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Kew Gardens in the snow
Photograph: RBG Kew

5 ace London attractions that are actually open on Boxing Day

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With a little help from our old friends (sofa and Netflix), we’ve made it through Christmas. Hooray! Now, it’s that tricky ‘in-between’ time where we wait for the new year. Had your fill of egg nog, leftover turkey and festive flicks? It’s time to leave the house. 

Whether you want to walk off all that turkey in a lush, frosty garden, or entertain the fam at an analogue games arcade, there are plenty of attractions to lure you from the cosy living room. And if you’re looking for more post-Xmas inspiration, don’t miss our guide to the best things to do on Boxing Day

London Wetland Centre

Photograph: Wetland Centre

This pleasing pocket of nature is one of London’s hidden gems, and while it’s taking a break on December 25 the place is going to be back open on Boxing Day. Inside, you’ll traverse pathways which wind through tranquil marshes, taking care not to spook the wildlife. Eagle-eyed visitors could spot kingfishers, snipes and redpolls, plus box-tree moths, speckle-wood butterflies and more. 

9.30am-4.30pm. www.wwt.org.uk

Novelty Automation

Photograph: Novelty Automation

Chances are you’ve been staring at screens all Christmas, so give your eyes a break at this analogue games arcade. It’s endearingly lo-fi and suits every age group – kids will enjoy spinning the joysticks and adults will love the satirical edge. Try out its newest game, the Fulfilment Centre, where you try to keep your job in an Amazon warehouse. Will you get a zero-hours contract or a P45? If that doesn’t get you feeling Christmassy we don’t know what will.   

12-8pm. www.novelty-automation.com

Kew Gardens

Photograph: Kew Gardens

Anyone who’s tried to keep a houseplant alive for longer than a month has to hand it to Kew. Its mammoth collection of flora and fauna spans a whopping 300 acres, and the plant life is always on-point. Winter is just as impressive as any other season, with the alpine range in full swing and tropical glasshouse as hot as ever. You can also book tickets to see its Christmas display: a mile-long, twinkling trail leads visitors past singing trees, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights. 

10am-3.30pm. www.kew.org

The View from the Shard

Photograph: The Shard

With Christmas behind us, maybe it’s time to get a little perspective on life. Where better than the top of the tallest building in the UK, The Shard. Shake off the post-Yuletide slump and book in for Boxing Day; you can drink in 360-degree views of the sprawling metropolis and get a cheeky glass of champers. Winning.   

11am-9pm. www.the-shard.com/viewing-gallery

The London Eye 

Photograph: Andrew Brackenbury

Come on Londoners, stop pretending you don’t want a go. The London Eye is one of the capital’s most iconic attractions, and it’s open on Boxing Day. The giant ferris wheel – or cantilevered observation wheel, if you wanna get technical – has been hugely popular since its launch in 2000, with millions of people boarding each year.  

10.15am-8.30pm. www.londoneye.com

Find more post-Christmas fun in our guide to Boxing Day trips here

After more inspo? Check out our pick of the 101 best things to do in London right now. 

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