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5 Things to Do in London on Christmas Day

Christmas Day in London 2021

While during the build up to Christmas Day London is the hub of festivities – from Christmas markets to carol services – the actual day is the complete opposite. Public transport has stopped entirely and most shops and restaurants are closed.

However, if you are not on family-dinner duties, there is still plenty of fun stuff you can do in the city.


1. Walk or cycle through empty streets

Without public transport and limited taxis driving around town, this is your chance to see the famous shopping streets like Regent’s Street and Oxford Street almost completely empty. Discover the quiet city on foot or rent one of the ‘Boris’ Bikes‘ and explore the gorgeous lights that are scattered all around town.


Take your family out for a walk and some drinks at the local pub (plenty of Nicholson pubs open on Christmas Day!). Take in the views and enjoy the silence of London during Christmas Day.

Regent Street Christmas Lights

2. Take a river cruise with City Cruises (by Hornblower)

Seeing Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge from the river is amazing every day of the year, but on Christmas Day it is just that bit more special. With the Christmas Day Lunch Cruises from City Cruises, you can experience it for yourself. Mulled wine and mince pies aplenty of course!


3. Go sightseeing by bus

There are several bus companies out there that offer sightseeing tours around London on Christmas Day. So if you rather see the empty streets from the comfort of a heated bus, have a look at Golden Tours, or the Official Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour.


4. Attend a Christmas Day service

Christmas Day for many would not be complete without attending a service. Take your pick from the many churches and cathedrals that host these, including St Paul’s Cathedral.

Southbank at night

5. Cheer on the daredevils of the Peter Pan Cup

It is December and it is freezing cold. But the members of the Serpentine Swimming Club brave the chilling temperatures for the Peter Pan Cup in London’s Hyde Park. The Serpentine’s waters are usually below 4 degrees Celsius / 40 degrees Fahrenheit at this time of year, so the cup is only open for members who have trained for this. But of course, everyone is welcome to cheer them on!


Coronavirus rules during Christmas in England 2021

***Last update 24th December 2021*** No further or stricter COVID-regulations have been announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for Christmas in the UK. However, New Year’s Eve celebrations for 6,500 people in Trafalgar Square have been scrapped in London. Additional COVID rules include:

  • Coronavirus passports will be needed for entry in nightclubs and other venues from 15th December 2021;
  • Face masks are mendatory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport;
  • From 27th December, hospitality businesses will reintroduce table-service only for venues serving alcohol
  • Self isolation period for people in England who have tested positive for COVID-19 is cut short from 10 to seven days.

For up-to-date information about COVID regulations and travel restrictions in the UK, please visit the official website.

carnaby street christmas

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Merry Christmas from Travellous World!

And if you want something to read over the holidays, check out Easycar’s Embarrassing Travel Anecdotes, with a story from… yes, the undersigned. 

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2 Thoughts on 5 Things to Do in London on Christmas Day
    Ed Smith
    28 Dec 2021

    Intriguing suggestions, and a thoughtful 2021 update.

      Maaike van Kuijk
      28 Dec 2021

      Thank you Ed!

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