Things To Do In London On Christmas Day 2017

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Please note: the events here took place over Christmas 2017. We'll be adding more details for Christmas 2018 closer to the time, so keep checking back.

Christmas Day 2014. Photo: Sarah Oliver Photography

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.

Regent Street on Christmas morning. Photo: Lisa

CHURCH SERVICES: Take a look at the services at Westminster Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, St Martin-in-the Fields 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 (£30/£15, 5pm-8pm), or a London on Christmas Day bus tour in the morning (£39/£34, from 7.15am) or the afternoon (£39/£34, from 1.30pm) See the full schedule here (note: not all are in London). From 7.15am.

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

Photo: Sinister Dexter

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

JW3: JW3 Jewish Centre in Finchley is open on Christmas Day, with family-friendly activities including a family disco (£10, 11.30am), a screening of The Nutcracker from Royal Ballet Live (£18, 3pm), and a chance to take to the ice rink (£8-£13, 12.10pm-6.40pm. From 11.30am

CHRISTMAS LUNCH: Looking for places that are open for Christmas lunch? Take a look at our recommendations — but bear in mind it's not cheap and you'll have to book in advance. Here's a more comprehensive list of places open for Christmas Day lunch.

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