UK is calling for volunteers aged 16 to give up sixteen hours of their time over Christmas. They particularly need people with hairdressing and dentistry skills to help them. Find out more about volunteering for Crisis at Christmas here.
Other charity opportunities include:
- Making yourself available on a helpline to speak to anyone who is feeling down and depressed. You can do this with Samaritans and Victim Support.
- Helping deliver hot meals to older people with Contact the Elderly.
- Supporting your local community. Visit sueryder.org.
- Becoming a host to an international student who is away from home at Christmas with Host UK.
- Helping in a shop with Card Aid. Email Emma at [email protected]
- Helping a child by applying to Operation Christmas Child, run by Samaritan’s Purse
- Giving food to people in need with Trussell Trust foodbanks.
“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schulz
5. Visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not in Piccadilly
This museum is home to more than 700 authentic artefacts and interactive exhibits (over six floors). Essentially, this museum celebrates the strange and wonderful things in this world. Prepare to see a life-sized knitted Ferrari, 8ft Transformer and mirror maze! You can find more museum details here.
6. Enjoy the beautiful street lights
The best part about Christmas in London is that the streets get quieter with less pedestrians and traffic. This sets the perfect scene for a Christmas walk through the capital. Enjoy the glittering lights, revel in the empty roads and have a magical stroll with your family. For more information, find a Christmas Lights London guide here.
Where to find the best lights:
- Oxford Street
- Regent Street
- Tralfagar Square
- Covent Garden
- Carnaby Street
“Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.” – Norman Vincent Peale
7. Take a boat trip on the Thames
A few companies are offering the opportunity to take a cruise down the Thames. Enjoy carols, lunch and tea! Find out more with the following cruise companies: citycruises.com, Beateaux London, londontourguides.com
8. Watch swimmers race in the Serpentine
The annual Peter Pan Cup Christmas Day race is a traditional race that has been held every year since 1864 in Hyde Park’s Serpentine lake. Members of the Serpentine Swimming Club will swim a 100-yard race at 9:00am. The race takes place on the south bank of the lake close to the Serpentine Cafe and spectators are welcome to watch for free!
If you are feeling inspired and want to go swimming as well, you can take a trip to Hampstead Heath where pools are heated all year round. Or head to London Fields Lido which is open on Boxing Day morning.
9. Go to a carol concert
Escape the chaos surrounding Christmas by enjoying calm Christmas carols. A lot of London churches hold carol services. Keep in mind, you may need to book tickets in advance.
You might be interested in going to one of these concerts on Christmas Day:
- Southwark Cathedral – 9:00am Eurachist with carols and 11:00am Choral Eurcharist
- Westminster Abbey – 10:30am Sung Eucharist & 3:00pm Evensong
More information – Public Transport on Christmas
For details about getting around during Christmas, please find some useful tips below:
- There are no night buses available on Christmas Eve and transport will stop in early evening
- Taxis are available but are notoriously more expensive on Christmas and Boxing Day. For a safe option, you may want to use the London Cabwise service
- You can find more information on the Transport for London website
- Check the latest train updates on National Rail for any planned engineering work.
Get into the Christmas spirit with some music!
Now that you decided how you will be spending your holiday, it’s time to start listening to Christmas tunes! All you need to do is press play on the button below.