At last the dishes were set on, and grace was said. It was succeeded by a breathless pause, as Mrs Cratchit, looking slowly all along the carving knife, prepared to plunge it in the breast; but when she did, and when the long expected gush of stuffing issued forth, one murmur of delight arose all round the board and even Tiny Tim, excited by the two young Cratchits, beat on the table with the handle of his knife, and feebly cried Hurrah!A Christmas Carol
Charles Dickens knew it, and soon you will too: there’s a certain magic that envelops London come Christmastime. The city, already known for its timeless charm, transforms into a winter wonderland of twinkling lights, grand Christmas trees, and festive markets that make the cobblestone streets glisten and the Thames sparkle a little brighter. From the shimmering ice rinks to the carolers echoing harmonies at Trafalgar Square, London at Christmas is nothing short of a fairy tale.
And amidst this festive backdrop, there’s the delightful question of where to eat in London on Christmas Day. London’s eclectic culinary scene promises a memorable festive meal, whether you’re craving a traditional roast with all the trimmings, or something more contemporary.
As you wander the light-adorned lanes, remember that many of London’s eateries roll out the red carpet, ensuring that your Christmas dining experience is as enchanting as the city itself. So, pull on your warmest scarf, let the scent of roasted chestnuts guide you, and dig into a London Christmas feast to remember.
If you’re wondering where to eat in London on Christmas Day, try Bluebird Chelsea!
This beautiful restaurant in Chelsea, with private rooms and the most wonderful courtyard, is housed in an art-deco building on King’s Road. The building was initially a garage for Bluebird Motor Company, in 1923 before being converted into a restaurant by The Conran Group in 1997.
The restaurant aims to operate sustainably and has a three-star Sustainable Associating rating. It does this by reducing food waste and maximizing recycling to minimize its impact on the planet.
While they haven’t released it for 2023 yet, their Christmas seasonal menu typically includes everything from Christmas classics such as turkey and minced pies to the less traditional Cacio e Pepe and Potato Gnocchi. Bluebird also caters to vegetarians but note that truffle is used in many of their vegetarian dishes.
Photos courtesy of Brigadiers via Facebook
An upmarket Indian barbecue restaurant, Brigadiers is an Indian art deco-inspired “tavern” modeled after the army mess bars of India. As such, you can find everything from food, to live sport (on TV, of course), pool (on an eight feet table), and card games here.
Brigadiers can fit 140 people inside but is divided into eight different rooms, army mess style. (There is also an outdoor terrace- obviously heated during winter- which seats 28 people.)
The London Christmas Day lunch here is one of the less expensive ones on this list. However, do note that Brigadiers is closed on the actual Christmas Day – it shuts its doors between the 24th to 26th of December, reopening for dinner on the 27th. In addition, there is a minimum of 2 people for the festive menu, and the entire table must order the same menu.
A gastropub with a fireplace in Stockwell, Canton Arms serves British classics such as ham pie or roast beef for its Christmas meal. With its dark brown wooden interiors, it is an old-school, lovely but inexpensive place for a Christmas dinner in London. (Only £44 in 2022- in comparison to over £300 at The Dorchester!)
The food is served Canton style, to be shared and placed in the middle of the table. (Everyone needs to order the same menu.)
Photos courtesy of The Cinnamon Club via Instagram
If you’re wondering where to eat in London on Christmas Day that does not serve a traditional Christmas meal, try The Cinnamon Club. First opened in 2021 in a Grade II-listed Old Westminster Library, it now has four locations that open for lunch on the actual Christmas Day.
From tandoori partridge to its famous garam masala pudding, the Indian-inspired Christmas menu will be a feast for your taste buds. (You can even order the Christmas pudding delivered to your home!)
If you’re not a fan of Christmas turkey, or looking for more dining options on Christmas Day, head over to London’s Chinatown. This is the one place in London where life goes on as normal and most eateries remain open on the 25th!
You can get an early morning breakfast/late night supper at Far East, which serves Cantonese food up to 4am. Or if you want to mark the day with something special but not traditional, head to one of the karaoke rooms at Plum Valley, which serves Chinese, Thai, and Japanese fusion food. If it’s Southeast Asian food that catches your fancy, try the famous Rasa Sayang, which is where many Singaporeans and Malaysians in Singapore dine!
London Shell Co.
London Shell Co. must be one of the most unusual Christmas meals you can enjoy in London. This family-run restaurant – which also has a fishmonger on Swains Lane – offers you a choice between dining on a moving boat (The Prince Regent) and a static boat (The Grand Duchess), both located at Paddington. (Love the idea of dining on a boat? Here’s a full list of London’s floating restaurants!)
The two boats offer different menus, obviously with a seafood focus, serving dishes such as fish and chips and potted crab. You have a choice between sitting inside, or outside on the terrace.
Note: for regular dining, not on Christmas day, London Shell Co. even holds jazz nights!
Photos courtesy of Mei Ume
If you’ve had enough classic Christmas roast turkey, why not try crispy Peking duck or Angus beef in black pepper sauce at Mei Ume? This Tower Hill restaurant serves contemporary Chinese and Japanese food. Decorated with modern Asian interiors, you’ll feel like you’re in the East and not in London!
In true Asian style, it opens throughout the Christmas season, including on the 24th and 25th of December, as well as the 1st of January. It is also a good place for those who are watching their calories. Their festive menu has the number of calories printed along with the name of the dish!
Quality Chop House
This traditional British restaurant in Farringdon is one of the oldest London institutions on this list of where to eat in London on Christmas Day. Quality Chop House opened its doors way back in 1869 and even the wooden benches are Grade II listed!
Today, this working man’s “eating house” has been relaunched as a modern British restaurant with a lot of character. It offers two Christmas menus throughout the month of December, which they will kindly adapt to any dietary requirements.
Riding House Fitzrovia
Photos courtesy of Riding House Fitzrovia via Flickr
Riding House is a dog-friendly, retro-inspired Fitzrovia institution located just off Oxford Street. It now has a branch in Bloomsbury and both places serve a five-course Christmas meal between 11:30am and 3:30pm on the 25th of December.
The 2022 menu was conceived as a shared dining experience, and consisted of trout cured in Earl Grey, roast turkey, grilled sea bass, and more! There are gluten-free and vegan options in the regular set menu, as well as a separate vegan menu. Keep an eye on the website for the 2023 menu if they offer it!
If you’re looking for a meal by the River Thames, try the Christmas menu at Sea Containers.
The festive menu is designed to be shared and accommodates groups of two people up to 200. (Parties above nine can upgrade to a more premium menu, which consists of the same dishes as the basic menu, but with an additional starter and main.)
You can even throw a private Christmas party here, as the private dining room can be booked for a minimum spend of £2000, accommodating up to 22 people.
St. John Restaurant
For those who enjoy eating nose to tail, St. John Restaurant is a well-known London institution.
In keeping with their ethos, their Christmas menu usually centers around “one central beast or fish” such as game, goose, and even an entire suckling pig (which can feed 15 to 22 people), presented sharing style. (Guests have a choice of five different menus.)
Unfortunately, St. John’s three-course festive menu is only available to groups of eight or more. Obviously, the entire group will have to order the same menu, but exceptions will be made for vegetarians.
Do also keep in mind that, in 2022, St. John closed after dinner on December 23rd, and did not open on the actual Christmas Day. Check their website to see which dates and times they’ll be open this festive season.
The Cadogan Arms
Photos courtesy of The Cadogan Arms
The Cadogan Arms is a posh gastropub with a fireplace located on Kings Road that reopened in 2021. The decor is fairly opulent, with carved wooden furniture and crystal chandeliers, and the food is based on seasonal British produce.
The Cadogan Arms serves a traditional British menu for Christmas, offering everything from smoked salmon and roast turkey to sticky toffee pudding and trifle. It ends with mince pies which can be taken away!
In decidedly untraditional British fashion, the pub opens on Christmas Day, although seats are limited. Guests will also need to pre-order their mains one week before the actual day.
The Flask Highgate
At The Flask, you can enjoy a London Christmas Day dinner around a warm and cozy fire.
The five-course menu consists of Christmas mainstays such as Turkey with trimming and beef although there is also cauliflower wellington for vegans. A nice touch is the ability to filter The Flask’s Christmas menu, based on your dietary preferences. There’s even an option to show the calories and nutritional information of each dish!
The Grill at The Dorchester
London’s proud old dame, The Dorchester, has a five-course Christmas lunch, set to live music. (It’s also the most expensive Christmas meal on this list at £350-£425 per person in 2022!)
With its legendary Christmas tree, winter lights, aromatic yule logs, and cozy fireplace, there’s no better place to celebrate Christmas – if you have the budget, of course.
The Londoner Leicester Square
Opened in 2021, The Londoner’s flagship restaurant, Whitcomb, does a great Christmas menu, which combines traditional Christmas dishes, such as ham and beef wellington, followed by chocolate mousse or cheesecake.
The best way to describe Christmas at The Londoner would be “an experience:” it starts with a Christmas cocktail on arrival, your choice of a three or four-course meal, in addition to wine and still or sparkling water.
If you’re really getting into the Christmas spirit, The Londoner also offers other Christmas activities, such as an afternoon of Christmas musicals to Christmas craft workshops.
The Spaniards Inn
Built in 1585, this classic English property in Hampstead is the perfect place for an Instagrammable London Christmas Day lunch or dinner. The wood-paneled pub, with fireplace and garden, is also pretty popular with celebrities, so don’t be surprised if you spot one when dining there! (It’s such an icon, The Spaniards Inn has its own Wikipedia page!)
The festive menu at The Spaniards Inn is a five-course meal with everything from turkey breast, beef, or vegetable Wellington to venison cutlet and turbot! (There is also a smaller, three-course menu for children.)
Photos courtesy of The Windmill via Instagram
If you’ve always wanted to experience Christmas in the British countryside, The Windmill in Windlesham, Clapham is the closest you’ll get to in the Greater London area.
A cozy country-style hotel with 42 rooms that offers traditional Christmas lunch starting from the 22nd of November, there is also a special five-course menu that is served only on the 25th. In addition, The Windmill has a smaller menu for children, followed by a different set of dishes on Boxing Day. It’s pretty much a go-to if you want to eat well during the festive season in London.
If you have any questions about where to eat in London on Christmas Day, let me know in the comments!