Things To Do In London On Christmas Day 2018

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City Cruises run events on Christmas Day in London
City Cruises get a festive twist.

In London on Christmas Day and wondering what to do? Looking for something to fill the hours between the presents and the turkey? There's more happening in the capital on Christmas Day than you might expect.

If you're up early enough, you can see London's streets blissfully empty. By 11am, the masses are out. There are no tubes, buses or trams running, but if you can get into town by walking, cycle hire, taxi or your own transport, here are some of the things you'll be rewarded with.

Christmas day in London on Regent Street
Regent Street on Christmas morning. Photo: Lisa

DISCOVERING LONDON: Experienced London tour guide Peter Berthoud loves the capital so much, he even runs tours on Christmas Day. Join him from 5.45am for a Christmas day West End tour. It's aimed both at Londoners and tourists and is a chance to see the city's streets at their emptiest, and learn little-known facts and trivia about some of London's best-known sights before ending up in a cafe for breakfast. £45, book ahead, 5.45am. Later in the day, Peter runs two Christmas Day specials of his popular Seven Noses of Soho tour, in which you'll track down the seven noses. Legend has it that if you find all seven, infinite wealth is yours — well, Peter will take you to see all seven, plus a special eighth nose and a ghost nose. £29.50, book ahead, morning tour 11am-1pm/afternoon tour 3pm-5pm

STAR WARS: If you're so inclined, you can watch Solo: A Star Wars Story in the cinema, super-early on Christmas morning. It's in West Norwood though, so good luck getting there if you're not a local. West Norwood Library and Picturehouse, £11.10, book ahead, 6.10am

CHURCH SERVICES: Take a look at the services at Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral. Of course, churches all over London will run services on Christmas Day; check with your local for details. From 7am

GOLDEN TOURS: This tour company runs several tours on Christmas Day itself, including a Christmas lights open top bus tour (£32/£16, 5pm-8pm), or a London on Christmas Day bus tour in the morning (£44/£39, from 8am) or the afternoon (£44/£39, from 1.30pm) See the full schedule here (note: not all are in London). From 7.15am.

Golden Tours run events on Christmas Day in London
Photo: Golden Tours

PETER PAN CUP: Every year, a group of hardy swimmers takes to the icy depths of Hyde Park's Serpentine, in pursuit of the Peter Pan Cup. You can't take part unless you're a member of the Serpentine Swimming Club (and really, would you want to?), but you can drop by and offer your support from the safety of dry land and the warmth of actual clothing. Find out more about the history of the Peter Pan Cup here. Free to watch, just turn up, from 9am

CITY CRUISES: Take to the river on Christmas Day for a one-hour sightseeing tour (£21/£10, departures 9.45am-2.45pm), or have a four-course Christmas lunch on the Thames (£125/£99, noon). Book ahead for all. From 9.45am

Serpentine swim in Hyde Park for the Peter Pan Cup on Christmas Day in London.
Photo: Sinister Dexter

JW3:JW3 Jewish Centre in Finchley is open on Christmas Day, with events including a Families Winter Disco. £3-£7, book ahead, from 11.30am

GUIDED WALKS: Guided walks don't stop just because it's Christmas Day. Take a Samuel Pepys themed walk based on Christmas morning 1660, the first time Christmas celebrations were permitted in England for eight years. Or, take a Charles Dickens themed stroll, based on the life and locations of the man responsible for reinventing Christmas. Both begin in Trafalgar Square, £10/£8, just turn up, 11am/2pm

What else is open?

Plenty of Nicholson's pubs open on Christmas Day — check the website for further information — and plenty of Chinatown restaurants also open, although it's worth checking with specific venues for details. Bear in mind that most pubs start to close around 4pm.

Know of something else happening on Christmas Day? Email