Which restaurants are open in London on Christmas Day 2023? Whether you're visiting London over the festive period, or are a Londoner wanting to dodge the cooking (or washing up), we've put together a guide to eating out in the capital on 25 December.
Most restaurants won't be open, and it tends to be the high-end (read: pricey) ones which do, with set menus to choose from. So if you want to treat yourself to Christmas lunch at a fancy restaurant or hotel in the capital this year, these are some of your options. You'll need to book in advance for 25 December, as many of these places are popular.
Just remember that there's no public transport in London on Christmas Day (other than cycle hire), so you'll have to find an alternative way there.
Christmas Day at Bob Bob Ricard, Soho
If ever there's a day for a 'Press for Champagne' button, it's Christmas Day. Bob Bob Ricard's famous buttons will no doubt be working overtime on 25 December, as diners summon bubbles to go alongside their Christmas meal. There's a decidedly upmarket vibe to the menu, which includes amurski sturgeon caviar or Jersey rock oysters to start, followed by beef wellington or lobster macaroni & cheese thermidor, then chocolate eclair or flaming crème brûlée.
Not one for traditionalists, but somewhere to head for some glitz and glamour on the big day.
Christmas Day at Bob Bob Ricard, Soho. Minimum spend £125 per person.
Christmas Day at Bōkan London, Canary Wharf
Celebrate Christmas with a view, 37 floors up at Bōkan. The Christmas menu — which is served at lunch and dinner — consists of five courses including chestnut soup with Alsace bacon, ora king salmon sushi with dashi broth and venison queen pear and ginger spice, and a truffle and blackcurrant sorbet. Splash out extra for bottomless prosecco during the lunchtime sitting — well, it is Christmas.
Christmas Day at Bōkan. From £99 per person.
Christmas Day at Skylon, South Bank
Christmas dinner in a sleek, modern restaurant overlooking the Thames? Don't mind if we do. The Christmas Day menu at Skylon comprises four courses plus tea or coffee (mains choices are turkey, beef wellington or chestnut wellington), and we'd put money on the food being both classy and delicious. The children's Christmas Day menu has options including fish and chips or mac and cheese, as well as the traditional turkey.
Christmas Day at Skylon, Royal Festival Hall. £125 per adult/£75 per child.
Christmas Day at Holborn Dining Room
The Christmas Day menu at Holborn Dining Room sounds altogether luxurious, and has plenty of options — anyone for smoked salmon rillette or Lake District venison and duck pâté en croute, followed by traditional roast turkey or roast rib of beef? For dessert, we're eyeing up the Valrhona chocolate cassis yule log, but other options include traditional Christmas pudding, or sherry savarin. Tea, coffee and mince pies round off the festivities, and a glass of Ruinart Brut is included.
Christmas Day at Holborn Dining Room. £205 per person.
Christmas Day at The Aubrey, Knightsbridge
Japanese isn't an obvious Christmas Day cuisine for many people, but The Aubrey at the Mandarin Oriental blends Christmas feasting with Edomae sushi practice, resulting in a menu that includes a selection of nigiri and sashimi, a robata turkey, an Asian inspired bread sauce using Shukopan milk bread, and wok baby potatoes with an umami rich miso garlic butter. Finish with the chocolate Christmas crepe log, and then a nice long walk we reckon.
Christmas Day at The Aubrey. £95 per person.
Christmas Day at Canton Blue, Hyde Park Corner
Begin with a selection of dim sum and appetisers including Xiao long bao and steamed phoenix eye dumplings with oscietra caviar at Cantonese restaurant Canton Blue. That's followed by roasted Peking duck wraps, wok-fried British wagyu tenderloin with black bean sauce, and steamed razor clams with chilli sauce and snow peas. To finish, it's a chocolate mille-feuille with five spice crémeux and mandarin confit.
Christmas Day at Canton Blue, Hyde Park Corner. £265 per person, bookable from 16 November.
Christmas Day at Gaucho, Richmond or Tower Bridge
A glass of champagne kicks off Christmas Day lunch at Gaucho, which puts its own twist on the rest of the proceedings. The Christmas Day main is a chimichurri butter roasted turkey, or you can opt for beef wellington instead. Precede it with amuse bouche, and a starter of either salmon, chicken liver pate, or a Christmas empanada. Dessert is Christmas pudding with brandy butter, or a dulce de leche yule log — all of which is followed by a cheese plate served with chutney and crackers.
There's a separate Christmas Day menu for kids, so they can choose between turkey, steak or fish and chips for their main course.
Christmas Day at Gaucho. From £95 per adult/£50 per child.
Christmas Day at Claridge's
Eating out on Christmas Day is never cheap, but if you've just won the lottery/movie deal, there's always Christmas lunch at Claridge's. The Claridge's Restaurant serves up a seven-course festive menu, whistling through choices including roast turkey breast with all the trimmings, beef wellington, truffle risotto, squash pithivier, and a selection of cheeses — finishing with either a chocolate and hazelnut yule log, or Christmas pudding with brandy Anglaise. And no, the price below is not a typo.
Christmas Day at Claridge's. £495 per adult/£225 child.
Christmas Day at The Guinea, Mayfair
Part gastropub, part steakhouse, The Guinea on Bruton Place offers a high-end, three-course Christmas Day menu, plus rock oysters and champagne on arrival, and coffee and mince pies to finish. Think guinea fowl and pistachio ballotine to start (other options available), followed by roast ballotine of turkey or carved dry-aged rib of beef and a lamb cutlet, served with all the trimmings including pigs in blankets, cauliflower cheese and gravy. End with the traditional Christmas pudding, or sticky toffee pudding, or cheese and crackers.
Christmas Day at The Guinea. £165 per person.
Christmas Day at Benares, Mayfair
Tuck into a festive lunch with an Indian twist at Michelin-starred Benares in Mayfair. The Christmas tasting menu consists of Indian street food snacks to start, followed by baked malabar scallop, before moving onto mains such as bronze turkey momo with truffle shorba, and lamp chop pulao. Round off the meal with a malai kulfi — an Indian-style ice cream — and delicate petit fours.
Christmas Day at Benares. £139 per person (with paired wines +£119 per person).
Christmas Day at The Cinnamon Club, Cinnamon Bazaar, and Cinnamon Kitchen City and Battersea
Another option for an Indian take on Christmas dinner is chef Vivek Singh's Cinnamon restaurant family. The above four branches open on 25 December, serving up various feasts of modern Indian flavours. The Cinnamon Club (Westminster) is the place to head to really push the boat out with a 'Christmas Day banquet', beginning with an aperitif of Christmas punch followed by Keralan style lobster soup flamed with cognac, Kokum crusted halibut and garam masala Christmas pudding.
Each of the the three venues offers a five-course Christmas Day feast, with dishes including chargrilled turkey breast tikka with coriander chutney, masala corn kerb, kingfish curry with steamed rice, alongside festive puds with a twist such as garam masala mince pie naan, and carrot and ginger toffee pudding. See menus for details of what's cooking at each restaurant.
Christmas Day at The Cinnamon Club is £125 per person. Christmas Day at Cinnamon Bazaar, Cinnamon Kitchen City or Cinnamon Kitchen Battersea is £65 per person.
Other Indian restaurants open on Christmas Day include Yaatra at Old Westminster Fire Station.
Christmas Day at Ham Yard Hotel, Piccadilly Circus
Start your meal at Ham Yard Hotel (built on the site of the "greatest Christmas dinner ever served") with a selection of appetisers and a glass of champagne, followed by seasonal special starters, mains and desserts — think pumpkin and ginger soup, venison wellington, baked lemon sole, and roasted halibut. Or, opt for the traditional turkey followed by Christmas pud. Alas, their famous gingerbread cheesecake isn't making a return this year, but console yourself with an eggnog creme brûlée instead.
Christmas Day at Ham Yard Hotel. £165 per person. Other hotels and restaurants in the Firmdale chain also serving meals on Christmas Day include Refuel at The Soho Hotel, Brasserie Max at Covent Garden Hotel, Oscar at Charlotte Street Hotel, Brumus at Haymarket Hotel and The Potting Shed at Dorset Square Hotel. Check individual venues for price and menu details.
Christmas Day at Sea Containers Restaurant
Sea Containers, by the Thames, serves a rather fancy menu on 25 December. Begin with a caviar amuse bouche, followed by a starter (cured salmon is one of the options), a main (traditional turkey, beef sirloin, stonebass or mushroom & chestnut tart) and dessert (Christmas pudding/black forest fondant/bread and butter pudding). Walk it off on a stroll along the river.
Christmas Day at Sea Containers London. £125 per person.
Christmas dinner at Nicholson's pubs
Most Nicholson's pubs open on Christmas Day, and many serve a three- or four-course traditional Christmas dinner, with a separate kids' menu available.
Nicholson's pubs, various locations. Prices vary between locations, starting at £64.50 per adult.
If you're looking to eat out in central London on Christmas Day, but aren't fussed about turkey and trimmings, you can always try Chinatown, where some restaurants will be open (though we highly recommend calling ahead).