It’s the day after Christmas, and you’re still reeling from the excitement of yesterday’s festivities. Well, you’re in luck because on Boxing Day there are plenty of activities around the city that means you can carry on the fun, so you don’t have to sit indoors for another day. From hitting up one of London’s top nightclubs to taking a brisk wintery walk around one of the city’s lush parks, here’s our guide to the top things to do in London on Boxing Day.
Hit up the Boxing Day sales
If there’s one thing Boxing Day is famous for, it’s the Boxing Day sales taking place all across the country. Many high-street stores start their sales straight after Christmas, allowing you to bag a few bargains. Although sales usually last until around mid-January, you’re best getting there as early as possible if you want to nab the good stuff. Oxford Street (pictured above), Westfield Stratford and Shepherd’s Bush are home to the big brands.
If you prefer to support small businesses, we recommend so many great shops in our London itineraries and Casual Tourist Guides. If you prefer to keep things second-hand, check out our article on where to go thrift shopping in London. But make sure you double-check opening times and public transport ahead of your trip, it tends to be limited on Boxing Day and trains usually run at a reduced service.
Enjoy a winter walk in one of London’s lush parks
Nothing quite beats the feeling of a crisp, wintery walk, especially on Boxing Day when there’s a festive chill in the air, and everyone is still reeling from the excitement of Christmas Day. London is full of beautiful parks filled with towering trees and lake-lined trails. Victoria Park in East London is a favourite to walk around at any time of the day, but it feels extra special on Boxing Day morning. Wander around the 2.7-mile loop and see why it was crowned as the nation’s favourite park at the People’s Choice Award. Primrose Hill (pictured above) (WA) also makes for a lush Boxing Day walk, only 10-minutes from Camden. Stroll up the hill and enjoy the sweeping views of the city skyline from above. We also love Greenwich Park (WA) for its views of Canary Wharf, Regent’s Park (WA) for its secret Japanese Garden and Richmond Park (WA) for the hundreds of red and fallow deer that roam freely.
Image Courtesy of The Holly Bush
Cosy up in a London pub
There are fewer things as quintessentially British than an old, rickety pub, and cosying up in one has to be one of the top things to do in London on Boxing Day. Take a seat near a roaring fireplace with a mug of mulled wine in hand and soak up the jolly atmosphere. The Compton Arms is an old-school boozer in Islington known for its snug atmosphere and excellent food, or hit up Queen’s Head (WA) in King’s Cross if you want to get stuck into a board game. Other favourites of ours are The Holly Bush (WA) in Hampstead, a charming pub in a backstreet in the village-like borough of Hampstead and the Churchill Arms (WA) for its magnificent display of Christmas trees and lights, a true old-school London pub. We recommend pairing your pub visit with a walk through one of London’s lovely green parks.
BTW, before you head to the pub for what might be the first time, have a watch of our guide to visiting London’s pubs.
Image Courtesy of Long Arms Sports Pub and Brewery
Attend a football match
One of the top things to do in London on Boxing Day is to attend a football match, which seems to be a long-standing tradition. Not only can you watch a football match at a stadium around the UK, but there’s also a festive TV fixture schedule of live matches taking place all across the country. Come match day, you don’t want to be cramped into a tiny pub with a barely-there TV screen with a minimal view, you want to make sure you’ve nabbed the best seats in the house, and there are a few places around the city you can do just that. The Adam and Eve in Homerton is a local favourite, home to six screens and a cosy interior, or try Bar Kick in Shoreditch, where you can watch a match followed by a table football game. Other football favourites include The Moretown Belle (WA) in London Bridge, The Kings Sports Bar in Leicester Square and Long Arm Sports Pub and Brewery in Old Street.
Image Courtesy of Jack and the Bean Stalk
Go to a pantomime performance
Nothing gets you into the festive spirit more than heading to a local theatre to watch a pantomime performance, which is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in London on Boxing Day. Pantomimes are light-hearted theatrical performances usually involving slapstick comedy and music. Many of the shows are based on old fairy tales or nursery rhymes we used to hear as a child, like Peter Pan, which is being shown this year at the London Palladium (WA) and Jack and the Beanstalk, which is being performed at Theatre Royal Stratford East (WA). Get comfortable and let the show unfold as you soak up the last of the Christmassy atmosphere.
Image Courtesy of Pont de la Tour
Enjoy a Boxing Day lunch or dinner at a London restaurant
If you fancy one more blow-out meal before the Christmas period ends, consider heading to a restaurant to enjoy one last festive meal with loved ones. Prepare to loosen your belts another notch to make room for even more tasty treats. Mix it up and enjoy some fine-dining Chinese cuisine on the 33rd floor of The Shard at Hutong (WA) or enjoy French fare at Pont de la Tour (WA), located in a 19th-century former tea warehouse in Tower Bridge. Alternatively, keep it quintessentially British at The Flask (WA), a historic pub in the leafy borough of Highgate.