at LSE and in London

Find out how to stay healthy and well this Christmas; and how to make the most of the festive period at LSE and across London.

Christmas decorations in Covent Garden, London

This page offers advice on how to make the most of Christmas is you are staying in London. Expand the sections below to find out how about when the campus is open, what events are taking place, how to stay healthy and information about transport. 

Campus information

School closure and term dates

The last day of Michaelmas Term is Friday 8 December 2017.

The School is open outside of term-time, however there may be a reduced service in operation. Please check back for information from LSE Estates about building opening times. 

If you have any January exams, these will take place between Wednesday 3 and  Sunday 7 January 2018. 

Lent Term begins for all students on Monday 8 January 2018.

Student Services Centre (SSC)

Our opening hours in the run up to Christmas are:

  • Wednesday 6 December 2017: the SSC is open between 10am and 12pm only
  • Thursday 7 and Friday 8 December 2017: the SSC is open between 11am and 4pm as normal but there are a number of drop-in cancellations.
  • Monday 11 - Thursday 14 December 2017 inclusive: the SSC is closed for the graduation ceremonies
  • Friday 15 December 2017: the SSC is open as normal between 11am and 4pm
  • Monday 18  and Tuesday 19 December 2017: the SSC is open as normal between 11am and 4pm
  • Wednesday 20 December 2017 - Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive: the SSC is closed during the LSE closure period.
  • Tuesday 2 January 2018: the SSC will reopen at 11am

If you think that you may require documentation over the break, please plan to request and collect items from the Student Services Centre as early as possible. 

If you have any urgent enquiries about January exams, please see the "January exams" section further down this page for information about how to get advice.

IT resources and support

During the Christmas vacation the IT Help Desk and Laptop Surgery will remain available except on normal School Closure Dates (see above, once confirmed) when all facilities will be closed. You can also access your LSE resources such as email and H: space remotely when away from campus.

Opening hours

IT Help Desk
Monday - Friday during term-time: 9am - 7pm
Saturday and Sunday: 11am - 6pm 
Vacation time Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm
The IT Help Desk during School Closure days, however telephone support is available 24/7.

Laptop Surgery
Monday - Friday during term-time: 10am - 2pm
Saturday and Sunday: Closed
Vacation time Monday - Friday: 11am - 1pm
Closed during School Closure days 

Student Computer Rooms
Some student computer rooms will remain open.  For more information on specific rooms availability, please visit Student Computer Facilities on the IMT website.

Remote Access
You can still access your LSE resources remotely, such as your email or files, even when you are off campus or away from your residence over the holiday period. 


LSE catering outlets

Visit the catering webpages to find out when you can enjoy a traditional Christmas lunch in your favourite LSE catering outlet and when they'll be open over the holidays.

LSESU catering outlets

Please check back for information on when the Students' Union catering outlets will be open over the Christmas break.


For more information about library opening hours please see the Library's webpage

Student events

Residential Life

Various social events will be held in halls during the vacation period to help you get involved in festive activities and make contact with others staying in London over Christmas.  Details will be sent to you via email, included in halls newsletters, advertised on Facebook and displayed on posters and leaflets in-house.

There will also be staff from the Warden’s Team on site and available throughout the holidays, including during School Closure time, and you will be able to contact them in the same way as you do during term time.

If you want to know more about what’s happening in your hall, contact your Warden Team or email

Faith Centre

LSE Christmas Carol Service
Staff and students are warmly invited to the LSE Carol Service with traditional carols (sung by the LSE Choir) and readings to celebrate the festive season, and an address by Revd Lucy Winkett of St James’s Church Piccadilly. It will take place in St Mary le Strand Church (WC2R 1ES, opposite Kings College's Strand Campus) from 5pm on Friday 8 December 2017. This event is free to attend and there will be mulled wine and mince pies following the service. 

Volunteer Centre

There are many ways to get involved during the holiday season which are rewarding as well as fun. Check out the latest Christmas volunteering opportunities available to students from the LSE Volunteer Centre. They range from carol singing to working in a homelessness centre. 

LSE Choir and Orchestra Concert

The LSE Choir and Orchestra Christmas Concert will be held Tuesday 5 December 2017 at 7pm till 9:30pm in St Clement Danes Church on the Strand.  Tickets are £7.00 per person and can be purchased online via the LSE Online Shop.

The LSE Choir will perform Fantasia on Christmas Carols by Vaughan Williams and The King Shall Rejoice by GF Handel.The LSE Orchestra will perform Matthew Taylor Overture 'The Needles', Sibelius Pelleas and Melisande (excerpts), and Beethoven Symphony No.6 'Pastoral'.

LSE Students' Union

Please check back for information about LSESU events and opening times over the Christmas holiday.


HOST is a volunteer organisation of UK residents who welcome international students to their homes for a weekend or Christmas visit. Application deadlines for Christmas visits have now passed, however there are still opportunities to arrange winter visits for early 2018. Their purpose is to give students an insight into the way of life in Britain while learning more about the cultures of the students who visit them. Please note that there is an application fee to join the HOST program and you will need to pay your own travel costs to your host. For details on the program, see HOST UK at LSE.

International Students House (ISH)

International Students House is a centre in London available for all students. It offers a varied Christmas events programme throughout the holiday season for its members and also has accommodation available for students during the Christmas vacation.

They're also offering the opportunity to spend Christmas day with ISH. You don't need to be a member to book your spot - guest tickets cost £45.

You can find more information about ISH membership rates on their website.

London activities

Christmas lights

Wrap up warm and set off around the city to admire some of London’s Christmas light displays. Here are some of the best displays near LSE:

Oxford Street and Regent Street.
Brave the Christmas shoppers (or make a start on your own gift buying!) while you admire the spectacular displays suspended above you. London’s busiest shopping streets have pulled out all the stops:

Oxford Street: 1,778 snowball-like decorations (and 750,000 LED lightbulbs) light up the road, inspired by falling snowflakes. The charity partner for this year's lights is the NSPCC.

Regent Street: More than 300,000 Christmas lights are used in the "Spirit of Christmas" installation that lights up the whole of W1, making this the biggest and most spectacular parade of Christmas lights in the capital.

Covent Garden
Take a short trip with friends to Covent Garden Piazza to admire the 40 mistletoe themed over-head lighting displays inside London’s most famous Market Halls and the Royal Opera House. Outside on the cobbled piazza there is also London's biggest hand-picked Christmas tree, and a magnificent silver reindeer statue.

The Northbank
Walk along the illuminations of the Strand to Trafalgar Square to see the towering Norwegian Christmas tree which is a gift to the people of London from the people of Norway. It is a time honoured tradition dating back to 1947, and the tree is a symbol of gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II. The lights along Villiers Street have been powered, for the first time, by used cooking oil from local businesses, making it an examplar of sustainability.

Carol Concerts

Christmas carol concerts will take place throughout the city in December. They are a Christmas tradition in the UK and an opportunity to experience an evening of Christmas cheer with songs, candlelight and often a mince pie or two. Some of these are held in grand venues, such as Westminster Abbey or St Paul's Cathedral, while others are smaller affairs to raise money for charities. Visit Time Out or Visit London to find out more information about some carol services that are being held around London. 

Christmas Markets

Soak up the holiday atmosphere and visit one of London's many Christmas Markets. Traditional European-style markets sell handmade gifts, German sausages and glühwein within festive wooden chalets. There are also smaller independent markets which sell a range of original artwork, handmade goods, or ethical items. Visit Time Out or Visit London for a comprehensive list of markets around the city.

Winter theme parks

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
In addition to a Christmas market, there are over 100 rides and attractions, many bars and restaurants, and even a magical ice kingdom. Entry is free, although there are additional charges for many of the attractions. Winter Wonderland can get very busy (especially at the weekends), and is out in the open so it may be advisable to visit on weekdays and to wrap up warm. Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is open from 10am until 10pm every day until Monday 1 January 2018, excluding Christmas Day when the attraction is closed. 

Southbank Winter Festival
German-style wooden chalets line the southern bank of the River Thames, selling hot drinks, festive foods, and plenty of gifts or treats. The market forms part of a Winter Festival which also includes a cider lounge, roller disco and a calendar of shows. Admission is free, however there is a charge for rides and ticketed entertainment.

Ice Skating

As the weather gets colder, ice rinks open throughout London for the winter season. Somerset House and the Natural History Museum are home to two of the most recognisable ice rinks in the city. The London Eye, Canary Wharf and the Tower of London also provide spectacular settings to skate within. Visit Time Out or Visit London for a list of the city's rinks.

Festive films and theatre

Catch a showing of your favourite festive film in one of London's Christmas film screenings this December. The Prince Charles cinema has a packed schedule of holiday films and there are pop-up cinemas in the Royal Academy, a bakery and even a former workhouse and psychiatric hospital. On a budget? Cinemas often offer reduced price tickets for students (£5 for some screenings at the Barbican). You can also pick up pre-watched DVDs relatively cheaply from charity shops and online movie-streaming services will likely add Christmas titles throughout December.

Many theatres will also stage Christmas-themed plays, musicals and ballets throughout December and January. Traditional festive tales include The Little Match Girl (Hans Christian Anderson), a Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens) and the Nutcracker. The Snowman will be on at the Peacock Theatre, which is right on LSE's doorstep, and the popular movie Nativity! has been adapted into a musical. Look out for reduced-price student tickets and last-minute ticket returns to cut costs.

A pantomime is a form of theatrical entertainment which involves music, topical jokes and slapstick comedy. They are a Christmas tradition in the UK which is usually aimed at children but enjoyed by audiences of all ages. See Time Out or Visit London for a list of all the pantomimes taking place in London this Christmas.

Museums and galleries

The Geffrye Musem of the Home has a special Christmas Past exhibition which is open until Sunday 7 January 2018.

Many museums and attractions will be closed for several days over the Christmas and New Year period. Opening hours will vary between each individual museum or gallery, so it's best to check with them directly before travelling.

Here are the Christmas closure dates of the biggest museums and galleries in London:

  • The British Museum: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017 and 1 January 2018.
  • Imperial War Museum: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017
  • Museum of London: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017
  • National Portrait Gallery: TBC
  • Natural History Museum: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017
  • Victoria and Albert Museum: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017
  • Science Museum: closed 24, 25, 26 December 2017
  • Tate Galleries: TBC

Need more inspiration?

Need more inspiration to keep you occupied this Christmas? Check out the below links for some different ideas:

What's open in London on the Christmas Bank Holidays

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is a national holiday in the UK and virtually all shops and attractions will be closed. This includes most supermarkets, so you're advised to plan your shopping in advance. Some restaurants will open, although many will require advance booking and will be more expensive than usual with set menus starting at around £65 per person.

Most churches will be open on Christmas morning for their Christmas Day service. These services are usually extremely busy so try to arrive earlier if possible.

Public transport does not operate on Christmas day, although Cycle Hire bikes are available. There will also be a reduced service on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day (the days immediately before and after Christmas Day) so check with TfL before you plan to travel.

The streets of London are quiet on Christmas Day, so take this rare opportunity to wrap up warm and hire a bike or take a walk around the city in relative peace. The Peter Pan Cup is a swimming competition that is held each year in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. Only swimming club members can take part, but it's a fun tradition to watch! For more ideas on what to do on Christmas Day check out the Visit London webpage.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the UK's name for the day after Christmas. It was traditionally a day when employers gave gifts to their employees, but it's now a day when the post-Christmas retail sales begin. Oxford Street and other shopping centres are likely to be filled with bargain-hunters and can get very busy.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is one of the biggest celebrations in London. There will be parties across the city and a number of fireworks displays to welcome in the new year at midnight.

The biggest fireworks display is the Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks along the Thames, centred upon on the London Eye and Houses of Parliament. This extremely popular event is ticketed and costs £10 per person. Although the initial allocation of tickets has now sold out, there are likely to be returns on sale throughout December. If you haven't got a ticket, you could join many Londoners in places like Parliament Hill or Primrose Hill to watch the fireworks for free.

Most bars, restaurants and clubs will hold special New Year's Eve parties. Parties in the capital are extremely popular, but they can be quite expensive. Most are ticketed and tickets usually sell out in advance.

TfL usually offer free transport for much of New Year's Eve in order to make sure Londoners get home safely after their celebrations.

Staying healthy at Christmas

Access medical care

General Practitioner (GP) surgery opening hours will vary over the Christmas period - please check with your surgery directly for information.

If you need to access medical care, visit the NHS Choices webpage to find local GP, Urgent Care, Hospital and Dentist provision.

The Student Counselling Service

Please check back for information about the opening times of the Student Conselling Service over Christmas.

Stay healthy and well

Visit the NHS Live Well webpages for information about how to have a healthy Christmas. It includes information about eating well, celebrating safely, and how to access medical services near you over the Christmas break.

Get active

Parkrun organise free weekly timed runs in parks throughout London and the UK. Some Parkrun locations will hold festive runs on Christmas day, which are open to everyone.


If you experience an emergency on campus, Security will maintain a reduced service throughout the School closure period. They can be contacted by telephone: 020 7955 6555 or internal extension 666.

Contact the UK Emergency Services (Fire / Police / Ambulance / Lifeboats) by dialling 999 from any telephone.

Non-emergency medical advice can be sought by dialling 111 and the police non-emergency number is 101.

For information about what to do in a mental health emergency, visit the Student Counselling Service's Emergencies / feeling suicidal webpage.

If you are staying in an LSE-owned hall of residence over the Christmas break, there will be staff from the Warden's Team on site throughout. You can contact them in the same way as you do during term time.

Travelling over Christmas and New Year

Explore Britain

The Christmas break is a great opportunity to get out of London and explore new places in Britain. The official UK tourism website has plenty of information about great places to visit in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is a popular time of year for a city break to experience another country's traditions and celebrations.

Some people choose to visit Edinburgh for Hogmanay, which is the Scottish word for New Year. There will be a torchlight procession, a ceilidh (traditional Scottish dance) and fireworks.

Time Out provides a summary of the different celebrations taking place in European cities. Like New Year's Eve in London, holidays on these days are often much more expensive than at other times of the year, so you should bear that in mind when making any plans.

Visa information for travelling overseas

If you  are planning to travel outside the UK during the holidays, it is a good idea to take photocopies of your passport, visa and a stamped copy of your Certificate of Registration with you when you travel.  

International students are also strongly advised to review the ISVAT information on travelling during your studies.

You should always check to see if you need a visa for the country you are travelling to and review visa application instructions carefully. The ISVAT webpage provides guidance on Schengen visas for travel in Europe. You can also find further information on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website. You will need a letter from LSE, so be sure to plan ahead, because the Student Services Centre operates reduced opening hours in December.

Keep your passport and visa safe

If you have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), this is your visa and you should carry it with you while you travel to prove your entitlement to return to the UK. Please keep it as safe as you do your passport and don’t risk travelling without it.

If your passport/visa is lost or stolen whilst travelling, please read the information online and contact the International Student Visa Advice Team for advice if required.

Travel insurance

Don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as your NHS cover will not apply outside the UK. You should be careful to choose insurance which is suitable for international students. If it is only suitable for permanent UK residents, you will not be able to make a claim if anything happens.

Emergencies abroad

In case of emergency while travelling, please contact your Embassy in the country you are travelling in.

The International Student Visa Advice Team can also be contacted using their online query form.

January exams

January exam dates

January exams will take place from Wednesday 3 January - Sunday 7 January 2018 inclusive.

Visit the exams timetable webpage for further information.

Exams guidance

Visit the Exams webpage for everything you need to know about sitting January exams.

Advice during the holiday

The Student Services Centre is open outside of term time, however it will be closed from Monday 11 - Thursday 14 December 2017 inclusive for the graduation ceremonies and on Thursday 21 December 2017 - Monday 1 January 2018 inclusive for the Christmas closure.

Most questions will be answered on the following webpages:

If you cannot find the answer to your question online, please email This inbox will be checked occasionally throughout the School closure period and members of the Advice Team will respond to any emails they consider urgent. All other emails will be answered as soon as possible when the School reopens on Tuesday 2 January 2018.

Telephone calls will not be answered while the Student Services Centre is closed.


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Student Services Centre, (Ground Floor) Old Building, Houghton Street, London, WC2A 2AE