Now, as the most wonderful time of the year has passed, and a new beginning has arrived in the new year, I think it is a good time to reflect on my first Christmas day experience in London. Mainly on what was it like on Christmas day, what would be interesting activities to do, and help you get the most out of your Christmas day in London.
1. What to expect on the day
For starters, the national rail services, tube and bus will stop operating, which essentially reduce how you can move around the city to walk and biking (we’ll come back to this later). Next, most, if not all, museums, attractions and west end performances will close on Christmas day, while the majority of the restaurants and shops will also close. It is worth mentioning that some of the restaurants that still open on Christmas day may increase the prices on each menu, so better be sure to check this with the staff before ordering. Interestingly, though, the cinemas were still operating with reduced showtime; at least you can tuck in the cosy cinema with a film of your choice on Christmas day.
2. What I did on the day
Now comes the interesting part. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t own a car (which you probably wouldn’t as a student in central London), the bicycle will be your best friend on Christmas day. So what I did was that I had a biking adventure with a couple of my good friends. If you are afraid of cycling in the busy street of London or looking for your first cycling experience, there is no better occasion than Christmas day. Because the roads are almost deserted, and you can basically take over the bus lane as there were no buses on the day.
We started biking from the LSE to St. James’s Park, making a stop to admire the greenery scene. After that, we biked our way to Buckingham Palace and Green Park, again taking photos along the way. Next, we biked past the Wellington Arch and into Hyde Park before stopping at Royal Albert Hall and Albert Memorial, another photogenic spot. Subsequently, we cycled all the way to Holland Park, specifically the Kyoto Garden, on the West side of London, at which place we stopped to have a quick bring-your-own lunch. Finally, we finished our trip by retracing the same path on the bike back to central London.
In the evening, I take a walk along the famous streets in London to enjoy the same view under a different vibe, particularly the actual Christmas day vibe. Piccadilly Circus, Regent Street, Oxford Street, and Bond Street are recommended to walk around. Although most of the shopping store is closed, the bustling of people coming out to have a good time is worth witnessing. And on my way back home, I saw the London Eye in its special Christmas rainbow colour, which perfectly concludes my Christmas day adventure.
Here is my recommendation to prepare for the next Christmas day in London.
- Cook your own food, as it may be hard to find something to eat on the day. And cooking is fun! It should be one of your activities on Christmas Eve night.
- Find something to do with your friends. It doesn’t have to be biking like me, but you should gather up with your friends and find something to do together, like watching those Christmas movies (Love Actually, anyone?), or walking around the neighbourhood.
- Get out there and see London in its different version. I once read that London on Christmas day will be entirely different and I can tell you that it was not exaggerated. So I recommend that at least go out into the city to see what’s it like on Christmas day.