London Stuff Open On Christmas Day

Trafalgar Square on Christmas morning. Get Nelson all to yourself.

Public transport is taking a break, the shops are closed and London’s cultural calendar misses a beat. But there are some things happening around town on Christmas Day. Here are a few ideas…feel free to highlight others in the comments.

Museums
The Dickens House Museum opens 11am-6pm to celebrate Christmas Victorian style. Book tickets (£15, including refreshments…if mulled wine and mince pies can be described as ‘refreshing’) here.

Guided Tours

  • Places are still available for the central London guided walks organised by Westminster Guides. The hardy among you might like to try the 6am walk, a rare chance to see central London almost deserted. Other walks start at 10.30am and 4pm and cost £20 each.
  • Two tours, following in the footsteps of Samuel Pepys and Charles Dickens, leave Trafalgar Square at 11am and 2pm, respectively. More info on the eccentric Walks.com website.
  • For those who’d rather take the load off their feet (and their wallets), Sightseeing Tours London operate a Christmas Day Thames cruise including a traditional Christmas lunch. £132 per person.

Bollock-Freezing Swim
Those crazy foos at the Serpentine Swimming Club compete in the annual Peter Pan Cup, a race around the frigid waters of the Hyde Park lake. The chilly swim has been as annual fixture since 1864. Watch the action from 9am.

Dining
LondonEats.com have already done the hard work and compiled a list of 18 London restaurants open on Christmas Day. All of them are in the West End. It’s also a safe bet that several of the curry houses on Brick Lane will also be trading.

Pubs
Pubs.com has compiled a fantastic list of pubs open on Christmas Day. Quite a few are out in the suburbs. More central-ish options include the Bunch of Grapes and Founders Arms in Southwark, the Duke of Wellington in Notting Hill, the Last Running Footman in Mayfair and the Spread Eagle in Camden. You’re advised to phone ahead to check, especially if you’re after food.

Churchy stuff
Most London churches will, of course, hold Christmas Day services. If you want to supersize your worship, try the St Paul’s Midnight Mass (starts 11.30pm Christmas Eve), sung Eucharist at 11am or Festal Evensong at 3.15pm. Westminster Abbey has a Midnight Mass (11.30pm Christmas Eve) and Sung Eucharist (10.30am).

Transport
OK, we lied when we said that there’s no public transport on Christmas Day. Plenty of cabs and minicabs are still available for hire, and the Boris Bikes can still be enjoyed. Actually, if you’re one of those people who’s been meaning to give the bikes a try but are a bit scared of traffic, the empty roads of Christmas Day would be a good opportunity to get your nerve.

Photo by Zefrog in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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  • Anonymous

    McDonalds on Edgware Road is trumpeting its Christmas Day opening. This makes me sad. 

  • Kimberly

    You’re a genius! Of course CHristmas day is right for trying a boris bike. I’ve got 8 family members here for the day so it’s also a bloody good way to either a) ditch them for an hour or b) tire them out for the day.

  • Borthwicktammy

    Why is it sad they are opening? What about non Christians? or tourists who dont have family with them? I am from Australia and there is a lot of stuff open Christmas day and it doesnt stop people from celebrating. You just get people who dont celebrate to work those days. Caters for those who dont or cant celebrate the way they would usually. It has been like this for years and it hasnt ended Christmas there!

  • vb231

    Some Starbucks are open too! 

  • Kerry Day19

    Borthwicktammy… Most people who work in retail or other service industries do not get the choice to work it or not if they open, so yes it is sad they are opening it means people who want to spend Christmas with their family end up working!

  • menelec

    There’s a cosy little place in hackney wick @ 92 whitepost lane called the electric matchbox, now a fully licensed bar and open xmas day with complimentary lebkuchen – worth checking out :)

  • DA

    I know the Hard Rock Cafe is open from 12 noon offering regular menu and Xmas dinner also, pretty cool place to go and eat if you want to get out of the house!

  • ella

    International Students House is always open on Christmas Day, 3 course lunch, movie marathon, champagne reception etc from £11. http://www.ishevents.org

  • Quazi

    We are tourists and happy to see that we can do something beyond staying in our hotel room..

  • Hungry Horse

    You’ve suggested a list of 18 restaurants which are open on Christmas Day but when you go on to the link it shows over 5,000 restaurants in London. Have you checked that the link is correct?