Festive and Fun Things to Do on Christmas Day in Central London

Christmas 2023 is almost upon us and there’s no time like the present to firm up plans for how to spend the day in London. Many of the hotels remain open over the festive holiday and welcome guests during this period. Public transport does close down for the day which means that taxis are required for longer distances. Choosing our hotels in Central London is the safest bet as so much of the city is walkable. 

  1. See the Christmas decorations

All the shops will be closed on Christmas Day. However, their shop windows will remain aglow and the light installations on all streets will twinkle once the sun sets. Go for a walk in the early evening to see them in action. A major plus is that the streets will be depleted from their usual crowds. 

  1. Rent a bicycle 

Seeing as the bus and Tube are out of the question, you’ll need to rely on other means of getting around London this Christmas 2023. Renting a bike is a fun way of covering ground. Again, those calmer streets will work in your favour. It’s easy to rent a bicycle at the Santander Cycles kiosks or via the app using a credit or debit card. 

  1. Attend a Christmas 2023 mass service 

One of the most unique things to do in London on Christmas Day is attend mass at a church. These are open to everyone, regardless of your faith. Westminster Abbey will host Christmas Day Holy Communion as well as Sung Eucharist and Evensong. Of the three, only Sung Eucharist requires advance booking although all ceremonies are free to the public. 

St Paul’s Cathedral will also host Choral Eucharist and Festal Evensong. Midnight Eucharist will be held on Christmas Eve from 11.30 pm. All ceremonies are free and unticketed. 

  1. Explore the parks 

London’s Royal Parks are open on Christmas Day. These are free to visit and are lovely to walk through even when the weather is cooler. Snow is never a guarantee although an early morning stroll will likely yield some photogenic frost. Choose hotels in Central London near Hyde Park and St James’s Park to save having to fork out on a taxi. 

  1. Dine on dim sum 

It’s business as normal in Chinatown this Christmas 2023. Most of the restaurants stay open and will be far quieter than usual. Located off Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square, this is a fantastic choice of food destination for hotels in Central London. For all other restaurants and pubs in London that open on Christmas Day – advance booking is highly advisable. 

  1. Watch the Christmas 2023 Peter Pan Cup 

The Peter Pan Cup is a Christmas Day tradition in London. Members of the  Serpentine Swimming Club in Hyde Park plunge into the lido for a race in the icy water. The author and playwright J.M. Barrie – the writer behind Peter Pan – would have presented the trophy to the winner. Spectators are always welcome but you’ll need to arrive in time for a 9 am start. 

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