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Things to do on Christmas Day in London

If you're planning to get out and about this December 25, here's a handful of ways to spend the day

© Indusfoto, courtesy Royal Parks

December 25 is the only day of the year when the capital grinds to a halt (except for a few of the city's kitchens, that is). On Christmas Day the shops are shut, public transport stops and London's institutions and attractions keep their doors firmly locked. If you do fancy tearing yourself away from the telly, however, here are a few ways to spend the holiday around town…

RECOMMENDED: Find more festive fun with our guide to Christmas in London

Christmas Day in London ideas and events

Shiver in sympathy at the Peter Pan Cup

There’s nothing to make you feel snug and warm inside like seeing a bunch of brave/mad souls dive into icy water. The Serpentine Swimming Club’s 153rd Annual Christmas Morning Race is for spectators only, unless you want to catch hypothermia on Christmas Day.

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Until Sun Dec 25

Go for a dip in Hampton Pool

Shake off that hangover and work up an appetite worthy of Christmas lunch with a morning swim in (mercifully heated) Hampton Pool, which is open from 8am noon on Christmas Day. Waterproof Santa hat optional. 

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Marvel at Ripley's mad exhibits

Open 365 days of the year, Ripley's Believe It Or Not! showcases weird and wonderful items from around the world, such a 13-foot-long Tower Bridge made out of matchsticks, a piece of the Berlin Wall, shrunken heads, a copy of 'The Last Supper' painted on a grain of rice and a Swarovski crystal-covered Mini Cooper. Open from 10am-midnight. Remember: bring your 3kg bag of M&Ms for the full tourist experience.

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Piccadilly Circus

See London's streets sparkle

You won't find many people on the street on December 25 but the capital's stunning Christmas lights will still be sparkling. Empty pavements and bus-free views will only make a tour of the capital's best crimbo decorations all the more magical.

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Enjoy Christmas dinner in London's top restaurants

You can either keep things traditional and find one of London's top restaurants serving up fat turkeys with all the trimmings on December 25, or use the opportunity to graze in one of the capital's more international offerings. Whichever way you choose to take your Christmas dinner, here's our selection of London restaurants allowing you to sit back, relax and forget about the figgy pudding.

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Walk off all the turkey and trimmings

There's no better way to walk off a big meal (or work up an appetite for one) than by taking a brisk stroll. Step outside this Christmas Day and soak up sights of festive lights, deocrations and maybe even a sprinkling of snow. Check out our guide to London's scenic walks, all perfect for a festive stretch of the legs.

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See our full guide to Christmas in London

Find more fun during the festive period

Things to do on Boxing Day in London

Father Christmas may have been and gone, but the fun doesn't end there. Boxing Day in London is a great time to visit some of London's best attractions, who fire things up for the festivities. 

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By: Time Out London Things To Do


Lucy S
Lucy S

There is an event in central London (W1) called Christmas Fitzrovia where anybody can turn up as long as they bring a children's gift to be donated to UCLH and Great Ormond Street Hospital on that same day. The event will have activities including ping pong, music, films, board games, live piano... You're encouraged to bring your own games and food to share. Check it out at http://www.christmasfitzrovia.co.uk.