Need to travel into, around, or out of London over Christmas? Need to know which public transport is running between Christmas and New Year? Do London buses run on Christmas Day? Find out all you need to know about transport in London over Christmas below.
TfL services over Christmas
As usual, no TfL services run on Christmas Day. That's buses, tubes, trains, Overground, DLR, river boats, the works. Some transport will also finish early on Christmas Eve, so don't get caught out by that. On the plus side, there's no Congestion Charge on Christmas Day, and Santander Cycles are still available to hire.
Most services resume on Boxing Day, although some lines are running a reduced service for the duration of the festive period. The entire TfL Rail line is closed 23 December-1 January inclusive, and that Gospel Oak to Barking line closure continues on the Overground. Various tube lines including the District and Circle lines have part closures at various points — check the TfL website for specifics.
The good news is that there's free travel all evening across the network on New Year's Eve.
See the TfL Christmas travel page for more information.
Which trains are running over Christmas?
Southeastern customers are in for major disruption, with Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge and Cannon Street all closed from 23 December-1 January inclusive. (Note: London Bridge will be open to Southern and Thameslink, albeit with a reduced service). Instead, Southeastern services will be diverted into Blackfriars, Victoria and Waterloo, and will be running far less frequently, with tickets valid on tube and bus services to get you to where you need to be (provided you can get your head around this map):
No Southeastern trains on Christmas Day and very reduced service (Victoria only) on Boxing Day. Normal service resumes on Tuesday 2 January. Find out more about Southeastern's Christmas closures here.
As a result of the above Southeastern changes, Southern routes are expected to be much busier. Services will start to shut down from 8pm on Christmas Eve, and there will be no trains on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. A reduced service runs into the new year.
Cross-London Thameslink services will not be running 23 December-1 January inclusive, meaning Farringdon and City Thameslink are closed throughout this period, and you'll have to use the tube (ticket acceptance in place) to get to where you need to be. Further out, Thameslink services are running (with altered timetables), although different stations are closed on different days. More information here.
TfL Rail and Greater Anglia will not be running trains out of Liverpool Street towards Shenfield and beyond. Tickets are accepted on the Underground as far as Newbury Park, and buses after this point. More information here.
Hats off to South Western Railway for putting on extra coaches on Saturday 23 December to accommodate everyone travelling for Christmas. The shutdown begins on Christmas Eve around 7pm, with everything finished by 10pm. There are no trains on Christmas Day or Boxing Day. Reduced services run the remainder of time (with extra trains after midnight on New Year). The main issue for South Western Railway customers entering and leaving London will be the closure of Paddington 24-27 December, and reduced services into and out of the station 28-30 December.
Virgin East Coast closes early on Christmas and New Year's Eve, and services begin later than normal on New Year's Day, with no services at all on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Virgin West Coast customers may have to contend with a strike on Friday 22 December, although the train company is saying that the majority of services will still run. Outside of this, disruption in the London area should be minimal, with the same caveats as applied to Virgin East Coast (above).
Some Great Western services will be diverted into Marylebone due to the closure of Paddington, but there will be fewer services than normal. No service Christmas Day or Boxing Day, and buses replace trains on part of the Gatwick Airport route throughout the holiday.
Which stations will be closed over Christmas?
Paddington station will be closed 24-27 December, meaning no Great Western, Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect trains will be running. Outside of these days, a reduced service will be running due to engineering works between Paddington and Slough. Some trains are redirected into Marylebone, meaning this station will be busier.
As stated above, Charing Cross, Waterloo East, London Bridge (Southeastern side), Cannon Street, Farringdon and City Thameslink will all be closed entirely from 23 December-1 January. As a result, Blackfriars, Victoria and Waterloo are likely to be busier due to these trains being rerouted.
How do I get to the airport at Christmas?
If you're jetting off from Heathrow, the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect trains aren't running 24-27 December inclusive, with an amended timetable the rest of the week (every 30 minutes on Heathrow Express, and hourly on Heathrow Connect, missing a few intermittent stations). National Express runs a normal timetable with an early finish on Christmas Eve, an increased timetable on Christmas Day (presumably picking up the slack from the trains) and normal timetables the rest of the week. Otherwise, hop on the Piccadilly line — but leave extra time. See more about Heathrow at Christmas.
If you're heading south to Gatwick, the Gatwick Express shuts at 8pm on Christmas Eve and remains closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day (although there's a limited replacement bus service on Boxing Day). Outside of this, a service runs every 30 minutes. Southern and Thameslink are operating similarly — no surprise, since all three companies are operated by Govia. On Great Western, buses replace trains between Reigate and Gatwick Airport for the whole period. National Express and Megabus will run to the airport as usual.
City Airport is easily reached by the DLR, which should be operating every day except Christmas Day — leave extra time though, as the route may not be as regular as usual.