Transport in London over Christmas and New Year

Your guide to reduced transport timetables and service disruptions across the 2013 holiday season

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© Cristian Bortes


Getting around during the festive season can be challenging thanks to reduced timetables on the tube, buses and railways. Fortunately, Time Out is here to help smooth the way. See below for a summary of the main transport info from last year. Updates for 2014's service will not be available until a month or so before the end of the year, so check back nearer the time, too.

Each service (and each tube line) now also has a Twitter account, which is a good way to keep up with closures and disruptions. Find the ones you're interested on TfL's social media page.

We can't predict the weather, obviously, so note that information may be subject to change due to adverse conditions. Check directly with your transport provider before travelling.

Tube

With the exception of Christmas Day, when you have no hope of getting anywhere by public transport, the tube is running an only slightly reduced normal service over the Christmas period.

There's a normal service on all lines on Monday December 23 and Tuesday December 24, although on Christmas Eve last trains will be at Sunday times. There are no tubes on Christmas Day, and a special service on all lines on Boxing Day, with trains running from 8.30am and last trains at Sunday times.

A Saturday service will run on all lines on Friday December 27 and Saturday December 28, with only a handful of closures. Likewise Sunday 29 will see a Sunday service, and Monday 30 a Saturday service.

New Year's Eve will see the usual cheerful bunfight of free travel between 11.45pm and 4.30am, with special services on all lines. It's definitely the best way to get back from your celebrations, but do double check your routes as there's a scattering of closures and some stations are exit only. Tubes will operate on a reduced Sunday service on January 1, should you feel brave enough to come out form under the duvet.

Be sure to check the specifics at www.tfl.gov.uk/festive before you travel.

Buses

Buses are the least affected option for festive travel. A Saturday service will run on Christmas Eve with only a couple of exceptions, and there are no bus routes in operation on Christmas Day, but otherwise you can get around almost as normal until the 31st.

On New Year's Eve buses are running a Saturday service, but with a lot of route amendments, so make sure to check yours before putting all your eggs in one night bus. A Sunday service will operate on New Year's Day.

London Overground

Those who regularly use the London Overground network will know that there's no such thing as a normal service, and there are patches of closures (alongside their respective rail replacement buses) every day from December 23-29, with no service on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

A Saturday service (with no planned closures!) will operate on December 30, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, with only one reduced service on New Year's Eve.

Barclays Cycle Hire

Damaged docks notwithstanding, all of the Barclays Cycle Hire stations will be available for use throughout the holiday period. Given the roads will be much more empty than usual, this might be your chance to get familiar with the service, but don't forget your helmet (or your gloves). Check your local docking station's status before you head out, though.

Taxis

We're all feeling more extravagant than usual; taxis will be in demand. Keep a note of a local, licensed company you trust, or use TfL's free Cabwise app to book your nearest minicab or taxi. Or you could try hailing a black cab, but you do risk a wait on the pavement with one cold arm and a hoarse throat afterwards.

There is often an additional charge for journeys made on December 24-27 as well as between December 31 - January 2. Call ahead for a quote, or check with your driver.

Trains

There will be no trains in service on the rail network on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, with a reduced service from December 27 until January 1. Definitely use TfL's Journey Planner and National Rail enquiries to plan your journey ahead of time, and book tickets for longer trips; it's a long way to walk with all those presents.

Congestion charge sign

Congestion charge

The central London C-charge is suspended between Christmas Day and January 1 inclusive. See www.tfl.gov.uk/cc for more information on how it usually works.

National Express Coach

Coaches

Everyone wants to get home for Christmas; so, as with the trains, advance planning is key. Make sure to book tickets in advance; coach drivers are not going to squish you onto a luggage rack, no matter how Tiny Tim you get.

Victoria Coach Station's timetables are reduced on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, with only Megabus, IdBus and National Express in operation on Christmas Day.

Getting to the airport

Trying to escape the Christmas drizzle? With seriously reduced services between December 24 - January 1 (especially to Gatwick), make sure you spend as much time planning your travel this end as you do packing. Rail and tube closures are detailed at www.tfl.co.uk/festive, but check coaches with their respective providers.



Users say

5 comments
Travel emma
Travel emma

This year, for the first time, Chiltern Railways have taken the decision to run a train service on Boxing Day. Trains will run between Bicester North and London Marylebone to allow customers to hit the sales, head to a football match or take in everything London has to offer over Christmas. To find out more visit www.chilternrailways.co.uk/boxingday

A Oyegunle
A Oyegunle

Thank goodness for Time Out online. Quick, easy and all the relevant information on most transport services in one fell swoop with the curious exception of Heathrow Express but nonetheless important information concisely compiled, marvellous! If only Transport For London had this information on their home page too. Well done and Happy Christmas to you all.

Alicia. Wilkinson
Alicia. Wilkinson

A very important piece of information and sensible advice. This info has made me wiser.

Sandra Guglielmucci
Sandra Guglielmucci

As I will be London over the holidays the transportation guide has been invalauble.

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