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Public Transport in London over Christmas and New Year

Here’s a handy guide to service disruptions and reduced transport timetables in London across the festive season

Isabelle Aron
Ella Doyle
Written by
Isabelle Aron
Ella Doyle

Travelling at Christmas is NOT easy. The festive period always needs that bit of extra planning in London, especially as you’ve got to see one grandma in Essex and another in Yorkshire before the New Year. So we’ve made it easy for you. Here’s what TfL, the Underground, buses, trams, trains and the Overground are up to this Christmas and New Year. 

Is public transport running in London over Christmas?

The answer is sort of yes and no. Between Friday December 23 and Monday January 2, there’s planned work, rail strikes, closures and service changes on the network, so make sure you check before you travel.

On Christmas Eve, for example (December 24 falls on a Saturday this year), services will finish earlier than normal across the London Underground, Docklands Light Railway, Elizabeth line, London Overground and London trams. This normally means things close around 9pm, but it tends to start being a reduced service from around 7pm. There are also no night bus services on Christmas Eve, so don’t stay in the pub too long and get caught out in the (possibly) rain. 

When are the train strikes over the Christmas period?

There are ongoing RMT strikes in December and January as 40,000 Network Rail staff across the UK are walking out. The remaining dates for the planned action are December 16, 17, 24, 25, 26 and 27, and January 3, 4, 6 and 7.

All the information about the strikes and which lines are affected can be found here

Is public transport running on Christmas Day?

Everything stops running on Christmas Day: the tube, buses, TfL Rail, DLR, Overground, trams, river buses, Emirates Air Line and National Rail. The only transport available will be taxis, private hires and Dial-a-Ride. But you can still grab a Santander bike or an electric scooter in the boroughs that have them. 

If you’re driving, note that the Ultra Low Emission Zone won’t operate on Christmas Day, and Congestion Charge won’t operate from Christmas Day to January 2. 

Are trains, tubes and buses running on Boxing Day?

Tube services resume on Boxing Day, but a chunk of it will still be closed. Buses will also start running from about 5.30am (so you can hit up those Boxing Day sales). The tube and Overground should open at 7am, but parts of the Elizabeth line will be shut that day along with parts of the Overground, so definitely check before you travel. 

Most trains are not running on Boxing Day, with only a select number of airport transfer train services running, like the Stansted Express and Heathrow Express. Network Rail also uses the Christmas period to carry out a lot of its engineering works, so make sure you check back for any announcements. 

The RMT has also announced a train strike from Christmas Eve to December 27, so passengers should check before travelling to see if their line will be affected. 

What services are running on New Year’s Eve?

Last year, TfL ran the Night Tube on New Year’s Eve, so that partiers all over the city could get home safe (but you couldn’t beep in for free like previous years, sad face). We’re hoping it’s going to be the same this year, so check back for updates. 

The good news is that London’s New Year’s Eve is back for 2022, after being cancelled last year for the pandemic. Hooray!

Keep in the know with TfL’s updates here

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

Plan your NYE celebrations in London


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