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Q: activities in London on Christmas Day ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: activities in London on Christmas Day
Category: Sports and Recreation > Travel
Asked by: jono_50-ga
List Price: $8.00
Posted: 21 Dec 2005 06:38 PST
Expires: 20 Jan 2006 06:38 PST
Question ID: 608420
We have a 10-hour layover in London this coming Christmas Day.  We
expect the city will be largely shut down.  We are Jewish, and do not
celebrate Christmas (though it is first day Channukah too this year,
and related activities would be interesting).  Please suggest some
interesting, original, well located, and relaxing activities to amuse
us while we are there.  We have already thought of eating in a Chinese
or Indian restaurant, and walking in Regents Park.

We arrive at Heathrow about 6:30am on the 25th, and have to be back
again at the airport at about 3pm. For the answer to be useful it
needs to be in by about noon on the 24th. Thanks!
Subject: Re: activities in London on Christmas Day
Answered By: answerfinder-ga on 21 Dec 2005 10:39 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Dear jono_50-ga,

I afraid that London closes down on Christmas Day, especially in the
hours which you have specified, so this list is very short. The usual
sights are closed and many of the restaurants and pubs are closed, you
could try Chinatown (Gerrard Street in Soho) but many of the
restaurants will still be closed. The main advantage of the timing of
your visit is the lack of traffic, so apart from the things below you
could just have a good walk taking in the sights without having to
dodge the cars.

Here are three things that you could go to while in London.
Watch the Peter Pan Cup Swimming Race in Hyde Park. A swimming race
across the cold waters of the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park.  Starts at
9am. Price: free. You could take a walk around the Park and stroll
down to Buckingham Palace and up to Trafalgar Square.

?While most of us are still tucked up in bed or tearing into a bulging
stocking, members of the Serpentine Swimming Club are competing in
their annual race across the icy waters of Hyde Park?s enormous lake??

Take advantage of the London streets empty of traffic and take a tour
of London. This one starts at 9am and finishes at 11.30am.

A walking tour of Pepys? London. Their web site states most walks take
2 hrs but you had better check with them by email.

?And look out for the two Christmas Special Walks on Christmas Day
itself. Christmas Morning, 1660 - Samuel Pepys's London goes at 11 am.
And the Christmas Day Charles Dickens's London Walk goes at 2 pm. Both
of the Christmas Day walks meet at the same point: by the big
Christmas Tree in the middle of Trafalgar Square.?

River cruises start at about 12.15 but unfortunately they finish too
late for you to get back to the airport.

Another problem is public transport  in London on Christmas Day. I
suggest you read the advice on this page and the London Transport
journey planner web site.
Journey Planner

I hope this answers your question. If it does not, or the answer is
unclear, or you need further advice on specific sights you may be
interested in, then please ask for clarification of this research
before rating the answer. I shall respond to the clarification request
as soon as I receive it.
Thank you

Personal knowledge of London and the search terms london "christmas day" 2005

Request for Answer Clarification by jono_50-ga on 21 Dec 2005 18:11 PST
Hello answerfinder,

Thanks, I think that's a decent answer considering there is not too
much going on (of course the lack of action is the reason I resorted
to Google Answers, any other day of the year I would have made do with
my own research).  The historical walks sound pretty interesting,
actually, and we could make the Pepys' one.  I think you've earned the
fee, for possible tip, perhaps you could add just a little in

a. the lack of public transport is a pain, and we don't want to spend
100+ quid on a cab.  So we'd probably rent a car, but we're a little
apprehensive about parking near Trafalger Square etc.  Might we expect
this to be striaghtforward on xmas day?  Or a terrible hassle?  Any
parking tricks we should know about?

b.  We'd need food (lunch) at some point. Any ideas near the Pepy's walk?

Thanks again.  J.

Clarification of Answer by answerfinder-ga on 22 Dec 2005 02:49 PST
Dear jono_50-ga, 

For parking I would recommend Waterloo Place. It is only a couple of
hundred yards from Trafalgar Square and within easy walking of
Buckingham Palace, St James Park, Parliament / Westminster Abbey and

This link will take you to the parking map of Westminster. On the map
you will see Trafalgar Square in the top right and to the bottom left
you will see some blue dots at Carlton House Terrace and if you move
the map to the bottom left it will then label Waterloo Place. I would
recommend parking there. There are plenty of parking places and it is
normally a pay and display parking but as it is Christmas Day this
does not apply. You need just to check the pay and display dispenser
on the road side just to make sure no special conditions have been
applied which I have not been able to ascertain. Otherwise it is free.
An alternative is the parking bays in Pall Mall (again on this map).
Again they should be free.

If for some reason this map does not work, go to this page and select
Trafalgar Square from the drop down box and navigate from there.,472,473,474

This is Waterloo Place and you see some of the parking bays.

As for eating I?m going to let you down on this. I have no specific
knowledge as to which establishments will be open. However, I think
your best bet is to try along the Strand and to the north in Covent
This map will help you see the layout of the area.

I will be available for clarifications until Friday 1500 UK time.

Enjoy your trip.


Request for Answer Clarification by jono_50-ga on 22 Dec 2005 06:38 PST
Thanks, we have a real insiders edge now!  Perhaps you could just
offer an estimated travel time between Heathrow and Trafalgar Square? 
And outline a route perhaps . . . consider these to be entirely
optional clarifications.  We'll carry a detailed map of course, just
looking for pointers.  Thanks very much for great service.  J.

Clarification of Answer by answerfinder-ga on 22 Dec 2005 07:05 PST
Dear jono_50-ga,

The UK?s Automobile Association provide a route planner.

Go to the page and type for your starting point> Heathrow 
As your finishing point> Pall Mall London

Click> Confirm Locations
The next page will offer a drop down box for several Heathrow
locations including car hire points. Select the location which will
apply to you.

The Pall Mall St James?s location can be left as it is.

Click> Get My Route

The route will be displayed. It will take 50 - 60 minutes, maybe
faster on Christmas Day.

You will see the last section of the route states, ?At Trafalgar
Square keep in right hand lane then turn right onto Pall Mall - A4
(signposted Hyde Park Corner)?

As you go down Pall Mall, Waterloo Place will be on your left.

On this page you will see references to Congestion Charges and there
will be signposts warning you of this as you drive into central
London. Ignore them, this charge does not apply on Christmas Day.

Any problems with the above - just ask.

Thank you for the tip.


Request for Answer Clarification by jono_50-ga on 22 Dec 2005 09:18 PST
hey answerfinder,

This is pretty frustrating.  All cars rental cos at Heathrow are
totally sold out.  This is the busiest time of the year for rental
cars, it seems.  Without the tube or any other way to get into town it
looks like we will be stuck at the airport.

The only way in looks to be (from the TFL site): "The Oxford Tube
service will operate a special service between Oxford and London
Victoria and will additionally call at Heathrow Airport Central bus
station in both directions."

Do you know anything about this service?


Clarification of Answer by answerfinder-ga on 22 Dec 2005 10:09 PST
Dear Jono,
This is a coach service which operates between Oxford and London, it
stops en-route at Heathrow.
This is from their web site,

"Sunday 25th December 2005
Oxford - London via Heathrow Airport
0700, 0800, 0900, 1100, 1300, 1400, 1500, 1700

London - Oxford via Heathrow Airport
0900, 1000, 1100, 1300, 1500, 1600, 1700, 1900

Coaches will depart from Heathrow approximately 60 minutes after
leaving Oxford or 40 minutes after leaving London"

Their home page states,
"Online Tickets over Christmas
Please note that online ticket orders will not be accepted for travel
on Christmas day - please buy tickets from the driver only."

These are the stops it makes in London.

Their site does not confirm where in Heathrow the pick up is made but
I assume it is the bus station.

My view is that I would not recommend it. It does not take you to the
exact centre of London near the tourist sites. Victoria or Oxford
Street is still a fair walk / taxi ride from Trafalgar Square. Also, I
note you cannot book the seats in advance on Christmas Day. There is
no guarantee that you would get a seat on the return journey if they
are busy. Wouldn't like you to miss your flight.

If you need to escape the airport for a while you could catch a cab to Windsor.
Although the castle is not open, you could neverthess explore the
town, Eton School and the Windsor Great Park.

This map will show you how close Windsor is to the airport (Windsor in
the middle - Heathrow to the right) approx 15 miles. Not sure how much
a cab would cost and you would have to arrange for the return trip.,176781&st=4&ar=Y&mapp=newmap.srf&searchp=newsearch.srf&dn=533&ax=496371&ay=176781


Request for Answer Clarification by jono_50-ga on 24 Dec 2005 10:17 PST
answerfinder, thanks again and my best for the season to you and yours. j.

Clarification of Answer by answerfinder-ga on 28 Dec 2005 03:03 PST
And to you. Hope your trip was good.
jono_50-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $3.00
Great work, friendly service.  Thanks!

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