What's Open In London On Christmas Day 2018?

Laura Reynolds
By Laura Reynolds Last edited 9 months ago

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What's Open In London On Christmas Day 2018?
Trafalgar Square Christmas tree: what's open in London on Christmas Day?
Trafalgar Square Christmas tree (photo not taken on Christmas Day)

Contrary to popular belief — and the scenes depicted in these photos and these ones — there's a lot going on in London on Christmas Day. We've already written a guide to things to do in London on Christmas Day, from guided walks to boat trips, and where to have your Christmas dinner afterwards. Here are some of the venues that open in the capital on 25 December — although do check opening hours as they most likely differ from normal. Just bear in mind that there's no public transport running to get you there.

Museums and tourist attractions open in London on Christmas Day

Body Worlds: what's open in London on Christmas Day
Body Worlds may put you off your turkey

Slim pickings here, as most of the big museums and galleries (understandably) shut on 25 December — for many, it's the only day of the year they close.

  • The only attraction that we know of to open on Christmas Day is Body Worlds, the new anatomy exhibition displaying specially-preserved real human corpses. It's stepped into the hole left by Ripley's in more ways than one, by taking over its building in Piccadilly Circus, and by offering tourists something to do on Christmas Day. An average Body Worlds visit takes 1.5-2 hours, and we recommend booking tickets to guarantee entry. Christmas Day opening hours are 11am-5.15pm
  • JW3 Jewish Centre in North Finchley opens as normal on Christmas Day, and is the only ice rink (that we know of) which welcomes skaters on 25 December. Other events at the venue on Christmas Day include a Families Winter Disco and screenings of Happy Feet and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. Booking required for all events.
  • Hampton Pool, an open air swimming pool in the Borough of Richmond, opens to the public for swimming. You'll need to book for the early morning (6.15am-7.45am) or midday (12pm-1pm) swims, but just turn up for the other times. It's not cheap though — a session will cost £11.50-£16.

Restaurants open in London on Christmas Day

Chinatown: what's open in London on Christmas Day
Chinatown offers alternative Christmas lunch options

If you want a full on Christmas meal out in London, you'll have to get booking, as you'll struggle to find anywhere that takes Christmas Day walk-ins. Here's our pick of restaurants serving Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, although plenty of others are available too.

Many Chinese restaurants in Chinatown open on Christmas Day, if you fancy an alternative to turkey. It's mainly a case of just turning up and seeing what's open, although if you've got a favourite, it's worth ringing in advance to check Christmas opening hours.

If you haven't booked and you're getting peckish, your best bet is to head into one of London's larger hotels, as the kitchens should be open to feed guests staying there.

Cafes open in London on Christmas Day

As usual, certain branches of Pret A Manger will open on 25 December. We're awaiting confirmation of specific locations and will update this article once we have more details.

Pubs and bars open in London on Christmas Day

Piccadilly Circus on Christmas Day: what's open in London on Christmas Day
A deserted Piccadilly Circus on Christmas Day 2015

It's mainly the chain pubs you'll find open on 25 December — Young's, Greene King and Wetherspoons are good bets. Listed here are the pubs that we know will be open on Christmas Day 2018 (opening hours included where we know them — others will play it by ear). Again, food will probably need to be booked in advance, or may not available at all, so best line your stomach before heading out for a festive pint.

Toilets open in London on Christmas Day

If department stores, train stations, coffee shops and museums are your usual go-tos for bathroom breaks, you may struggle to find somewhere today. Duck into one of the pubs above for a pint and to use the bathroom, or else once again head into a hotel — most of the larger ones will have bathrooms tucked away somewhere near the lobby. A bit cheeky, but when you've got to go, you've got to go.

Know of anywhere open on Christmas Day that we've missed? Let us know at hello@londonist.com.

Last Updated 21 November 2018

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