It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas 🎅 Are you in London on the 25th of December?
My yearly post with things to do during Christmas day is here! I have handpicked the best things you can do on the 25th of December, Christmas day. Continue reading to find the best things to do during the most festive day of the year.
Before we begin, take a look at key information and my tips for you:
Choose the location of your accommodation wisely
It is something you should always do, but on Christmas day there is no public transport at all. Any cab or Uber ride will be pricey. Before booking your hotel, check where it is in the city. London is huge, so it can be a good idea to stay quite central and be within walking distance (in London terms 😜) from a few interesting spots.
How to get around
By the magic of your own two feet of course! ✨ It is a great opportunity for you to get to know London by foot. During your visit you will most likely travel via the Tube (London Underground), so this is your opportunity to see the different areas in the city connecting together. Another option is to hire a bike or a scooter.
You may have seen them around the city. Some are parked together – those are the Santander bikes by TFL (Transport For London), others are owned by private companies and are scattered throughout the city, most common ones I’ve seen are Lime and Jump, both which can be used via their app to find their nearest location. Make sure you have a working credit or debit card for this. No cash can be used.
London has many roads designed for bicycles. Wherever you go, please be careful and be aware of your surroundings.
How to prepare for spending Christmas day outdoors
At this time of the year it is pretty damn cold in London. Whether it will snow or not is impossible to predict. One thing I learned during my many years living in London is to daily forecast every morning before going outside. It is definitely a British habit that I acquired with time 😁. I suggest you do as well. On a day like this, where you will be mostly walking outdoors, the option to escape into a heated indoor space will not be an option. Unless of course you choose to stay at your accommodation, which is not a bad decision.
Going out to brave the cold? Here are my tips:
⛄️ Layer up. You can always take layers off if you need to.
⛄️ Wear comfortable shoes for walking, but also good for standing the cold.
⛄️ Bring enough to drink and a few snacks with you. You do not want to get dehydrated or hungry with nowhere around you to buy food.
⛄️ Bring a camera or use your phone’s camera. You will get plenty of opportunities to view the city emptier than usual (besides other tourists like you). You will want memories of this day!
⛄️ Bring a portable phone battery. You might need it depending on how much you will use your phone and how long you will be out. Think of battery usage when you take all these gorgeous photos and use maps to get around.
Usually when you’re out and about and need a toilet break, you go in to a department store or a restaurant. This will prove tricky during Christmas Day, but worry not! Someone was clever enough to make a map of public toilets for you. This will come in handy.
So what can you do on Christmas day? I have collected you the best London has to offer:
A walk in the Royal Parks
This might seem like an obvious one. There are so many beautiful parks all over London for you to visit. Wherever you stay, there should be at least one you can visit. See the list of open Royal Parks here.
My favorite park is Primrose Hill, situated north of Regent’s Park. It has a great view over the city. Primrose Hill is known for celebrity spotting (I once saw Gwen Stefany there!). Although it is unlikely you will see famous faces there on Christmas Day, the park is a great spot to visit.
Who knows, you might even meet some squirrels who are looking for something to do, just like you 🐿
Nearest tube stations:
Chalk Farm / Camden Town
Go towards the lights, the Christmas lights
London is one of the most decorated cities around the world for Christmas. Luckily for you, this is the season where the sun sets early, presenting you with the perfect opportunity to soak in all the Christmas lights the city has to offer.
How do you know where to go? Timeout London has all the answers: the best spots, the greatest lights.
A walk through Regent’s Canal
Regent’s Canal is 13.8 km (8.6 miles) long. It starts at Paddington Arm and ends at Limehouse Basin. The core of the canal is between Angel and Little Venice, which is still quite a walk but if you’re in the area you can walk any part you’d like. Both of these are docking spots for boats.
Take a Christmas Day cruise
City Cruises offers a cruise on Christmas Day which is advised to book in advance. You will cruise by London’s main attractions with festive spirit and a bar.
The sightseeing cruise ticket is for 1 hour slot and will cost you £26 for adults, £16 for children and free for under 4 year olds excluding a meal.
The lunch cruise ticket is for 3 hours and will cost you £174 for adults, £128 for children for a 4-course seasonal fine dining experience and a welcome drink.
Watch the Peter Pan Cup
Every Christmas Day since 1864, London’s bravest swimmers dive into the freezing waters of Hyde Park’s Serpentine, in a competition for the Peter Pan Cup.
If you want to catch it on time make sure to arrive before 9am when the race starts.
Serpentine Lido Hyde Park London W2 3XA
Nearest tube station:
Marble Arch / Lancaster Gate / Hyde Park Corner
Go ice skating at JW3
There is an open ice rink open during Christmas Day, and it happens to be at the Jewish community center. Booking in advance is highly recommended. Tickets are £13 for adults, £8 for children. Each session lasts for 50 mins, and hey you can always book a double slot!
Nearest tube station:
Finchley Road / Finchley Road and Frognal
Take the Charles Dickens walking tour
The Walks website described the tour well: “On Christmas afternoon we celebrate Charles Dickens, his words, his life, his London and his Christmas. A Christmas before Cola turned Santa red.”
The tour operates in any weather, starting at 2pm from Trafalgar Square and lasts for two hours. It will cost you £15 for adults, £5 for kids. Do not forget to book your tickets in advance.
Nearest tube station:
Discover East London’s street art
If you are around East London, walking the streets of the Shoreditch and Brick Lane are a great spot for you to discover local street art. The street art changes frequently, so even if you have been there before most likely you will find new decorations to the area. It is a free, outdoor gallery for you to enjoy!
Nearest tube station:
Shoreditch High Street / Liverpool Street
Where to eat on Christmas Day
These places will have to be booked in advance. Some serve gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options and will have a special Christmas meal menu. Make sure you check if they have a dress code in advance.
Salaam Namaste, Modern Indian. Nearest tube station: Russell Square
Berners Tavern, Contemporary British. Nearest tube station: Tottenham Court Road / Oxford Circus
The Spread Eagle, pub food. Nearest tube station: Camden Town
Riding Horse, Modern European. Nearest tube station: Oxford Circus
Duck & Waffle, Modern European. Nearest tube station: Liverpool Street
Mimmo La Bufala, Southern Italian. Nearest tube station: Hampstead
Where grab a drink on Christmas Day
British people love to drink and Christmas Day is another day to drink on.
Here’s a list of pubs that will be open during the day, so grab a beer or mulled wine and get into the festive spirit!
Sightseeing, taking photos, having a meal or a drink, discovering London. I think that is plenty to do over Christmas Day, what do you think?
If you found any other great ideas to do during Christmas day (besides snuggling to your favorite person or pillow), let me know in the comments.
Have fun and enjoy the festive season. Ho ho ho!🎄