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London Christmas 2013 Public Transport & Sightseeing – What Is Open or Operating Over The Christmas Holiday Period

Author: Bob Handford
A lot of visitors to London are caught out by the degree to which London closes down on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day there is no public transport at all, all attractions are closed and with nothing open to see, the normal tour buses do not run either. The shops are closed and the choice of restaurants is very restricted.
Most British salaried staff take the week between Christmas Day and New Year as paid holiday leave, nearly all offices in London will be closed. As a result the number of people in London this week is a fraction of the rest of the year. As a knock-on effect many businesses do not bother to open, especially in the non-tourist areas of Central London.

Airport Links
There is no public transport in London on Christmas Day, 25th December at all. This includes public transport to and from London’s airports, even though flights will be operating.
HEATHROW AIRPORT
From London’s main airports, Heathrow and Gatwick, the only public transport connections normally running on Xmas day is a bus replacement service for the Heathrow and Gatwick Express trains. Note they will only take you to Paddington and Victoria stations respectively, once you get in London there is no public transport in London itself. The exact nature of this service is normally quite late being confirmed and has yet to be confirmed for 2013.
There is no Heathrow Express service either on 26th December.
The National Express coach services between London’s airports and into London from Heathrow will not operate on 25th December and on some services may not commence operations on 26th December until mid-morning.
The London Underground from Heathrow will not be operating Christmas Day. A service is normally run all other days, but at the moment the detail has not been confirmed for 2013.
Heathrow – Central London Transfers – A full comparison of options
GATWICK AIRPORT
Gatwick Express services will not run between Wednesday 25 December and Wednesday 1 January inclusive.
However, Southern Trains and First Capital Trains will run a revised train and bus replacement service between London and Gatwick Airport between 27 December and 1 January. (No service into London 25/26 December though).
The National Express coach services between London’s airports and into London from Gatwick will not operate on 25th December and on some services may not commence operations on 26th December until mid-morning.
Gatwick – Central London Transfers – A full comparison of options
LUTON AIRPORT
The National Express coach services between London’s airports and into London Victoria from Luton will not operate on 25th December and on some services may not commence operations on 26th December until mid-morning, (though the London service runs from very early).
First Capital Trains will run a revised train service between London and Luton Airport between 27 December and 1 January. (No service into London 25/26 December though).
Luton – Central London Transfers – A full comparison of options
STANSTED AIRPORT
The National Express coach services between London’s airports and into London Victoria from Stansted will not operate on 25th December and on some services may not commence operations on 26th December until mid-morning, (though the London service runs from very early).
Terravision coaches are listed as running every day, including Xmas day.
The Stansted Express train will not run Christmas Day. No official statement on Xmas operating has been made as yet. Many ticketing web sites are showing a service restarting on 26th December, which seems out of line with other rail operations.
Stansted – Central London Transfers – A full comparison of options

Public Transport In London
All buses, DLR and the London Underground will not run on Christmas Day. Services will resume on December 26th. Again official fine detail has not been confirmed.
Nearly all train services into London from outside will not run 25th and 26th Dec, but again there may be some exceptions. Again, a formal announcement has as yet not been made.
Using Public Transport In London – Inc fares and travel passes

Shops and Restaurants
Nearly all shops and most restaurants will be closed Christmas Day. Some ethnic restaurants in neighbourhoods which do not celebrate Xmas are the exception to the rule.
After Christmas Day is the sale season and which day stores reopen is inconsistent. Many will be open 26th December, others will give their staff another day off.

Sightseeing Attractions
All the major sightseeing attractions will be closed 25th December and many closed 24th and 26th December too so check the web site of wherever you are thinking of going.
Tower of London – closed 24,25,26 Dec and 1st January
London Eye – closed 25 Dec
British Museum – closed 24,25,26 Dec and 1st January
V&A Museum – closed 24,25,26 Dec
London Zoo – closed 25 Dec
Windsor Castle – closed 25,26 Dec
Stonehenge – closed 24,25 Dec

SightSeeing Tours
The popular hop on, hop off sightseeing buses in London run every day of the year except Christmas Day.
The guided coach tours both within London and day tours out of London to places like Stonehenge, Oxford and Windsor run every day of the year but on 25th and 26th December the normal tours do not run as many of the attractions normally visited do not open.
On these two days, special tours run (see link below). The ones on Christmas Day invariably include a large traditional Christmas Lunch.

There are also 4 day breaks from London to Paris or Amsterdam over the Christmas period departing London 24th December

Guided tours on Christmas Day & Boxing day 2013 – Details
4 Day Christmas Tour to Paris – Details
4 Day Christmas Tour to Amsterdam – Details

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