Things to do on Boxing Day in London
Kew Gardens always go big for Christmas. Book tickets to see a mile-long, twinkling trail leads visitors past singing trees, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights.
Get your skates on and make room for turkey sandwiches at Somerset House's grand 18th-century courtyard. It's the stunning setting for an ice rink. No matter how unimpressive your skating skills a trip to this 900-square-metre outdoor rink will be the very definition of festive fun.
Walk off that extra helping of roast spuds with a crisp 2-hour guided trail through Richmond Park. Awaken from your festive slumber and stretch those legs out while you take in the natural beauty and learn about London's largest park.
The Grinch would have a real job stealing all the Christmas from Hyde Park's massive tribute to festive fun. Spend December 26 wandering past the fairground rides, around child-friendly Santa Land (including Santa's grotto) or through the Christmas markets, sipping festive mulled drinks.
The Natural History Museum is home to London’s most enchanting ice rink, thanks to the beautiful backdrop of Alfred Waterhouse's buildings, a row of trees dripping in fairy lights and a majestic Christmas tree in the middle of the ice.
Stroll along the South Bank, stopping off at the little huts outside Royal Festival Hall to stock up on festive food and any (really) last minute gifts.
Fancy whizzing around one of London’s most famous landmarks? Located in the dry moat, the Tower of London ice rink offers a grand historical setting for seasonal skating sessions, along with views of London's ancient fortress and the river Thames.
Skate around Henry VIII's sixteenth-century pad this festive season. Hampton Court Palace makes a mighty picturesque backdrop for this outdoor rink, especially when lit up after dark.
London at its most bling this time of year, when the city becomes covered in glittering decorations and glowing bulbs. There's nothing lovelier than walking in the city and taking in the sparkling sites on Boxing Day.
Venues open on Boxing Day in London
Once you're done with stuffing the turkey, go and hang out with something else stuffed at Madame Tussaud's (open 10am-6pm). Their stock in trade is waxworks of the famous and infamous, plus a dark ride – 'The Spirit of London' – which provides a whistle-stop tour of London's history.
The early bird gets the worm and other forms of wildlife at west London's Wetland Centre. Hiding amid the extensive landscape of lagoons, islets and pastures are all manner of birds, including kingfishers, snipes and redpolls, plus box-tree moths, speckle wood butterflies, common darter dragonflies, the harlequin ladybird and many more species.
Venue says Award-winning nature reserve in the heart of the capital. Enjoy fantastic views, wildlife, lakes, gardens. Plus shop, café and playground
Forget 'Frozen' and 'Shrek' and all the other animations you'll be watching on your telly boxes this season. Take in some old school animation at Novelt Automation's intoxicating mix of end-of-pier fun and eccentric artistry. Its owner, Tim Hunkin, makes coin-operated machines, some of which were once displayed in Covent Garden, others are still at his Southwold arcade The Under the Pier Show.
Shake off that festive feeling and delve into the depths of this Medieval-style horror museum. There are gory waxwork displays of plagues, tortures, executions and other grisly reminders of the not so distant past.
Clear the Christmas drinking fog with a breath of fresh air, literally, among the natural splendour of Kew Gardens. Gates open at 10am and last entry is at 3.30pm - or visit after dark, as this year the gardens are illuminated at night with a flickering Fire Garden, kaleidoscopic projections and giant flora-inspired lights.
When better than Boxing Day to hop on the world's largest observation wheel to get a good nosey at the city while the majority of its inhabitants rest? On a clear day you can even see Windsor Castle, 25 miles away. Booking is advised but a number of tickets are held back for same-day sale on site, so it may be worth turning up and taking pot luck if you haven't booked.
Doing nothing to disabuse tourists of the belief Sherlock Holmes was a real person, this charmingly ramshackle attraction is open at 221b Baker Street. Magnifying glasses at the ready for murder weapons, Victoriana, waxworks depicting scenes from the stories and an august person wearing a bowler hat and whiskers going by the name of Watson.
While everyone else is chilling at home after a hefty day of festivities, join the animals who'll be out and about at London Zoo. It's home to more than 600 animal species, so make time to visit most of them, if not all. The walk-through aviary, the Meet the Monkeys attraction and the Animal Adventure children's zone are all worth a look-in.
Brave the Shark Walk and waddle along with the Gentoo penguins at the London Aquarium this Boxing Day because it's open all day (9am-7pm). Just make sure you peel yourselves from a post-Chrimbo slump before 5.45pm because that's when last admissions are allowed in.
Everyone loves the ugly old green beast and his gentle ways, so Shrek's Adventure! is a perfect post-Christmas day out. Kids will enjoy the old school romp and parents will no doubt revel in the opportunity to let the little ones loose, away from all the noise and relentless games playing that goes on over Chrimbo.
See London sparkle on Boxing Day
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