What to do on Christmas Eve in London, December 24th, is a question you will ask yourself if you are planning on spending a few days in London this Christmas, and your stay coincides with important Christmas dates.
Attractions, shops and public transport have different opening times or may close completely on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so it’s important to have this in mind when planning your itinerary.
We receive lots of questions about shops’ and attractions’ opening times during these dates, so I thought I would write an article to have a handy list ready.
Some tourist attractions in London close completely from December 24th to December 26th, such as the Tower of London and the British Museum. Therefore, if you are planning on visiting any attractions during these dates, I recommend that you check their opening hours to avoid disappointment.
Christmas Eve this year falls on a Friday, and on this day, shops tend to close early, usually around 2 or 4 pm. Most pubs, restaurants and cafes in central London tend to stay open until later.
Opening times for London Attractions on Christmas Eve
Sightseeing Bus: The London Hop-On, Hop-Off Bus will operate as normal on Christmas Eve, including the free Thames Cruise.
London Eye: The London Eye will open from 11 am to 6 pm on the 24th of December.
Tower of London: The Tower of London will be closed on the 24th of December.
Sea Life Aquarium: The London Sea Life Aquarium will be open on the 24th of December.
Westminster Abbey: Westminster Abbey will be open for sightseeing on the 24th of December from 9.00 am to 3.30 pm.
Winter Wonderland: Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park will be open on the 24th of December.
St Paul’s Cathedral: St Paul’s Cathedral will be open for sightseeing on the 24th of December from 8.30 am, with the last entry at 1.15 pm.
Harry Potter Studios: Harry Potter Studios in London will be open on the 24th of December. Booking is essential though!
London Zoo: London Zoo in Regent´s Park, will open on the 24th of December from 10 am to 4 pm.
I recommend spending the morning of Christmas Eve in London visiting one of London’s attractions open this day or just strolling through central London. In the afternoon, you could consider going to one of West End’s musicals or a Christmas show and spend late afternoon/evening in Winter Wonderland, where you could also grab something to eat easily.
Opening times for London Museums on Christmas Eve
Most museums in London will be closed on Christmas Eve, such as the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, the London Transport Museum, the Science Museum, the HMS Belfast and the National Gallery. Madame Tussauds will open on Christmas Eve from 10 am to 2 pm, and the Sherlock Holmes Museum will be open on Christmas Eve from 9.30 am.
> Find out more: London Museums
Musicals and shows on Christmas Eve in London
The Ice skating show at the O2, Disney On Ice, will open on the 24th of December.
Ice Skating Rinks in London opening times on Christmas Eve
London’s ice skating rinks will also open on the 24th of December.
> Find out more: Ice Skating Rinks
Where to eat on Christmas Eve in London
If you want to book a restaurant for dinner on Christmas Eve in London, I would personally recommend some of our favourite restaurants, such as Sarastro for a unique experience, Bill’s for a good meal, a restaurant we love to dine at on weekends, or we would also recommend checking out Maggie Jones’s and the Poule Au Pot. You can also make it a super special night by dining in one of the best restaurants with a view in London.
> Find out more: Where to Eat in London.
Public transport on Christmas Eve in London
If you are spending Christmas in London, make sure to check the timetables on Transport For London’s website. In summary, the underground and public buses will run with their normal timetable until 8:00 p.m., and from 8:00 p.m. there will be a reduced service.